Putting the customer in charge

customer.picksBusiness 2.0 has a short article on a few great companies that not only listen to what their customers say, but let their customers run their company. “It’s the open-source software concept applied to product marketing”.
Two examples mentioned were Threadless, an awesome ongoing online t-shirt competition that has some great deals and designs, and Etsy, a very unique place to sell all things handmade.
I love the idea of letting customers vote on what gets further developed and perhaps produced. Sure, people are paid to make those decisions and some products take a ton more time to manufacture than t-shirts, but as we all know, the mass market will always surprise us with what customers want. I mean, seriously, we already have TV shows that let viewers decide who the next rock star, singer, dancer, comedian, invention, chef, designer, wife, etc are!
I’m not saying all products need to adopt this method nor am I asking for mass customization… I’m just saying there is such a rich opportunity in this internet infested society that allows us to show and hear from customers before they see what we thought was great. Sure, smart marketing will always enhance a products desire, but why not just make products that people already desire? Then again, some desires for products are not realized until marketed… since in Seth Godins book Marketers are Liars, marketers are not liars… they just help consumers tell their own lies.
Ok..My brain hurts a bit now, but hopefully this is some food for thought…semi open source hardware, with a timeline of course! Makes me think about Instructables which is cool, but moreso of an open source hardware platform for DIY types.

One Response to “Putting the customer in charge”

  1. designverb Says:

    […] This strategy is a step up from Threadless.com’s vote-to-make-real method by allowing anyone to become an investment fan “brand sneezer” in a band they love and believe in! Otherwise, it’s just like the stock market for music fanatics. I’ve been through a few musicians tunes and found some really interesting sounds. Check out the site, listen to some musicians, and invest in the ones ya crave! […]

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