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If anyone�s got any doubt as to the business potential in social media, a recent white paper from PricewaterhouseCoopers should erase those doubts once and for all. And I�m not referring to something as superficial � even silly � as letting your employees write their own blogs.
No, this report talks about something really significant � I would argue even revolutionary, and I am not being hyperbolic, here. As this report from PwC suggests, the amount of customer intelligence on your company that exists now � at this moment � is staggering, its quality � or potential for spurring growth � immeasurable.
The Internet has provided your market with the tools it needs to converse, in the form of social media � blogs, wikis, discussion forums, etc. And the conversation � or, more accurately, thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of conversations � are taking place now, as I write this. The companies that learn to listen to, understand, and interpret these conversations, and innovate based on these conversations, are the companies for whom the sky is truly the limit.
Am I exaggerating? Not a bit. Companies now at the cusp of figuring out how to harness this galaxy of customer and market intelligence are already reaping huge rewards. A recent Business Week article discussed how Bungie � the makers of the wildly-successful Halo3 video game � observed what some of their most ardent fans were doing completely independent of the company. Bungie understood that players desired to �re-live� and share particular action sequences. So they built in a feature that enables a player to �film� his play � from any angle in a full 360-degree view � and, on the X-Box platform, recommend and share clips with up to three other people at once. The company also upgraded its Web site with features that enable players to ��use an Xbox Live account to track statistics, download saved films and edited levels, and view screenshots posted by others from within the game.� Bungie�s clever new game components not only have increased sales, but � far more importantly � will generate a stream of ongoing revenue almost unheard of in an industry in which nearly every product is, from a revenue perspective, a one-off.
In essence, you can begin leveraging the voice of the market now � this moment � to innovate in ways you literally cannot imagine.
So � are you listening? How are you embedding the customer into your business?