Involving consumers (or employees) in a collaborative marketing project is a good starting point to evolve one’s products and services in a continuous improvement manner. But how can one do that? What is the methodology to achieve collaborative marketing success? I interviewed Valérie Pompilius, CEO and Matthieu Châtellier, Account Director at Fanvoice, to find out more and elicit the six main steps for a successful collaborative marketing project with consumers.
Fanvoice is a platform dedicated to communities, collaborative marketing, and collective intelligence. It is designed for brands that want to collect ideas and insights from employees or consumers or partners. Its primary purpose is to help companies rethink their services or products that need to be enhanced or streamlined.
Six steps to collaborative marketing success with consumers
The startup initially launched its website four years ago. It allowed brands to initiate collaborative marketing projects and interact directly with consumers. Then a client from the utility sector challenged them to design a bespoke platform. At that point, Fanvoice pivoted and started offering its platform as a white-label service to businesses, with mini-websites dedicated to their brands. Since then, companies such as Decathlon, AXA, and many others have worked with Fanvoice.
I interviewed Valérie Pompilius, Fanvoice CEO, and Matthieu Châtellier, one of the startup’s account managers, to find out more and elicit the six main steps that make up a successful collaborative marketing project with consumers.
Let’s analyse your six-step approach to a successful collaborative marketing project with consumers. The initial step is about the definition of a research topic
We support our customers with their strategies, and the description of the end objectives, based on suggestions for improvements already made by their clients or employees.
If, for example, we’re thinking about a new mobile application, we’ll guide businesses through the platform, both in terms of content and process, so that participants can deliver their ideas, voice their wishes and recommendations.
Step two is about building the core community
Most of the time, the brands we work with can direct their customers to the platform based on their customer files. On more technical or specialised projects, it is also possible to work on the recruitment of particular targets.
Our website Fanvoice.com (only available in French at the moment), also has a user base of about 10,000 participants that we interact with throughout the year.
Another possibility is to partner with consumer panel providers
And then, finally, if none of these methods provide any result, we recruit this core community directly. It has sometimes happened that our clients place an online banner on their website to hire this core team of participants.
Step three is the ideation phase. For this, you will use a toolbox that is quite extensive
This ideation stage is very strategic in a collaborative marketing process. It is a question of attracting as many people as possible. To do this, we keep it simple, playful; we make it happen, and we make them talk spontaneously. The idea is to have a maximum of insights. With hundreds, even thousands of testimonials.
We are mostly going to work with two staples of marketing approaches— qualitative and quantitative surveys. The method is very spontaneous through an ideation map.
The participants are thus guided through one, two, or three significant questions or examples to get them started and allow them to express themselves fully and freely on the topic. This is what makes this type of self-administered marketing collaboration task so challenging.
You have to make people talk through community management and “gamification.” It’s a whole range of tools that we put in place.
Let’s take the example of AXA, which is working on a platform dedicated to insurance services
In this particular instance, fifteen projects were carried out on CSR-related issues at AXA. We go through this first phase of ideation to ask a broad question. Here, for example, “What if we weren’t here to back you up financially?” Obviously, with such a topic, thousands of ideas and comments are collected. In the end, we will prioritise a single suggestion amongst all those ideas. In this case, it was legal support that caught Axa’s attention and that of everyone involved in this project.
Step four is joint-creation. In AXA’s case, they took up this idea of legal support and moved it to the next stage. How does that work?
The aim is always to keep the approach fun and simple and to generate possible ideas for services, products, visuals, for example. Thus, with the help of images, we show various options to the community so that they can voice their choices. Then we will rule out some assumptions and keep those that are most plausible. One of the outcomes of this project was that the community thought a Chatbot would be useful. We launched it and it is now fully functional.
The fifth step is about beta testing and the launch of the project. And the sixth and final step is an iterative feedback loop. How many times do you have to iterate?
There are no rules in this area. It is a matter of continuous improvement. Our role is to establish a dialogue with employees or customers. In this perspective, we always aim to improve things and take into account all needs. We do build a true relationship with the participants. This is the main ingredient for a successful collaborative marketing initiative with consumers.