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Newsletter #996: The “Your Customers are Innovators” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Paying attention to your customers’ feedback, criticisms, and compliments isn’t enough. You could be missing something even more remarkable: the innovative ways they can promote your stuff.

Here are three examples of when companies were inspired by their customers:

1. Show them off
2. Make them feel special
3. Focus on specific groups
4. Check it out: London’s historic paintings on top of contemporary photos

1. Show them off

How do you make a flowchart interesting? You chart the lyrics to “Hey Jude” and add some music to it. In an incredible video, Lucidchart shows off the work of one of their fans who used the tool to map out every verse and every “na” in the famous Beatles song with boxes and arrows. It inspired Lucidchart to post even more of these lyrical flowcharts on YouTube with songs like “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Each has thousands of views (all for what’s basically a flowchart demonstration).

The lesson: You never know what will capture your customers’ attention. Why not look to those customers for that inspiration in the first place?

Learn more: Lucidchart Blog

2. Make them feel special

While some restaurants ban customers from snapping photos of their meal, Comodo in New York encourages them to contribute their photos to an “Instagram Menu” by adding #ComodoMenu to their posts. It’s a great way to collect all of their recommendations and photos in one place, but more importantly, it makes those contributors feel like a part of the restaurant.

The lesson: People are going to take Instagram photos of their fancy dinners. Why not make the most of that word of mouth by making those customers feel special?

Learn more: Signal v. Noise

3. Focus on specific groups

For their “Make It” contests, Urban Outfitters lets fashion and design students submit original outfit and furniture designs for the chance to have their stuff manufactured and sold in Urban Outfitters stores. That could be a big break for a student. For Urban Outfitters, it’s more than just market research, it’s a chance to put the spotlight on a niche group and get them excited about their stuff.

The lesson: Word of mouth travels faster in groups. Find ways to give a specific group of your customers a great reason to talk about you.

Learn more: PSFK

4. Check it out: London’s historic paintings on top of contemporary photos

See how one artist mashes up traditional paintings of famous places in London with photos of the current view.

Check it out: My Modern Met

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