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Newsletter #986: The “Experts” 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.]

As entrepreneurs, marketers, and creative people, it’s natural for us to feel like we’re the experts on talking to our customers and helping them solve problems. But sometimes, the best thing we can do is set up the tools, support the conversations, and just get out of the way to let the real experts do what they do best.

Here are a few examples to show how this philosophy can really work:

1. Your employees can be experts
2. Your fans can be experts
3. Your experts are already experts
4. Check it out: Architecture for Dogs

1. Your employees can be experts

Did you know that Pixar lets all of their employees participate in the creative process — no matter what their title is? In fact, they screen each of their new films multiple times internally to encourage every employee to give feedback. They also offer after-work programming courses for anyone who wants to hone their skills. One janitor took these classes and went on to do a number of jobs at Pixar including layout work, camera art, and voiceovers.

The lesson: Are you treating every employee like a valuable resource for ideas and talent?

Learn more: Fast Company

2. Your fans can be experts

To get experts and enthusiasts working together on community projects, GE opened up spaces called GE Garages. They encourage people to come share their ideas and inventions and use GE’s hardware and software to fabricate and test them. These GE Garages have fully equipped labs with stuff like 3D printers, laser cutters, and other technical equipment your average tinkerer can’t get their hands on. They ask folks to not only work on their own projects, but to find ways to make GE’s stuff better too.

The lesson: Make it about them. You can learn a lot from your customers by giving them an opportunity to show you their expertise.

Learn more: GE Garages

3. Your experts are already experts

When Lexus announced a new SUV for an international auto show, they let their chief engineer field questions about the vehicle on social media. There aren’t a lot of companies out there letting engineers have open conversations with their customers. But by giving this expert a voice, Lexus put a face behind their cars and gave their customers a more personal connection to their stuff.

The lesson: Marketers aren’t the only people who can capture your audience’s attention. Your experts have a lot of remarkable stories. Give them a chance to tell them to your customers.

Learn more: Luxury Daily

4. Check it out: Architecture for Dogs

Who says doghouses can’t look like modern art? Architecture for Dogs lets you download simple blueprints from their site to learn how to make these avant-garde dog structures.

Check it out: Architecture for Dogs

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