The Modern Suggestion Box

We read recently on that auto maker Ford Motor Company has boasted of going “beyond traditional market research” with the launch of a website where members of the public can share ideas about the types of features they would like to see in future car models.

This initiative – to be found within – invites people to make suggestions for vehicle improvements. Ideas that appear on the site can be reviewed and rated by others, with the most popular due to be forwarded to Ford’s advanced product marketing and planning teams for review.

Now, don’t get us wrong. We fully support asking customers to get involved, offer thoughts, feedback, suggestions and ideas about what they really value. After all, it’s pretty much what we do day-in, day-out – so we know it’s of vital importance to the ongoing growth and development of any company.

We would warn, as always, that you can’t just rely on this, though – you cannot expect customers to do the job of new product development by themselves. Their feedback can certainly shape what you choose to do, but it should not unquestioningly dictate it. You still need to investigate, research and test any new concept thoroughly.

Our only question is whether this is really such a ground-breaking and innovative idea as the article would suggest? After all, it does kind of seem like that good old-fashioned ‘suggestion box’ you might find located in your local supermarket for customer comments… A suggestion box for the 21st century, perhaps? We applaud Ford nonetheless for listening to their customers and encourage more organisations to do the same.

Find out more about product development studies by clicking here or reading our white paper, Using Market Research For Product Development.

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