Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Rethinking innovation in an age of online social media 5: starting from the demand-side perspective

Posted in macroeconomics, social networking and business by Timothy Platt on December 13, 2016

This is my fifth installment to a series that I see as fitting at the intersection of macroeconomics and economic considerations in general, and the study of the interactive online and social media as a collective source of communicated influence (see Macroeconomics and Business 2, postings 280 and loosely following for Parts 1-4.)

I began a more in-depth discussion of a supply-side approach to business and its marketing and communications, as sources of business intelligence insight in Part 3 of this series, and continued from there in Part 4 with a transition posting in which I touched on fundamental issues underlying supply-side and demand-side approaches here. I continue from there in this installment with a more explicit focus on the demand-side of this. And I continue in this series, to examine this complex of issues from an economic friction perspective and more particularly from a more within-business, business systems friction perspective.

I ended Part 4 with a brief to-address list that I will at least begin delving into here, and that I repeat at this point for purposes of series continuity and for greater ease of reading (and with additional material added):

• Demand-side per se, in this context centers upon seeking knowledge and insight from the marketplace, and from current and potential customers in planning out and prioritizing market-facing innovation. And it also includes in it and addresses more internal business process innovation as well. The former of these areas of activity should be fairly obvious: listening to the people who you would have buy what you produce, in optimizing what you offer to best meet their needs and preferences. The later is at least as important as that in general and in many cases it is even more so, and certainly in longer timeframe perspectives as more effectively innovating how a business meets those consumer-facing needs in its underlying business systems and processes, is key to that organization being and remaining more competitive in their marketplace. A dual demand-side approach there makes a business more agile and resilient and throughout its operations.
• With that contextual point in mind, and considering the how and where of gathering the consumer and marketplace insight that would drive taking a demand-side approach here, and through social media and other online channels, this means:
• Developing and cultivating and using the right interactive online channels, and in the right way and both to optimize information gained and shared, and to more effectively limit the level and scope of business systems friction faced.
• This cannot start with the technology that would be used or with a list of social media and related channels to choose from.
• You have to start with a clear determination of your own specific business’ goals and priorities, for what you seek to achieve in connecting through these perhaps new-to-you channels.
• And you have to start all of this from a very strategic, long term value creating and sustaining perspective – and then move from there toward tactical, operational solutions and the mechanisms and processes that you would need to deploy to carry through on your strategic vision and understanding there.
• And then, and on the basis of market feedback, you select the specific ensemble of online channels that would best meet your business’ and your customers’ needs and preferences.
• And then you would plan out and shape your messages, and your pitches for starting conversations through them.
• And you would recurringly repeat this strategic learning and follow-through cycle – and that is what I have set up here: a recurring review and update process cycle.

And that only offers a general purpose, generic outline of a set of steps that should be taken as fleshed out with a brief discussion of why do this. The devil, as I am fond of noting, is in the details here and the real work is in stepping outside of the day-to-day momentum of what you and your business do, and what your managers and employees do – by default as your and their collective standard and routine. This means stepping back and taking a fresh look at your business, and particularly where matters are handled without particular reflection or examination and even as if carried out on auto-pilot.

• This is a place where it really can help to bring in an experienced outside consultant – not necessarily to suggest a suite of changes and improvements, but to offer a fresh perspective. In this, the best consultants listen and ask really good, compelling questions – questions that in effect force the people who might be too close to their business on their own, to see alternatives and to more effectively seek them out.
• Beware any consultant who walks in with claims of having generic, one size fits all magic bullet solutions, and particularly when they start telling you what they can do and what you should do, before really doing their on-site homework and engaging your executive team and an appropriate range of others from your staff in a question seeking and answering dialog.
• I am not referring to consultants who arrive with well developed and tested analytical and corrective process management systems in place – and certainly when they would apply these resources from an initial understanding that they do not and cannot know the right answers and changes for a specific client until they get to know that client and the people who work there.

I am going to end this posting and this series as a whole here, with a brief set of relevant references that I offer as starting points in doing your homework for addressing the above bullet pointed list and its issues. Knowledge is golden, and thinking through the issues and the types of options that you might face and that you might be able to build from is always a good starting point, and whether you manage the review and improvement processes that I write of here entirely in-house or whether you bring in consulting help to facilitate that.

• My series: Using Social Media as Crucial Business Analysis Resources (as can be found at Social Networking and Business 2, postings 217 and loosely following for its Parts 1-7.) This addresses a series of issues related to determining what online and interactive online channels to connect through.
• And my series: If You Want Your Company to be More Innovative (as can be found at Social Networking and Business, postings 178 and loosely following for its Parts 1-9.) This is one of several series that I have developed here that specifically addresses the issues of business process and overall operations improvement, and from the type of business innovation perspective that I have been focusing on here.

I am certain to return to further discuss these and immediately relevant issues in future postings and series. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Macroeconomics and Business and its Page 2 continuation. And you can also find this and related material at Social Networking and Business and its continuation page too.

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