Social media analytics provide skewed view of customer needs

Published: Fri 14 Oct 2016 04:41 PM
Friday 14 October 2016 04:17 PM
Social media analytics provide skewed view of customer needs, ex-Nike designer Jason Mayden says
By Sophie Boot
Oct. 14 (BusinessDesk) - Social media provides a skewed view of public opinion and doesn't allow you to understand the people you want as your customers, according to Jason Mayden, the former lead designer for Nike's Jordan brand.
Mayden spoke yesterday at Wellington's Te Wharewaka o Poneke, having been brought to New Zealand by Callaghan Innovation to share his insights on brand building, design-led innovation and culture with New Zealand businesses.
He was the senior design innovation lead for Nike’s Jordan brand, based on basketball superstar Michael Jordan, and led the design of the high-tech 2009 edition of the famous shoe. Mayden is now designer-in-residence at US venture capital fund, Accel Partners, where his job is to foster design-led thinking.
Mayden said companies need to think about "problem finding, not problem solving" when designing a product, and realise that the customer experience no longer ends with a purchase - customers see it as an ongoing relationship.
"The expectation has shifted. The product is no longer the destination, it's the beginning of the journey, and consumers expect that it will keep improving over time."
Understanding your customer's needs won't come through social media analytics, Mayden said, as it's a small group of people who will say things they would never say in person.
"You have to get back to being in front of people. We have this sapphire screen between ourselves and humanity. The greatest data point is how you make a person feel - as much as possible, make sure you have interactions with real people."
The way to get the "conversations that lead to breakthrough products" is through getting to know your customers, Mayden says - "know me to serve me."
Responding to an audience question about how New Zealand companies could attract the attention of large corporate partners, Mayden said they should embrace and make a point of their uniqueness
"Everyone's scouring the globe looking for something authentic, double down on telling your story," he said. "Those brands that are authentic are the companies people want to partner with."
(BusinessDesk receives some funding from Callaghan Innovation to cover the commercialisation of innovation).

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