How a 100-year-old company learns new tricks

Fast Company's interview with Newell Rubbermaid's E-Business leader Bert DuMars contains some interesting ideas that could work for building product marketing. (Check out the full article here.) DuMars markets a company with many brands, from consumer products Rubbermaid and Sharpie to commercial brands like Kirsch window treatments and Irwin Tools. Here, he describes letting one brand run ahead and try new things:

In the case of social media marketing and community building, our pioneer brand was Graco Baby products. Once the pioneer brand has shown success we internally communicate how they approached the opportunity and the tactics and strategies they used. To continue the learning from the pioneer brand effort, we hold monthly, weekly and sometimes more often small, internal teleconferences with several of our brands to discuss questions, new ideas and any issues we run into.

DuMars has the advantage of a huge number of potential pioneers, each with a consumer audience. Any company can learn from the concept, though. By identifying one product or technique that has good traction in the market, then learning to press that advantage, a company can bring those lessons back home to apply to other products.

And here, DuMars talks about using online consumer reviews to discover and overcome problems.

When we launched our Produce Saver food storage product the first 7 reviews came back as two 5-Star and five 1-Star reviews. That is quite a difference but good to know. We contacted the five 1-Star reviewers and found out they were not following the instructions on how to use the product. We immediately put additional instruction information on the product page and wrote a blog post on how to use Produce Saver for best results.

While a building product company can't rely on end-user reviews for feedback the way Newell Rubbermaid can, this technique does carry lessons for us. Could you test a new product with trusted installers? How would you gather their experience and use it to improve future projects' performance? Would your installers appreciate an online forum with product reviews and tips?

Chusid Associates can help you pioneer a new idea or gather and use product feedback. Inspired? Give us a call.