Archive by Author | sannaapajalahti

Marketing, listen to your customer!

I participated in the Markkinointiviestinnän viikko organised in Wanha Satama on 22.-23.9.2015. Although many of the topics in this event are about marketing or communication, a main message I picked from the event was the importance of listening to your customer and creating an excellent customer experience.

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Lari Suomalainen, Sales Director from Koodiviidakko pointed in his talk that second biggest trend in digital marketing is big data. Big data is a collection of data from traditional and digital sources inside and outside your company that represents a source for ongoing discovery and analysis.

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(Digital marketing trends survey 2015)

In their talk ”Automated insights from a loyalty program: how to develop your business with trigger-based research using behavioural data: Case Coop Sweden and Nepa ActionHub” Niclas Öhman and Minna Mehtälä from Nepa told how Sweden’s second biggest grocery store chain Coop is collecting and using big data about their customers. They have an automated system that creates customer satisfaction reports to each Coop store monthly. These reports can be used also on marketing analyses, competitor analyses, personnel improvement and rewarding.


Interesting was how Coop has included customers in the process from the beginning. Coop has two major channels collecting data about their customers: loyalty card program and customer surveys. When they started to develop their new automated analyses tool they invited 15 000 households to become a members of the Coop panel. These households get regular surveys from Coop. In the first phase of developing the system about 4 times a year, now when the system is running once a year.

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A person who never made a mistake, never tried Design Thinking

I came to study to Laurea, partly because I wanted to find new perspectives after working in the same field for many years. I come from customer service background and I’m new to the world of Design Thinking. After two days intro to Design Thinking with Katja Tschimmel and reading the book DesignThinking: Integrating innovation, customer experience and brand value by Thomas Lockwood, I feel like I might have found my new passion. Here are three learnings about Katja’s lecture and Design Thinking that inspired me.

Get new experiences, you will have more sources for new ideas.

Too often we stay on our comfort zone, surrounded by jobs, hobbies, tastes and people and we know so well and find easy for us. A great base for becoming an excellent design thinker is stepping out of that comfort zone, trying new things and broadening our horizons.  What about starting a new hobby in a field that is not familiar to you at all, travelling to somewhere that you maybe never desired or talking to a stranger that works in a completely different job that you do.


You can’t do it alone

Open-minded collaboration is vital in Design Thinking. The whole team must be committed to work together and share their (even most stupid sounding) ideas. Do not become offended if your idea does not make it in the end. Also do not think that you have more experience on this issue because you are a senior team member.  Everyone’s input in the team is equal and valuable. It is important that you get a team with various backgrounds and knowledge for your project (Lockwood 2009, 43).

Only multi-talented team is not enough. Most importantly Design Thinking is a human centered approach. The basis of the human centered approach of design is the idea of intense observation (with all the senses) and empathy (Tschimmel 2012, 12). Listen and observe what your customer needs and include the customer in the design process from the early on. What you are after is a service or product that excites the customer and makes his or hers life easier. Customer participation in all stages of the design thinking process helps you to develop that diamond that stand out from its competitors.


Fail and get up again

Great innovation does not come without risk taking and high possibility for failure (Lockwood 2009, 43). In the early stages of your design thinking process, you must prototype, test and tweak you service or product according the feedback and results you receive. Be ready to let go your even great sounding ideas, if they just don’t work in practice. Maybe the worst sounding idea becomes a real gem and success? You will only know by allowing yourself to fail and to be imperfect during the process.




Design thinking: integrating innovation, customer experience and brand value 2010. Edited by Lockwood, Thomas. New York: Allworth Press. 2009.

Katja Tschimmel. Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation. 2012.