Seems to make sense, but really it can very hard for a lot of companies to open up to their customers. Traditional business practices somehow keep this from being common place.
In this age of social media and user generated content, the audiences voice is getting stronger and can no longer be ignored.
I was just reading an article about Google's new Gmail Play area. Where they are releasing new features to anyone who wants to get involved and give feedback.
I have read many case studies and articles showcasing various companies efforts in these areas, such as Lego, Google, GE, and many others.
It just makes sense....get your customers involved...especially the passionate ones. Let them in on research and development you are doing. Listen to them, then let this information help you make your decisions on how to run your company.
Now remember...its not as easy as it sounds. There are pitfalls to consider....