You may be familiar with crowdsourcing campaigns, odds are you’ve encountered more than you realize in your lifetime. Defined as the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers, crowdsourcing is likely to cross your path on regular basis.
It comes in many shapes and sizes, whether it be a marketing campaign looking for the next new chip flavor, to mobile apps that source their information from their users. Crowdsourcing has become far more than just new flavors and designs, and has grown to include sharing homes and vacation spots, through online hubs like Airbnb, and mobile apps, like Waze, a navigation tool. Waze uses crowdsourcing to let users know when traffic is at a standstill on the interstate, if there is construction or road closures, and even warns you if a police officer is up ahead. The app asks users to update traffic information through pop-ups in app, providing the most updated information in order to calculate the fastest route. Crowdsourcing has even taken form in transportation, with companies like Uber and Lyft taking over the market. But what makes crowdsourcing so useful to marketers?
Gets the consumers invested
With the rise of mobile, crowdsourcing has seen impressive growth, becoming a lot more prevalent in day-to-day experiences. No longer something special, and viewed more as a piece of everyday life, we can expect small businesses and big brands alike to continue using and incorporating crowdsourcing into their businesses. Mobile crowdsourcing specifically shows no signs of slowing down. It provides an outlet for consumers to be engaged with a brand just by using a product. From the consumer perspective, using an app that you’ve played a role in the creation or development of content, is much more than satisfying than just buying something. It allows for the consumers to feel like they are a part of the success of the product. It takes the feeling of being invested in a brand and cultivates it to now be invested in the service and content itself.
Gain crucial insights on your consumer
Having the opportunity to obtain ideas and content from consumers make crowdsourcing an invaluable asset for companies. There is no better way to figure out what your target audience wants than having them blatantly tell you. Popular crowdsourcing campaigns– like the Pepsi Refresh Project, which allowed consumers to vote for different community projects to receive grants– often provide insight into what consumers care about. While others, like Honda’s 2014 #LoveToday campaign, find users on social media. For Valentine’s Day, Honda wanted to use music to reach its customers. Enter the #LoveToday campaign. Honda asked customers to post photos (or videos) to Instagram of things they love and use the hashtag #LoveToday.
Honda then chose responses that they incorporated as lyrics for their campaign “Today Is Pretty Great”. 500 users then received a heart-shaped record with their quote in the lyrics. The campaign may not have gathered a lot of insight as far as what features the customers might like in their car’s, but it did give Honda an even better idea of who their customers are, and more importantly what makes them happy.
Sometimes marketers just can’t quite figure out what to do next, and that’s when crowdsourcing becomes a cesspool of creative ideas. While not every idea is going to be a good one, crowdsourcing allows for ideas from all over to come together and hopefully create something great. Take Doritos for example. For years they have been asking their consumers to “Crash the Superbowl” and create some of the most memorable ads of the season. For the 2016 Superbowl, Doritos chose finalists from 4,500 entries sent in from 28 countries across the world. Similarly, Frito-Lay’s crowdsourcing campaign, “Do Us A Flavor” offered consumers the opportunity to try 4 original flavors developed by the average Joe. The winning flavor? Biscuits and gravy potato chips. For the chance at a million dollars, consumers can come up with as many out of the box ideas you can imagine.
While sometimes crowdsourcing may result in ideas that seem nearly impossible, or just plain ridiculous, there are certain benefits that marketers just can’t avoid. Sparking creativity, better understanding the customer, and getting those customers invested hits just the surface of what crowdsourcing may be able to do for a company. Get ready, because this is just the beginning.