If you’ve ever crowdsourced for a marketing campaign or to develop some material, then you’ll know that while getting a mass number of people to respond isn’t the easiest thing to accomplish, the rewards far outweigh the amount of resources invested.
And in case you’re a marketing noob, with little or no understanding of how crowdsourcing works, here’s a little manual I put together to help you along the way.
The first step involved in any crowdsourcing endeavor is finding the right crowd to do your proverbial bidding. Ideally, the group of individuals that you select should have some intrinsic motivation that’s tied into your marketing campaign. What causes that motivation is for you to decide. For example, many enterprises use crowdsourcing to conduct environment-friendly initiatives under their social responsibility programs. The relative mass appeal of pro-ecology projects assures them of a large, highly motivated crowd.
In the same vein, you can usually find a massive range of groups dedicated to various causes on social networks and online forums. This makes sites like Linkedin and Facebook a great place to start looking for the right set of people.
Once you’ve found the crowd, it time to figure out what you want them to do. A crowdsourced marketing campaign can take many forms, from simple slogan writing and poster design to real-life events and guerilla marketing. Regardless of what you come up with, ensure that the brief you send out is a masterpiece of clarity and purpose. Why? Because unless you state in unequivocal terms what you need your crowd to accomplish, you might be left holding the broken pieces of a marketing campaign that blew up in your face.
Without the right incentive, there isn’t much chance that you’ll accomplish much. Also, bear in mind that kind of incentive on offer will also have to appeal to your target audience. That means offering 40-somethings a cross-country mountain bike isn’t going to go down well. Try and find something that has mass appeal so that even if a specific segment won’t directly gain from your incentive, they’re likely to know someone who will. An iPad is a great example of an expensive technology product that most folks will want. And of course, when in doubt, offer cash - at least $3000 if you really want to draw attention. Also offer consolation or runner-up prizes so not everybody leaves with a bitter taste in their mouths.
Then again, sometimes you may need a massive response to some sort of marketing scheme and won’t need user-created marketing material per se. In which case, crowdsourcing begins to look at lot like a social media campaign. In fact, you can use social media to effectively crowdsource, but remember not to expect too much of your audience. Social media is entertainment for many and work for a few, so keep in mind that most people have naturally shorten attention spans on social media. Look to gather likes and clicks rather than campaign collateral.
When you begin your crowdsourcing endeavor, we recommend that you have a well organized team on hand to sift through the responses that you receive, because most amateurs are generally overwhelmed with the kind of response that they get within the first two weeks. You’ll also need a competent set of people to judge the value of each response and take the appropriate action.