Crowdsourcing–Another Way Consumers Drive Marketing

We covered the concept of “crowdsourcing” this week, and it’s definitely one of the more fascinating and powerful uses of new media today. One main theme with new media that I’ve been writing about in this blog has been the shift from consumer involvement in marketing. Consumers, presented with ever broadening choices and content are becoming more discerning as to what messages they respond to. Therefore, what better way to move them to action than by getting them involved in creating the marketing themselves–a la crowdsouring.

According to an article Techcrunch.com, (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/02/18/first-look-klusters-market-approach-to-crowdsourcing/)  many companies have yet to fully understand the power of crowdsourcing, and how to make it work for their brands. The Doritos example that we read about in our class notes is an exception, and than campaign was wildly successful. The author of the TechCrunch article surmises that it might be the lack of incentives offered by these companies that would motivate greater participation and bring the best ideas to the forefront. In addition, it could be that companies also have yet to see crowdsouring as a big enough payoff to get involved. Tha author says:

“For now,  most companies see this (crowdsouring) primarily as a marketing exercise to engage their most avid customers and maybe generate some viral buzz. It will take a hit product to come out of this process for them to look at it as an actual source of innovation.”

Still, in my view companies are well served to look to their most avid customers for inspiration and to generate buzz. After all, a company’s customers are their most powerful brand advocate, and the more a company can wrap them into the company, the better the advocate they will be. In addition, there’s the psychological impact that crowdsourcing can have on the customers. By including them in shaping the company’s strategic messaging, the consumers become emotionally invested in the brand. The connection between the company and the customer reaches a new level.

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