What Is Crowdsourcing Marketing and How Is it Used?

Crowdsourcing
••• John Lund/Getty Images

Crowdsourcing is using collective intelligence gathered from the public and using that information to complete business-related tasks. These tasks are normally completed by the company or a third-party service provider but through the power of crowdsourcing, the public assists in the completion of these tasks. Companies are attracted to crowdsourcing because it expands their talent pool.

It also allows a company to gain insight into their customers and what they desire.

Popular Types of Crowdsourcing 

  • Crowdfunding. Instead of looking for investors to fund a project, crowdfunding allows people to raise money through an online platform. A person might make a video describing the project they want to fund and post a link to that video on a social media site. If all goes well, that person’s contacts will not only give money but also share the link to the video, encouraging their contacts to give money as well.
  • Crowdcontests. Lets say you need a design logo for your company, or you want to create a blog featuring short stories. You can invite people such as writers or designers to participate in a contest. The contestants will work on the project and send you their submissions. You decide which submission is the best and compensate the winner accordingly.
  • Microtasking. Microtasking is exactly what it sounds like. You take a big task and break it up into a bunch of small tasks, which you then assign to a crowd. For example, if you have 5,000 photos that need captions, you can tell the crowd that you want each person to create one caption for each photo, and you can offer to pay them a certain amount of dollars, or cents, per caption.

Crowdsourcing and Marketing 

Crowdsourcing and marketing go hand in hand. You’re not only getting help from the crowd to get your project going, you’re also tapping into a potential customer base. 

“Veronica Mars” was a popular TV series that had a very large and devoted fan base. Director and writer Rob Thomas wanted to make a film version of “Veronica Mars” but for years he was unable to raise the money on his own. So, he turned to Kickstarter, a popular crowdfunding platform, and although his initial goal was $2 million, he ended up raising $4.7 million. 

The fans of the show were incentivized to give money because, first, they were fans and they had a vested interest in seeing the film get made, and second, people who donated at a certain level received tickets to the film's red carpet premiere.  

Things to Consider If You Want to Try Crowdsourcing 

First, you have to figure out your objectives, your goals, and what do you hope to achieve. 

Next, if the type of crowdsourcing you want to do requires a specific type of web platform, compare different sites, and decide which one is best for you based on your objectives. 

Also, be crystal clear about your instructions. If you’re trying out microtasking or a crowdcontest, make sure your instructions are as detailed and clear as possible. If you give directions that are hazy and hard to understand, you will find yourself wading through a pile of submissions, or work orders, that don’t meet your needs. 

Crowdsourcing Is a Techie Thing

Crowdsourcing is a term that was coined in 2006 by Jeff Howe, contributing editor to the tech bible Wired Magazine. Howe currently writes the blog CrowdSourcing.com which is worth taking a look at.