Six Crowd Sourcing Essentials - Shaping Your Future Marketing Department
Posted July 25, 2011 by Nick Bennett
The marketing and advertising industry has already been heavily influenced by social trends, turning traditional broadcast models on their head. The power of the crowd has been enabled by the social web and marketing is struggling to keep up with the pace of demand for involvement and conversation. Future Marketing departments will actually become a far more important and intrinsic part of the business. No longer simply pushing a product or service that has been pre determined. It's new role will be to listen, curate and help co-create products and services with the crowd. After all, the most important person in your marketing team is your customer. Integrating Crowd Sourcing as a central part of your marketing strategy can save costs and give you a far better chance of success. Here are 6 Crowd Sourcing essentials... ( I realise this is a weighty post, so for those of you who prefer a skim read, I have pulled out the key take outs from each point ;) -----No.1 - Educate for internal buy in
Key Take out: Without internal trust you will not be able to properly embrace crowd sourcing. Setting up internal workshops to educate is a great way to get that trust - Decision makers need to become curators. -----More detail: Getting internal buy in is the most important first step. Make no mistake, your social audience are ready for crowd sourcing. Opinion and interest in your service/product is rife. There is no education needed for your customers, they will simply continue to be engaged and vocal on the subjects that interest them, more so if you join in the conversation with them. However, within the business there are often significant changes required. This often takes people out of their comfort zones, so it can be a tricky pitch. Holding workshops with all stakeholders to help educate on the processes and potential benefits is a great way to pave the way. Prove the appetite is there with your audience. - Demonstrate how much is already being discussed socially about your industry vertical - Show snippets of great conversations already taking place in social media channels Draw parallels with traditional planning approaches - and demonstrate the cost savings. - A more effective way to conduct research - A more cost effective way to gain media reach - A cost effective way to tap into far more resource Demonstrate the insurance value of crowd sourcing. - Create demand before you supply - Grow your home army of supporters - No more cold launches of service or products
- Pressure testing of your ideas is conducted with the people who will ultimately be buying. Bring Crowd Sourcing to life with case studies to prove it works - It always helps to illustrate by example, proof that it has been successful for other brands, businesses A few examples to help...
http://mashable.com/2011/02/20/crowdsourcing-case-studies/ http://www.cocacola.com/music/en_US/24hrsession/html/Coke24hrs_PostEvent.html http://mystarbucksidea.force.com/ http://www.vaccinesvideo.com/ http://behindthemask.michaeljackson.com/ http://www.fiatmio.cc/en/discussoes/ http://www.kitcattnohr.com/news/articles/waitrose-reveals-its-first-ever-crowdsourced-product http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_crowdsourcing_projects http://designbyme.lego.com/en-us/default.aspx
------No. 2 - Flexible planning, not final planning
Key Take out: Put a strategy and a structure in place, decide which parts to open to crowd sourcing and be flexible. It's not just 'all crowd' or 'no crowd' it's a mind set where the crowd is a regular part of your team.
More detail: Traditional marketing planning is all about finalising all the details and then rolling out into the public domain. But this model is actually a risky model. It's assuming that all your gut instincts were correct. That the research phase was 'real' enough, to get the right feedback. One thing is for sure, the traditional approach is certainly an all eggs in one basket model. Also it's worth mentioning that crowd sourcing does not just mean wholesaling the entire planning and creative process to the crowd. Of course there have been plenty of straight forward examples such as Dorritos - make us a TV advert. And indeed a good few product development examples such as Walkers - do us a flavour. Pizza Express and Dunkin Donuts. It's not just a matter of 'all crowd' or 'no crowd'. When you consider the 'crowd' to be a member of the team, you can be far more selective and find the right phase or portion of the plan. - A series of posts in Facebook to help determine a campaign direction - Pressure testing campaign ideas with a live crowd in social media - Voting on live ideas and producing content from suggested ideas - Naming a product - Polls on Facebook to help decide on key products to mention in a campaign - An email to select key influencers from your base to join an early beta elite - Parts of a project that have open collaborative phases for user generated ideas or content
Keep your planning flexible to allow for inspiration and input from the crowd. Building a structure is important. Without an infrastructure it's going to be like herding cats, too many wayward options and suggestions. It's essential to have a direction and a structure for your strategy, but by identifying where all the gaps for involvement and detail are, you can really benefit from crowd support.
------No. 3 - Listen & trust your crowd
Key Take out: Commit to really listening and trusting your audience. Go for the 'Demand before the supply model'. ------More detail:
Seems like an obvious one. But it's not that easy when you are used to making all the decisions. You only need to look at Threadless to see how powerful crowd led models of marketing can be. Once more it's always refreshing to think of the customer as the most important part of your marketing team. Ask, gather, curate, vote and deliver an idea, product that is already in demand. One of the key benefits of involving the crowd in your process, is that you can start to build the buzz and interest in your project before it's launched. Creating a home army of supporters, for when you finally reach your end product.
------No. 4 - Straight talking
Key take out: Adopt straight talking instead of copywriting. Be honest and talk to people with your words - not your copywriters best sales pitch. ------It's important to treat social and crowd sourced marketing in a different way to your traditional marketing. But it's not a new thing you need to learn. It's easier, just be you. Be honest and write as if you are having a normal conversation.
------No. 5 - Smarter Media buying
Key take out: Find the influencers and make conversation a new part of your media buy.
More detail: Traditional digital media buying has always been about reach and frequency, the ideal scenario was always to find sites with the best demographic and product fit and blast with advertising messages.
78% of consumers trust social peer recommendation. Only 14% trust adverts But all recent research points to the age old fact that, people rely on recommendations far more than advertising to make choices. Facebook and Twitter have now become regular channels for most campaigning activity, with neater budgets, free impressions and the chance for peer spread. What has become very interesting recently is the trend and shift towards influencers and their followers as an alternative to further, bespoke media spend. Emerging influencer networks like Klout, help brands find 'the most relevant and influential' people and connect them with free product perks, resulting in some very grateful and interested mentions and conversations in social media. Audi ran a recent campaign with Klout to engage the most influential Audiphiles on Twitter around the launch of the new A8. Recruiting a group of social advisors/influencers to be part of your permanent team is also a tactic that is being adopted more. Vogue have recently launched their influence network - 1,000 women who are influential in fashion and social media. This group are asked to give feedback, comment and share new products and brands with their own networks. There is no compensation other than the kudos of being chosen. It's heartening to see media models are starting to shift from broadcast to conversation. The social web is not just changing marketing, it's starting to re shape the digital media buying landscape too. A note on professional crowd sourcing networks - an alternative to agency fees?
There has been a huge increase in crowd sourced networks for professional marketing solutions. From early players like Idea Bounty a crowd pitching model, $5k for the winning big idea, adopted by Red Bull and other brands, to many newer networks like Blur which are creative services exchanges. But these are not the focus of this article, what I'm really interested is the shift in mind set, toward using social channels to listen, converse and co create ideas, services and products.
------No. 6 - Get agile and Get started
Key Take out: Crowd Sourcing can be more akin to an agile development process than a traditional marketing process. Try things out - change is not a 'bad thing', it's a 'getting it right' thing. ------More detail: I've always been impressed by agile development methods, particularly for the development of a web service or tool. The agile process is defined by a prioritised list and sprints focus on key deliverables, aiming to have light working versions of the project live as soon as possible. Regular catch ups, between the project stakeholders often re prioritise the list and add in new items, constantly developing toward a goal, but being flexible enough to accommodate change and feedback. I often like to de mystify new processes, and it's easy to do this with crowd sourcing. A traditional marketing strategy is devised through a series of informed decisions, in many instances research is conducted. Then the strategy/product/idea is rolled out.
The crowd sourced approach is based on the same principles, but played out live in digital channels with inclusive decisions being made by your actual audience - it's a live research process, ending with the strategy/product/idea being rolled out and supported by a home army of influencers. Sure it takes some convincing and careful community management, but it is full of reward when you get it rolling. This is a change in mind set for marketing. The trend is shifting from a 'professionals only' behind closed doors, to an open source marketing approach, where a good idea is a good idea, no matter who has it ;) Decision makers need to become curators. Marketing has changed forever. Will you be future proofing your marketing department or maybe you already have and have more essentials to share?