Crowdsourcing - take advantage of the wisdom of the crowd!

Service Business

You've probably come across the term crowdsourcing - it has been particularly popular in recent years and you can often read about various crowdsourcing campaigns. However, did you know that crowdsourcing has wide application in marketing? The largest companies around the world use it and it brings a lot of benefits. Find out what exactly crowdsourcing is and how to use it in your business!

Crowdsourcing - what does it actually mean?

Crowdsourcing (crowd - sourcing - supply, but also a source of supply) is an activity that consists in entrusting the performance of some tasks to a group of people who are not employees of a given company. However, it differs from the traditionally understood outsourcing that it is addressed to a very wide group in an open system - almost anyone, not only specialists, can propose or solve a specific problem. Crowdsourcing has evolved considerably over the years, giving theorists some problems with its exact classification.

Deloitte's report, Tech Trends 2014: Inspiring Distruptions, is one of the latest studies on crowdsourcing. There are three main types of it:

  1. Simple crowdsourcing - related to the performance of simple tasks by a group, usually using platforms such as Amazon Mechanical Turk or Gigwalk. Simple crowdsourcing consists, for example, in labeling photos, verifying translations, entering some data. Thanks to this, people involved in such campaigns receive a small income, and the company offering such services primarily saves the time of its regular employees and does not burden them with lower-ranking tasks.

  2. Complex crowdsourcing - this is a type of crowdsourcing addressed to people with certain knowledge in a given field. While simple crowdsourcing offers simple tasks that can be performed by virtually anyone, complex crowdsourcing is based on the knowledge and experience of specialists. It is a way for the company to obtain valuable solutions in cooperation with a group of excellent professionals. In complex crowdsourcing, the following applies, among others crowdSPRING platform, which is a kind of network market for designers and copywriters.

  3. Flexible crowdsourcing (open-ended crowdsourcing) - this is crowdsourcing based on collecting new ideas, innovations and innovative applications. Many large companies use this solution, which is often followed by quite substantial prizes for creative people.

Of course, this is just one of the many crowdsourcing classifications that exist. However, it is transparent and allows you to understand the diversity of this phenomenon.

Crowdsourcing - what can be entrusted to a crowd?

Examples of the use of crowdsourcing are very different and concern various projects. For a good understanding of what can become the subject of crowdsourcing marketing, we refer to several crowdsourcing campaigns carried out by large companies.

  • Forbes' Names You Need To Know was based on the fact that a well-known financial newspaper decided to obtain knowledge and information from readers. As a result, the readers provided the editorial office with many interesting topics that were not reached by journalists themselves, and additionally allowed the editorial office to contact well-known and influential people in the world of finance, who until then were not in the orbit of media interest.

  • Lego DesignByMe is an action in which the "crowd" could, through a special application, create their own designs of brick sets, buildings, etc. and make them available to a wider audience. As a result, the Lego company collected valuable information about the needs of customers and their requirements. The result was a reduction in production costs and an increase in consumer satisfaction with their products.

  • The Blizzard company, which prepared the game Diablo III, used the help of Internet users before launching the production on the market. Players could test the beta version of the game, and then share their comments and detected errors with the producers. The action turned out to be extremely useful, and the interest in it was so great that only some players could become beta testers.

How to prepare for a crowdsourcing campaign?

Before you decide to conduct a crowdsourcing campaign, consider whether it is the best solution at the moment. First of all, consider whether the issue that you want to interest the group of does not relate to confidential company matters and does not raise too controversial topics. If the task you set for her is quite unusual, first conduct a pilot action on a smaller group of people. You will then see if it has been properly understood and does not create undue problems in terms of implementation.

If your pilot tests show problems with proper understanding, you may not have made it clear enough. Try to clearly and simply explain your requirements and goals to the group - thanks to this, the response from the people involved in the action will be better tailored to your requirements.

Not every project can be targeted at a very wide audience. The group does not mean literally everyone - profile a certain target group according to the goals you want to achieve. This mainly applies to tasks from a predefined complex crowdsourcing - use online platforms gathering specific specialists, such as e.g. crowdSPRING. Thanks to this, you will get valuable projects and not be flooded with a wave of responses from people with the wrong competencies.

Constantly supervise the course of the crowdsourcing campaign, check the submitted projects. Inspire the group to act, and if necessary, direct it to specific paths. Also, make sure that deadlines, remuneration and incentive methods are set properly.

Crowdsourcing - advantages and disadvantages

The undoubted advantage of crowdsourcing is obtaining solutions that are the real need of the audience. During crowdsourcing, as was the case with Lego DesignByMe, you can get a clear picture of your customers' expectations. This makes it easier for you to create a tailored offer.

Crowdsourcing is also an opportunity to obtain fresh, original concepts presented by a group of experts. In this case, however, it is worth conducting a thorough evaluation of the results - sometimes it may turn out that the group is smarter than its smartest representative.

Crowdsourcing is also based on publicity and helps build a brand image. The "crowd" is eager to get involved in this type of campaign and appreciates the fact that the company allows customers to have an impact on its operations. This improves trust in the brand and creates the image of the company as open to cooperation and new challenges.

Unfortunately, crowdsourcing also has several disadvantages - such as the aforementioned problem of information leakage that should not be accessed by people from outside the company. Sometimes there are situations when the concepts proposed by the "crowd" are not entirely good for the company - this problem may arise, for example, with an incorrectly profiled target group of your crowdsourcing activities. You should also take into account that some recipients of the action will not treat it entirely seriously, which may have an impact on the company's image.