Letting the Public Handle Your Marketing Activities

Crowdsourcing Gets Companies Cheap Help Online (USA Today)

Crowdsourcing in MarketingIn our KnowThis: Marketing Basics book we take an extended look at an emerging concept which we call Open Development but is also known as Crowdsourcing.  The idea centers on recruiting people outside the marketing organization to help the marketer create and possibly execute certain marketing activities, often for no monetary reward.  The concept is well known in the software industry, where numerous products including web browsers (e.g. Firefox), content management software (e.g., Joomla), graphics programs (e.g., Gimp) and even operating systems (e.g., Linux) have been developed within the “open source” movement.

Those involved in marketing may want to take notice of this phenomena, not so much for identifying opportunities to develop collaborative products (though this has and will continue to offer exciting opportunities) but from the perspective of “outsourcing” the development of other marketing activities to a group of dedicated independent collaborators.

As this story discusses, Crowdsourcing is taking hold in marketing in several ways, though it will likely be some time before it becomes a commonly accepted practice.

Crowdsourcing is being used on everything from a Super Bowl ad for Doritos to improvements in movie recommendations on Netflix. Often the projects, such as logo design and open-source software, are largely created by a few individuals. For example, XLNTads acts as a middleman between major brands such as Procter & Gamble and Anheuser-Busch and its network of 15,000 videographers. The major brands pay XLNTads a fee to help them find creative types to create online and TV ads.

Other than product development and creation of advertisements, what other marketing functions could possibly benefit from Crowdsourcing?

Image by Dieter Drescher

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