What Is Crowdsourcing In Digital Marketing?

In the digital age, it’s important to have great ideas that will engage and win your audience. But it’s also critical to execute these ideas quickly. The pace of change for everything digital is mind boggling. More and more people want to engage with great photography, graphics, and art in high quantities. Crowdsourcing in digital marketing is the perfect combination of art intersecting with technology and business.

      The Importance of Digital

Digital activity now makes up a large part, if not a majority, of a brand’s marketing spend. Therefore, brands need to adopt strategies that move tactically with the speed that the digital world demands. Furthermore, the demands of millennials and Generation Z of require brands to share an arsenal of concepts and ideas quickly. This is in start contrast to spending months (or longer) creating that one great television ad.

You need to know your media, and also your audience. Millennials, born roughly between 1980 and 1995, now comprise the largest adult population group US market. Millennials are the first generation born into a digital world. While Gen Xers adapted on the fly to emerging technologies, millennials are all about them. From Instagram, Snapchat, or the next big thing—you’d better be there, too.

So, in order to achieve mass digital engagement, you have a challenge. You need to generate lots of great concepts, at speed, in a cost-effective manner. The good news is that there’s an emerging solution for this – crowdsourcing.

      What Is Crowdsourcing?

The concept of crowdsourcing is certainly not new. We’re finding that there’s a better way of leveraging the crowd, not only for its wisdom, but for the competition that emerges. From our work at Creative Allies, we’ve seen first-hand that crowdsourcing is the answer to many problems. When you have the right platform and right method, you can deliver results at scale, without compromising creativity or blowing out your budget.

And let’s get this out of the way quickly. Crowdsourcing is NOT the replacement for your marketing department nor your marketing agency. Rather, crowdsourcing in digital marketing is the fuel or turbo charge needed to stay creative at never before imagined scale. All of this while remaining cost effective. The crowd, by its definition, has more capacity than a company could ever afford to hire. Most agencies think they can handle anything. The truth is that agencies are better off focusing their high caliber talent on big picture strategy and campaign shaping.

      Why Crowdsourcing?

Why should you take a new look at this not-so-new concept? Well, it’s in how you shape the engagement with the crowd. First, don’t think you have to have all the answers figured out. It’s more important to have the right questions in place in the beginning.

In fact, you only need a big question. For example, “How are we going to be keep our fans engaged?” This was precisely the question that the band Twenty One Pilots posed to us. Our plan, in response to the question of keeping them central in the minds of their fan base, was to further shape the engagement by running a design contest for interested designers. We tapped into our community of 100,000 creative entrepreneurs around the world plus the band’s existing fan base.

Another twist to further guide the engagement, was bringing in the concept of voting. This is another aspect of crowdsourcing where you can ask the crowd to give their opinion on what things (designs in this case) are their favorites. So for this example, the crowd was able to deliver amazing artwork for the band. But the band was able to keep fans interested and engaged for months because of this campaign.

      When Can You Use Crowdsourcing?

This model, when used as a major component of digital strategy, isn’t merely limited to the edgy world of music. Everyone needs to sell a product or service whether you are a local brand or a global entertainment property. Brands as diverse as Bic, Ben & Jerry’s and Farmers Insurance are taking cues from the playbooks of Dr. Dre, Selena Gomez, and Orange Is the New Black. And furthermore, small businesses can benefit as well. Crowdsourcing can be used to create a brand name, design a logo, or create unique digital assets for social media. Whatever the size of the brand, the concept is the same. Use the talent of the crowd to help solve your business challenges.

Fundamentally, there is tremendous value in adding crowdsourcing as a major component of your digital strategy. From a brand standpoint, you can get great creative options, at previously unimaginable scale, for reasonable pricing. For agencies, it’s a chance to get concepts and creative from hundreds of creatives, allowing their own teams to focus on high level campaign shaping. 

For those hundreds of creatives, it’s a chance to design for brands they love, potentially win money, and better yet, catch the biggest breaks by working on dream projects. Finally, let’s not forget the fans when the client is a sports or entertainment brand. When the contest element is introduced, it’s a chance for fans to shape the destinies of brands that they want to be in their lives for years to come.

If you’re keeping score, that’s a win-win-win-win for crowdsourcing in digital marketing!

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