The practice of using the wisdom of a group of people to attain a common goal is known as crowdsourcing. It is applied best to solve complex problems innovatively.
Explanation: The term crowdsourcing course designed by Jeff Howe in 2006. Crowdsourcing has always existed for many centuries in some form or the other, but the practice gained popularity around the time of emergence of social media, commerce, and smartphone period. The increased and improved connectivity between people from different corners of the globe is the most significant contributor to the growing interest in crowdsourcing.
In crowdsourcing, businesses often ask the public for information, ideas, and opinions so that they can create better services and products. By crowdsourcing, organizations tap in a massive group of people and their skills and expertise. They ensure diversity of thought and expedited production along with cost-cutting because they do not require to hire new employees on payroll for full time. Crowdsourcing is also used in marketing to create a jingle, logo or an ad. Also, crowdsourced marketing campaigns usually involve the customers voting and submitting on the materials. These ads turn out to be engaging because of the involvement of the customers.
Crowdsourcing is used as an economical alternative by both smaller as well as larger organizations when either they do not want to invest a lot in a particular project or if they do not have required people with necessary skill sets to perform the task. Usually, crowdsourcing is done on a contractual basis – the length of which may depend on the company and the task. These contracts may or may not be extended, subject to the terms and conditions of the company and the project.
Importance of crowdsourcing
Many businesses have a realization about the importance of reaching customers. This is true for every business which expects to succeed. In the last couple of years, a compelling but casual approach of reaching the customers has developed.
It is known as crowdsourcing which can be seen everywhere. For example, the weather forecasters, as well as traffic reporters, reach the general public to report events that allow them a casual but compelling approach in reaching the audience. Journalists often try this technique so that they can get a real story that is usually lost or exaggerated in a crowd.
Crowdsourcing helps to tap into the world of ideas and helps many companies to work via a rapid designing process. You can outsource to a large crowd of people so that you can get your products and services correctly.
A broad range of participation from people that takes place at relatively low or no cost is what is very powerful about crowdsourcing. Suggestions are given by seasoned professionals and volunteers who are paid only if their ideas are used — they resort to creativity which people are willing to share. The only thing they need is an opportunity to participate. This is especially true when people are using the internet to facilitate crowdsourcing. Examples include many people creating and posting videos on YouTube.
There are many avenues for crowdsourcing like enlisting of volunteers, blogs, hotlines, dissipation incentives, free products etc. Companies like IdeaSkill, Inno Centive are specialized in delivering the crowd so that you can directly tap into a predefined group of people who are willing to assist in solving your problem or designing your product. Looking at the functioning of the crowdsourcing, it has a very nominal cost.
It makes perfect sense for everyone to invest in crowdsourcing so that you can tap into a global crowd of creativity. This also helps the company to drive, motivate, and mass collaborate and innovate while remaining true to the competition.
How to crowdsource
The working of crowdsourcing depends on the goals of the business. To crowdsource successfully, the companies should break their large project into small microtasks. Workers then unite to handle these micro-tasks in small pieces that expedite the process effectively.
This way, the business decides to collect workers who will perform this task and often correlates with the type of task which needs to be completed. The business uses digital space sometimes, which is known as a Crowdsourcing platform so that it can unite all the people in one place and give them appropriate microtasks.
For the projects which are more complicated and require people with extraordinary abilities in the business uses a more specialized platform that is specific to the industry. There are many steps to start your crowdsourcing campaign, and the levels vary from industry to industry. However, Following are a few of the common steps which are used in crowdsourcing:
1. Designing the job
Once you have decided to use crowdsourcing in your marketing campaign, then you will have to determine what the job will be. You have to answer questions like Will you have customers designing an ad or Will they help you to create a new product? Either way, the marketing team needs to design the job first.
You will have to decide what your audience should do and create an appropriate Avenue or a platform for them to submit entries. Once you understand what would you want them to create, then you will have to design terms and conditions, rules and rewards for the contest. Of course, this is true if it is a contest. If you are not sure what your audience should do, then many different jobs could use crowdsourcing like:
2. Create promotional materials
Once you have finalized the job and the terms and conditions of the service, then you have to get the word out related to your job. Before you start posting this on your social media, you will have to create creative assets to promote the campaign.
For example, Facebook was used by Lays to promote the campaign of “Do us a flavor” Even the companies profile page on Facebook changed the cover photo and profile to advertise the campaign. Also, there were many posts on social media and their websites that went over the rules of the contest. You have to create all of these materials before you promote your campaign. Create your images, write social media ads and press release for your website, etc.
3. Choosing a promotional strategy
Once you have figured it all out, then you have created your assets. The next step is to decide how you want to promote the campaign.
This would mean choosing an appropriate and the best channel to communicate the message to your audience. You have to decide if you want to post the assets on your website or your social media page. If you are going to use the site, then should the visit be on the homepage or will there be a separate section dedicated to it? Do you want to include it in your email list if yes then you have to try software like Hub Spot and Marketo so that you can reach your current contacts and convey them about the crowdsourcing campaigns?
The next step is to decide which social media channels would you want to use to promote your campaign. You should use appropriate social media metrics so that you have a proper buyer Persona to figure out where exactly is your audience. If you have an audience of mostly Gen Z, for example, then you would want to use the medium of tik-tok for promotional. On the other hand, if you have a more businesslike approach, then you should use Instagram.
Facebook is a more generalized platform that is slowly converting into a news-cum-social media platform. It can be used for more generalized promotions. It is essential to ensure that you are finding your audience correctly where they are so that the resources which you employ in the digital campaigns don’t go waste and give you ample returns on investment.
4. Managing the results
Once you have started your campaign, then the results will begin to come in. To achieve all of these submissions, you have to have a system in place. For example, you should have a team of employees who will be responsible for organizing and saving submissions. You can also have your audience email subscription to an email which is dedicated to the campaign.
Either way, you will have to have a system in place which will keep you to find everything that you need, and it will help you to keep things organized so that it will be easy for you to pick a winner.
5. The final project
The final time has come when you receive all of the results. Now it is time to choose a winner. In crowdsourced campaigns, the winner is usually determined by a public vote. If you are going to have a vote, then you have to make sure to have relevant tools like polls or surveys so that you can have the vote of your audience.
Once the winner is chosen, then you have to promote the final campaign. For example, if you are going to choose a new tagline for your company, then you can start using that tagline immediately on social media and your website.
Advantages of crowdsourcing
There are many advantages of crowdsourcing for your business.
1. Increase in scalability
Scaling is a challenging problem for most of the businesses. This is true, especially when it arrives to work on massive projects with resources that are inadequate. However, crowdsourcing usually provides a straightforward solution for scaling any and every workforce by farming out tiny parts of a project which can be completed by remote workers at any given place or time.
This flexibility is one of the main reasons businesses develop an interest in crowdsourcing.
2. Fills gaps in knowledge
If the company is operating on a small scale, then most of the companies do not have all the resources that they need at any given time. With crowdsourcing, it provides the ability to get access to people who have specific skill sets that are not available in the organization. These can be invaluable for the problem of the project and may require people with specialized knowledge.
Finding them can be scarce as well as costly for the smaller organizations. This is why crowdsourcing can help to fill the knowledge gaps within your organization without costing a lot.
3. Accelerate the Processes
Crowdsourcing helps businesses to perform the tasks more efficiently and quickly than a single employee. Breaking the project in smaller pieces and giving those pieces to a group of workers will expedite the project completion. Crowdsourcing comes with deadlines, and it comes for a group of people. When a single employee is involved, he may not be restricted from such deadlines since the only person has limitations.
On the contrary, there are masses of people engaged in crowdsourcing, and hence the company can reduce the time frame to get the job done and reward on a first-come, first-serve basis. This will reduce the time taken by people to reply to your message. Overall, crowdsourcing is an efficient way to get your work done.
4. Minimizes operational costs
Crowdsourcing is a cheap method to complete your projects. When multiple people are hired to complete a task, most of the costs of businesses get reduced. Costs like overhead costs, being employees a full-time salary and the costs which will be incurred for paying the employees to impart them with new skills and all such costs will reduce.
Depending on the completion of the project time, turnaround time can increase equivalently. Having an employee on company payroll is an expensive ordeal. Multiple freelancers can be hired at similar costs. Crowdsourcing further pushes the value of the company and pays when they utilize the services of the person.
5. Improves engagement from the customer
If a business opts to seek the customers in the efforts of their crowdsourcing, then it can result in a very high level of customer engagement. Much traditional marketing media can hold the attention of customers for a short time.
When you’re asking the customers to participate in solving the problem without providing sensitive data about your company to the customer, then the business gains a lot of attention from the customer. The customer becomes word of mouth to rope in his friends and family, in turn bringing in more customers.