Don’t know what “crowdsourcing” is? It’s a way to get feedback on an idea/problem from a group of people who share a similar interest. Pose an issue and the crowd offers solutions.
My favorite recent crowdsourcing example comes via Springwise, where they describe how London’s L’Anima restaurant crowdsourced their wine list selection. The restaurant first employed six wine experts, who were grouped into three teams. When the experts couldn’t agree on what to recommend, the restaurant uploaded videos of each team pleading their case for their recommendations; members of the public who had been given advance notice of the wines in the running were asked to vote. This Time Out “Best New Italian Restaurant 2009” won by getting lots of buzz on Twitter and engaging a new customer pool; “average” people were made to feel they had entered the domain of wine experts; and one lucky winner, selected randomly via Twitter, was given a tour the restaurant and a prize of free wine.
As marketers, you’ve probably been doing a form of crowdsourcing for years: customer studies. Want to bounce new product ideas off of existing customers? Need to refine the next generation of a logo for a well-loved brand among its loyal customers? Both are versions of crowdsourcing.
What makes crowdsourcing more broadly defined today is that we’re able to use technology to find people with similar interests more easily. We can get people to engage with us even if they’re not our customers. Post something on the appropriate social-media website and get mothers from all over the country to comment on a new changing table design. Want to determine which promotional idea is likely to create the greatest buzz? Again, find the right venue and you can quickly and easily get some needed insights.
Is crowdsourcing the final frontier in market research? It certainly does offer great opportunities for unfiltered feedback – at very affordable prices. Think of it as “instant gratification research.” Yet, it does have its limitations, as do all methods.
Are you thinking about using crowdsourcing? Let’s talk it over and see if it’s your best course of action.