Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why you should be using crowdsourced content to reach Gen Y

There’s no doubt that digital media has changed the conversation. However, as long as we as marketers adapt to the change, we will still be able to effectively reach some consumers through these channels, even though they will be a less-dominant part of the mix. One way companies and organizations are now doing this is to give the consumers a voice in your media content, product packaging, or other aspect of your brand communications.

Crowdsourcing is, “the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community through an open call,” according to Wikipedia (which really is the ultimate crowdsource). If two heads are better than one, then crowdsourcing might be an excellent way to go. It utilizes the power of many people’s brainpower for one common goal. Crowdsourcing is very niche - it won’t have the most mass appeal to the audience. However, it could strike a very powerful chord with a specific, selective crowd, effectively creating brand ambassadors.

CPG industries have been utilizing this for several years with great success. Mountain Dew’s DEWmocracy, is an example of a highly successful effort to create the next Mountain Dew. The campaign has been the subject of recognition within the advertising industry, cited as one of the earliest and longest-running examples of a consumer product brand employing crowdsourcing to make decisions that are traditionally made internally by employees. Fans helped pick the names, designs, packaging, ad campaign, etc. Sales of the new product were through the roof. Because of the success of the initial Voltage DEWmocracy, Mountain Dew relaunched DEWmocracy2, resulting in White Out. Mountain Dew Marketing Director has commented that due to the success of the initial DEWmocracies, we can expect another in 2012.

Essentially, this target market is very open to brand involvement if they actually believe that they have a say or that their voice will be heard. So while you aren’t getting Facebook or ABC Network reach, you are creating fewer, more valuable supporters. Millennials know what they want. Why not let them tell you?

An invitation-only crowdsourcing group has sprung up as the Millennial Marketing Super Consumer community. This group is maintained by Brand Amplitude, LLC as a way to get fast, meaningful input on brands. Crowdsourcing for Gen-Y members can be extremely powerful, putting the consumer at the center of the conversation.

For a nonprofit organization there is much to benefit from in using this message channel. Why not let your audience, who knows better than anyone what they want, have fun and save you $$ by promoting your product or service for you? According to a 2010 SXSW Interactive panel, using crowdsourcing to push philanthropy initiatives to a new level is relatively unchartered territory with great potential. The panel made the following suggestions for nonprofits considering crowdsourcing:

▪ Slow and steady. A lot of value can be gained from tapping into a wider pool of experts than just the ones you have on your staff, but it’s not going to happen overnight. Crowdsourcing will be slower, accomplishing your goal in more iterative steps.

▪ Have a goal. Just like social media monitoring, it helps to have a clear goal before you start asking for help. Know what you want the crowd to help you achieve and be able to measure your success

▪ Keep it simple. Make sure that you don’t make it too hard on your crowd. The simpler it is for them to contribute, the better results you’ll get. And don’t forget to make it fun!

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