Guest Post by Ashley Furness, CRM Market Analyst for Software Advice
Crowdsourcing has generated a lot of buzz recently as innovators discover new ways to monetize the concept. For marketers, it’s a chance to channel the ideas of millions and creatively mobilize consumers to promote your brand. But that’s not he only way you can leverage the crowd.
To respond to this burgeoning interest, developers have come up with myriad new technologies that mobilize the customer community. Here are four innovative crowdsourcing tools.
1) Crowdsourcing Sales by Brand Advocates
Needle created a product that leverages companies’ social brand advocates to crowdsource sales. The business benefit is twofold: the brand recruits excited, motivated sales reps; and two, the advocate offers a more genuine, personalize sales pitch because it comes from experience. First, the platform identifies your company’s best social brand advocates and invites them to join their live chat sales team. These potential “Needlers” are vetted through a series of scenarios that test their live chat acumen. Once approved, that person goes through a brief training and then is off and running as a live sales agent.
2) Leverage The Crowd for Field Research
Field Agent is an iPhone application that empowers consumers to perform field research “jobs” for brands in exchange for small sums–typically between $1 and $8. These jobs range from snapping images of competitor product placements to price checking. Companies use the Field Agent platform to set parameters for each job, which are then pushed to customer agents based on their location
For example, a cosmetics company that wants to check on in-store promotional displays could send agents to a nearby department store. Once they arrive, the agent might be asked to respond to a series of questions about the display, such as: Is it in the front or the back of the store? Did the person at the counter ask you about the display? What did they say? The agent would then take a picture to confirm their location and hit “submit job,” which relays the information back to the company.
3) Crowdsourcing Ideation
Ideation is one of the classic uses for crowdsourcing. This can be as simple as posting a question on Twitter and using responses for product development, or as complex as specialized as idea management software SpigitEngage.
This platform formalizes the crowdsourcing ideas process and makes is scalable. The cycle starts similar to the Twitter example mentioned up–ask a question to a crowd–but then takes one step further. Sophisticated analytics identify the best ideas from voting, shares, comments and other interactions.
Gaming elements influence participation and apply varying weights to votes. Users earn points for engaging and producing successful ideas. Then, those with more points on their leader board might, for example, have their vote counted more than someone who’s never submitted an idea or voted on few.
4) Crowdsourcing Content Creation
Content has become an increasingly important to digital marketing efforts. Compendium is cloud-based software that allows companies to crowdsource content by capturing and creatively distributing customer-generated stories.
Compendium’s StoryCapture feature collects customer feedback through email surveys that ask the consumer about their recent experience with the brand. Those stories are then shared on a customized blog and automatically syndicated to social media networks.
The software also goes one step further by serving up relevant stories at the point of conversion. For example, if a potential customer goes to your website and requests pricing, Compendium could present a story that speaks to the answers they gave on a web form. Say the company was a pet relocation service and the customer said they wanted to move a dog from Denver to Dallas. Once they submitted a pricing form they would get an email with pricing, plus a quote from a customer saying “I used (company) to move my terrier from Denver to Dallas last month and their team was friendly, caring and personal. I definitely recommend them!”
The Possibilities are Endless
This was just a few of the many products out there for channeling the power of the crowd. What technologies do you use? What do like or not like about it? Let us know by commenting here.
Research for this article was provided by Software Advice.
Tom Treanor is the founder of the Right Mix Marketing blog. He’s the author of the Search Engine Boot Camp, the co-author of Online Business Productivity, and regularly speaks at industry and corporate events. His writing has been featured on the Content Marketing Institute, Social Media Examiner, Copyblogger and other leading industry blogs.