28 May 2013

Crowdsourcing and Pandora's Box

The cartoon above comes from The Marketoonist, one of my favorite blogs which always features a cartoon as well as a smart post.  The topic in this case was crowdsourcing, or the practice of inviting the general public to participate in your marketing communications.

Not just any marketer can or should try crowdsourcing.  The post mentions some failures, like Justin Bieber asking where he should kick off his upcoming world tour, only to learn that his "fans" thought he should start in North Korea.

Like any other advertising tool or technique, crowdsourcing must attach to the right brand, product — and strategy.  Personally, I thought this Ford Focus ad, a race car event filmed by onlookers using their smartphones, worked well.

An important corollary: No advertiser should try crowdsourcing unless they have some experience listening to consumers. I’m not talking about focus groups, maybe social media, but no matter what the listening post, a demonstrated ability to understand their public.

By the way, there’s a crowdsourced agency, Victors & Spoils, that invites moonlighters and freelancers to submit ideas. It’s fun to be on their mailing list even though I haven’t (yet) submitted anything.

In the same way a sound strategy gets you to the right creative result, it's important to have a brief for crowdsourcing.  You can't just throw open the lid of Pandora's box.

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