Crowdsourcing or Crowdsouring

There’s no doubt that Crowdsourcing (aka getting your customers to work for you) is big business. According to self-checkout alone is projected to be worth $1.2 trillion by 2009. Customers helping themselves or each other works because most people are served quicker, more accurately and leave with a stronger relationship to the company or product then they arrived with. For some of us this is hard to believe. I much prefer being served. But I am being retrained. I pump my own gas, research and buy my own travel tickets, check myself out of Home Depot and seek purchasing advice from bloggers. The grease that makes these wheels turn is best described by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Mavens, “one who accumulates knowledge” are wonderfully obsessed with details and love to help others. To a large degree building successful online communities relies on recruiting Mavens. But of course you can’t recruit Mavens – you can only entice them to participate. Fortunately they’re easy to spot. They participate and they don’t pull punches. We tell our clients that if a Maven has wondered into your community respond directly, openly and honestly. Without their participation in your social media plan, Crowdsourcing will become Crowdsouring. Practice bubbling — no, i’m serious after I went over the disastrous results of our school district’s first assessment, my students and I realized the following bubbling is a skill, and we stank at it

1 comment

  1. I agree that the crowdsourcing concept can be brilliant. It’s paid off big dividends for Netflix in their contest for an enhanced algorithm (yielded a great new tool AND a ton of publicity for Netflix). That was smart use of the concept.

    Crowdsourcing can also become “crowdsouring” when used for the wrong reason(s) or without some form of a screen. Take Kraft’s recent introduction of a line extension for the struggling Vegemite business in Australia/New Zealand. They did a great job of listening to their consumers to shape a new product that was very much in line with consumer usage, desires, tastes, etc. The new product launch was such a success that they sold over 1MM BEFORE they even had a name. The ultimate name for the product: Vegemite iSnack 2.0

    The name was selected from an online contest where people submitted and voted on names (that would be crowdsourcing). The winner, well, won. But, did Kraft and the Vegemite brand win? By adhering strictly to a contest format that dictated the name be chosen by the most votes, they ended up with a name that was submitted by a programmer (supposedly as a joke).

    The difference between the strategy and methods in which Netflix and Kraft utilized crowdsourcing is very instructive. Even in today’s interconnected, networked world, someone has to mind the store because the “crowd” does not always do what’s best or right. That’s been true for years, and it remains true today.

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