What Is Crowdsource Marketing (And Should You Use It)?

Christy Walters


March 31, 2023 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

group of men of different races cheering at an event to represent crowdsource marketing

The more you know about your audience, the better you can communicate with them through your marketing campaigns. When you uncover and understand what your audience really thinks about your products or services, it’s easier to understand how to promote and sell them to the right segments. Crowdsource marketing is one way to collect all this key information. Today, we’re looking at what crowdsource marketing is and how to incorporate it into your strategy for better results.

What Is Crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing is a method of collecting labor or information from a variety of people or locations to achieve a collective goal. Wired magazine first coined the term in 2006 to describe the practice of digital companies or creators outsourcing specific tasks to freelancers to save time and money for the business. This original concept of crowdsourcing still exists today. If your brand works with freelancers in any capacity or outsources tasks like content writing or creation to a third-party agency, your brand engages in crowdsourcing.

Since 2006, this term has grown beyond the hiring process. Today, it describes the marketing efforts brands use to connect with their audiences or potential clients and customers.

How Does Crowdsourcing Work in Marketing?

In marketing, crowdsourcing is a data collection strategy that involves locating and analyzing information and opinions from a large group of people. Businesses may engage in crowdsourcing with the public, their target audiences, or specific audience segments. Companies use crowdsourcing as a marketing strategy to learn more about their leads and audiences. The more businesses know about what their audience wants to see from the company or what they think or feel about certain products or topics, the more personal the marketing team can make its campaigns.

Audience members often enjoy taking part in crowdsourcing marketing campaigns. By asking your audience questions about themselves and their experience, you’re humanizing your brand. That helps create bonds with your leads, target audience, and clients. When your audience feels they have a personal connection with your company, they look forward to “helping out” and providing their feedback or opinions. The more data your audience supplies, the better your team can understand what types of marketing messages and campaigns appeal to them the best.

Best Conditions for Crowdsource Marketing

Crowdsourcing for any project works best under four simple conditions. They include:

  1. Simple concepts: The topic on which you’re collecting data should be straightforward. The lead or audience member can share their opinion without putting too much thought into it.
  2.  Clear data collection terms: To get the most out of your crowdsourcing data, it’s important to put terms and conditions on the type of information you want to source. For transparency, you can also share how you plan to use and store the data with your audience.
  3. Large audiences: Crowdsourcing works best when you have the largest potential audience as a data collection source. A larger audience allows for more diverse submissions.
  4. Relevant audiences: Aside from a large data pool, it’s also helpful to have qualified respondents to make your data accurate and worthwhile. Companies look for ways to motivate the right respondents to provide feedback for crowdsourcing to get the best possible results.

4 Types of Crowdsourcing for Marketing

There are four primary types of crowdsourcing you may use in marketing to get the information you need from your leads or audiences. They include:

  1. Ideas: Crowdsourcing ideas comes from the thought that the opinions of many people together are more beneficial than the ideas of one. The information a large group of people shares can help your brand solve problems or improve the way the company, products, or services work.
  2. Creation: Crowdsourcing creation is the concept that collaborative work is better or more diverse than solo work. In marketing, you may encourage your audience to develop new prototypes or digital content for your brand that you can use alongside your own marketing materials.
  3. Voting: Crowdsourcing through voting allows brands to collect the public’s opinion about a topic. This can help influence the changes you make to your products, services, or marketing campaigns.
  4. Funding: Crowdfunding is a type of crowdsourcing that collects money from many individuals or groups to support a cause. As people choose where to pledge their money, they’re also essentially voting on which projects, products, or services they find most interesting or valuable.

Why Should You Use Crowdsource Marketing?

Crowdsource marketing has many benefits for your brand. The biggest is learning more about your audience and how they see your company, products, and services. But using crowdsource marketing also helps your brand:

Attract Influencers and Ambassadors

If you engage in crowdsourcing regularly, the process could attract more influencers and ambassadors to your brand. People who have these careers make a living off of promoting, reviewing, and providing feedback about products and services. If they find that your company engages in crowdsourcing, they may want to work with you to create content and share information about your brand with their followers.

Curate Content

Crowdsourcing allows you to collect more than just information from your audience. It also lets you collect user-submitted content like photos, videos, or written pieces. You can use this content that your audience shares to supplement the marketing content your team develops. Using this strategy may help you post on social media more frequently and effectively to attract a wider audience.

Related: The Best Way To Curate Content for Twitter

Encourage Innovation

Sometimes, the best ideas for products and services come from outside sources. When you’re collecting opinions and information from a diverse group of respondents, you may find an innovative concept your team hadn’t thought of on its own. Doing this allows your brand to not only please its audience but become cutting-edge in its industry or niche with every new iteration of a product or service.

Engage Customers

Crowdsourcing is a great way to connect with your audience while also receiving valuable feedback in return. Because most types of crowdsourcing data collection are fun or interesting, your audience wants to take part. This engagement makes them more active within the campaign, especially on social media. It also makes the audience invested in the results and how you use the data you collect.

Related: 9 Ways To Collect Crowdsourcing Data for Marketing

Generate Sales

When you use crowdsourcing data to improve or update products and services, you increase your chances of sales. People that directly contributed to these changes may share information about the new and improved products with their social media circles to talk about their input. This exposes your products and services to a wider audience. Changes made from crowdsourcing may also bring back previous clients or customers who looked for other opportunities but returned because you made changes based on their suggestions.

Save Resources

Crowdsourcing is generally a free or low-cost option for learning more about what your audience wants from your brand. You could work with analysts and consultants and spend a lot of time and money on research. Or you could go straight to the source and ask the people what they want. In most cases, your audience is more than happy to give you their opinions about your products or services, especially if they have a complaint. When you can get all this information for free, you can draw observations and create campaigns without wasting your team’s time or budget.

Improve Analytics

Many crowdsource marketing collection techniques require participants to fill out forms and share identifying data with your company. The more you know about the demographics and psychographics of your audience, the better you can collect analytics data across all platforms. This helps you better understand the data you get from analytics programs to make sure it’s in line with what you see from audience responses.

Related: What Are Audience Psychographics and Demographics?

Where Can You Use Crowdsourcing Data for Your Brand?

After you’ve collected your crowdsourcing data, put it into action. Here are some ways you can incorporate crowdsourcing data into your marketing campaigns:

Content Creation

One of the most common ways companies use crowdsourcing data in marketing is through content creation. The information brands learn about their audience helps personalize every marketing interaction the company has with that specific respondent and the other people in their audience segment. For example, if a marketing team finds through crowdsourcing that its audience can’t stand watching videos to learn more about a product or service, the team may reduce the number of promotional videos they create.

Marketing teams may also collect user-generated content submissions through crowdsourcing and incorporate them into their marketing plans. Sharing content created by your audience helps strengthen the emotional bond or connection you have with them. Teasing that you share user-generated content also encourages more people to create such pieces, especially for social media. The more you share, the more they create, and the more content you can curate from their submissions.

Related: The Pros of User-Generated Content and Avoiding the Cons

Product Or Service Changes

Companies often use crowdsourcing data to change existing or upcoming products or services. The feedback about existing products typically comes from customer reviews. Companies can see what features or functionalities customers praise and which they wish were different. Sometimes, the company may respond to reviews or contact the customers directly to learn more about their experiences and the information they left in their reviews. If the company notices a pattern among responses, it may choose to focus on those specific product features or functionalities to improve them. Doing so could make for a better customer experience and more future sales.

For up-and-coming products or services, companies may use market research, such as focus groups or beta testing, to learn more about audience opinions. In these situations, audience members get to try out or engage with products or services before they launch. They can tell the marketing team and developers what works and what doesn’t, and why they like or don’t like certain elements of the product. This data may help the team change the product before launch. It can also help readjust the initial marketing campaigns to focus on more targeted elements of the product or service.

Crowdsource Marketing Gives the Audience What They Want

Crowdsourcing is a great way to collect information about what your audience wants to see from your brand’s products or services. But it’s not just about the goods and services you offer. Crowdsourcing also helps you better target your marketing campaigns to meet audience needs and address their pain points. The more information you have, the better your team can perform SEO tasks or find content promotion partnerships to get more eyes on your brand. With more attention comes more sales and better stability for your company.

Author Image - Christy Walters
Christy Walters

CopyPress writer

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