What Is Crowdsourcing Marketing?

Crowdsourcing Marketing Explained

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Crowdsourcing marketing is using information gathered from the public to boost and inform marketing campaigns.

Learn more about how crowdsourcing marketing works.

What Is Crowdsourcing Marketing?

Marketing tasks, like deciding on the direction of a marketing campaign, are typically completed by a company or with the help of a third-party service provider. Crowdsourcing allows the public to assist in the completion of these tasks. Companies are attracted to crowdsourcing because it expands their talent pool and gives their products or services additional exposure.

Crowdsourcing is a way to generate marketing ideas, raise capital to fund projects, and promote the work you do. You gain insight into your target market and what it desires.

How Crowdsourcing Marketing Works

Crowdsourcing and marketing go hand in hand. You’re getting help from the public to get your project going and you're tapping into a potential customer base. 

Crowdsourcing marketing starts with determining your objectives, goals, and what you hope to achieve. Next, decide which platform is best for you based on your objectives. Kickstarter is a popular option for crowdfunding, while many companies use Amazon Mechanical Turk for dividing up marketing tasks, also known as microtasking, and conducting surveys.

One example of successful crowdsourcing marketing is "Veronica Mars," a popular TV series with a large and devoted fan base. Director and writer Rob Thomas wanted to make a film version of “Veronica Mars,” but for years he was unable to raise the money on his own. He turned to Kickstarter, and although his initial goal was $2 million, he ended up raising $4.7 million. 

Fans of the show gave money because they were fans and had a vested interest in seeing the film get made. People were also incentivized to give, as those who donated at a certain level received tickets to the film's red carpet premiere. The crowdfunding campaign also brought a significant amount of media attention to the project, so it served to market as well as fund the movie.

Types of Crowdsourcing Marketing

Here are three common types of crowdsourcing marketing.

  • Crowdfunding: Instead of looking for investors to fund a project, crowdfunding allows you to raise money through an online platform. A start-up might make a video describing the project they want funded and post a link to that video and the crowdfunding campaign on social media. If all goes well, that person’s contacts will give money and share the link to the campaign, encouraging their contacts to contribute as well.
  • Crowdcontests: Let's say you need a logo for your company or you want to create a blog featuring short stories. You invite writers or designers to participate in a contest. The contestants work on the project and send you submissions. You decide which submission is the best and compensate the winner accordingly. Of course, you only use the work of the winner(s). If you want to use the work of other participants, compensate them as well.
  • Microtasking: Microtasking is exactly what it sounds like. You take a big task and break it up into a bunch of small tasks, which you then assign to a crowd through a microtasking platform. For example, if you have 5,000 photos that need captions, you could set up a project where each person creates a caption for each photo and you offer to pay them a certain amount of dollars or cents per caption.

Benefits of Crowdsourcing Marketing

Each type of crowdsourcing marketing has its benefits. Crowdfunding allows you to simultaneously gauge whether the public is interested in a business idea and fund that idea. Crowdcontests get your brand in front of artists, designers, and the general public. Microtasking is a cost-effective way to complete tedious but essential marketing tasks.

While traditional marketing strategies like focus groups will always have their place, crowdsourcing allows you to reach a broader audience and may bring valuable feedback.

Key Takeaways

  • Crowdsourcing marketing is using information gathered from the public to boost and inform marketing campaigns.
  • Crowdsourcing marketing involves determining your goals for the project and then deciding on the right platform for those goals. 
  • There are three common types of crowdsourcing marketing: crowdfunding, crowdcontests, and microtasking.