Learning the Lingo is a series of posts that will investigate marketing terms, ideas and strategies. Our topic today: crowdsourcing.
Local businesses need community support to survive. A successful company reaches out to consumers and builds relationships with them looking to build trust. The goal is for customers to turn to a local business owner as an expert in their industry. The more of these relationships you can build, the larger your own local community of shoppers grows.
A growing trend in marketing, is building these communities through crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is when a business owner/manager asks their audience for an opinion. They use these conversations as a way to seek consumer advice and build a stronger relationship with patrons. This gives customers a voice and lets them feel that they have some ownership in the decision making process.
The ideas may not be used, but crowdsourcing can be a tool used to measure excitement. It can lead to extending the time an item is on sale. It can be the catalyst for carrying a new product. As a business owner, these suggestions are valuable to you. You may not be able act on a request immediately but you can find out what needs your customers have.
It also can be a way to get an audience engaged with your brand. If you’re having trouble deciding between two new logos for your business, see which one your customers like. This is what a soccer team in England had to do a few years ago. In May of 2013, Liverpool’s Everton Football Club unveiled a new logo to their supporters, but the fans didn’t think very highly of it. Facing staggering backlash, the organization issued an apology and immediately designed three new logos and asked the fans to vote for their favorite design. That design is being used this season and can be seen on clothing, advertisements and inside the stadium.
Crowdsourcing can also work as a way to collect and collate content from your audience. Create a campaign that inspires customers to share an experience. Ask for pictures of the American Flag on the Fourth of July. On Halloween, see if customers will share their costumes and house decorations. Think of ways that your fans can share and feel connected to your business and other members of your community. I guarantee having a “cutest pet” contest will result in many entries.
Crowdsourcing is considered a digital movement, but don’t forget about including your customers who may not be a part of social media into the group. They may not be able to share videos, but they can share photographs and vote in contests. A strong community doesn’t exclude anyone.
When you promote your business you look to make an introduction. That’s what advertising is, an introduction you post online, in a newspaper or with direct mail. Once that introduction has been made, you need to find a way to keep the discourse going. It can be the topic of the day. It can be a question of the week. It is that spark that ignites conversation. Conversations are how you learn about your clients and how they begin to trust you. Crowdsourcing is a way to start that conversation.
Nick Pizzolato is the Marketing Content Manager at Wicked Local Media Solutions. For questions, topics for future blogs, or to share your favorite moment from the film “Back to the Future,” email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.