Crowdsourcing As a Marketing Strategy – Pros and Cons

By on November 17, 2012

[box type=”info”] In this post our guest blogger Celina Conner writes about crowdsourcing and how it can be used as a marketing strategy, specially in the context of social networking platforms like Facebook.[/box]

 

Great deals of businesses have taken to the idea of Crowdsourcing as a marketing strategy. Though crowdsourcing they gather information and ideas in an attempt to gain an advantage with their business processes. Crowdsourcing has proven itself to be extremely effective marketing scheme and quite a few can and do attest to that. However, though it has shown its capabilities, there have also been speculations that this strategy is one that is bound to fail; that the crowds are not knowledgeable enough and probably even too ill advised to be relied on for information structuring. In this article we will tackle on the pros and cons of crowdsourcing through Facebook.

What is Crowdsourcing?

crowdsourcing-cartoon

Let’s take a step back and take a look at what crowdsourcing really is. Crowdsourcing defined, is the process of assigning tasks to the online community to gather information and get work done and thus the derivation from the words “crowd” and “outsourcing.” Facebook and Wikipedia are some of the best examples of this form of approach. As we probably all know Wikipedia is an information bank wherein the people are the ones who create the content. Facebook on the other hand, enables businesses big and small to empower the people to work for them through Fan pages and other tools. Contests are held to gather ideas on a new product design, for example, and generally people are happy to shell out their ideas; some brilliant and some not as much but it shows clearly just how powerful crowdsourcing can be as a tactic.

History

The term was coined back 2006 by Jeff Howe, but crowdsourcing is not exactly the most brand new idea in the bin. Many businesses have utilized the concept of open call contests to create ideas and build something out of it. Toyota used the idea to create their brand logo back in 1936. However, old as the idea may be, it is only recently that websites and businesses, being majorly active as online entities, that the span of idea became unbounded! Facebook alone already hosts over a billion candidates for the outsourcing of information, and there’s more to the internet than social media.

What are the PROS and CONS of Crowdsourcing?

Pro: Cost-effective

Utilizing the crowd to work for you is a lot cheaper than hiring an
elite group of professionals, that’s for sure! Crowds may even work on
the building of an idea just for the simple reason of interest.

Con: Quality

An elite group of professionals will unquestionably be more expensive, but more often than not, you will get your money’s worth! Though the crowd is a good and inexpensive way of getting things done, the quality, accuracy and correctness of the material might suffer. There are arguments that “the wisdom of the crowd” is an invalid idea.

FAcebook LogoPro: Brilliant Ideas Abound

Tapping into a network as vast as Facebook’s is bound to provide you with a number of brilliant ideas! A business is provided with innumerable possibilities of improvement by looking to the crowds and asking them what it is exactly that they want. This is a direct way of knowing what to do and how to act on your next product launch with minimal risk of failure. This proves that crowdsourcing is indeed an effective strategy.

Con: Finding the Diamond

Finding the brilliant amongst a thousand ideas is like looking for adiamond in the rough; a very painful process. Let’s say for example that a business outsources the work of developing ideas for their newproduct and a thousand people participated. The company would have torift through the whole thousand searching for one that is exceptionally outstanding!

Crowdsourcing is still bound to evolve along with the internet, just as businesses change as the crowds do. It has proven itself to be an
effective strategy in getting work done at minimal costs. However, quality of the content may or may not suffer. The question now is if a business is willing to take the risk.

 

[box type=”bio”] Celina Conner is a Yoga Instructor, a holder of a Management Diploma from Martin College Australia and a mother of a beautiful daughter, Krizia. She has a passion in cooking and formulating vegan recipes. Follow her adventures on her Twitter @ConnerCelina.[/box]

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Contributions from our readers and other bloggers are filed under this user account.

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