What are the benefits of crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing: 16 Tips, Benefits, and Hurdles & Photos from the Crowdsourcing Summit

By Katharina Stein May 16, 2012 ~ 6 minutes reading time

On April 27, 2012 we were at the Crowdsourcing Summit in betahaus Cologne. A conference on what I think is a very exciting topic. Because for me personally, crowdsourcing is the epitome of social media: having a project worked on by an unknown, mostly technically independent group of people together via the Internet. Companies in particular can use this type of group work effectively to aggregate ideas, improve products and offers, but also to create customer loyalty.

But there is still great uncertainty. Many have just come to terms with social media communication. And now you should also let customers have access to the products, offers and campaigns? But as Christian Hirsig from Atizo said so beautifully in his lecture: “The days of the quiet little room are over!” People want to participate, interact and communicate. They want offers that meet their needs and not those of the company. Crowdsourcing is an answer to this social trend!

For everyone who would like to slowly get to grips with the topic, we have brought 16 tips, advantages and hurdles from Christian Hirsig, Atizo, and Michael Gebert, marketing society, from the Crowdsourcing Summit.

16 tips, advantages & hurdles of crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing advantages:

  • Fresh wind: A kind of “operational blindness” often prevails within a company. Opinions and ideas from outside are like a breath of fresh air and enable completely different perspectives.
  • Customer focus: Most of the time, products or offers are intended directly for customers. What could be more obvious if not to include the customer's wishes directly in the development ?!
  • Customer loyalty: When customers notice that their opinions and ideas are taken up and are important to the company, it increases customer loyalty enormously.
  • Save money & time: The flop rate for new products is very high, especially for consumer goods. Involving the public or a crowd at an early stage can save a lot of money and time.

Crowdsourcing hurdles

  • Time & participants: If you want to build your own community, it takes a very, very long time. Not just because you have to find the right number of participants. The total number of the crowd is not the only sticking point. Even more important are the “right” participants who are regularly active and who provide good ideas.
  • Risks 1: There are some risks involved in crowdsourcing, as with all projects. Among other things, of course, a financial risk, but also an organizational, technological and creative risk. In principle, anything can go clearly wrong.
  • Risks 2: According to Michael Gebert, however, the greatest and most frequently occurring risk is that of internal acceptance in the contracting company. If services that could be resolved internally are obtained externally, employees are inevitably afraid or internally resist the ideas. In order to prevent this reaction as far as possible, all departments and areas should be involved. It should be communicated that it affects everyone and not just a “few” employees. Crowdsourcing should be operated holistically if it is not used solely for marketing purposes.
  • Reactions & Public: A strange crowd is of course unpredictable. You never really know what is going to happen. However, the extent of this risk is up to you. Anyone who communicates transparently and honestly from the start doesn't really have much to fear. Anyone who thinks they could fool the crowd a bit or just not tell the complete truth unnecessarily increases the risk and jeopardizes success.

Crowdsourcing tips

  • Rewards: You don't always have to reward the crowd with pure monetary incentives. In this case, money is not the driving force behind participation. Alternatively, for example, O2 rewards its crowd with credit for good ideas. The central drivers, however, are among other things: joy, interest, fame, honor, notoriety and recognition.
  • Good content: The most important thing about crowdsourcing is good projects and attractive content! Participation is only encouraged when the task is attractive, when there are relevant reasons to participate.
  • Usability: The opportunity to participate must be as simple as possible. Both technically and in terms of content. Usablity is a very important aspect of crowdsourcing. When it gets tough, the crowd quickly loses the fun of it.
  • Few filters: Install as few hurdles and filters as possible. Don't limit the crowd too much to e.g. age, gender or experience.
  • Plan in stages: On the one hand, as a company, you have to commit to the general rules early on and under no circumstances should you change them later. But if the result is absolutely open, you want a little flexibility. The solution is to proceed in stages. Plan as much as you can and want. For example: 1. Project according to rules x: Collect ideas, choose the 5 best & reward them. 2. Project with rules y: deepen these 5 more together and work out an idea at the end.
  • Awards always given: A bonus, if more than fame and honor was promised, should always be given. Even if, for example, no suitable idea or solution has been found, the bonus should be awarded! In this case, to the best idea or distributed among several participants - depending on the rules communicated beforehand. Proposals and work have been provided and must be rewarded.
  • Transparency & honesty: The crowd always has to know what, how and why something is and will happen. The crowd accepts rules and adheres to them - if the client also adheres to them. But if the rules of the game are changed all at once, it leads to frustration and anger. If concerns, uncertainty or disappointment arise, the principle no longer works and turns into the negative opposite: from supporting the crowd to harming the crowd.
  • Transparency to the outside and inside: Good communication both externally (to the crowd) and internally with the employees is very important. See "Risks 2"!
  • Crowdsourcing for events: Crowdsourcing is also possible and useful in the area of ​​events, trade fairs or incentives! For example, Rivella crowdsource an event, giveaways and more at Atizio. In the end, this is how you create an event that customers really want.

Photos from the crowdsourcing summit

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  1. Martin Benkovics

    The most important statement (for me): “But there is still great uncertainty. Many have just come to terms with social media communication. "
    I'm in the process of “categorizing” my customers according to their social media activities (I can't think of any other word).
    After about 50 quite large customers with international clients (all locations), I suspect the worst. There is still a lot to be done, even without croudsourcing.
    By the way ... your photos are getting better and better, I've wanted to tell you that for a long time. :)

  2. Henning Stein

    Thank you, Martin - I'm glad :)

  3. Katharina Falkowski

    Yes, you are right. On the other hand, you can't stop developments to wait for stragglers.
    Ultimately, I also think it's okay that every company uses social media, crowdsourcing or other developments when they are ready or when they discover the need for themselves. Unless the offer is dependent on topicality and trends.

  4. Martin Benkovics

    I think it's not about stragglers at all, but rather about the "rushing ahead" who immediately find their way around the new conditions and use them. At least in Austria, the latecomers are the majority. Which is understandable because it takes an enormous amount of time to deal with the useful online tools. Especially if you don't know beforehand what is really useful.
    That has to be earned first.
    I also think that we, who are constantly dealing with online gimmicks, shift the relationship a little in our desired direction. In other words, we believe that the majority of them know how important individual online tools are and have accordingly geared their future actions accordingly. However, I believe that a not inconsiderable part of Facebook, Twitter and Co just don't care. Because most of them simply cannot or do not want to afford it.
    And no, of course I don't want development to stop either. ;)

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