Recently we wrote about why small businesses should consider crowdsourcing as a viable option when creating brand assets and marketing materials. But crowdsourcing isn't just popular with small businesses. Corporate crowdsourcing has been around for years, with large companies utilizing it for all sorts of tasks.
One of the most high profile examples is Doritos' Crash The Super Bowl campaign. For the past 6 years, the general public has been invited to submit 30 second videos promoting Doritos products, with the best submissions airing during a coveted ad spot during the Super Bowl. If the fact that the contest is continued to be held every year isn't enough of a testament of its success for you, consider that a Crash The Super Bowl entry has placed first in 3 of the past 5 years according to USA Today's Super Bowl Ad Meter! Even though many of the winners are independent filmakers themselves, it's still impressive when you consider that they're going against some of the top production agencies in the world representing brands like Nike, Budweiser, Coke, Toyota and Disney.
Crowdsourcing isn't just for image and video production though. Say you're a shoe manufacturer and are looking for ideas around new features for an upcoming running shoe. Traditionally, your first option would be to look to your staff for new ideas. After all, that's what you pay them for. The problem though is sometimes people have difficulty (excuse the cliche) thinking outside the box for features that challenge conventional norms when they're so involved on a daily basis. So next you can look towards focus groups. But besides being costly and fairly time intensive, you're still only getting the opinions from a small number of people in a very limited period of time. But now, fueled by our constant connectivity, you can solicit new ideas en masse directly from your customers. Not only is it extremely inexpensive, but by getting your user-base involved in the process from the very beginning, you help build a strong following before your product is even released!
Sometimes it's not ideas or brand assets that you're looking for, but good ol' fashioned (digital) labor. And as you may have guessed by now, there are sites for that as well. One prominent example is Amazon's Mechanical Turk. By taking a large task and breaking it down into very small ones, you can push them out to the thousands of "Turk Workers" who are paid per task completed. Though the payment per completed task varies, the typical range seems to be between 5 and 10 cents per. If that seems inexpensive to you, you're right. According to Panagiotis Ipeirotis, an associate professor at NYU's Stern Business School, crowdsourced labor can cost less than half as much as typical outsourcing.
So what kind of tasks are being completed for such small monetary payments? Judging from a quick search within the current listings, many have to do with reviewing and categorizing data, such as tagging pictures, classifying tweets, or even flagging images that contain adult content.
Even if you haven't utilized crowdsourcing for your business yet, its continual evolution makes it seem even more likely that you will be soon. Whether it's for logo creation, video production, idea generation, micro-tasking or something that has yet to be popularized, crowdsourcing should be a legitimate option when you're considering your next business project.