What do technology companies and crowdsourcing agencies have in common? Their mission is to innovate. They challenge the status quo and create new rules. They strive to enhance the customer experience in ways unfound before.
Synergies between the two sectors have led to some brilliant new products and services. We explain below some [of the many] fully-loaded benefits crowdsourcing provide:
We’re talking about crowdfunding. The JOBS Act has made it easier for small businesses to raise money online, and the number of crowdfunding platforms available to them grow by the day. Especially for start up tech companies who have visions of breakthrough innovations but lack the capital to develop their products, crowdfunding provides enormous opportunities. Not only can they potentially raise a lot of cash, the marketing benefits they get are HUGE. They get concept validation based on whether their product gains traction from the crowd. They can figure out who their target segment will be. They get feedback that tell them what product attributes can be improved. They can generate publicity and raise awareness by showcasing their product promise online.
Case Example: PhoneSoap. If you’re like us here at GeniusRocket, you carry your smartphone EVERYWHERE. Can you imagine how much bacteria it contains? PhoneSoap shows visuals of bacteria on commonly dirty surfaces on its Kickstarter page, and smartphones seemingly possess bacteria strains vile enough to spawn The Walking Dead zombies, while in comparison toilet seats look pristine enough to lick. PhoneSoap created a great product that sanitizes AND battery charges your disgusting phone. They had a goal of raising $18k- what they actually got was over $63k by over 1,000 backers. Clearly, people believe in their product and believe customers will want it.
We asked PhoneSoap founder Wesley LaPort how crowdfunding has helped his company. His response was effusive: “Kickstarter is the perfect place for getting things done and to validate ideas. Instead of wasting time raising capital and jumping through legal hoops, we can concentrate on our product and our customers. We would be absolutely nowhere without Kickstarter. We would have abandoned the idea months ago if not for its community and support.”
Kickstarter has been the leader in crowdfunding, and we’re seeing a surge of niche crowdfunding sites crop up. With the benefits being as powerful as they are, we can only imagine that this type of crowdsourcing is here to stay.
Crowdfunding beneficiary PhoneSoap
Digitization has made consumers capable of consuming and producing a crazy amount of content online. With customers exposed to so much visual stimuli, the demand for creativity (and maybe attention deficit disorder treatment) is at an all time high in order to galvanize the customer. But while digitization provides challenges, it also provides opportunities. Enter crowdsourcing agencies. A client said it to us here at GeniusRocket best: “when we went to a traditional agency, the company culture and the hiring practices rendered the creative concepts that were pitched to us similar flavors of vanilla. We came to you hoping for the craziest assortments of new flavors we have never thought of.” Crowdsourcing at its core benefit connects clients to the minds of people throughout the world that are colored by unique life experiences and inner weirdness genes. The variety and number of ideas for a new campaign can be outstanding. Idea generation isn’t the only reaped benefit through crowdsourcing. Marketing campaigns can also be comparatively way more affordable and produced with top agency-level quality; this is huge for clients who want to stretch the benefits of their marketing budget.
Case Example: Audio-Technica USA’s Viral Video. Audio-Technica’s brand awareness is huge in Japan, but relatively low in the USA. The brand team had to figure out how they could raise awareness and differentiate the brand without blowing millions of dollars on a single video campaign. That’s when they turned to us, a curated crowdsourcing agency, for a solution. Carefully chosen professionals from our creative community pitched over 30 great creative concepts to the brand team. Audio-Technica knew one in particular was going to be a slam dunk in resonating with their target audience. The chosen production company The DVI Group, was able to secure YouTube sensation Marquese Scott and produced a winning video that garnered over 1 million hits in 4 weeks. Said Audio-Technica’s brand manager: “[The Audio 911 video] was wildly successful for us. The hits increased awareness in ways we had only hoped for. We had customers speak fanatically about how they didn’t know the brand before but now they did, and how much they loved the headphones and the brand.”
When a project is so large in scope, it makes sense to break it out for qualified team members to execute on. Microtasking is a crowdsourcing method that leverages digital communication to delegate tasks to remote workers. Microtasking can make a lot of sense because it increases operational efficiency; when multiple workers do their part of the job simultaneously, the rate to completion will obviously be much quicker. It’s also typically inexpensive: since many microtasking participants already have jobs and join microtasking communities as an additional source of income, they are willing to complete their part of the project at lower compensation rates. As long as proper process controls are in place, the chances of improved efficiency and success via microtasking are high.
Case Example: Pivot Power. Ever see a product invention that sells so well and is seemingly so simple in concept that you think “why didn’t I think of that?” Pivot Power is exactly that type of invention. We’ve all had this problem: you buy a power strip, but obnoxiously bulky battery chargers and AC adapters block the ability for other electronics to be plugged in and limit the maximum capacity of your power strip. Pivot Power comes up with a creative yet obvious solution: make the power strip flexible, kind of like those cheap plastic toy snakes we all played with when we were kids. The inventor of the idea has been paid out close to HALF A MILLION DOLLARS and nearly 400,000 units have been sold since its launch.
Okay, so what does Pivot Power have to do with microtasking? It was the result of Quirky, a company specializing in microtasking. Quirky uses microtasking to fuel product development, and with the help of the crowd, has successfully launched products in major retail channels such as Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and OfficeMax. Quirky knows there are a mass of creative people out there who conjure up crazy good ideas but don’t possess the finances, legal savvy, technical capabilities, and/or simple cojones to bring them to life. So what the company does is solicit new product ideas from the crowd and have voters lend their opinions to validate the concept. Those ideas with serious potential are then designed, manufactured, and marketed by Quirky. Inventors get awarded 30% of revenue.
Pivot Power, a product of microtasker Quirky
Crowdsourcing Is Redefining Innovation As We Know It
These crowdsourcing websites are addictive; you can spend hours and hours marveling at these new inventions and outputs that arguably would never have existed without the help of crowdsourcing. We here at GeniusRocket are proud to be part of the revolution (we were recently even featured in an MBA textbook “Business in a Changing World”, which pretty much implies we’re the real deal, right??) and hope to wow you readers as we continue to produce great videos with the power of our curated crowd.
In what other ways do you see tech companies benefiting from the use of crowdsourcing? Share your comments with us below!