Crowdsourcing has generated a lot of buzz recently as innovators discover new ways to monetize the concept. New technologies empower companies to mobilize consumers for idea generation, but also to actually perform work on the companies’ behalf.
Here are four such crowdsourcing tools we discovered that take crowdsourcing from concept to reality.
1) Empower Brand Advocates for Sales
Needle created a product that leverages companies’ social brand advocates to crowdsource sales. The business benefit is twofold: the brand recruits excited, motivated sales reps; and two, the advocate offers a more genuine, personalized sales pitch because it comes from experience. First, the platform identifies your company’s best social brand advocates and invites them to join their live chat sales team. These potential “Needlers” are vetted through a series of scenarios that test their live chat acumen. Once approved, the person goes through a brief training and then is off and running as a live sales agent.
2) Consumers as Field Agents
Field Agent is an iPhone application that empowers consumers to perform field research “jobs” for brands in exchange for small sums. These jobs range from snapping images of competitor product placements to price checking. Companies use the Field Agent platform to set parameters for each job, and the jobs are then pushed to customer agents based on their location.
For example, a cosmetics company that wants to check on in-store promotional displays could send an agent to a nearby department store. On arrival, the agent might be asked to respond to a series of questions about the display, such as: Is it in the front or the back of the store? Did the person at the counter ask you about the display? What did the employee say? The agent would then take a picture to confirm the location and hit “Submit Job,” which relays the information back to the company.
3) Use the Crowd to Narrow Down Great Ideas
Ideation is one of the classic uses for crowdsourcing. This can be as simple as posting a question on Twitter and using responses for product development, or as complex and specialized as idea management software SpigitEngage.
This platform formalizes the crowdsourcing ideas process and makes it scalable. The cycle starts similarly to the Twitter example mentioned above—ask a question to a crowd—but then takes one step further. Sophisticated analytics identify the best ideas from voting, shares, comments, and other interactions.
Gaming elements influence participation and apply varying weights to votes. Users earn points for engaging and producing successful ideas. Then those with more points on their leader board might, for example, have their vote counted more than someone who’s never submitted an idea or voted on few ideas.
4) Customers as Marketing Content Creators
Content has become an increasingly important to digital marketing efforts. Compendium is cloud-based software that allows companies to crowdsource content by capturing and creatively distributing customer-generated stories.
Compendium’s StoryCapture feature collects customer feedback through email surveys that ask the consumer about their recent experience with the brand. Those stories are then shared on a customized blog and automatically syndicated to social media networks.
The software also goes one step further by serving up relevant stories at the point of conversion. For example, if a potential customer goes to your website and requests pricing, Compendium could present a story that speaks to the answers the customer gave on a web form.
Say the company was a pet relocation service and the customer said he wanted to move a dog from Denver to Dallas. Once he submitted a pricing form, he would get an email with pricing, plus a quote from another customer saying “I used (company) to move my terrier from Denver to Dallas last month, and their team was friendly, caring, and personal. I definitely recommend them!”
The Possibilities are Endless
These were just a few of the many products out there for channeling the power of the crowd. What technologies do you use? What do like or not like about it? Let us know by commenting here.