The Roar of the Crowd

Crowdsourcing has long been a tactic marketers have used to engage customers. From running competitions in which the company runs winning ads to hosting online communities focused on product development, many marketers have found this approach compelling and cost effective.

Not surprisingly, some marketers have taking to using a form of crowdsourcing to co-create marketing collateral. The process usually consists of posting an open call on a crowdsourcing site for designs for items such as a catalog, logo, or direct mailer. The post includes a project goal, price to be paid for the winning submission, and a deadline. Participating creatives then create and submit their concepts. The marketer running the competition selects his top choice (or choices), and pays designer when the final deliverable files are uploaded and approved.

Crowdsourcing marketing collateral stands out for a number of reasons: the simplicity and efficiency of the process; the access to a diverse pool of providers; and the choice of concepts that a buyer can expect to receive.

The efficiency of crowdsourcing is easy to understand. Because a buyer works directly with the providers, there’s no drawn out RFP process. Instead, there’s a straightforward deadline provided by the buyer and the participants in the project simply submit their concepts during the open period. In addition, with crowdsourcing, businesses have access to a diverse group of creatives. As a result, the choice of concepts also tends to be broad. 

According to both buyers and creatives, one of the perks of crowdsourcing is the simple process. In many cases, as designers submit their work, the buyer has the chance to share feedback and request changes. Say the marketer hears from a printer that he needs to leave a certain amount of space on a brochure; he can share that update online for all designers to see. In some crowdsourcing services, buyers also have the ability to score entries as they’re submitted, as well as leave comments, giving the participating designers insights into what’s working and what’s not. The continual feedback helps to shape the project and ensure a great outcome.

Direct mail campaigns are a growing segment of transactions on crowdsourcing sites. With extremely high rates of satisfaction among buyers, crowdsourcing offers affordable, quick solutions for branding and creative needs, particularly when it comes to direct marketing.

  Michael Samson (left) and Ross Kimbarovsky are co-founders of crowdSPRING.
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