Remember the last time someone you liked and cared about honestly asked your opinion on something in their life? How did you feel — warm? Fuzzy? Appreciated? For the last couple of years, companies have been asking for their customers’ opinions concerning new product offerings or even completely new ideas. There’s a word for that, and it’s…
Crowdsourcing! Also known as the fancy marketing term for asking customers or fans for input on an aspect of your business – crowdsourcing has been thriving in the past few years due to the high influence of social media in consumers’ lives. I’m sure back in the day it required a lot more work as compared to today, where all you need to do is upload a ‘Poll’ question onto your brand’s Facebook page and wait to see what customers think. Some major brands out there are going the distance to find out what their customers really want to see happen!
Domino’s Pizza has done a complete 180 concerning their marketing efforts. Their CEO, Patrick Doyle, has brought customers’ complaints to the forefront of their day-to-day operations and has reinvented their pizza as a result. They launched their “Think Oven” campaign a few months ago on their Facebook page, which allows customers to voice their opinions on all things Domino’s. There are two ways they’re asking for customer involvement — specific projects and idea box.
- Specific Projects: Domino’s has specific projects that they’re looking for input on (new uniform designs or improving their online order tracker). When the clock runs out to submit ideas, they’ll pick out the best suggestions and award the person and see if they can turn that person’s idea into a reality. Ta-da!
- Idea Box: Customers can submit an idea pertaining to anything Domino’s-related. They’ll see what could work and will try to implement it into day-to-day operations.
Here’s a YouTube clip explaining exactly what Domino’s is doing and and what they’re hoping to achieve:
A good idea? You betcha! They’ve increased their customer loyalty in an unheard of amount of time and brought their issues to the forefront of their commercials instead of working behind closed doors to fix them. As someone who never really ordered a national chain pizza before (I’m a true Chicago girl at heart, have to stick with the local deep dish place), I know that I’ll consider ordering pizza from them over another national brands like Pizza Hut, Little Caesar’s, or Papa John’s.
Tired of hearing about pizza? Maybe crowdsourced make-up is more your thing. Since October 2010, famed makeup artist Bobbi Brown has asked customers and fans to pick which lipstick shade “Bobbi Brings Back.” She chooses ten shades she’d like to bring back and then asks fans to vote for their favorite on their Facebook page (which increases traffic and engagement) and then share their votes with their friends (again, more traffic and engagement going on). Everyone wins! Your favorite shade of lipstick (or your boyfriend’s or husband’s favorite shade on you) comes back and they don’t have to spend extra marketing dollars on research. Sounds like a win-win to me!
Now for something everyone can enjoy. Ice cream! Not just any ice cream though, but Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. These two guys are known for going against the norm for their brand, which is part of the reason why they’re so gosh darn awesome. Some of your favorite flavors have been customer suggestions, like the famous Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey, and Chubby Hubby. They have nothing to lose by asking fans’ input, because the fans feel appreciated and like that someone is actually listening to them, and everyone gets yet another great flavor to crave!
I feel like I threw a lot of information and examples at you, so let me break it down into bite-sized chunks of delicious takeaways (sorry, I’m really hungry for pizza and ice cream now):
- Fans feel more connected to the brand asking their opinion and will share with their friends and family (Your customers will practically say, “hey, they do care about my thoughts and opinions on stuff! Visit their site and they’ll care about yours, too!”).
- Fans will visit the site more often to either vote or see results (hello, fan engagement and increased traffic to your website).
- Companies don’t have to pay for expensive and time-consuming market research (more money to spend elsewhere).
- Companies can save money by posting what are usually expensive projects such as creating a new logo or commercial. Name your criteria and watch the submissions flood in, then choose which one you liked the best. (Overall, crowdsourcing lets you save money and control the number of people you need to have on staff).
Everyone loves feeling wanted and needed from time to time, and your customers are no exception. Let them know that you genuinely care about their thoughts and opinions about your company. By using crowdsourcing, chances are they’ll come up with wild and crazy stuff that never would’ve crossed your mind on a new project. One of them could be the next ‘Chunky Monkey’ idea! Dare to dream and try crowdsourcing for your next project!
Have you ever heard of any of the campaigns mentioned? Do you follow a company that ‘crowdsources’? Did you participate? Sound off below!