Crowdsourcing is More Than Market Research — It’s Good PR

With the advent of DIY Marketing tools, market research has gone through a sort of transformation.  It’s actually a rather exciting transformation, in my opinion because now we can take our focus OFF of the transactional services we offer around gathering feedback and put it where our experience and expertise really shine — in helping organizations of ALL shapes and sizes actually listen to their customers and constituents in a way that’s never been possible before.

Crowdsourcing IS Mainstream

Crowdsourcing tools, like IdeaScale, have gone mainstream and have become an integral part of how we listen to customers.  And perhaps the best example is in seeing how FEMA (a government organization that’s had more than its share of PR problems) is using IdeaScale to involve the American people in finding ways that will make disaster preparedness and relief run more smoothly.

Take a look at how FEMA is using video and crowdsourcing:

When you’re done watching this 54 second clip — go ahead and visit www.challenge.gov and search FEMA and see what you find.

Clicking here will take you to a FEMA landing page where they clearly outline exactly what they are up to and layout the rules.  Then you get to choose if you support the challenge .  Once you’ve done that, you can register to stay on top of all the updates or you can cancel (which is what I did) to just see the discussions.

Crowdsourcing Tools Will Eliminate Our Whiner Status

I quickly noticed that there were only two discussions going on — even though nearly 200 people supported the challenge.  And that made me realize a couple of things

  1. Not enough people know about this.  That’s too bad because when you think back to Katrina and the flack FEMA got after that, there were certainly a lot of opinions about what could or should have been done.
  2. You’ll lose your reason to whine and complain.  This is an interesting PR opportunity for so many organizations.  People love to complain and whine about what big organizations do – and now, they have a vehicle to voice their complaints in a place where something can actually be done about them.

We’ve just been through an election and I think that we can all attest to the rampant cynicism that surrounds this process.  Crowdsourcing tools are a tremendous PR tool for organizations AND a an equally powerful feedback tool for customers and constituents to get their voices heard.

Recommendations

If you’re a large organization – don’t wait for disaster to happen.  Get proactive by incorporating Crowdsourcing tools like IdeaScale into your market research and PR process.  Then promote this powerful communication channel as much as you promote the products and services that you sell.

The payoff to your company will be an increase in customer involvement, loyalty and perhaps even an insurance policy in case something happens.  Those who start early and adopt crowdsourcing as a part of how they do business will have already established themselves as an organization who cares and involves their customers.

Ivana Taylor is the publisher of DIYMNarketers.com a resource for entrepreneurs who want do LESS marketing and make MORE money. In 2010 she ranked #21 out of 30,000 influential people on the Internet. She is the book editor for Small Business Trends, a contributing author to AMEX Open Forum and has appeared on MSNBC.

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3 comments on “Crowdsourcing is More Than Market Research — It’s Good PR
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  1. [...] From marketing research to PR. Crowdsourcing is growing up and here, examining an unconventional example in the use of crowdsourcing by a larger federal agency, FEMA, we see how the tool can “take away our whiner status.” Thus crowdsourcing has gone beyond marketing research. It has become a way for not only requesting input but also making customers or constituents respinsible for the developing solutions. How could your small business use crowdsourcing today? QuestionPro Blog [...]

  2. [...] From marketing research to PR. Crowdsourcing is growing up and here, examining an unconventional example in the use of crowdsourcing by a larger federal agency, FEMA, we see how the tool can “take away our whiner status.” Thus crowdsourcing has gone beyond marketing research. It has become a way for not only requesting input but also making customers or constituents responsible for the developing solutions. How could your small business use crowdsourcing today? QuestionPro Blog [...]

  3. [...] With the advent of DIY Marketing tools, market research has gone through a sort of transformation.  It’s actually a rather exciting transformation, in my opinion because now we can take our focus OFF of the transactional services we offer around gathering feedback and put it where our experience and expertise really shine… READ MORE [...]

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