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Using Crowdsourcing To Engage Your Consumers


Bill Ives Posted by

I have written about crowdsourcing a bit on this blog (see for example: GE Crowdsources Green Ideas Through its Open Innovation Challenge, Building Enterprise 2.0 into the Product Development Process, and Cisco Launches Second I-Prize Competition) but it has been largely from a company perspective. Now Forester presents data indicating that sixty-one percent of all US online adults are willing co-creators, and they are open to co-creating across a large range of industries. At the same time, Forrester reports that consumer product strategy professionals indicated that half of all companies are not using social media to engage their customers in product creation, design, or strategy.

Forrester said that many companies are hesitant to engage customers in co-creation because they are unsure how customer willingness and do not have a strategy. In the Forrester report, US Consumers Are Willing Co-creators, Douglas Williams outlines conditions for co-creation engagement. I was pleased to receive a review copy.

The majority of willing participants will help with most products but expect some type of incentive, which is only fair. There is wide spread interest across a variety of industries. The top two industries in terms of willing participation are personal computers (76%) and TV (75%) following by consumer packaged goods. This third place finishers has gotten some of the most press.

Thirty percent will only help their favorite brands and these are probably the strongest helpers. Time commitment is an issue for even these strong advocates so it needs to be manageable. The report suggests that if a company already directly communicates with certain consumers via social media, it makes sense to target fans or frequent visitors for co-creation. I would agree and all the more reason to use social media to promote your brand.

The report recommends product strategists begin by targeting consumers who they are already engaging with the brand. They should also recognize that participation will be stronger if the interaction is appealing from the consumer’s point of view, in terms of the topic, incentive, and time commitment. These seem to be the important variables to consider.

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About the Author: Dr. Bill Ives is an independent consultant and writer who has worked with Fortune 100 companies in business uses of emerging technologies for over 20 years. For several years he led the Knowledge Management Practice for a large consulting firm.. Now he primarily helps companies with their business blogs. He is also the VP of Social Media and blogger for TVissimo, a new TV schedule search engine. Prior to consulting, Dr. Ives was a Research Associate at Harvard University exploring the effects of media on cognition. He obtained his Ph. D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Toronto. Bill can be reached at his blog: Portals and KM. He also writes for the FastForward blog and the AppGap blog.

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