CBS Interactive describes Crowdsourcing as tapping into the collective intelligence of the public at large to complete business-related tasks that a company would normally either perform itself or outsource to a third-party provider. Yet free labor is only a narrow part of Crowdsourcing’s appeal. What do companies like Netflix, TripAdvisor, Microsoft’s MVP program, Apple, Starbucks, Wikipedia and iStockPhoto do to capitalize on this collective intelligence to drive business results?
Hear from one of WOMMA's longest tenured board members, Rod Brooks, CMO of PEMCO Insurance, and Wil Merritt, CEO, Zooppa, as they share their experiences from their forays into the world of Crowdsourcing at WOMMA Summit 2013.
Jacob Hurwith: You both have spoken at WOMMA events in the past. Why come back?
Rod and Wil: WOMMA and the guest speakers we have seen have made a huge difference in our level of social engagement and our strengthened position in the marketplace. I view our membership and guests as a special community – people (from both agencies and brands) – who are excited about what’s new and what’s next. It’s the type of organization that I feel a responsibility to contribute to. It’s an audience of continuous learners. I haven’t missed a WOMMA event since 2007. In fact, we first met each other at a WOMMA event in 2010 and it was all about crowdsourcing content!
Jacob Hurwith: This is the first year we are hosting the event in Nashville. What are your thoughts on moving it from Las Vegas?
Rod and Wil: As an attendee, we are looking forward to experiencing a new city and venue. Nashville has a history that will be fun to be exposed to. On the other hand, we live in Seattle so the longer flight and starting at the beginning of the week makes it a bit more of a challenge than when the event was in Las Vegas and ran Wednesday thru Friday. We’ll see how it goes. As a board member (Rod), I was reluctant to move from a city that WOMMA had a long history in and had developed familiarity and continuity for our members.
Jacob Hurwith: What is the best crowdsourcing campaign you have ever seen?
Rod and Wil: The truth is we don’t spend much time reviewing and cataloging the great work of other brands. We know them when we see them… and we’ve seen a bunch. Some are small budget specialty efforts, and others, like the Dorito’s “create your TV commercial for the Super Bowl” campaign, are highly orchestrated mega efforts. Frankly, we’re focused on keeping our “crowd” engaged.
Jacob Hurwith: Rod, please tell us a little bit more about the message you were trying to get out through crowdsourcing?
Rod Brooks: Our primary objective was to increase consumer engagement with the PEMCO brand by encouraging local residents to submit content via social media channels. This was about empowering conversations and finding a relatively simple way to invite participation, while staying true to the brand. In PEMCO’s case, always striving to be genuine, relevant, and hyper-local in every activity and touchpoint, and engaging in organic conversations as opposed to making it about selling insurance.
What makes PEMCO different in the insurance industry is that our company and all of the people who work here live, work, learn, and play in the same communities that our customers do. We are all about the people of the northwest and we created a campaign to prove that “we know them like nobody else.”
Jacob Hurwith: What is the biggest challenge when conducting a crowdsourcing campaign?
Rod and Wil: One of the biggest challenges was remaining patient. After the campaign is conceived, designed, and launched, it’s natural to start looking for feedback, entries, and results. That’s not the way it worked for us and probably isn’t typical for most campaigns. We learned that those who take the time to submit quality entries tend to wait until nearly the last days or hours. Why? Presumably because they don’t want their competition to see their great ideas too soon. We learned that it’s best not to be overly prescriptive, to keep the rules of engagement simple and open, and to make sharing and voting a very simple and easy process. We’ll be even better the next time we turn to crowdsourcing.
Jacob Hurwith: What other sessions are you most looking forward to at WOMMA Summit?
Rod Brooks: I am a big fan of WOMMA keynotes. This year promises to be no exception. I am particularly looking forward to hearing from Jay Baer discuss concepts from his new book “Youtility – Why smart marketing is about help not hype.” His concept of marketing that is inherently useful really resonates with me.
Develop your own crowdsourcing campaign at WOMMA Summit this November in Nashville, TN. Early bird deadline is Monday, September 30. Register today to save $400 off your ticket price.