If you have been following social media nomenclature, you may have noticed a sharp spike in terms utilizing the word “crowd” (note, there is a parallel spike for buzzwords using “social” and “innovation” but you didn’t hear it from me). Crowdfunding and crowdsourcing are two prime examples.
And, after attending the Social Good Summit virtually via Livestream webcast, I noticed that another “crowd” buzzword was emerging in real-time. Crowdmarketing.
Crowdmarketing, by the people, for the people
Crowdmarketing, as I have observed it, is the democratization of marketing. It is engaging ‘the crowd’ to do the marketing. And, by the looks of the 1000′s of tweets using the #SocialGood tag, it seems to be gaining momentum.
I have attended a few interesting social media savvy conferences in the past year including OMMA, Sustainable Enterprise Conference, Dreamforce11, SOCAP11, and via webcast, Social Good Summit. In attending these events I have noticed an increasing emphasis on creating a channel of marketing that is outsourced to attendees, presenters, organizers, and sponsors. I.e. marketing is outsourced to individuals who are already motivated to make the most of the event.
How does it work?
Companies and event organizers seem to encourage crowdmarketing by webcasting events live and allowing anyone to view, by offering free wifi at events, and by providing a very clear mobile/email versions of the agenda & speakers (including applicable #tags and @names). Some conferences, such as the Social Good Summit (#SocialGood) have enabled crowdmarketing by making the live webcast free and encouraging engagement from the virtual audience, i.e. by taking questions for panelists through Twitter. OMMA (#OMMA) had massive screens on either side of the main stage which featured live Twitter feed related to the event. DreamForce (or #DF11) actively marketed the hashtag for conference in all of their literature and even in their mainstage events. SOCAP11 (#SOCAP11) started early by using pathable.com, which let attendees, presenters, and organizers create a unique profile (including websites and Twitter accounts) and even suggested others to connect with based on your profile.
The big reveal
Another element that seems to make crowdmarketing effective, for both companies and the public, is to make big announcements live at an event or conference. Doing so lets event participants ‘break’ the news via social media. It is effective and exciting.
Jane McGonigal announced the pending launch of her innovative game project, SuperBetter during her keynote address at SOCAP11. Also at that event, the organizers would periodically announce major funding initiatives that had been finalized such as Omidyar Network’s $13.75M investment to Finestrella (providing mobile tech to underserved populations in Mexico) and LeapFrog Investment’s $15M investment to Shriram (providing insurance and investment products to underserved populations in India).
The Social Good Summit also had its share of big reveals. On Day 1 alone, Ami Dar (of Idealist.org) announced the launch of idealistnyc. Howard Buffet launched the LearningbyGivingFoundation.org, and USAID‘s Raj Shah announced the launch of FWD (Famine, War, Drought).
The big reveals were announced and then made viral through posts, tweets, status updates, and instant messages.
Crowdmarketing can be a boon to crowdmarketeers too. I started getting to know fellow attendees through their participation in crowdmarketing efforts at various events. I began following a number of them on Twitter, and even connected with a few over the phone or in person after conferences. (In fact, it was through Twitter that I learned about SocialEarth, through JocelynL’s tweets during SOCAP11.)
Crowdmarketing can be effective, engaging, and far-reaching. And though it can never replace professional marketing or journalism, it is becoming a key component of marketing strategy for social ventures. In a world with a population approaching 7 billion, if social innovation is to be an effective way to connect, uplift, and serve as an agent of change—it is necessary to engage every person possible to spread good ideas, and to support them.
Crowdmarketing joins crowdfunding and crowdsourcing…two’s a pair, three’s…a crowd?