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7 ways crowdsourcing can boost your brand and customer loyalty

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | Feb. 14, 2014
Businesses share their crowdsourcing success stories and explain the different ways to enlist and use the crowd (communities of professionals, customers and employees) to improve and even help market your products and services.

You can also use your existing customers and social media followers to crowdsource new products.

"We asked thousands of fans on Facebook to choose from three shades of white for a handbag hanger we're coming out with in February," says Trish Sweeney, vice president, Marketing, Topcor, the maker of the Clipa instant handbag hanger. "Within 72 hours, we got dozens of responses back. Sure beats waiting for the focus group data." It was more cost effective, too.

4. Tap the crowd to speed up application development. "As the digital and mobile world continues to grow, companies are realizing that in order to stay competitive, they have to step up their application development game," says Dave Messinger, chief community officer, topcoder, an online community of more than 600,000 software developers, algorithmists and graphic designers.

"Instead of hiring multiple developers with limited skill sets, businesses can turn to the crowd to create multiple apps in less time and for a fraction of the cost," Messinger says. "Weve seen companies turn to the crowd for many different skill areas, including mobile/device integration, Web APIs, JavaScript and even Google Glass to [successfully] bring their ideas to market."

5. Use crowdsourcing to test products (for bugs, functionality or simply crowd appeal). "Ensuring the flawless performance of a new product is [often] a nightmare," especially if you plan on selling in international markets, says Dori Albert, business process crowdsourcing practice manager at Lionbridge Technologies, which operates a business process crowdsourcing practice that leverages a global crowd of more than 100,000 educated, pre-qualified professionals.

"Crowdsourcing allows for fast and efficient in-country testing for products in the final phase of production to ensure a seamless user experience at launch," Albert says.

"Let's say the business is testing a mobile phone. It's impossible to hire employees in every country to ensure compatibility with local mobile apps, wireless networks and security for online transactions," Albert says. "However, a strategically assembled crowd can complete this testing without any overhead to ensure a company isn't spending millions to be tripped up by a glitch."

"Crowdsourcing provides access to qualified and talented labor for companies that might otherwise be faced with economic challenges or impossible business decisions," says Matt Johnston, chief strategy officer, uTest, which provides software testing services.

"For instance, uTest's community of 100,000 professional testers enable companies to test what they need, when they need it, and to test beyond the QA lab, closer to where their users work, live and play. This is immensely valuable in the modern era of mobile, social and location-intelligent applications," Johnston says.

6. Use crowdsourcing to foster innovation + build community within the organization. "Make internal crowdsourcing more than a suggestion box," suggests Ken Perlman, engagement leader with leadership and strategy firm Kotter International.

 

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