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HGTV exec: Crowdsourcing essential for targeting consumers

During the “Why Marketers Should Invest in Crowdsourced Research,” executives discussed why a crowdsourced research model makes sense and how to integrate it with other traditional findings and methodologies. Executives also discussed several crowdsourced case studies.

“We really started to tap into crowdsourcing to try and solve our business problems, especially on the digital front,” said Robin Pate, vice president of audience engagement at HGTV, Knoxville, TN.

“There’s a lot of validity of crowdsourced research and in the end you have to decide what are the business decisions to be made,” she said. “We have to look at all those things.

“You have to understand your business goals – there are a couple of challenges that come up with non-traditional search.”

Real-time marketers
According to Ms. Pate, many marketers want to get involved with crowds without knowing who their target consumer is.

“Know who your audience is,” Ms. Pate said. “Understand the difference of targeting on different platforms.

“Tapping into a person that checks in on GetGlue is different than tapping into a person that shops on Gilt,” she said. “You have to look at that.”

HGTV used crowd sourcing research for several initiatives, including the Designer’s Portfolio.
Professionals were invited to upload their portfolio and get their work noticed.

“It’s a way to engage professionals and create advocates,” Ms. Pate said. “We get photography and the designer can highlight their work.

“It’s not only a win-win, but it’s also driving page views,” she said. “And it’s really powerful because we’re not paying for the content.

“This has been super successful for us – it’s one of our first big conversion efforts.”

According to Chris Pitre, a social marketing strategist, there are four types of crowdsourcing.

There is crowd creation, which is very popular and includes flash mobs and a lot of art movement.

There is also crowd funding, which is used a lot in social businesses and companies use it to impact change.

Finally, crowd voting and crowd wisdom is when marketers go into a crowd and ask them questions and get answers in a quick and efficient manner.

According to Mr. Pitre, a good example of crowd creation is a recent flash mob that occurred in Target during the week that Beyonce’s new album launched.

There was a group of flash mobbers who danced in Target to the singer’s new single.

“You can see it was completely uncommissioned by Target and has been able to get a lot of attention not only for them, but for Beyonce as well,” Mr. Pitre said.

The flash mob occurred on July 18 and to date has garnered more than 1.7 million views on YouTube.

Mr. Pitre said that direct and mobile marketers interested in crowdsourcing should research it and look at the company’s strategy first.

Then after surveys and focus groups, marketers can take those insights and look at the behavior and trend analysis.

After looking at the insights, marketers should drive innovation, followed by tracking the interaction.

Finally, companies should look at the analytics patterns and shifts.

“With crowdsourcing research, it’s a lean research methodology consisting of real-time, digital collection of crowd, preferences, opinions and decisions,” Mr. Pitre said. “It really is lean, it doesn’t replace traditional research.

“Marketers can use this to augment and help and get some quick validation on things,” he said.

Mr. Pitre said that crowdsourcing is also very important for mobile marketers.

“I work with a team of user professions and it’s important that when you’re designing a mobile experience, you have to look and see how it will play out,” Mr. Pitre said. “Look at VeVo stream, the mobile experience is not thought-out as it should be.

“It’s slow to load and I think crowdsourcing helps with that,” he said.

Final Take
This Target flash mob is a good example of crowd sourcing