It was only nine months ago when I moderated my first crowdsourcing session, interviewing John Winsor, then of CP&B, now of Victors and Spoils for the Ad Club of Boston. But it already seems like ancient history. In that conversation we were basically explaining what crowdsourcing was and fending off challenges and concerns from a community that was interested more out of fear than a desire to embrace it.
Would crowdsourcing devalue creative, put people out of work, and replace high quality work with the mediocrity of amateurs?
Fast forward to now. If you listen to the likes of James DeJulio, CEO of Tongal; Mark Walsh, CEO of Genius Rocket, James Sherrett the founder of AdHack, and John Winsor, the inspiration behind Victors and Spoils – just four of the dozens of crowdsourcing companies that have sprung up in the last couple of years – crowdsourcing is a growth industry. More and more marketers and brands are exploring its potential.
In some cases they genuinely believe they can find something new, fresh, interesting and unexpected. In other cases, according to John Winsor, they’re escaping agencies they find arrogant, hard to work with, or unwilling to bring to the table a wide enough range of work to convince a client that all the options have been explored. In every case, the clients embracing this approach feel as if it brings them closer to their customer community and provides them insights they wouldn’t otherwise discover.
For short change and low risk, clients can buy:
1. More ideas
2. Better insights
3. Raw intelligence
Right behind them comes the crowd. Talented creative people employed full-time along with freelancers and the unemployed have joined the communities of creators being sourced by the likes of Victors and Spoils and Genius Rocket. Hundreds of undiscovered, aspiring filmmakers have signed on with Tongal. And thousands of recent graduates and wannabes welcome an opportunity to gain experience, produce ideas for their books, and (from the more reputable platforms anyway) receive useful feedback even if they don’t win or earn any financial reward.
There are still plenty of critics. And it’s not without its challenges. But it appears this train has left the station and there’s a platform of people waiting for the next one and the one after that.
Take a listen to this Chaordix panel I moderated last week with the folks mentioned above. They conversation has definitely moved from whether or not crowdsourcing is a good idea in the advertising space to how marketers and agencies make it work.
Photo by: opensourceway