Developing new business ideas and marketing strategies pose a challenge for companies in almost every industry. The strong competition offered to internet ventures necessitates an even higher level of new innovations to create and maintain a company’s competitive edge. To fill this need, many companies are turning to a business model similar to the method used by open-source platforms, popularly known as Crowdcasting.
Through this strategy, companies build a network of users that can then be offered incentives for participating in product development, marketing ventures and other business solutions. These users/visitors are usually targeted for their knowledge and experience with the topic, but can often be any interested party.
Crowdcasting is basically the execution of pull-push strategy.
You can build a large community of participants during the pull phase. This may take place at your website, social networking platforms and email. As the community grows, viral trends create a self-sustaining growth that can generate a large number of participants from the target market.
Listener Driven Radio, for example, has developed a platform that allows users to affect radio programming. The company then encouraged it’s listeners to sign up and take part in the music network.
Once a community has been built, you just develop a strategy to take advantage of the large pool of resources. If you are searching for a new product, you can offer incentives for the best new idea. Those in need of a large marketing campaign may have a contest to design the best new advertisement.
Companies like General Electric, Whirlpool and American Express, or example, have teamed up in the past to offer over 3,000 business students the opportunity to compete for the best new product or service. This strategy even proved itself being beneficial in the medical field. A recent Prize4Life contest award $1 Million for research on a cure for Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Crowdcasting vs. Crowdsourcing
While these two can overlap, crowdsourcing is a slightly different business strategy. In crowdsourcing, customers are broadly targeted. There are usually few requirements to participate in the organizations activities and information is typically freely disseminated.
Crowdsourcing has the benefit of attracting vast number of participants. This can greatly increase the amount of information generated during the pull-push of the crowd. However, many companies are finding that a very select group will generate higher quality products and innovations that require fewer resources to process.
Implementing the Crowd
Social networking makes the process of building a community simple. You could launch a Twitter account or Facebook page to generate a massive number of interested users. To increase the user base fast, some marketers are offering incentives to become a fan in Facebook; some are using gateway pages to unlock content in Facebook page and some are simply buying followers for twitter and fans for Facebook accounts. Depending fully on services like these may backfire. However, for experimental purposes, mix of organic growth and bot based growth could produce interesting results. I am not suggesting here to exploit or manipulate Facebook or Twitter’s services. The prospect of prizes or awards can then be used to take advantage of the network.
To simplify the process, however, you may turn to 3rd party services like Idea Crossing, Skild or similar to launch and maintain a user base or competition. This could potentially enable you to take advantage of a user base that has already been generating, saving both time and costs.