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Katie Desmond

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Crowdsourcing?

It seems that in this constantly evolving, digital world, each day there is something new and exciting to capture our attention. The trends ebb and flow but once in a while a new development comes to life which could have lasting implications, especially in the world of Marketing. This under hyped, lightly used example appears to be crowdsourcing. Essentially, crowdsourcing is the ability to share your idea with an entire online community at once, get their feedback, suggestions, ideas or even designs. Think of it as a large casting call per say ' one actor will always rise to the top and get the part. So how does this apply to marketing? Say you are working on your 2010 marketing plan, you have a few product ideas and can't decide which will work best. Crowdsource it! Get your ideas out there, target the community and see what resonates. Your consumers will be grateful for your smart recommendations based on people who have raised their hands. Looking to send a new product to market but not sure what to sell? You could always take the Threadless Tees model. Here users submit t-shirt designs and the community votes. The winning t-shirt is then produced and users have the opportunity to purchase it. Now you have a product that you know a community of followers is already willing to purchase, and not a bunch of printed t-shirts sitting on your shelves. Share the t-shirt design on your Facebook page and suddenly your new t-shirt design has been shared with your friends and you have broadened your reach. Social marketing at its finest. How can this apply to brands outside of the t-shirt business? Looking to develop a new service offering or product, but can't decide what users would be willing to purchase? Crowdsource your ideas and have users vote on it. Now you have an idea on what consumers would be willing to purchase even before you begin your market development process. Or how about your next sweepstakes? What if you were to build a sweepstakes on a community level, have users vote on what the prize should be and have them choose the prize. Now you are building upon your ability to pass along the contest, expand the footprint and have users choose specifically what they want. Wouldn't you rather sign up for a sweeps where you picked the prize? So let me ask you, what marketing issue keeps you up at night?

Online Product Sampling?

At first it may seem like an oxymoron; how can a company possibly put an online sample in consumers' hands? While technically the trial doesn't occur online, driving consumers to the web to request samples lays the foundation for a much longer consumer engagement than traditional hand-to-hand sampling. Not only does online sampling afford brands a chance to deliver samples, but it also allows brands the ability to capture contact information for future offers and more sampling! Dove is a great example of a brand doing an excellent job in this space. The process to sign up on their site and request your choice of samples is very easy, and they offer a revolving variety of shampoos, lotions and soaps. They have won me over in the past by giving me the opportunity to try their products, often resulting in my own personal Dove purchase. Not only is online sampling great for brands, but we see time and time again that consumers love it too. For our LifeStyles client we periodically offer samples and often it takes just 48 hours for us to 'sell out'? of samples! It's a great way for consumers to try their products, and at the same time, LifeStyles receives thousands of new email addresses for future marketing initiatives. Looking for a free sample? Check us out at http://www.lifestyles.com/ and sign up for the e-newsletter to get your hands on one of latest offerings from LifeStyles Condoms. What are your thoughts on sampling? Do you think it is a great investment or a waste of money? What products/brands do you wish you could try? Let us know what you think!

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