Remember links? They’re how the web is put together. Links are how bots travel from page to page, discover new ones.
They were also the only way search engines decided which pages were ‘popular’ and worthy of the best placements on the SERPs
But links are a really bad signal. Unless you’re name is Rand Fishkin, your Mama does not link. In 2001, even fewer people knew how to link.
Only a select few knew how to do that, so it was easy to ‘game’ popularity.
When Michael Jackson died,
…twitter carried the news around the world within seconds. It took Google 22 minutes to get the information to rank at the top of the SERPs for queries on the term, ‘Michael Jackson’. Radio broadcast it within the hour. TV reported it on the evening news. And newspapers carried stories in the morning press.
It was clear who ruled the news that day.
You know what was really amazing about that event? Within 72 hours, the behemoth corporation, Google showed amazing agility and pivoted ‘on a dime’, as it were. They incorporated social signals into the algorithm and began to track
An sentiment in a big way. They never turned back
Similarly, focus groups are a really bad signal. How many of you have ever participated in a focus group as an attendee or run one as a marketer?
They’re weird, right? From a marketer’s standpoint, they are WAY too small. Unless your customer base is about 100 people, a focus group of 10 is just a joke. We’re playing games with ourselves when we convince ourselves that this is a reliable sampling of… anythingFocus groups are uncomfortable. If you’ve ever experienced being in one, you know that you don’t really give your full, dispassionate opinion on the matter. You’re being watched. You’re being paid. You’re feeling awkward in the presence of the other members… and even more self conscious about being watched through a one way mirror.
You’re not really paranoid in this case. You ARE being watched! The only other place that happens is at the police interrogation room or the insane asylum. No wonder these are bad signals.
But hey, it was the best we had.
Crowd Sourcing can do more than tell you what color to paint your cars next year. It can fund a startup company – 33Needs connects investors to small-scale entrepreneurs around the world. The investor receives 3% and 33needs receives 5% of the funding target for a project.
Startup funding crowd sourced by KickStarter
With Spot.us, investors say what interests them and get email alerts when an appropriate proposal is submitted.
At CrowdRise, you can create your OWN fundraising project.
DonorsChoose allows teachers to solicit funding for specific needs in classrooms and schools.
Dynamic Labs leverages parents of children with disabilities, caregivers, and medical experts to design and develop products to help children with disabilities. The non profit crowd sources the ideas. Ideas deemed worthy are created and if they sell successfully, the company is spun off as a separate company. All the profits of these successful companies go back into the non profit to keep the cycle going.
With MobileWorks and the much better known, MechanicalTurk, you can crowdsource and outsource at the same time.
Mechanical Turk is a job site, but you can get 1000 people to give you an opinion of a UI or product as easily as you can get a dozen to input data for your email campaigns.
…and increasingly, marketers are turning to crowd sourcing to optimize the design, deployment, and ROI of their campaigns. Crowd Source Marketing is INVOLVEMENT MARKETING. You are involving your customers in your own marketing processes. You are giving them a voice in what you’ll build and sell to them. They help not only create, but market the product(s) for you as well.
Until Facebook and similar social media platforms came along.
Now we can query hundreds and thousands of people about what they’d like from us and get changing answers in real time.
Carefully, now” Note the choice of words… Not: what color do you like? Not: what color shirts do you want to buy? What COLOR do you FEEL like? Not: today, but THIS MORNING.
When I saw this demonstration live, the presenter entered the question and refreshed the screen as dozens of answers came in within the first 7 seconds. Then he refreshed the screen periodically over the next 40 minutes of his presentation. But no one was listening to his presentation… they only wanted to see the increasing number of responses, moaning and gasping at the numbers as they rose into the hundreds and topped 1000.
And the answers! Oh, the answers! Some were one-word only… blue. Green. Red. But many were poetic, florid, beautiful! ….lavender like the soft dawn before the sun rises over the horizon outside my window…. Baby blue, to match the eyes of my infant, sleeping in my lap as the dappled sun splashes warmth over us.
Immediate gratification: if you said, “pink”, you’re in luck. All pink shirts and tops are 20% off on the Lane Bryant website. Don’t forget to use the code ‘pink’ when you check out.
Mine the data – the Lane Bryant buyer will be placing orders for lavender bras and panties for next season!
This kind of crowd sourcing is applicable to all kinds of industries. Vehicle manufacturers can determine what color cars will sell best, what features customers are missing in this year’s model that they can add to next year’s model. And what features no one cares about.
Go ahead. Ask them anything. They’ll tell you what they want and even how much they are willing to pay for it.
Now those of you who still have enough caffeine left over from the last break are thinking, “That’s all very interesting, Gillian. But customers don’t really know what they want. They want whatever new, shiny thing you put in front of them at an affordable price.
And you’d be right. In many cases, people follow whatever trend is ‘out there’, because they follow the thought leaders, the fashion trend setters, and they’ll buy whatever you tell them is fashionable this year.
Many industries don’t dream of crowd sourcing ideas around their product line. And it’s exactly these industries I’d urge to get involved as fast as humanly possible.
The actor Danny DeVito played the role of a merger and acquisition trader in a film made at the end of the 20th century. He gave a wonderful speech that included a story about buggy whip manufacturers. He said, “I bet that the last buggy whip manufacturer on the planet was the best buggy whip manufacturer. But you wouldn’t have wanted to be an investor in that company. That entire industry was going to die no matter what you wished for.”
I think there’s a huge role for crowd sourcing ideas around details, features, and specifications of your existing product lines. You can improve your chances of having things fly off your shelves while your competition takes a shot in the dark, spends huge amounts promoting the hell out of whatever they made, and hopes for the best.But some people don’t ask.
When Steve Jobs died a couple of weeks ago, we took a moment to take stock of an amazing life, burned out early, as geniuses often do. Jobs really was a luminary in the field of inventors. He stands up there with the likes of Thomas Edison, R Buckminster Fuller, and Galileo. He saw a vision of the future that no one else could see. He didn’t ask his customer what they wanted. They couldn’t tell him, because they did not know what was possible.
When Steve Jobs died a couple of weeks ago, we took a moment to take stock of an amazing life, burned out early, as geniuses often do. Jobs really was a luminary in the field of inventors. He stands up there with the likes of Thomas Edison, R Buckminster Fuller, and Galileo. He saw a vision of the future that no one else could see. He didn’t ask his customer what they wanted. They couldn’t tell him, because they could not imagine what he already knew was possible.
There is a place for crowd sourcing. Ask your community of customers and engaged fans how they want to engage with you. Don’t necessarily ask what they want in the way of products. They may not know what they want until you show it to them. The, you can ask what color they’d like to see it in.
Crowd Sourcing The Future ofMarketing Campaign Development Gillian Muessig, President & Co-founder, SEOmoz October, 2011