Like many New Yorkers affected by Storm Stella, I spent the day working from home with the weather playing constantly in the background. New York City missed out on the predicted 24 inches of snow, ending the day with only 7 inches of snowfall recorded in Central Park.

Beyond the images of inches of snow and winds pummeling the Nor’eastern states, something else stood out to me as a marketer of events.

Crowdsourcing the weather. A nickname proposal – “Cloudsourcing”?

(Not to be confused with cloudsourcing relating to cloud providers.)

This was especially noticeable in the New York, as the severity of the weather across the 5 boroughs varied. The storm veered north, so the deep snow missed most of Manhattan and Long Island looked more like a puddle than a winter wonderland.

Storm Stella
A man walks in Central Park as snow falls in New York City, on March 14, 2017. Andrew Kelly—Reuters

By encouraging viewers to share photos on numerous hashtags, meteorologists could provide a more accurate portrait of how the weather was impacting the different states, and the different boroughs.

Crowdsourcing on social media 

The emergence and popularity of social media opened many doors for marketers. One such door was the opportunity to crowdsource.

“Crowdsourcing is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people.”Prescient Digital

3 ways crowdsourcing will aid your marketing efforts.

  1. Its customer-centric

Firstly, it puts your customer at the center of your campaign, gathering information directly from them. This helps ensure that you are communicating to your target about topics that matter, in a way that works for them.

People love to get involved and be given the opportunity to express their opinions.

“Letting your target audience get involved is like handing out the mic at a conference.”Jay Baer

  1. Its time-saving

How often has time impacted your marketing activities? Be honest.

Marketers everywhere often say that time is their number 1 challenge. There is never enough time in the day to do as much as we would like. So, imagine if your use crowdsourcing to alleviate some of the pressure. Not only does crowdsourcing provide you with a treasure trove of content to share, it also provides you with a diamond – data.

Using crowdsourcing effectively will provide you key insight into your target customer, which can then be used in customer personas to make smarter marketing decisions in the future.

  1. Its engaging

Crowdsourcing is by its nature engaging. You can directly and authentically engage with target and current customers. This level of engagement helps you as a marketer to encourage your target to invest in your company.

Over recent years, with the rise of consumer-led marketing the need for authenticity has become imperative. Consumers choose brands that they have engaged with, that they feel has delivered them an authentic, personalized experience.

How crowdsourcing changed the Super Bowl Ad Game

Let’s take a quick look at the history of Super Bowl commercials. For many a brand marketer, the Super Bowl is the pinnacle of the commercial game. Over its 51-year history, the sporting event has become as synonymous with the commercial competition as it has American football.

Each year, USA Today’s Ad Meter declares the winner of the on-screen competition. This year, KIA won the coveted title with its commercial staring actress and comedienne Melisa McCarthy.

Over the past 50 years, the way marketers leverage these expensive commercial slots has changed. Digital tools have changed the ad game, as marketers look to take their commercials cross-channel using interactive and social channels.

The gold standard of online campaigns is ‘going viral’. This has become the ultimate victory for any social media campaign. Doritos and Frito-Lay used crowdsourcing to achieve this with the “Crash the Super Bowl” contest, which ran for the last time last year.

Using crowdsourcing on social media, the chip makers used their fans to create their Super Bowl commercial. Chip lovers submitted their own ad creative, of which 5 finalists were selected. A judging panel chose the top 2, the ultimate winner being selected by Chip fans. In 2016, the winner of the $1 million grand prize was “Doritos Dogs” by Jacob Chase, which now has over 8 million YouTube views.

This is just one notable example of how crowdsourcing has impacted marketing. Doritos and Frito-Lay created a customer-centric campaign, that encourages their fans to engage with their brand directly. The company also saved their ad creative team time, by outsourcing the design of the commercial.

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