Crowdsourcing Arrives…at Super Bowl XLVI

February 1, 2013 Appirio

by Mark A. Koenig (@mark_koenig)

Earlier this month we wrote about how Crowdsourcing has hit Primetime. Now, right on cue comes Super Bowl XLVII and the advertising event that goes along with it. What’s most striking to us about the runup to this year’s Super Bowl advertising is the ubiquity of crowdsourcing. In less than 2 years, the term “crowdsourcing” has moved from a term used mainly by academics and other thoughtleaders into the mainstream vocabulary. In fact, some media professionals are calling Super Bowl XLVII the Crowdsourcing Bowl.

Here are some examples of what you can expect to see during Sunday’s game:

  • Pepsi and Beyonce are crowdsourcing participation in this year’s halftime show. You have probably already seen the TV ads and invitations to submit photos that will be used for the advertising, and of course some lucky participants will get to dance on the field during Bey’s show. 
  • Pizza Hut is inviting its customers to upload videos of themselves playing the quarterback and calling out “Hut hut hut”. We’ll admit it is clever and look forward to the results. 
  • Doritos is once again inviting fans of their brand to create advertising spots and submit them. They will choose two to air during the big game. 
  • Lincoln is launching its embrace of social media with a multichannel campaign that began on Twitter (“What was your wackiest-ever road trip?”) and will end up with the results broadcast during the big game.

Now – What does it mean for IT?  
This is all great for football fans and lovers of cars and beer, soda and snacks, but what does it all mean for IT? In short, two powerful trends – crowdsourcing and social business – are combining to create a unique opportunity for IT to be a transforming agent for business. Clearly, marketing loves crowdsourcing and social. Your own marketing team has probably taken notice of these trends: this is mainstream marketing practice now – if you are counting, it’s been seven years since Doritos first aired a user-created advertisement during the Super Bowl. But there is still time for CIOs to get out in front of this wave and drive innovation.

IT organizations are embracing crowdsourcing because of three powerful benefits that are remarkably similar to those driving marketing.

  • Access to expertise: You may not need a jQuery or PhoneGap specialist fulltime, or even for more than 40 hours over the course of a year, but the hyper-specialization that is inherent in crowdsourcing communities means that you can have instant access to any type of skill, if and when you need it. 
  • Engagement: You want high quality work and that comes from people who are tightly engaged with your organization. Just as marketers create connection via branding, IT organizations can build a following of developers or a “community within a community” by posting a consistent and interesting stream of challenges. And the fact that developers are competing with each other keeps quality high. 
  • Cost: Just as it’s far more efficient for Doritos and Pepsi to crowdsource content for their advertisements rather than produce them themselves, the same is true for crowdsourcing IT development to a community of developers.

If you are an IT professional, the underlying message of the Crowdsourcing Bowl is that if you haven’t tried crowdsourcing something yet, you are behind. The same agile and creative delivery models that your marketing team is using are available to you and can bring you success just as easily. This is the year of crowdsourcing in IT. Tweet @cloudspokes to get started.

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