Last updated: Harnessing the power of the crowd for a B2B marketing strategy

Harnessing the power of the crowd for a B2B marketing strategy


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“Crowdsourcing” is seen as the solicitation of ideas, content or services from a large population of people, rather than traditional employees. An extremely flexible tool, crowdsourcing can provide significant marketing benefits through content creation, brand awareness, community support and more. With the expansion of the technology market, applying crowdsourcing techniques to B2B tech can yield valuable results.

By nature, crowdsourcing increases the pool of individuals who can provide interesting ideas and content to a campaign, meaning unique ideas can emerge more easily. Crowdsourced projects often turn out incredibly innovative products. While the quality of some ideas may not be great, others could provide remarkable solutions and often are additionally an inexpensive way to create marketing materials. These lessons can be applied in B2B tech, as seen by Docker, for example, an open-source container start-up now valued at $1 billion, which crowd-sourced their logo on 99designs for $799, gaining national attention.

Crowdsourcing involves a social component in that users share their opinion and bond around a product or an idea. People are often excited to share crowdsourced campaigns they have taken part in. This serves to create free content for your product. The Lego Group runs a highly successful program called Lego Ideas where they crowdsource ideas for new sets. If an idea is shared and gains enough support, the set goes under review and is put up for sale.

This program not only means that users will share the sets they want created with their social networks so they receive more votes, but also shows that the company is interested in its users’ thoughts. This promotes lasting support of the company, as customers will feel empowered by their idea being taken up by the corporation and created for sale. Opening up your business to suggestions in this way promotes lasting brand loyalty by allowing potential buyers to engage with the company and feel like their opinion is meaningful. Additionally, these buyers may stay engaged with your brand and become influencers and advocates.

B2B tech marketers can similarly run campaigns based on user content. In fact, an IDC report from 2014 shows that for over half of B2B buyers peer networks allow greater confidence in the vendor’s expertise, particularly as community experts remain unbiased in a way that vendors cannot.

A single review can make thousands of impressions and gives your users the chance to distinguish themselves as community thought leaders and your influencers the chance to share their experiences. Reviews let users understand how products work in similar situations, and help promote discussion about a product’s valuable assets, as well as help to expose the things that could be improved. Learning from these suggestions can help you keep ahead of the competition, and will allow you to engage your users in order to show them that their opinion matters.

The “Greek Bailout Fund” crowd-funding campaign, though entertainingly silly, was so popular that it crashed Indiegogo and led to articles in popular publications like CNBC, The Huffington Post, and The Guardian. Alongside those of more traditional campaigns like that of Docker, the power of the crowd is clearly visible in the media.

While crowdsourcing is sometimes seen as a B2C tactic, B2B marketers can learn a lot from its successes. Additionally, as technology gains increasing importance in our world, B2B tech is beginning to learn the benefits of crowdsourcing in this sphere. Ultimately, B2B marketers should take this tactic into account, as it can help to increase interest in products in a variety of ways from strong media exposure to generating marketing materials to promoting loyalty in users.

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