Posts Tagged ‘San Diego Science Festival’

Crowd Sourcing and Engagement are probably the two biggest buzz terms in marketing today. My non-marketing friends know about interactive marketing; know that it’s here to stay, and know a handful of terms and buzz and then wonder what in the hell I do.

Of course any interactive campaign has several goals:

  • Fan/customer engagement
  • Crowd-sourcing
  • Differentiating yourself from competitors
  • Drive time on site and impressions
  • Increase ad revenue
  • Email capture
  • Attract new customers or advertisers

It’s possible to have several goals but it’s best to identify your primary objectives. Although it is possible to have both as objectives, one has to take precedence over the other or the campaign could be viewed as a failure. The two basic types of campaigns that our technology can be used for are crowd-sourcing efforts or customer/fan engagement. Engagement campaigns can be fun, safe ways for brands or media properties to interact with their fans while crowd-sourcing campaigns can be a great way to tap into the community for creative work.

Here are the distinctions between crowd-sourcing campaigns and engagement campaign.


  • Low barrier to participation- Photo contests with very broad themes are the best way to guarantee high participation. Ihoops is an NCAA/NBA collaborative; their theme is simple—youth basketball.
  • Results are not as quantifiable- Around the office we use the term ‘fan engagement’ rather than ‘customer engagement’ because customers that are fans will champion your brand to passive customers. Tapatio Hot Sauce is a perfect example- The hot sauce is sold and served in restaurants across North America so it must have millions of passive customers but it has formed a quirky and massive following of 27,000 facebook fans who have demonstrated they are willing to share their love with their friends. This month’s contest is best “Tapatio costume contest.” There are a suprising number of Tapatio themed costumes out there—by hosting the contest Tapatio has given these fans a chance to share their enthusiasm.
  • Engagement campaigns can be sustained long-term- Themes can be loosely based, seasonal or change based on the community. Starting December, Sacramento Press will start a series of neighborhood photo contests. These have a very low barrier to entry, can be recycled easily and can easily attract local sponsors.

Measures of Success for Engagement Campaigns: quantity of submissions, number of votes, and time on site



  • High barrier to participation- Anything other than drawings and doodles requires a certain level of expertise especially video editing and graphic design.
  • Must reach out to people outside of brand- The San Diego Science Festival asked us to help them host a contest for a new mascot. Initially submissions were below their expectations but the AOR began reaching out to design students and comic book artists and have dramatically improved the quality of submissions.
  • Requires worthwhile incentives- If you want someone to submit quality work you have to give them incentives. Simple enough right?
  • Difficult to maintain long-term campaign- Most of these campaigns are one-offs for new product design, logos or mascots. Plus the high barrier to entry and high-value prizes make long-term campaigns unattractive.

Measures of Success for Crowd-sourcing Campaign: Quality of submissions- at least one usable design, hopefully several

Contest Life Cycle

This post was inspired by a post on Creativity Unbound by Edward Boches about a new agency that will specialize in crowd-sourcing campaigns. It will be interesting to see how Victor and Spoils will do. One of their biggest challenges will be maintaining enough clients when they’re only running short term campaigns. They should be able to negate this by; establishing a network of designers, solid relationships with AORs and reaching out to top-tier customers with multiple brands. Their business model is solid and they seem like a talented team. (Actually they seem like a team of evil lawyers but we’ll see their true colors once the new website is up- via crowd-sourcing of course!)

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