Which products are no good for crowdsourcing?

24 Feb

(Guest post by our Vancouver Island University intern Brad Tribbeck)

Crowdsourcing: trying to find a way of completing a task, a solution to a problem, etc. by asking a wide range of people or organisations if they can help, typically by using the Internet. (Macmillan Dictionary)

More brands have recently taken advantage of crowdsourcing, especially with social media making it easier to connect with the people who love brands and want to help shape their products.

Looking through successful examples of crowdsourcing, like the ones in this Mashable article, it’s obvious the type of products that are most likely best-suited to the crowdsourcing model: Lower cost products with a high level of brand loyalty. These loyal customers love what the brand has done in the past and are providing great insight by telling the brand what it would love even more from the products. Great stuff.

This got me thinking about what kind of products would not be good candidates for crowdsourcing. Personally, my first thought was a fast, expensive sports car. When someone purchases such an expensive and exclusive vehicle, would they have a more favorable view of it knowing that a group of strangers on the internet designed the interior upholstery fabric? Probably not. In the case of such a large purchase, the buyer is buying into the manufacturer’s choices because they are so exclusive and highly regarded. Buyers want a Ferrari, not John Doe’s idea of a Ferrari.

For certain products it is best not to give the customers control. What products would you rather not see crowdsourced?



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