By Niko Ruokosuo
Businesses can learn a lot about modern marketing by looking at how media companies attract paying customers. To compete with free news sources, paid-for newspapers must produce something that people are willing to pay for and this means exclusive, relevant content.
While editorial content is key, media companies are differentiating themselves with exclusive photos and video content created by the public.
Brands too have realised that it takes more than a thinly-veiled sales message to command consumers’ attention and are now producing content that consumers will find genuinely entertaining or helpful. A good example is Red Bull, which has engaged millions of consumers by producing content about extreme sports. This demonstrates its brand values without a can of Red Bull in sight. The lesson here is that the most effective marketing content stands out because it’s of interest. However, creating unique content can be expensive and time-consuming, and not every business has a big brand budget. Fortunately, businesses can produce engaging content cost-effectively by turning to their customers to help create it.
However, not every business has a community of fans the size of Red Bull’s. To help businesses overcome this challenge, we developed a ‘crowdsourcing service’ that gives businesses access to hundreds of thousands of mobile photographers worldwide for a small fee. Companies can set location-based assignments, giving them access to both a global audience and a targeted group of local customers. For example, a dentist could raise its profile by asking local people to share photos of their smile, with the best smile winning a prize. This content could be shared via social media or even offered to a local newspaper to publish.
Aside from generating fantastic content, getting consumers involved in content creation is a great way for businesses to engage with customers, and ultimately boost sales.