Hiring Your Customers: A Different Way to Think about Crowdsourcing

You work hard, spend money, trying different advertising and marketing ideas to find just the right combination. All in an attempt to reach your customers and motivate them to do business with you. Sometimes it works, often it doesn’t. So, what is an entrepreneur to do? Stop creating your own advertising and marketing plans, outsource it to your customers.

How to Get Your Customers to Design, Plan, and Build Your Marketing Strategy

Some call it collaboration or crowdsourcing, but the impact is the same. You learn what your customers really want and get an important task completed. Combine your marketing research and marketing planning in one step. Here’s how you can put your customers to work:

  • Collaboration: This is the strategy I prefer because it gives me an opportunity to interact with a customer and really get inside their head. I ask them to come and help me with my marketing strategy and then I pick their brain.
  • Special Event for Ideal Customers: Bring a small select group of customers who fit the profile of your ideal customer together at your place of business. Then have a conversation. Ask them a series of open-ended questions. Be careful not to lead them too much especially when you tell them what you have done in the past. Ask for input and listen. Anything you do not understand, ask clarifying questions.
  • Design Contest: Hold a design competition, pick something like your website, print ad, or logo and offer a nice prize for the top three winners. This can work really well if you have a large customer base and could work for a smaller business, especially if your customers are creative types.
  • Forum: Create an online forum and use it to ask customers important questions and allow them to provide suggestions and feedback. The innovation isn’t in using a forum, it is how you go ask your customers to help design and organize your marketing and advertising. You could also do this by picking up the phone and interviewing them.

No matter which approach I use, my goal is to make sure that I understand how they think, what gets their attention, and the criteria they use to make a purchasing decision. When I ask the right questions it always amazes me how much I learn.