crowd sourcing is the new marketing by committee

One of my most popular blog posts is my riff on “marketing by committee” which I wrote just a few months after I started this blog in 2005. I revisited the concept in relation to social media about two years ago.

While marketing by committee is still a problem, its marketing treachery has been usurped by marketing by crowd sourcing.

Eric Felton writes an excellent article on the limitations of crowd sourcing in the Wall Street Journal where he compares efforts to “crowd curate” to a Mongolian barbecue where the diner who has less knowledge than a competent chef gets to put the meal together. (If you can’t get past the WSJ paywall, Tim Manners’ Reveries has a synopsis of the article.)

Today’s bandwagon dictates that consumers should be in charge of your marketing. No. You should be in charge of your marketing.

You should LISTEN to your consumers and have the two-way conversations so you know what they want and so they can express their concerns, thoughts, etc. But you should be driving the bus, not the passengers. They may take you someplace you don’t need to be that could be your ruin.

While everyone talks about the wisdom of crowds and the benefits of crowd sourcing, they conveniently tend to forget that the crowd can also be an unruly mob or the lemmings running off the cliff.