Marketing Executives Networking Group Releases Second Annual Survey on Crowdsourcing

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"Crowd Wisdom" for Business Gains Momentum Among Marketers; Viewed as a Effective as Internal R&D Tool with Potentially Greater Cost Efficiency

At a time when innovation is increasingly critical to business growth for many companies, and even their survival, it is important for businesses to utilize as many resources as efficiently as possible, and crowdsourcing certainly has arrived as a vital component to gain an edge

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The Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), a nearly 2000 member, not-for-profit organization of senior-level marketing professionals, today announced the results of its Second Annual Survey on Crowdsourcing - the practice of accessing the untapped knowledge of one or more of a company's constituent or stakeholder groups or other relevant business experts, enabled by Web 2.0 technologies, to create something new of value.

One of the most striking results was that crowdsourcing was rated slightly higher than internal Research and Development (R&D) efforts as a viable approach for the creation of new products and services. In fact, 75% of survey respondents (compared to 62% in last year's survey) rated crowdsourcing as highly effective or effective in developing new products and services.

"Tapping the wisdom of crowds over the Internet can be enlightening for an organization in many ways, providing marketers with valuable insight to expand their brand mind share and market share," said Richard Guha, Chairman of MENG. "However like any good customer insight, interactive ideation or predictive analysis effort, it's important to frame the issue, manage the process and carefully assess the value of the collective data."

According to Wikipedia, examples of successful crowdsourcing include P&G's programs to draw consumer input leading to new products such as the successful Swiffer, as well as Netflix's prize to gather approaches from outside the company to improve the effectiveness of its movie recommendations by nearly 10%. Other examples of crowdsourcing can be found at Crowd Forum.

Additional Key Findings:

  • The overall familiarity with the term crowdsourcing has more than doubled since the initial survey was conducted in December, 2007, increasing to 72% of survey takers from just 30% a year ago.
  • Over one-half of respondents felt crowdsourcing approaches for developing new products and services could produce cost savings, ranging between 10% to 30% over more traditional approaches. Based on the prospect of greater efficiencies and lower costs for innovation, over 9 in 10 respondents viewed crowdsourcing as attractive.
  • Nearly 60% of respondents felt open-sourced knowledge in general is highly valuable or valuable, and this value increases when the characteristics of the contributors are either known or can be qualified.
  • A variety of constituencies (beyond traditional internal resources) were rated as valuable for contributing to business development and growth by the vast majority of respondents. These constituencies included vendors, B-to-B customers, consumer groups, employees and external subject matter experts. Selective social networks were not rated quite as highly, yet 62% still indicated these were highly valuable or valuable in this context.
  • The perceived value of internal R&D resources stayed about the same (72% versus 73% in last year's survey), but traditional consulting / professional services firms fell from 54% to 49% relative to being rated highly effective or effective.

"At a time when innovation is increasingly critical to business growth for many companies, and even their survival, it is important for businesses to utilize as many resources as efficiently as possible, and crowdsourcing certainly has arrived as a vital component to gain an edge," said Stephen Fisher, Co-Founder of Microengagement and Chair of the MENG Consulting Special Interest Group that conducted the survey.    

The survey was conducted in December, 2008 in conjunction with the Crowd Forum to gauge the opinions and experiences of MENG members on key aspects of "crowdsourcing" relative to its perceived value in driving growth and/or improving business efficiencies. For a complete copy of survey results, visit MENG Newsroom.

About the Marketing Executives Networking Group
The Marketing Executive Networking Group (MENG) is the premier organization of senior level marketing professionals who have reached at least the VP level in their organization. This 1,800+ member not-for-profit networking community fosters career and personal success by sharing information and relationships for mutual assistance across virtually all industries and marketing specialties. Eighty four percent of the members have Fortune 500 experience and 70% have earned graduate degrees, the majority of which are from top-20 Business Schools. To learn more, visit MENG.

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