Leveraging Customer Data vs. Crowdsourcing

As last week was a difficult week for so many of us, we saw how law enforcement used crowdsourcing and big data in forensics. The use of whatever tools that can find justice are necessary. However, as marketers, we have data about our customers and subscribers and must rely upon that – first.

You may be familiar with the Food Network TV show “Chopped,” where trained and often high-profile chefs are given a basket of four mystery ingredients that they must use and transform in each round to an appetizer, dinner, or dessert, to make creative and tasteful dishes. The winner gets $10,000. Wow. Normally the baskets are odd, but organic and interesting and possibly edible. However, recently they crowdsourced the show, as in:

  • Appetizer: “Chopped” took feedback from its Pinterest crowd for a basket that included: durian, lime gelatin, imitation crab meat, and crunchy cheese doodles (BTW, this is why I don’t hang with you Pinterest peeps).
  • Entree: The show leveraged its Facebook fans for this basket that included: whole chicken in a can, clam chowder, Tater Tots, and skirt steak (clearly with all this protein, lots of body builders like “Chopped” on Facebook).
  • Dessert: Here the show used Twitter. For that last round: kale, fruit cocktail, cottage cheese, and marrow bones (Twitter? I don’t even know her. Wow…dessert? None for me, thanks).

Bottom line: it made for a fun episode; but here crowdsourcing an episode is too much. What sadistic people would want these ingredients together in any course? But bravo to the Food Network for leveraging the idea; however, its fail as a network was not promoting hashtags or any sort of social networking calls-to-action on the screen. While this is on my DVR, I believe that too would have been captured.

Here is the lesson. While this is all awesome and while the Food Network has the ability to know its members through its endless retail, cookbooks, and direct magazine marketing channels – here it acted like the publisher/media entity that it is. And it forgot about the viewer and the ability for that interaction and data collection point. This was a missed opportunity.

The customer experience is based upon customers’ satisfaction with the exchange with the brand.

This brings me to some new data that my firm has uncovered. The state of segmentation suggests that marketers are missing many segmentation opportunities.

While I have written before and have proven the performance of segmentation, what is interesting is that we are starting to see marketers work more toward attitude and satisfaction surveys. This notion of an über-crowdsource is a necessary thing to do, but our belief is that it should not exceed the data and information that you know about your subscribers and clients – including spending and click data.

We’ll see this view of this chart – but what do you all think? Should marketers use mushy, social satisfaction “Thank you” elements in advance of spending and behavior?


Our research would suggest that you focus first on the things that you know as truisms. As in spending, clicks, and that old recency-frequency-monetary (RFM) approach that I have seen proven since the late 1980s in my earliest catalog and CompuServe, er, Internet days.

Don’t believe me? Check our research, or simply test it yourself.

Targeting clickers and buyers drives more revenue than targeting likers. It works. All tactics have a place, and in combination there is a huge massive return when email is married to social data and attitudinal data.

But please, don’t skip your own ability to target off your own data, as it’s likely that those who like you have bought from you.

Have you ever seen anyone get a tattoo of brand on their arm that they don’t like? Well, that is what the social attitude sphere is, but it removes the friction of the actual tattoo. Instead we have digital brand badgers, or digital tattoos. Yes, those badgers are great for acquisition, but how does their spending compare, since they can simply like you without the purchase? They like you – great. Those are acquisition targets. Do not confuse love, like, or satisfaction for revenue.

I wish you all the best. Crowdsourcing is a remedy when it is necessary, otherwise, first rely on your data.

What do you think? Let me know.

All the best,

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