Marketing is no longer just about media, but about people. To succeed, brands must seek out their top influencers and build deeper relationships with them. Turning a brand’s influential consumers into active word-of-mouth advocates is where Crowdtap comes in.
Launched publicly this past March at South by Southwest (SXSW), Crowdtap allows marketers to collaborate with and mobilize their targeted brand crowd of influential consumers. This enables them to tap those most passionate about their products for word-of-mouth marketing, real-time research and collaboration.
The key is creating an active, ongoing channel for brands to “tap” their crowd in real time to inform marketing and product development as well as help promote the brand to their social networks online and off. “Companies have done a great job building followings on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere online, but have struggled with activating those people to drive real brand value,” says Brandon Evans, Crowdtap’s founder and CEO. “Our technology allows brands to identify, activate and recognize their most influential consumers.”
Crowdtap currently works with a roster of blue-chip clients, including Microsoft, American Express, Energizer, Pinkberry, Diageo and Old Navy. It has also formed partnerships with leading PR, creative and media agencies. Its success has drawn the notice of the investment community; in July, Crowdtap secured $7 million in funding from a group led by the venture capital firm Foundry Group.
“The Crowdtap platform provides a new marketing channel that lets us collaborate with our current and potential customers,” says Jennie Platt, director of millennial strategy at American Express. “With Crowdtap, we are engaging with millennials to create and promote future products and services tailored to their needs.”
Crowdtap allows brands to activate their influencers from any existing channel, including Facebook, Twitter or CRM databases. Brands can also access the hundreds of thousands of members already engaged on the Crowdtap platform to build their crowds. These crowds can be finely targeted for real-time research through polls and insight panels providing feedback and ideation with consumers. Brands also have the ability to leverage their crowds for scalable online and offline word-of-mouth marketing; they can seed content and promotions, provide VIP access to behind-the-scenes developments, provide samples of new products to be shared with friends or throw brand-centered events in-home or in-store. Participants (or “Crowdtappers”), meanwhile, enjoy a powerful game-like experience that allows them to earn status, perks and rewards for their active participation.
Everything is tracked and measured using an ROI metric Crowdtap developed with former Millward Brown CEO Joanna Seddon. A dashboard on Crowdtap shows marketers real-time results of all online and offline activities, highlighting the number of brand engagements and total audience reached. Brands often are able to reach hundreds and even thousands of consumers through each crowd member, resulting in millions of measurable actions through conversations, blog posts, status updates, tweets and other interactions. The combination of offline and online activities often leads to increases in brand advocacy and intent to purchase.
Evans sums it up best in stating, “With the shift towards social discovery, brands are finding they need a way to put themselves closer to the center of their consumers’ lives, building deep partnerships with their top advocates and influencers. The information, ideas, exposure and credibility that these people can provide is critical to staying relevant with today’s consumers.”
Influencers engage with brands in a game-like experience on Crowdtap