65% of projects that sought funding in 2010 in the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter failed. That is, in the time indicated, did not reach the total money borrowed from the crowd. In 2011, this percentage was reduced by 9%, being the 56% the percentage of failed projects. And it is expected that this downward trend is maintained in 2012. Both percentages are quite high. Which can be the reason?
It is clear that there can be multiple reasons: absurd crowdfunding projects (one day I’ll do a post about these), projects that are not of interest, lack of credibility, low implantation of crowdfunding practice, etc.. but from my experience, a crucial aspect that can make a crowdsourcing project work or fail, is the involvement of someone who basically takes care of it, making the crowd feel appreciated and valued, and promotes the initiative in different media, in addition to platform used.
How can this be done? Talking with the crowd. Who should talk to the crowd? Well ideally a figure or role similar to Community Manager but with the peculiarities that may involve crowdsourcing.
I was thinking in using the term crowdmanager, but the figure of the community manager plays these roles and thus we don’t have to use another new buzz word. Furthermore, as stated by Jeff Howe in his book “Crowdsourcing: How the Power of Crowd is Driving the Future of Businesses”, user communities are at the heart, at the base, of the crowdsourcing. So, who better to engage with user communities a Community Manager?
According to AERCO (the Spanish Association of Community Managers), a community manager is “the person responsible / liable to sustain, enhance and, in some ways, defend business relationships with customers in the digital realm, based on knowledge of needs and the organization’s strategic approaches and interests of customers. [The community manager] knows the objectives and acts accordingly to get them”.
That is, it is a person who is between the company (knows its needs) and customers (knows his interests). In the case of crowdsourcing, these customer-company relationships are limited to a specific initiative, where the need for the company is that the crowd make a contribution of some kind, and where the interests of clients may vary (the reward of the initiative, the satisfaction of participating, etc.).
In the case of crowdsourcing, this kind of community manager should also perform tasks that belong, in a perfect theoretical world, to the social media marketing manager (I say perfect theoretical world because the reality is that in many companies intermingle both roles). The community manager should promote, using various social networks and means at its disposal, the initiative among user communities eligible to participate. We must not fall into the trap of thinking that because the crowd is on the Internet, will eventually find the initiative somehow.
As can be read in an article in the Hardward Business Review, written by Guy Clapperton, “[companies] should engage customers and other potential funders through social media and present a human face”. And, who better than a community manager could do this?