June 8, 2010
Crowd Factory announced today a new product for marketers: CrowdWorks Social Campaign — which it describes as a way for marketers “to acquire new customers through simple social sharing and custom social marketing campaigns while easily tracking ROI.”
The key word there is simple. What Social Campaign offers marketers is not complex end-to-end community/social/conversational/engagement marketing functionality and services. It’s a curated set of light social applications (like sharing and ratings) — which it refers to as social gestures — that marketers can use to impact the business goals they’ve already established for their campaigns.
The interface is as simple as the feature set too, which may be a welcome change of pace for marketers who are used to requesting design and coding work from already tapped development resources. Crowd Factory says it takes 10 minutes, and no technical skills, to customize and deploy a social gesture, and having seen the dashboard, I can believe it. Of course, that 10-minute time-to-launch comes only after the platform has been approved by whatever internal departments need to sign off on technology platforms, but once that step is completed, the dashboard is in fact a platform that can be used over and over to customize and deploy new social gestures without additional help from tech resources.
The ROI tracking mentioned in the press release is also important for a few reasons. First, the analytics are available within the dashboard itself — it’s not a plug-in, separate interface, or third-party. Second, the data is actionable within the dashboard, so the marketer doesn’t have to download the numbers to some other place in order to segment it or match it with other data. Third, Crowd Factory has again curated the experience so what the marketer sees isn’t every conceivable number related to the social gestures, but rather, just the data that reveals results for traffic, conversion and revenue.
I imagine there will be some criticism that this new product is not a real community or full social marketing offering. There’ll likely be continued debate about whether a financial analysis like ROI should be applied to social campaigns in the first place. But those issues would be irrelevant in this context. It seems to me that Crowd Factory was looking to release a core set of tools that would fit comfortably into a marketer’s daily workflow and campaign management and that would facilitate the incorporation of social elements to help reach the objectives for which the marketer was already striving. If you’re looking for a revolutionary social media initiative or full-blown community platform to build deep engagement with your consumers around everything your company makes, sells, discusses or supports, then Social Campaign isn’t for you. But if you’ve got an existing marketing effort that could use a social push to reach a broader audience and that would benefit from collecting more data in a simplified way, this is a product to consider.