Jeremiah Owyang: Crowdfunding is the Highest Form of Loyalty – Shared Destiny

ATN-300InsightaaS: Regular readers of Across the Net will have seen us highlight a number of posts by Jeremiah Owyang, the pioneering social media analyst who built a career at Forrester as a leading social media analyst, and who now provides a "must read" perspective on the Collaborative Economy movement. In the post featured here, Jeremiah hones in on crowdfunding, an important aspect of the collaborative economy that is of particular interest to many Across the Net readers. Most of us view crowdfunding as a non-traditional means to raise funds, but Jeremiah sees it as having an additional, important function: it is, he says, "the highest form of loyalty." Owyang supports his perspective with examples from U-Haul and GE, and then lists five benefits of corporate crowdfunding, including "a near limitless supply of fresh innovation and ideas," "backers pre-pledge to go on the journey with you," "a built-in set of early adopters," and the observation that crowdfunders will "naturally advocate the product." Jeremiah's advice for tapping into the loyalty dimension of crowdfunding? "Allow the crowd to drive the initial discussions and ideation. Allow a system for IP protection, rights and rewards to be shared between independent inventors and your company."

Crowdfunding is the highest form of loyalty, but only a few big companies have deployed this crowd strategy.

Big companies can learn from Indiegogo, and Kickstarter.

You’ve heard of Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and other crowdfunding platforms for the tech savvy, but what does it mean to corporate product development and marketing strategy? Today’s crowdfunding projects include a panoply of products that never make it to the shelves. I jokingly refer to this as "this decade’s home shopping network," due to the proliferation of oddball products you didn’t realize you needed. These "long tail" products, are examples of grassroots market innovation offering an opportunity for entrepreneurs to get pre-orders, pre-funding, and free marketing to support future business.

U-Haul Investors Club spurs crowdfunding strategy.

For years, marketers have told themselves that repeat sales are the highest form of loyalty, but I’d like propose that we’re now seeing a greater form of loyalty in crowdfunding. Yet, it remains largely an untapped opportunity for large companies to recognize and develop. Take U-Haul Investors Club for example, where the crowd can finance and own parts of the loading equipment, often at better rates than traditional banks. In return, they receive periodic revenue from the performance of these vehicles...

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