Identify the top 10 crowdsourcing companies Globally then confirm what their lead gen. strategy(s) is(are)?
This research reviews the top crowdsourcing companies and their activities around lead generation. Although it was not possible to confirm specific strategies, this report features an abundance of information that may be helpful. Full details about the research and findings are available below.
The crowdsourcing industry is huge. Epi Ludvik, the founder of Crowdsourcing Week (a resource that “pulls together the top crowdsourcing practitioners in the world and [brings] their insights to corporate c-suiters and entrepreneurs”), defines crowdsourcing as a place where “individuals collectively contribute ideas, time, expertise, or funds to a project or cause.” Given that definition, I then sought to locate a precompiled list containing the top crowdsourcing companies.
While there were many lists that reported “top” or “best” in some aspects of crowdsourcing (e.g., top crowdfunding sites, best crowdsourcing sites for businesses) there were no precompiled lists that ranked crowdsourcing companies by revenue. However, VentureRadar, a discovery system that has ranked more than 200,000 companies, generated a popularity-ranked list (by keyword search) that ultimately provides access to a 294-item ranked list of crowdsourcing companies.
VentureRadar’s lists are based on keyword searches which could be the result of media hype—or infamy—rather than user approval or company success. I looked up company revenues for the top 25 companies listed to ensure that this research included “top” companies based on earnings. After this was completed, I then began looking for information about each company’s lead generation strategy.
TOP CROWDSOURCING COMPANIES BY REVENUE
The crowdsourcing industry is very diverse. It serves investors, creatives, developers, workers, entrepreneurs, doctors, and the list goes on. In reviewing top company revenues, and given the broad definition of crowdsourcing, it's important to note that revenue differences and company success could be tied to the company’s topic and purpose much more than company operations. Additionally, whenever possible, I used Owler to track company revenues in order to have as standard a ranking as possible given the full details and scope of this request.
Please note that the revenue figure for Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is from a very thorough but single-person source from 2012. The official MTurk revenue is not published online and something that is apparently very difficult to surmise for the large e-commerce giant. This sentiment is possibly evidenced by recent research conducted by the Pew Research Center on MTurk. The case study noted very fine details about MTurk and its workers but offered no figures for the financial success of MTurk overall. Given this limitation, and in order to move forward in this research, I have used the 2012 revenue estimate which became the only estimate I was able to find online.
1. Crowdflower — $100 million
2. Kickstarter — $34.6 million
3. Amazon MTurk — $1 million to $30 million
4. uBiome — $13.2 million
5. Crowdrise — $10.2 million
6. LendInvest — $8 million
7. Mobee — $7 million
8. Captricity — $6.8 million
9. Kaggle — $5.8 million
10. WorkFusion — $5.6 million
11. CompStak — $4.7 million
12. Civil Maps — $4.1 million
13. Detectify — $3.4 million
14. Synack — $2.9 million
15. Jelli — $2.4 million
16. MySidewalk — $2 million
17. Duolingo — Less than $1 million
18. StockViews —Less than $1 million
LEAD GENERATION STRATEGIES
A thorough review of each of the top crowdsourcing companies listed above did not reveal any definitive answers or confirmations regarding their lead generation strategy. This information was lacking even when reviewing press releases and articles, industry reports, white papers, and case studies. This may be because, in a highly competitive environment, it is likely that many industry leaders do not want to divulge any business secrets that led to success for fear of losing their positioning or revenues (i.e., the information is highly proprietary). Still, there was a little bit of information I was able to glean from recent job postings of two of the top companies, WorkFusion and Captricity.
Captricity is seeking a Demand Generation Representative. A review of the job description highlights a few key standards the company is trying to use when strategizing for leads. First, it looks like they are attempting to create a one-person position built on sales expertise to work with their current team of account executives. The company also noted “the ideal candidate will understand the book Predictable Revenue” which guides its readers on “how to generate scalable leads” and focuses on best practices of using Salesforce. The Captricity candidate is also asked to “keep meticulous records of interactions with leads in [their] CRM,” which implies that Salesforce is a major part of this company’s strategy.
WorkFusion is also looking for a new hire poised to help with lead generation. The exact title is Business Development Representative (BDR). The BDR works with a traditional sales team “to manage incoming lead follow-up and lead generation.” The company also manages, tracks, and reports sales leads through Salesforce. Lastly, it also appears that conferencing and exhibiting are big factors in their strategy to generate leads.
Although there was not a lot of information available about how the top crowdsourcing companies strategize around lead generation, the two examples from Captricity and WorkFusion seem to show that Salesforce is major technology these companies use internally. Likewise, it appears that standard models are still in effect (e.g., sales teams and exhibiting). However, there are a few additional resources and findings I came upon in the exhaustive search for details.
— There are several new services and companies around that offer assistance with lead generation: Nuuk uses social media ad campaigns; XPlace encourages and facilitates the hiring of freelancers to help generate leads; and MobeeMedia uses their “partner network of mobile content websites, sweepstakes, and skill-based contest promotions” (i.e., crowdsourcing/big data) to generate consumer leads for their clients.
— SmartAcre, a demand-generation marketing agency, offers a number of examples and case studies pertinent to crowdsourcing companies, e-commerce entities, and traditional markets on lead generation.
— Snovio, a Ukrainian startup, has been making the news recently due to their effort to “develop a ‘revolutionary’ lead generation platform.” LeadCoin, an Israeli company, is also making similar waves in the press. Both companies are looking to “decentralize the web marketing industry” by incorporating blockchain technology into lead generation.
—LeadVine is another company looking to help companies generate leads. However, its major selling point is that it uses “the community” to be the sales force by utilizing crowdsourcing. It pays users who “come across” contact information to enter it into their system.
— Crowdsourcing data collection for sales leads is a new trend. Snovio wrote a white paper about it that may be of interest.
To sum up, while many of the top crowdsourcing companies do not publicize their lead generation strategies, Captricity and WorkFusion currently use Salesforce and traditional sales approaches (like conference exhibiting) to generate leads. New businesses are in development that aid in lead generation for companies. Of particular interest to the crowdsourcing community are the efforts of Snovio and LeadCoin since they use “the crowd” to gather much-needed lead details for their clients.