No, you’re not in the Twilight Zone.  In this new world, Madison Ave and 5th do cross at the intersection of “Crowdsourcing”.  The advertising world is rife with talk about revamping traditional ad agency models.  We hear the terms:  digital, hybrid, tradigital or simply, creation of the “new agile agency”.  Traditional agencies, pushed to their limits by the explosion of digital and social media projects, are under intense pressure to perform.   Agency compensation models fortified with high overhead to handle traditional media, are unable to monetize the creation of micro-projects like a Twitter or Facebook fan page.  A new compensation model is needed that reflects activity-based pricing delivered more efficiently. 

The 5th Model   –   An “Open Call” for Greater Efficiency

The four primary compensation models in play today don’t mesh with clients’ demands for increased digital and social media marketing projects:

  1. Media Commission
  2. Billable Hours
  3. Flat Rate/Fixed Retainer
  4. Performance-Based

What is Crowdsourcing?

Wikipedia defines Crowdsourcing as “the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community (a “crowd”), through an open call.” Jeff Howe, one of the first authors to employ the term, makes an important distinction, adding:  “ … it [crowdsourcing] gathers those who are most fit to perform tasks, solve complex problems and contribute with the most relevant and fresh ideas.”

There is a decided shift toward finding “those who are most fit” to achieve quality results. A critical tool to help guide the crowd’s creative development is the creative brief.  In a recent blog, “Innovation Gone Wild on Madison Avenue”, Blue Focus Marketing co-founder Cheryl Burgess (@ckburgess) said: “the creative brief is the engine that drives development of the creative product. Without a focused creative brief, creative efforts would be off-strategy.”

Traditional Ad Agencies Can Play, Too

So, for Madison Avenue, I believe the time is right to leverage crowdsourcing for clients and new business prospects.  How many times has an agency hit the wall on creative only to go outside to a freelancer who (for a hefty fee) will ghost write the campaign and save the day?  Result: the agency is happy and more importantly, the client is happy.  Does it really matter where the big idea comes from?  Think about the typical new business pitch.  The prospect asks for spec creative — a timely and costly proposition.  The tendency is to say, “no”.  But, what if your pitch includes insights and ideas that you crowdsourced from an experienced, trustworthy source — for a whole lot less?

The Marketing Community

To marketers, this is a pretty exciting time to join the “open call” and realize not only efficiencies but exposure to a larger pool of fresh ideas.  The pursuit of the “big idea” is a marketers’ unending quest to find the creative approach that will propel their business into the stratosphere.  But where does the big idea lie?  Is it in the minds of the ad agency creatives or is it in a different place, perhaps in the crowd?  So, again, as a marketer in pursuit of the big idea, the real question remains:  “Does it matter where the big idea comes from?”

Benefits of A New Agency Model – The 5th Model

Opportunities are endless for a small team of advertising professionals to form an agency and leverage the crowdsourcing technique.  How it works:  at the agency’s strategic core, you need 2-3 experts to focus on strategy and technology, and experts in operating and maximizing the 5th Model.  As the agency gains new business, headcount can be added to the core.

This new type of agency gains access to an enormous range of talented professionals resulting in greater flexibility and speed.  Overhead is reduced and efficiencies are increased. Crowdsourcing fuels innovation, leading to even more consumer insights.  It can increase the agency’s geographic reach.  The agency’s collective creative mojo increases exponentially.

The chart below includes the services that we believe are critical to the new agency’s success.  The key is the ability to integrate and leverage owned, paid and earned media while providing the services most in demand (see illustration below).

A final thought … proof of our endorsement of the power of “quality” crowdsourcing, Blue Focus Marketing announced on June 16, 2011 that we are the first U.S.-based Affiliate for the blur Group’s Creative Services Exchange. 

Brands & Ad Agencies: Join the 2.0 crowd at Blue Focus Marketing.  Submit your brief….click here.

[Please note: This is a re-post of an original MENG Blend Blog post.]

The following special agent video was created by the blur Group.


If you missed Part I, The Fifth Model “Crowdsourcing” Hits Madison Avenue + Crowdsourcing Infographic – Part 1, click here.

Question: Good ideas are good ideas.  If they’re focused on a tight creative brief does it matter where the creative ideas come from?

(Feel free to comment on my blog and/or tweet out your response to @mnburgess @BlueFocus360)

Suggested hashtags: #5thModel #crowdsourcing #canneslions #CMO #advertising #brands #Nifty50 #MarketerMonday #usguys

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