How to Use Crowd Promoting to Launch Products on a Budget

 How to Use Crowd Promoting to Launch Products on a Budget How do you launch a product with a small budget? Crowd Promoting could be the answer. Watch this video to learn how it works and what it can do for your business.


How can startups and small companies launch new products on a tiny budget? Hi, my name is Bobbie Carlton and I’m one of the founders of Mass Innovation Nights and Innovation Women.

Big Budget Doesn’t Always Mean Big Results

Big companies spend a fortune on their product launches—millions and millions of dollars—and even they don’t have all the budget they’d like to have. Startups and small companies have almost none. Over the last eight years, we’ve launched almost a thousand new products. These companies have gotten more than $1.3 billion in funding and we haven’t spent much more than a fraction of what a large company would spend promoting a single new product.

We call it “crowd promoting,” and what we’re doing is we’re gathering together a community and getting them to help us. Crowd promoting may sound like something that just small companies do, but companies like Ford and big organizations like NASA also use crowd-promoting tactics.

Getting Started with Crowd Promoting

First off, you’re going to look for your community. Who are the people that want to help you succeed? In the Boston market, we created an event that is focused on bringing in people who want to help entrepreneurs succeed. These are the local service providers, other accelerators, and incubators. They’re also the marketing people. They’re all helping these young startups and small companies launch their new products.

Building Your Teams

So when you’re building a crowd, who are the different teams? First there’s your internal team and your marketing team but also all of your employees. The second team is your external friends. These are your partners, perhaps your resellers, or maybe even the retailers who are going to be selling your product. Then you’re going to look to your local community.

One of the reasons that we’ve created Mass Innovation Nights as a live event is that we want to do face-to-face marketing. We want the entrepreneurs, the startups, and the small companies to be able to talk directly with their customers, their partners, and the community at large. They get a huge amount of feedback when they’re out talking to people face-to-face.

Consistent Messaging

When we get started with a crowd-promoting project, we want to make sure there’s consistent messaging. One way to do that is to create materials that everyone can use. You can create cards that you hand out to people. You can e-mail them information. You can do anything you want, but make sure that people are using the same message, the same handle, and the same hashtag when they’re helping you.

Make Sure Everyone Wins

One of the things that most people don’t think about when they talk about creating a community—and it holds true with crowd promoting as well—is that there’s a certain amount of self-interest involved. Everyone has to win. For us, when we’re creating an event, the entrepreneurs get all the support of the local community and the local community gets something out of it as well: your local bloggers are getting content, or maybe the local service providers have a terrific networking event. You have to make sure that everyone wins.

One of the most important things about crowd promoting is you can’t just take from your community. You have to give something back. And at the same time, you also have to allow people to give to you. This is the essence of creating a community where everybody wins and everyone has an opportunity to shine.

About Bobbie Carlton

Bobbie Carlton, founder of Innovation Women, Innovation Nights and Carlton PR & Marketing, is an award-winning marketing, PR and social media professional. She speaks regularly on social media, innovation communities and product launches, and consults with small businesses and individuals on social networking, marketing and PR. Previously, in addition to working with a number of Boston-area PR and marketing firms, she headed global PR enterprise software companies PTC and Cognos (now part of IBM). In 2006 she switched gears, joining a startup focused on providing positive values for preteen girls through a social network and book series.

Innovation Women is an online speakers’ bureau for entrepreneurial, technical and innovative women designed to help event managers gender-balance their speaker slates. Mass Innovation Nights is a social media powered new product showcase and networking event. MIN has launched almost 1000 new products which have collectively received more than $1.3 billion in funding. In 2010 she was named one of the “Ten Bostonians who have done the most for the startup community”, and in 2011 she was a recipient of a Mass High Tech All-star award. In 2015 she was named a Boston Business Journal Woman to Watch.