A recent article on the faucet filter Pur’s plans to add flavor packets mentioned in passing that much of the product emerged from the 100,000+ participants in Proctor & Gamble’s VoicePoint program–which got me to thinking:  Crowd-sourcing of the mainstream variety may actually work.

If I understand the system, it is primarily mothers, parents and homemakers (yes, I know those groups overlap but think about it for a bit and you will ssee that they also have distinct areas).  P&G elicits comments from the participants and provides them with some products (not necessarily all of the participants).

Crowdsourcing was all the rage early last year but the success to which the article alludes in reference to the Pur product line suggests that someone may want to dig even more.

Lessons for others?  Yes.  It is a low-cost way of building or strengthening brand loyalty while also getting direct feedback on product development.  Companies–especially those that are consumer-facing–ignore this approach at their peril.  Besides, it is much, much less expensive than directional focus groups work.

Yes, yes, there are plenty of reasons why it won’t work, but P&G’s experience should silence the naysayers.  The cost of the experiment (trying it) is minimal.