Collective Intelligence in Marketing

The proverb, “two heads are better than one,” relates to the idea of collective intelligence.  Henry Jenkins defines collective intelligence as, “the kind of knowledge and understanding that emerges from large groups of people,” (2008). In industries that rely on creative and novel ideas, such as the marketing industry, people are now using the collective knowledge of consumers. While the field of marketing has evolved to focus more on relationship building, the role of consumers has drastically changed from the former, when consumers either liked a product or did not, to idea generators and product creators. In creative industries, like marketing, it is important to remain innovative within the business, which is why it is crucial for marketers to appreciate diversity and listen to consumers and use their thoughts and ideas, ultimately their collective knowledge, to create new products and evolve their business plans and strategies according to consumers wants and demands.

As humans evolve, industries follow in their footsteps, which remains to be one of the great marketing challenges: to market to an ever-changing population. In the era of social media, there is now a significantconvergence of ideas among a diverse population. Like any business professional, marketers must understand the population and learn to use their many resources and combine their knowledge with others, to somehow create revenue-generating marketing campaigns and strategies. As Jenkins said, “the greater diversity of inputs into the process, the richer the output,” (2008). One company who finds the importance of diversity and creative collective intelligence is Proctor and Gamble. P&G creates teams who attempt to solve business challenges, who “tap into their own unique gifts, [but] also harness the collective intelligence of a diverse multifunctional team… [which] impacts the way [their] teams view the world, work and interact,” (P&g, 2011). Collective intelligence “recognizes that there are diverse forms of expertise and that we learn more if we draw on as many different minds as possible rather than placing our trust in singular minds” (Jenkins, 2008). Gathering and merging information from diverse sources and a mixture of populations, we can become more knowledgeable of target demographics within the world, especially within certain marketplaces, which is key for marketers when creating and adjusting their marketing strategies, products and brand image.

In an industry that is embraces creativity and uniqueness, it is essential to use open and collective networks, platforms and other sources to collect information about how people feel towards a brand or product to then enhance or alter those feelings. “Collective intelligence has turned age-old marketing principles upside-down… the flow of information about a company is almost entirely in the hands of consumers…. But the smartest brands are embracing this openness and involving the consumer as never before,” (Montgomery, 2008). Pierre Lévy’s Youtube video on Collective Intelligence Literacy, says that collective intelligence “can enhance our perception… also our ability to collaborate, cooperate, to dialogue, to accumulate collectively some memory,” (Howardrheingold, 2011).

Being knowledgeable about the market, consumers and people in general, is essential to the job of a marketer and a marketing agency. Having one view or idea of something does not permit creativity when brainstorming new ideas for marketing strategies and campaigns. One company who embraced collective intelligence and utlizes their consumers as a resource was Mountain Dew. They created a marketing campaign that allowed customers to collectively contribute their names for the next Mountain Dew flavor. One campaign to collect the populations information and ideas was called “DEWmocracy 2,” (“”). On this site, consumers were able to contribute and vote on their own, as well as other contributor’s ideas. This social media initiative put a “call to action to get fans of the brand to use social media to tell Mountain Dew why they should be selected to help the company craft a new flavor,” (Van Grove, 2010). After the ideas were contributed, Mountain Dew chose the top flavors and launched the products. This marketing strategy saw immediate results through due to word of mouth communications. Mountain Dew products saw changes in their social media numbers, with their Facebook fans increasing from 800,000 “from the time [the program started] in June 2009 until today, where we are at 920,000 Facebook fans,” (Wong, 2010). Although Facebook fans may not directly correlate to profits, Mountain Dews’ marketing strategy captured consumer’s attention and communicated to consumers that they aim to please consumers, whether they are already customer or not.

While marketers face the continuous challenge of understanding and communicating with their target audiences, they should first aim to understand the diversity among them. Understanding consumers is key to today’s marketing environment, because consumers are now idea and product generators for businesses. Reacting to this change, marketing professionals must use collective knowledge from within the industry and outside the industry to create new products and evolve to fulfill the wants and demands of consumers. Combining a diverse set of knowledge, will also help marketers gain multiple perceptions from their consumers, which will help to build their relationship with their target demographics and other potential consumers. Since knowledge is one of the largest resources we as humans have, why not collect the information and knowledge we have and use it productively?

Appreciate Diversity                                Listen To a Diverse Set Of Consumers

              Combine Your Knowledge and Others Knowledge For The Best Results!

Resources: . (n.d.). Retrieved from

Howardrheingold. (2011, March 05). Retrieved from

Jenkins, H. (2008, February 04). Sharing notes about collective intelligence [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Montgomery, G. (2008, June). COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE. Campaign: DIGITAL ESSAYS 19.  Retrieved February 28,

2012, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 1515722221).

. (2011). Retrieved from diversity_inclusion.shtml

Van Grove, J. (2010, April 20). Retrieved from

Wong, E. (2010, June 16). Retrieved from

Leave a Comment