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Marketing by Example, Part 3

By Justin Petruccelli

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

pwmg.jpgLast week, Pete Wiltjer had just begun to test the crowdsourcing waters in the search for his company's new logo. By the next day, he was surfing a tidal wave of more than 250 submissions.

The high response rate was no accident--Wiltjer even got a pat on the back from the guys at CrowdSPRING for his performance. "One of the things I did right was filling out a very detailed project plan at the beginning and making sure to engage the designers and ask a lot of questions," he says.

The winning logo (pictured) came from one of the 87 creatives who submitted their designs through the crowdsourcing magnate. For Wiltjer, one of the major deciding factors was the designer's incorporation of a creative spin on his old logo. The winning entry was also a product of a healthy back-and-forth between Wiltjer and the designer, something he also used to separate the experienced artists from the amateurs.

"Some of them weren't paying attention and they were coming back with stuff I had already rejected," he says. "The ones I liked obviously knew how to take criticism and knew how to make the client happy."

Feedback between buyers and creatives is a huge part of the crowdsourcing process. Wiltjer posted more than 200 responses to submissions, and some designers took themselves right out of the game by flaking out on his suggestions or by not responding at all. The whole thing is something of a cat-and-mouse game to begin with. All the submissions for a given project are visible to everyone involved, so some creatives--including Wiltjer's winner, who even told him not to be surprised if he got outstanding designs late in the game--will swoop in at the last minute to avoid having their designs poached. At the same time, one designer also told Wiltjer he shouldn't give anything too high a ranking, lest he scare other designers away from the table.

"It's a lot like playing poker," he says. "But I continued to interact with the designers even if it was just to say thanks."

In general, it's a process that's more communal than it is cutthroat. In Wiltjer's case, some designers saw his comments on other people's work and incorporated them into their own. Others went out of their way to point out that their designs weren't based on anything they'd already seen. But at the end, a fellow designer was the first to say how great the winning design was. "That's the society we're in now," Wiltjer says. "Transparency means legitimacy, and it lends credibility to the process."

Logo in hand--with some final changes to what you see here--Wiltjer's now setting his sights on, well, his sites. He's a huge proponent of social networking when it comes to his clients, and he's back in practice-what-he-preaches mode when it comes to his company's website. He's about three weeks out, but in the meantime his web address redirects to his blog, which he's updating a couple times a week. He's also opened up his Facebook page to the public and plans to incorporate various social networking tools into his new site. Next week, we'll see how it's coming along.

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