Corporate Blogging Survey 2005

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August 3, 2005

Word of Mouth Comment

Responding to my word of mouth post yesterday at brand autopsy, Paul Moore inspired me to write a comment on his blog, it got too long, and I wanted to reference some links so I made a post here about Word of Mouth Marketing instead.

I think that consumers are very good a weighing lots of information from a number of different sources. Are we all not becoming more media savvy in this media saturated world?

I do wonder though, as a customer I tend to search for many sources of information, maybe the real issue for the buzzAgents is that a product or vendor is now part of that consideration. After getting a lead customers can still go to the web and look for a critic of the product or vendor. If they only see a majority of positive feedback, they will trust the original report, if not and they find a lot of negative information, then a customer will discount the credibility of the agent.

It's my argument that companies can only really succeed by encouraging both negative and positive feedback on their products. If a company does receive negative feedback, how did the company handle that issue? Dare I say, from a PR perspective, its almost as if you wish something would go wrong (minor hopefully) so that a company can demonstrate they can handle the complaint. I don't know about you, but as a customer I don't care so much if things go wrong, that's life, its how the company handles the situation that concerns me.

Now in a one-to-one situation maybe a small number of people will hear about a complaint handled successfully, but online, 100’s, 1000’s of people will read the incident. That’s what’s happening at Microsoft and Macromedia, both companies are using blogs to monitor or ask for feedback from their customers. The companies either handle the complaint and solve the issue or explain why they cannot solve the issue in a reasonable manner. The interchange is exciting for customers, wow people say, these guys are really listening to me and my feedback is helping to build a better product, and customers state this on the company blogs or better yet write about the interchange on their own blogs.

Creating BuzzAgents is one strategy that works for some companies, I would suggest that concentrating on product development, and feedback and complaint handling will get you more results online. And as a marketer, and a believer in the “marketing concept? I think it follows what marketing people should be doing.

I also enjoyed reading Ben McConnell’s series of questions on the word of mouth study, Ben any thoughts on how feedback and handling complaints can actually be a net positive to company’s marketing programs?

Posted by johncass at August 3, 2005 11:55 AM

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