Corporate Blogging Survey 2005

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September 26, 2005

Blogging the Marketing Research Conference 2005

This week I am representing the Boston Chapter of the American Marketing Association in my role as President of the local AMA Boston chapter.

Earlier this morning I caught some of Dave Balter's presentation, "Word-of-Mouth and buzz - Your Customers are Talking!". Dave is the founder and President of BuzzAgent, a company that provides word of mouth services through their consumer agents for companies.

Dave gave an excellent presentation this morning. Some stats from his presentation include; 2/3 of US economy is influenced by word of mouth, from McKensey. Dave also said that 80% of word of mouth occurs off-line, which makes sense if you think about how many interactions happened every day in the real world.

Some other points that I thought were particularly interesting, that word of mouth adds a lot of credibility, and that people really like to feel involved with their brands, and if a company does allow feedback on a product, it encourages people to talk even more about a company's product. This was interesting to me when put in the context of the Backbone Media corporate blogging survey, and how the case studies on Microsoft and Macromedia really illustrated that same process but through blogging.

Dave also listed six reasons why people create word of mouth.

1. Helping to education others.
2. Proving knowledge about a product.
3. Finding common ground.
4. Validating your opinion.
5. Pride in the product.
6. Shared emotion, we need to share our opinion.

Dave's company also discovered from research with their agents that WOM is usually most active during a 13-17 week period after initial product introduction. All agents are free to recommend products positively or negatively. BuzzAgent teaches its BuzzAgents how to communicate their opinions with other consumers.

Most interesting to me was Dave's description of the "weird value of negativity," apparently consumers value negative comments, and Dave suggested such views give companies the opportunity to respond to negative views about their products easily and quickly. This sounds a lot like openness and transparency in blogging.

Dave recounted how many people are most concerned about a feeling of injustice when a product goes wrong rather than the product not working. The issue therefore is to make sure that any company has a fast mechanism for getting customer feedback. This reminds me of the Macromedia case study from the corporate blogging study earlier this summer. By focusing on content strategy of customer feedback, Macromedia was able to improve their products and gain Internet marketing promotional benefits.

Posted by johncass at September 26, 2005 1:31 PM

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