Corporate Blogging Survey 2005

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September 28, 2005

Comparing the value of customer insights from blog generated data and panel samples

It’s been an exciting week for me; I’ve been attending the 26th annual Marketing Research Conference in Boston, representing the Boston Chapter of the American Marketing association in my role as President of the Boston AMA.

In the light of the Forrester Research study that blog readership, at least once a week, has increased from 5% in 2004 to 10% in 2005 of Internet users. And according to Forrester, “Technology has given consumers an option to tune businesses out, and tune each other in," said Chris Charron, a Forrester (FORR: news, chart, profile) vice president, in a statement. "On the flip side, technology has given businesses an opportunity to gain greater customer insights at a lower cost," by monitoring blogs and Web sites and message boards "to uncover consumer insight and accelerate the innovation of products, services, and design."

From my research into corporate blogging over the last two years, I’ve discovered that blogging is not only valuable for marketing promotion. I’ve seen increases on search engine rankings through blogging on blogs and from the results of the Backbone Media Corporate blogging survey. In addition, if a company follows a blogging content strategy of product development and customer insight a company can improve their products as well. In fact, following the strategy of getting customer insights thru blogs can actually help a company establish themselves as a leader in their industry, and gain additional links from their online customer community, thereby increasing search engine rankings.

The question I had for myself about using blogs for marketing research and product development was this, are customer insights generated through blogs valid? Or is any customer insight developed through corporate blogging skewed by certain vocal and active customers who are not representative of the whole customer community?

The big green blog suggests,

“It's clear that blogs and Word-Of-Mouth Marketing have a growing impact on consumer opinions and behaviors. Bloggers and blog readers have a disproportionately greater influence on other consumers than their 10% population suggests.?
I personally don’t doubt this statement but I think we do need to show evidence through many more case studies with form market research on how customer bloggers and employ bloggers do influence customers to buy.

In discussing this issue with several marketing research professionals I received a few thoughts and ideas. I hope to continue the discussion with those professionals through this blog. However, I also recently chatted with Greg Clemenson of Informative, Inc. A Brisbane, California based company who is using a data from both blog generated customer insights and panel sample data to help companies with their marketing messages, customer service and product development. Greg told me that his company has helped his clients to do both types of research, qualified sample research with panels of customers and conducting analysis of blog generated data. Both sets of data can be used to engineer the design of future studies in either area or provide a balance and an ounce of realism.

What was interesting to me was that a company could use research data generated from sample panels to produce content for blogs that queries customers further, and visa versa for using blog generated customer insights when designing marketing research studies suing sample panels.

Thanks David Lorenzo

Posted by johncass at September 28, 2005 3:43 PM

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Just to further the comment about complementing blogs with analytic technology to provide a more full picture of customers, I have written about this in a post entitled Blogs and Adaptive Conversations. In particular, we complement blogs with a technology, Adaptive Conversations, that has something of the open-ended nature of blogs, but that provides the segmentation and analysis capability of traditional surveys.

Posted by: Greg Clemenson at October 3, 2005 12:25 PM

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