Corporate Blogging Survey 2005

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December 1, 2005

Blogging Research Companies Cull Data From Many Online Communities Beyond Blogging

Joe Mandese and Wendy Davis from Online Media Daily published an article about the market research company, BuzzMetrics, "BuzzMetrics syndicates research culled from blogosphere."

BuzzMetrics is now providing market research data to TV companies about the success or failure of their programs based upon Buzz Metric's culling of consumer generated media in blogs, forums and websites. Television executives can use the data to look into the current consumer buzz around their shows.

Joe Mandese and Wendy Davis ask the question, "how representative such metrics are of the consumer population at large?" This is an issue I've been thinking about since I conducted the first corporate blogging survey in 2004, and was reinforced by the Backbone Corporate Blogging Survey this year, basically if companies are using blogs for product development with their customers, how truly representative are customer product suggestions from customers who read blogs. It's not just a matter of the amount of people reading or creating blogs, it’s a matter of not using good sampling methods to get an opinion about products from a representative sample. This issue is something I discussed in my earlier post, "Comparing the value of customer insights from blog generated data and panel samples."

In another post, "Using Consumer Generated Media For Market Research," Cymfony employee, Jeffrey Feldman's post is featured where he suggested Consumer Generated Media “analysis still can’t yet tell you if the prevailing opinion expressed online is representative of your target market, or only present in a different group.?

Joe Mandese and Wendy Davis are correct in asking their question about the validity of data from blogs, I do think the their mention of Universal McCann's research that bloggers only represent about 2 percent of the US population, underestimates the volume of consumer generated media available for analysis on the web. The Pew Internet Project discovered that 44% of Internet users have generated content on the web. If you look past blogs, and think of forums and news groups, that's where the majority of content is being created currently with consumer generated media. Market research companies who specialize in monitoring consumer generated media; BuzzMetrics, Umbria, Cmyfong, and Intelliseek include data from other websites besides blogs, that information would have rounded out Joe Mandese and Wendy Davis’s article.

Really blogs have been the toll bell that has alerted the marketing community to the new phenomenon of consumer generated media, but a company has to look beyond them to the total volume of content generated by customers on the web.

Even if we look past blogging data, consumer generated media still might not be representative, Joe Mandese and Wendy Davis interview Max Kalehoff, the VP of Marketing of BuzzMetrics in their Online Media article. Max talks about the usefulness of the data,

"Is it representative of the U.S. population? No," concedes Max Kalehoff, vice president-marketing at BuzzMetrics, adding: "and that's precisely the reason that it's so valuable." By looking at discrete subsets of consumers--in the case of TV*BuzzMetrics, TV enthusiasts--Kalehoff says marketers, agencies, or media companies can gauge people who are "so engaged, so passionate, and care so much about the product" that they're actually discussing it online with others."

In my post, "Validating Customer Generated Comments on Blogs and the Web," an interview with Mary Beth Weber, Executive Vice President for SigmaValidation, a market research firm, Mary Beth discusses the problems associated with using data from consumer generated media,

“if someone is going to blog about a company or product, they will have had either an exceptionally good experience or an exceptionally bad experience. So if you are listening to customer bloggers you may think you have more problems than good, as typically people are more motivated to express their bad experiences.?

The industry still has far to go with the use of consumer generated media for market or product research, but as my own interviews with Macromedia and Microsoft have demonstrated corporate blogging can give companies useful product data. BuzzMetrics is providing a useful service to the television industry and their method of covering the industry also provides a good model to other agencies and solution providers on how to approach a particular industry.

Posted by johncass at December 1, 2005 1:45 PM

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