Is Social Media Research Valid?
Toby Bloomberg's interview with Bill Neal, an expert in marketing research provides some analysis of consumer generated media.
"I have some real problems with consumer generated media as a source of credible and reliable information. In many ways it combines the worst elements of non-scientific research - self selection and advocacy - both positive and negative.
That is, those out there in the Internet world who are generating their own media are self-motivated to do so and are not representative of any defined population of buyers. And, given the fact that they have taken a public position on a particular product or service, it means that they more often than not have exceptional or non-typical attitudes about those products and services. The information they generate may be true, or not true - there is no way to discern which. Therefore, the information generated by those folks is neither credible nor reliable. So, as researchers, yes, we should be listening, but we must be very cautious and skeptical about its veracity and its usefulness."
I've had similar doubts about the reliability of the consumer generated media, as I've discussed in past articles.
However, I also think that consumer generated media can highlight information marketing people just did not think to ask. I wrote about this in a recent article for business intelligence.
Posted by johncass at June 13, 2006 11:03 AM
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John - thanks for the shout out. I hope that Bill's interview encourages the research community to take a closer look at cmg as an additional source of information. Perhaps it might be an interesting program for AMA/Boston to put together?
Posted by: Toby at June 13, 2006 8:51 PM
Toby, great interview, you always do good work. :-)
I like the idea of the AMA/Boston market research panel. Though the market research SIG just did a panel on consumer generated media. However, we did not have the critique!
I think panel discussions are always better with a bit of controversy, don't you?
Posted by: John Cass at June 13, 2006 9:04 PM
John - should have know that AMA/Boston would be riding the curve high with you leading the Chapter!
Posted by: Toby at June 14, 2006 11:27 PM
I cannot claim credit on that one, Tom Brashear, my director of market research came up with the idea. And did all the leg work. It's all about the team.
Posted by: John Cass at June 15, 2006 9:51 AM