Keep in Touch With Blogs, Stay Connected to Consumers

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New software will help marketers stay connected to what consumers are thinking and saying about their products by using search engine technology to find and categorize consumer opinions posted on blogs, message boards and online posts. This was the main topic addressed by the "Blogs, Boards, Posts: Capturing Consumer Buzz Online" panel at the recent SES Conference in New York.


JupiterResearch senior analyst Gary Stein opened the session with research showing that when users search for companies there are likely to be at least three listings from consumer posts to blogs in the top 10 results. When a search for "Starbucks" is conducted on Google, IHateStarbucks.com will show up in the No. 2 or 3 spot.


Consumers are increasingly turning to blogs, message boards and opinion sites to vent their frustration with or admiration for products and their respective manufacturers. Blogs and message boards allow consumers the anonymity they need to say exactly what they feel about everything from politics to coffee without being punished or ostracized for "voicing" their opinions. It is probably one of the purest forms of consumer truth available to marketers today.


And to cash in on the profits sure to be generated from a technology that sponsors and influences this ground-breaking marketer/consumer relationship, a number of different software products have been developed to monitor what consumers are typing into public forums.


Buzz Metrics' proprietary Discussion Miner technology retrieves millions of discussions from blogs, message boards, chat rooms, product feedback, etc., while BlogPulse 2.0, a recent upgrade from Intelliseek, covers 9.3 billion blogs, indexes six months of blog posts and data, creates customized graphs that cover themes and topics in the blogging world and gives daily blog statistics.


And because it's not unusual, and even quite a regular occurrence, for blogs to illuminate a corporation's dirty laundry or top-secret announcement before the news media even suspect something, CooperKatz launched a new service in February to help corporations monitor and plan for issues that might arise as a result of blogs.


So while statistics still show that very few marketers monitor what is being said on blogs, smart marketers are taking preemptive measures to ensure that they are privy to what consumers are saying about their company and using that information to do what comes naturally: profit.


Smart marketers are using blogs not only to monitor and respond to consumer trends and squash public relations disasters before they go "public" but also to shape product development months in advance. And for the really smart marketer, the term "Why fight 'em when you can join 'em?" has taken on a whole new meaning. After all, why let others say bad things for you when you can say good things about yourself?


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