ExpoTV recently ran a research study to determine how do consumers relate to each other. While this isn’t Forrester Research, so I will not defend, nor explain their methodology. It’s rare that analysts point to research other than their own, if I put your interests first, you’ll continue to come back to me.
Blog ExpoTV found that:
55% of customers in their survey want to have an ongoing discussion brands
Respondents were most anxious to talk to the product design (49%) department, followed by customer support (14%), marketing (14%) and pricing (13%)
89% said they felt more loyal if they knew the brand was listening through a feedback group (attention insight community vendors)
WOM: Sixty-one percent of survey respondents said that they told at least 10 people about the last brand they liked.
WOM: Eighty-one percent of respondents will tell at least five people.
Despite this evidence, it’s interesting to note that a recent WSJ Article that Most Corporate Blogs Are Unimaginative Failures featuring a Forrester report shows that many corporate blogs (a common way companies talk to customers) isn’t going that well. One common mis-step is that corporate blogs are focused on pushing their own agenda, not that of the readers/customers.
A rather sad paradox, where fear has overtaken an opportunity to improve relationships with patients and clients. While this may not hold true for every pharmaceutical company, I recently met one who had banned it’s employees from monitoring blogs, social media and the online conversation.
[Why did this pharma company ban their employees to monitor blogs? If a patient complained about a treatment or medicine having ill-effects, then the pharma would would be liable to take action]
Responding to every customer can be very, very costly, considering how many people may be talking about medicines, often anonymously in online forums.
We saw similar fear a few years ago as Finance and Insurance companies were afraid to toe-dip into the conversation due to strict government regulations, although were seeing companies like Wells Fargo launch blogs and virtual worlds, aimed at the ‘lifestyle’ discussion, rather than specifics on your checking account, or CD.
Despite this troubling limitations set on the pharma industry has resulted in low adoption, at least two brands have joined the conversation, Johnson and Johnson’s ‘Connect‘, an interactive media site, and Glaxo Smith Klein’s ‘Alliconnect‘ Blog according to Mark Senard.
[Telling employees not to look at blogs is akin as blocking Facebook at work, off duty employees will simply access it at home, or whip out their mobile phones and surf, there's no stopping a Groundswell]
While it’s easy to outline the risks, let’s quickly talk about the opportunities: Pharma companies can improve their customer insight from an ongoing focus group, reduce time to market for new drugs by understanding risks faster and more quickly, and have a stronger connection to customers, making marketing more efficient.
If you know of any pharma companies that have turned a blind eye, or have embraced the conversation, please leave a comment below.
Update: I added “Some” pharma companies as the new title in the post.
I did a quick video interview (hear what he says about Facebook) with Aaron at the plush St Regis hotel at Office 2.0, if you can’t see the video (feedreader or email) go directly to this post.
Aaron Strout, Citizen Marketer, is doing some interesting stuff, he handed me a copy of his book “We are smarter than me” which was written by the community using social computing tools. He had me on his audio podcast, so if you want to hear us, access the 10 minute interview.
If you haven’t noticed, I’m doing these short 2 minute interviews with interesting folks I run into. I keep the format fast and try to respect your time. I find that video is such a great way to see the human side of folks, and it’s so easy to do with my digital camera. Leave a comment a comment if you’ve any thoughts.
Delicious is a social bookmarking tool. It empowers anyone the ability to tag, label, and share with others web pages. For the Web Strategist, it’s a great tool to understand how people think (or don’t think) of your brand. Those who tag your website are more engaged than passive readers, and are sharing your content with others, so pay attention.
How to use?
How do you use it? Go to Delicious, in the search bar, type in the name of your brand, website, or name, and review results. You’ll see some pink highlighed words “Saved by X People”, click on that, and it’ll take you to that page where you can see details of comments, a sorted tag listing, and a history.
Here are the top 5 tags on my index page:
76 tagged the site “blog”
74 tagged the site “strategy”
73 tagged the site “web2.0″
58 tagged the site “marketing”
52 tagged the site “web”
Interesting, I don’t consider myself a Marketing blogger, or a Web 2.0 blogger (I don’t even have a keyword category for that term), to me those are just sub-sets of what Web Strategy is about. It’s amazing the the tags that I use for my own posts are slightly different than readers perceived it. I could even get more granular and look at specific posts that were tagged, try sifting on your own pages.
I did a Delicious search on my Facebook Strategy post, and discovered that the post had been tagged 186 times, I could then drill down and find out what they said (such as Peter He), and what else they tagged –that’s intelligence. What’s amazing is there is far more activity in Delicious than in the comments of the same post.
I did the same for Jennifer Jones’s Marketing Voices, Scoble’s blog,
If you want to learn more about how to use Folksonomies to build a better website, I wrote this post a while back. You should be using these keywords to help you uncover what people are classifying your content as, and as a result should factor into your SEO strategy.
Ian from Conversation Marketing has a great video and “how to” on understanding what users want on your website.
What could you do with this data? Find out what users content they want, how they phrase their terms, what content is missing. Also analyze from where and when they used the search bar, it could provide some clues on what they’re looking for.
[Analyzing search logs right on one's site is a an easy way to understand what users are looking for]
Yes another way to evaluate the user experience. Louis Rosenfeld has a speech, research, and a book on the same topic.
I often ask my audience at my presentations if they’re familiar with Techmeme. I always bring this tool up when the conversation shifts to “us vs them” regarding mainstream media and bloggers. The tech industry is one of the first for bloggers and mainstream to get along and merge into something new. (In fact you should be checking out Techcrunch’s business model, they’re making 200k in advertising every month)
Techmeme is great, it’s a tab that I have open all the time (since late 2005) to gauge what’s happening in the technology industry. It’s a combination of mainstream articles and bloggers that comment and feed off each other. I know mainstream journalists watch it to see what the buzz is, and bloggers comments off the articles and vice versa. It’s interesting to see the different points of every discussion, and some bloggers are SO predictable (take Nicholas Carr for example). I see some bloggers that copy every article and title and make it a blog post so they become part of the breaking news and also benefit from lots of content in search engines.
Gabe Rivera and I have had discussions on what Techmeme is, he calls it a “News” tool, but I say it’s a “Conversation tracker”. To me I can clearly see different points of views going back and forth on the site. I can see people responding to each other in threaded discussions and cross-linking. Also, the Techmeme isn’t always news in the sense that that we’re used to, sometimes the content can have personal information, or product reviews –it’s not always news. At one point, Gabe and I agreed that it’s a tool that tracks different points of view.
So how do you describe Techmeme to others?
I say it’s a Conversation Tracker.