Sunday, March 05, 2006
According to research from GfK NOP, while 67% of U.S. consumers in 1977 called Word-of-Mouth (WOM) one of the best sources for new product information, that number exploded to 92% in 2005.1 The consumer marketing world has been interested in the power of buzz to influence sales for some time and while WOM strategies may be different on the business-to-business side, I suspect a poll of B2B buyers would reveal similarly strong faith in the power of word-of-mouth marketing – after all people tend to trust the word of other people more than companies. Tracking all this to some quantifiable measure of its ability to increase brand awareness and drive revenue growth turns out (as always) to be the hairy part.
However, tools to do just that are emerging: advanced search engines utilizing automated linguistic legerdemain to monitor the blogosphere, message boards and other online places consumers congregate. Of course, these snazzy new tools are also fairly expensive. According to BtoB magazine the average contract for Intelliseek’s new Brandpulse Internet monitoring service is about $75,0002 — likely out of reach for most small-to-medium sized businesses and budget-strapped corporate marketing departments.
But knowing what’s being said (good or bad) about your company and brands is too important to give up on just because the budget is lacking for formalized tools. Since a focus of this blog is on applying grass roots methods of measurement, in a moment of insanity I thought I’d take a stab at piecing together a “simple” B2B WOM measurement tool myself to track brand reach and perception online. I’ll be mentioning more about that effort in the weeks to come. In the meantime, I discovered you can actually tease quite a bit out of Intelliseek’s Blogpulse search tool for free, as well as find out what’s being said about you using Boardreader to search comments posted to message boards. Give it a try.
1Jonathan Carson. “Are You Reading Into the Chatter?” OMMA Magazine. December 2005. pg 27
2Paul Gillin. “How to Monitor the Blogosphere” BtoB Magazine. January 16, 2006. pg 17