WSJ on Consumer-Generated Media

    December 29, 2004

Wall Street Journal Online details how more companies are using blogs as a market research device.

Companies Mine Blogs For Market Research includes comments from Sony, Ford, Volkswagen and Kryptonite on the impact that blogs and other online forums are having on their business.

The growing popularity of blogs and other online forums has prompted companies to pay more attention to what is being said about them on the Internet, and has given rise to a new kind of market research aimed at finding useful information in the sea of online chatter.

For more than a year, car-maker Volkswagen AG has used a service by Techdirt, Foster City, Calif., to find out which new technologies are generating the most buzz online, with the aim of integrating some of them in new automobiles. “I think [Web sites] are very important as a source of unfiltered information, but there’s too much information out there already. Frankly, we don’t have time to keep track of all these things,” says Daniel Rosario, a senior engineer in Volkswagen’s electronics research lab in Silicon Valley.

This article starts to shift our focus away from using blogs as a reactive radar to spot trouble on the horizon to how we can use blogs, and more, as market research for future efforts.

Intelliseek is also mentioned in the article and does a good job of painting this broader picture. In their white paper, Consumer-Generated Media 101: Word-of-Mouth in the Age of the Web-Fortified Consumer, they note that “as consumers create, share and circulate more and more of their own content on the Internet, marketers, brand managers and entire corporations must take notice. These rapidly growing consumer-to-consumer discussion forums, message boards, blogs and other forms of online media frequently carry a higher trust factor than traditional media and marketing channels – a phenomenon that presents marketers and business professionals with new challenges…and new opportunities.”

Registration is required to download the white paper, but it’s worth the effort.

Kevin Dugan is the author of the popular Strategic Public Relations blog. Kevin is Director of Marketing Communications for FRCH Design Worldwide.

Visit Kevin’s blog: Strategic Public Relations.