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Intelliseek held a teleconference (sometimes I just can’t bring myself to say the word ‘webinar’ – it’s like saying the word ‘infopreneur’ with a straight face) on the advent and advancement of Consumer Generated Media (CGM). Boiling it all down:
Traditional marketers are threatened that consumers can now publish their opinions about products. With blogs (and other instant online publishing tools), consumers anywhere can tell others how much a product sucks.
An example I’ll give is from my personal blog where I’d written about wanting to buy the Scunci steamer after being seduced by a late-night infommercial. Once Google picked up that I was talking about the Scunci – a bunch of jilted customers found their way to my site and vented about how terrible the product is. Net gain: I didn’t buy it.
They do a great job talking about how blogs, message boards, IM, consumer opinion sites – all of that stuff – is an online analog of fabled ‘word of mouth’ advertising. Except the part that is different is when you tell a buddy about a product face-to-face, the words evaporate into the ether – with a blog they are immediately archived for posterity and instantly searchable and findable by consumers researching purchasing decisions. Also, because these ‘word of web’ exchanges are archived – they can also be tracked much much easier. Finally there are metrics to measure these amorphous trends – and one widely-broadcasted, pissed-off customer can sink a product.
Other important points:
- Blogs and the blogosphere can be seen as an instantaneous, ever-happening, on-going survey.
- Blogs drive transparency – whether a company likes it or not (remember that pesky Dan Rather memo?).
- Consumer generated media has greater value than paid ads because of higher trust and frequency.
- Barriers for consumers to get online and vent (or praise) are lowering further and further. Grandma could wreck your ad campaign.
You can access their PowerPoint deck here (choose the ‘CGM 101’ deck).