Everyone knows the Kryptonite story. It made for compelling water cooler talk for a few weeks. But beyond that I wonder how many bike companies (large and small) made real changes in their Internet strategy as a result of it. How many companies have installed proactive plans to research, intercept, and glean the potentially disastrous or quite helpful information floating around the Web? My guess is not many.
CGM, or "consumer generated media" (forums, blogs, product review sites) play a major role in influencing brand perceptions and purchase decisions. That probably isn't big news to you. But is your company doing anything to monitor this chatter?
"Companies need to know how to find and analyze what's on the Internet to have a deeper understanding of opinions, sentiment and winds of change. Type in any brand name or product into a Google or Yahoo! search engine and you're just as likely to find a consumer-owned web site or online forum about that product (positive or negative) as your are to find the corporate or branded website."
- Do you have a strategy/policy in place to track what's being said online about your brand, your niche, and other things that affect your business?
- Have you identified at least one employee to monitor forums, review sites and blogs?
- Is that employee savvy to the latest search and tracking tools available?
- Is that employee empowered, trusted and prepared to respond directly when necessary and/or report to management about what they find?
- Is that person monitoring the web on a very frequent basis?
CGM is quickly growing not only in volume but in quality and impact as well. More and more people have broadband connections, digital cameras and camcorders, and knowledge of how to post streaming video. Forums have improved and many of them offer robust search capabilities which can bring you vast amounts of useful marketing and product development information
And unless you've been a cave for the past few months, you might also realize that blogs have catapulted into the mainstream. This means more of your customers are now publishing and broadcasting their opinions and feelings about your brand and products to their families, friends, co-workers and Internet communities.
If I were you I'd listen and take notes. Because there will be a test and you don't want to fail this one. Trust me.
(Stay tuned for Part II where I'll share some tools and tricks I use to monitor information online)