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Consumer-generated media and its usefulness

May 1, 2009

Where do consumers get information when considering whether to purchase or utilize your product / services?

The answer lies somewhere between the social web and marketing. It lies in the conversations consumers are having with each other.

Here are more of my thoughts generated from reading Dave Evans book, “Social Media Marketing” (p. 79-89).

Consumers participate in your marketing, through conversations with other consumers, which can make or break your reputation. These conversations, when put together, build communities around products / services.

For more information on these types of consumer-generated communities, visit CommuniSpace at

Dave Evans says these communities act as “a curator for – the collective reputation of a brand” (p. 81).

This is one reason why businesses should also participate in the social web. Your customers are out there having conversations about your product / services.

During this consideration phase, consumers are seeking information on “value, performance, applicability, reputation” according to Evans. “The social feedback cycle [is] a purchase validation tool.”

These conversations are “word of mouth” marketing. Listening, talking, sharing = participation.

Repeat customers may be your best marketing tool as their word of mouth has added value. Evans calls repeat customers “reference experts” since potential customers will look to current customers for feedback on your products / services.

When customers talk about your products using social web tools, others looking for information about your products can get information as they need it – in real time.

Evans gives examples of businesses that have used the social web as a marketing tool: Dell’s “Idea Storm,” Starbuck’s “MyStarbucksIdea” forums, Southwest Airlines, and Zappos.

Consumer-generated media includes:
micro-blogs such as Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed
photo sharing sites
video sharing sites

Nielsen/Buzzmetrics and TNS/Cymfony “specialize in the measurement of online conversations through quantitative indexing of blogs and similar forums” (p. 88).

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