November 17, 2005

Community Marketing: Blogs


Our world is evolving, especially as the Web continues to expand. More companies now adapt their marketing strategies to include the Web as it is cheaper, faster, and easier. The evolution of online marketing has been drastically changing from simple text websites, to graphical interfaces, interactive media, and now to community marketing.


What is Community Marketing?


Community Marketing is a strategy some businesses are utilizing to communicate with their customers. It enables a businesses to engage in an informal conversation with their customers without the bells and whistles of a marketing strategy or sales pitch. Speaking the customers language and presenting ideas in their terms is just another aspect of knowing your customer and providing services/products that fit their needs.

Now how does this relate to Blogs? Well blogs are in the umbrella of Community Marketing which includes: wikis, forums, social networking... (for more information on community marketing visit Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang

The mere fact that large corporate companies have blogs illustrates the importance of conversing with others and exchanging ideas about current products, trends, and strategies. Just as I use my blog to express my interests, corporations use blogs to have conversations with their customer to build a non-comercialized relationship -- instead of business to consumer, friend to friend. Although to some, blogging is just "noise" right now, I strongly believe that community marketing IS the future. p>

WHY?

Envision this... you want to buy an mp3 player, but you are unsure if you should buy an iPod. Who will you go to for advice? You can read the new Press Release on Apple's website, or you can ask your friends. Who will you trust more? Now, say none of your friends own an iPod, but you can go to a website and read reviews of the iPod from actual users. Better yet, you can research further and talk with people who have used Apple's products and you can ask them questions. Now who will you trust more...the writer who Apple paid to write good things about their products, or actual users who bought the product themselves and give you their testimonial? I admit, that I would believe someone who actually uses the product, rather than someone who is paid to write good things.

Would you agree?

Now imagine this scenario but on a larger scale - in the business world. Blogging allows businesses to converse with their customers on an informal level. Businesses just need to "listen" to their customers, organize the information, and take action. It's not enough for companies just to create a blog and leave it out there, they need to constantly evolve according to their customer's needs and wants in order to establish and maintain their competitive edge. Blogging allows businesses to do just that!


A perfect example of a business that did not pay attention to the blogosphere is Kryptonite. Word spread in an online group discussion that the bicycle locks made by Kryptonite could easily be picked with a Bic pen. Just two days later, an online video had already been made illustrating how to pick the locks. This caused severe damage to Kyrptonite itself especially a loss of sales. For more on this, visit Why There's No Escaping the Blog

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