Web marketing frog

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Consumer Goods, Retail Trade and Blogs

Although there is still little documentation on how blogs affect sales of consumer goods and retail trade, we can now confirm that there is a correlation between the number of times a product is mentioned on a popular blog and spectacular sales growth for that product.

This connection was put forth by journalists Copeland and Tilin put in their recent article “The New Instant Companies,” published in the latest edition of Business 2.0.(1) They cite numerous examples of manufacturing companies that have recorded phenomenal sales after a consumer’s blog praised the merits of their products.

A double-edged sword
There are myriad consumer blogs capable of boosting or destroying the brand image of a product or store chain. Just think of the many anti-Wal-Mart blogs such as www.alwayslowprices.net/ and www.retrovsmetro.org/blog/id/116. Derogatory comments about Wal-Mart can even be found in blogs devoted to other subjects.(2)

On the other hand, blogs hosted by aficionados can do wonders for a product or brand. For instance, Cesaraconcepts.com discusses gift ideas and Shoppingblog.com is focused on new shopping trends and popular consumer goods. But that’s not all. Each market segment also has its own expert blogger/guru, such as: Kosherblog.net, which helps Jewish consumers find kosher products, Treehugger.com for the eco-conscious, or luxist.com for lovers of luxury products.

What else can blogs be used for?
Other than the obvious link between how product/chain discussions in blogs can affect sales, blogs can impact retail business in other ways as well. For example, in as early as 2003, InfoWorld noted that companies likes Traction Software, Techdirt and Trellix offered blog technologies that helped companies manage data and conduct research marketing.(3) It can be very labour-intensive to send dozens of e-mails to all the collaborators of a project whenever a new piece of information arises, a price changes, or the time comes to get the team member’s opinions. By organizing discussion items by time and subject, blogs are a simple solution to gathering and publishing online information derived from a variety of sources, such as e-mail, text files, web sites, etc.

These technologies also make it possible to easily define and give access to a collection of information that only authorized people can share.(4) And when it comes to receiving news, the traditional e-mail channel can be replaced with blogs thanks to their publishing capabilities and RSS feeds. This function also enables you to receive news on an automatic basis about any competitors that offer this functionality on their web sites. You can also automatically receive notification anytime a blogger discusses you in either a positive or negative manner.

Stakes and Tools
For better or worse, blogs are marketing and public relations tools that can help or hamper product sales/corporate names. They can also be an added tool for sharing information between team members, for tracking changes in your market, or for keeping on top of consumer opinion of your brand.

(1) Michael V. Copeland, Andrew Tilin, “The new instant companies,” Business 2.0, June 2005, pgs. 92-94.
(2)To view an example, visit: http://stevegilliard.blogspot.com/2005/02/time-for-rat.html
(3)Cathleen Moore, Blogs refine enterprise focus, InfoWorld, Jan. 2003, http://www.infoworld.com/article/03/01/10/030113apblogs_1.html?s=tc
(4) A blog can be placed on an intranet where it will be visible only to authorized users.

This article was originally written in French and has been translated by Wendy Wolbert


  • Mouais mouais mouais. Tu n'investis pas beaucoup sur ton blog en anglais :-)

    By Blogger Katz_kul, at 2:13 PM  

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