Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Blogging as a Marketing Tool

Ten Companies That Missed Great Blog Opportunities

How many people knew Teva was making sandals for an elephant? I personally don't think I would have bought a pair of Teva's based on that information--primarily since I'm a Chaco fan--but the article certainly made me think about the implications of using blogs as a marketing tool. I can't remember exactly where I read the study--I think it was in Marketing Management--but the significance was that the majority of marketing campaigns are launched without conducting any type of consumer feedback research beforehand. Time and money were the two reasons listed most often for not seeking out consumer feedback, and I can certainly relate to that. However, I also know that being able to have a complete communication loop with the market that would be interested in my product/service has been a goal for me from the first day I began marketing for a company. As it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out in the marketplace today, targeted messaging based on consumer feedback is key to crafting messages that sell. And it seems that blogging will be the affordable and not-too-time-intrusive solution.

When I worked at the American Red Cross in San Francisco, one of my daily dilemmas was how to communicate with over 3,000 affiliates on a regular basis. And when I say communicate, I mean circular communication, not linear. I needed to hear feedback about what the affiliates wanted, what they needed in terms of marketing support to help them sell their services, and what problems they were encountering that I needed to find solutions for. . . in addition to just communicating news to them. Having a blog would have been a great solution, and would have probably freed up a substantial portion of my time to execute more of my team's strategies, rather than answering phones and sending emails! Well. . . next time I'll be using a blog!

A different application that comes to mind is for start-ups. SpeedChip USA was for all pratical purposes a start-up when I began working for them. However, they had completed very little research on competitors or market trends/projections. So, there was a lot or research that I had to complete before I could begin putting a marketing plan together. The industry was very excited about the technology but were not particularly excited--for one reason or another--about the two primary service providers dominating the market. If I would have had the foresight to develop a company sponsored blog to discuss the issues of RFID technology in relation to the sports timing market (which at the time was a VERY hot topic in the industry), not only would I have been able to gather a lot of information that would have aided in creating a competitive strategy, but the blog would have also helped create relationships with potential clients. It certainly would have been nice to create a presentation for someone who had posted comments on the blog based on those comments!

So as I gear up for my next marketing challenge, I would like to know some company's that have marketing blogs and are using them effectively.


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