Are your customers talking about you? What are they saying? If you’re not sure, now is a good time to do some online reconnaissance to check out the buzz (or lack thereof) surrounding your business or brand online. Searching out customer reviews and commentary can provide revealing insights that impact the future of your marketing efforts for the better. Like traditional market research, online observation of customer conversations and attitudes is a great way to gauge how your brand is perceived and whether or not your product is seen to be delivering on your marketing promises.
Where to look
Generally speaking, most major online retailers that sell products now provide customer submitted reviews. The largest, like the Amazon.com superstore, foster a community of reviewers who wield purchasing influence over other shoppers thanks to their frequent participation and quality observations. You can also seek out more niche communities and public or members-only consumer reporting forums that relate more specifically to your industry or product. Further, social media sites like Facebook include user-generated content that offers up the opinions and personal experiences of many consumers in their own words.
What to look for
While positive feedback is nice to hear and can certainly reinforce and help focus your efforts, negative commentary may be even more constructive. Your research can identify common turn-offs among your target audience regarding your marketing tactics and the product or brand itself. Analyzing customer opinions can reveal a hero graphic that doesn’t resonate or a headline that’s difficult to understand. It can also let you know if there’s an unexpectedly popular use or style of wear associated with your audience that you can capitalize on.
The bottom line: seeking out, cataloging, and analyzing the words of your target market online can be a free, powerful market research tool that helps you make better decisions when considering your print marketing materials. Find where your customers do their talking online, and follow their conversations to learn what they really think about your advertising, your company, and your product.