The convincing arguments brought forward by the panelists at BAIA’s event on Blogs & Marketing, proved the case for the use of blogs in business because blogs – if properly groomed – impact directly the bottom line, by increasing revenues and lowering costs. How? By intelligently piecing together the tesserae of the marketing mosaic.
Blogs affect sales directly: they can produce revenue via ads, they help drive higher traffic to a web site, (translating into stronger eCommerce sales, heightened interest for products and services, more click troughs to distributors’ sites, cross selling and upselling opportunities); they enhance dramatically the positioning with a search engine, adding momentum to a well-conceived SEO strategy.
Indirectly, blogs help better understand the customer base; by “listening” to blogs, a company can quickly find out what users like or dislike, even how they “call” a product. Mauro Lupi of Ad Maiora hinted to this point, mentioning the lingo used by cell phone users to refer to their devices in Italy, varies (cellulare, telefonino, etc).
To match the nomenclature used in marketing literature with the terms which resonate with the target user base, yields an immediate competitive advantage. To speak the same language of existing and prospective customers allows crafting an advertising message which will instantly establish a direct association with a product or service.
Revenues of course also originate from the roll out of new products and blogs are a clever method of discovering what costumers may be seeking but is not yet available, or not with the desired package, flavor, or features. Mauro Lupi offered the case study of Mulino Bianco, (Barilla brand), whose team created a new product based on the input collected from its blog.
On the other side of the profit equation, blogs represent an immense source of market research data at a fraction of the cost of traditional market research instruments (such as focus groups and custom surveys).
Blogs can also prevent significant dilution of resources. Business misshapes happen to the best companies, and can be dangerously costly if not corrected proactively. It may take infinite efforts and time to dissolve the damaging effects of a harmful PR spill. Rather than learning from distant sources that customers are unhappy with a product, it is far more helpful to know from a business’ own blog, and within a limited time lapse, what caused a problem, so that immediate measures can be enacted to bring it under control.
Blogs however imply that time be devoted to them and that businesses care about what is posted, not to mention devising action plans in accordance with the feedback received (hence the need for grooming).
So the question arises: “How can a business with limited resources capitalize on the wealth of information that pours in from a blog and put it to use before it becomes obsolete? Is it possible to mine/text-mine the entirety of entries for a given time period, to capture the most salient keywords and messages?”