Monday, November 13, 2006

Blue Ferret BlogTip 11-13-06 - 2 More Places For Doing Customer Research

A good marketer never has too many avenues for finding out things about his audience. Last week, I added two more to my repertoire. They both work for all audience types. Both come straight from the customers' mouths.

Er, keyboards.

1. Amazon Comments
Technically they're called "Customer Reviews," but you know what I mean. Input from a book's readers, right on its page. I've found opinions from well-informed to uninformed here. All show the impressions that book is getting.

How does this benefit marketers? If a book's in the news, or written on the subject you're addressing, you've got direct feedback on how your prospects may receive your products too.

To find out, search on Amazon like you would Google: throw a couple of relevant keywords at it. For instance, I wanted to see what customers in 2006 think about marketing trends. Here's what I searched with: "Marketing 2006". The first result has 13 reviews. 13 perspectives on marketing in 2006. Try it.

2. Omgili
Speaking of search, here's another search engine, recently appeared on the Webscape. Omgili:

What's Omgili's claim to fame? It searches forums.

Discussion boards, message boards, support boards - call them what you like. Forums are websites where people ask questions, post solutions to problems they've found, talk about products they've used or heard about...

The value in forums is staggering. I'm not the first writer to mention them as a research tool, if that's any indication. Literally up-to-the-minute customer perspective. And with Omgili, you save huge amounts of time in finding the audience opinions you want.

Omgili is still in beta, so expect a few bugs in your search results. My search on "IT Security," as you can see:
has Homeland Security at the top instead. But like Google in its early days (geez, that makes me feel old), Omgili will become more accurate over time.

I know several writers, entrepreneurs and marketing pros who don't take the time to research their audiences. The most common excuse? "Lack of time." Searching through Amazon's comments, and forums with Omgili, takes a few minutes. Everyone can spare that when it could mean the difference between rave reviews and a dismal ROI.



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