Last week, eMarketer published the results of a December, 2009 Marketing Sherpa survey. The results, not surprisingly, show that the main reason people connect with brands and retailers online is to find exclusive deals and offers. What may be surprising to some, is that the second reason, by a very narrow margin, is to learn about new products.
People are so interested in learning about new products that Proctor and Gamble has let social media do its marketing for them. In August of 2008, P&G sent samples of its new Weekly Clean Intensive Cleaning Paste to bloggers and watched the buzz spread. While it is a new approach and a divergence from traditional marketing, it works and shows the power of social media.
But even more, it shows that consumers want to be in the know. They want to engage with retailers and brands. They want to rave and rant about new products. They want to be first. They want to be cutting-edge. They want to be heard.
Are you listening?
I came across another insightful post on the Forrester Customer Intelligence blog. This one is “The Intelligent Approach to Customer Intelligence.” The post is about the roles that Customer Intelligence (CI) can play within companies, ranging from Functional Intelligence to Strategic Intelligence. The poster, Dave Frankland, continues to say that he thinks the next generation of CMO will come from a CI discipline. The comments that follow the post tend to be just as insightful as the post itself.
Customer intelligence is certainly becoming more important to companies, and as of yet, the push mainly comes from a marketing perspective. But, as long as it is true that CI is seen as a marketing tool, the true potential of it will not be met. It’s important for all aspects of a business to start utilizing the information gained. For instance, merchandising and product development need to make this intelligence and customers the core of its strategy to remain relevant to today’s changing, empowered consumers.
The big new this week is the FTC’s new regulations on social media. The agency recently realized the increasing role that social media plays in the marketing and advertising industry. Due to the role that bloggers are now taking in endorsing products, the FTC has stepped in and said that bloggers must disclose if they are being given free products or are paid by a company. This marks the first time the FTC has updated it’s policy on endorsements for the first time in almost 30 years.
This move is one of the earliest in which government is taking a strong stance on social media and its uses and could have widespread implications on how retailers and brands engage with their customers.