Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Listening - the new consumer research method?

In class yesterday we discussed Paul Gillin's idea that enthusiasts can be seen as a "global online focus group that works for free" and that businesses stand to learn a lot by simply listening to their online conversations (from Gillin's book The New Influencers). It seems like Procter & Gamble and Unilever have taken Gillin's advice to heart. In an Advertising Age article published Monday, Kim Dedeker, VP of external capability leadership, global consumer and market knowledge at P&G, is calling for the end of consumer research as we know it. The article, appropriately titled The End of Consumer Surveys? questions the viability of "boring and antiquated" survey research and argues that it is time for companies to get serious about mining consumer feedback online. Definitely a lot of food for thought here. Also check out the Advertising Research Foundation page which has partnered with P&G and Unilever in their quest to devise new ways to harvest online chatter.

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