How to Monitor the Chatter

  |  April 5, 2005   |  Comments

Who's saying what about your products and services, your brand, and your competitors? A cool tool helps you find out.

Intelliseek has a really cool new tool. At the least, it's an interesting novelty. At most, it's a potent weapon to improve your marketing. You could potentially use it to improve your stock portfolio, too, but I haven't thought enough about that yet.

While major companies spend tens or hundreds of thousands on projects that incorporate research, focus groups, and "account planning," thousands of consumers provide information to companies that is summarily ignored. Irate complaint letters go unread. Online chat-room information is ignored. Usenet groups (define) aren't even looked at. Blogs are unvisited.

Part of the reason is there's just too much to wade through to find information that's relevant to a marketer. This makes the chore time-consuming and technologically difficult. Text mining changes all that.

The text-mining concept has been around awhile. It's still a vastly underused tool, but that's slowly changing. The concept of Web mining (or Internet mining) to garner consumer feedback is relatively new.

Wouldn't it be nice to know how much your product is discussed online? Or how much your competitor's products are talked about and what's being said about them? Is your PR campaign working? Is your product getting mentioned more often in the marketplace? All these questions can be answered with Intelliseek's text mining and analysis software.

The Cool Tool: BlogPulse

BlogPulse is a Web site Intelliseek set up to showcase its software. It scours over 9 million blogs to deliver relevant information. It's important to understand which universe you're investigating. This specific site's tools are directed at blogs, not the entire Web or Usenet groups.

I like the Trend tool, which shows occurrences on blogs of terms you supply and compares their trends against one another. An obvious use is to see where you stand in relationship to your competitors in terms of blog mentions.

On to Other Public Sources

If you were to take the same type of tool and turn it to Usenet groups, you might be able to uncover very beneficial feedback about your products. Intelliseek did this for Mazda. It delivered organized information that helped Mazda understand what its consumers think about its products.

From the Horse's Mouth

Years ago, I helped deploy one of the first commercial opt-in email messages for a major computer manufacturer. I still remember the explicit (and that's a carefully chosen word) feedback the company received. None of the email replies complained about receiving the email (this was before spam, if you can remember back that far). Instead, they gave candid views about what the recipients thought of the products.

The same type of information is out there in blogs and Usenet groups. Consumers say things online, good and bad, to share their experiences with others. Information they share can help you shape your products and services.

Just as consumers use the feedback at Amazon.com to inform their purchase decisions, so too they use blogs and Usenet groups to influence what products and services they'll buy.

Old and New

Usenet groups have been around for years, and all their content is archived. If you're looking for historical information, these groups are a good source. You can learn from the past so as not to make unnecessary mistakes today.

If it's current trend information you seek, the blog world is the source to explore. You'll be able to see what's out there today relative to your product and services.

The tools from Intelliseek, including the cool trend tracker, are something that can help you tap into these sources to help improve your marketing.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Teasley Brian Teasley is the leader of Teasley, a consultancy that helpsadvertisers, marketers and advertising agencies use data and analysis toimprove their marketing campaigns. Brian has over 14 years experience inengineering and marketing, and has worked for numerous Fortune 100companies. Brian also teaches a marketing course at New York University. Heholds a M.S. degree in Applied Statistics from Iowa State University and aBA in Mathematics and a BA in Mathematics and Statistics from St. OlafCollege.

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