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Listening sites a marketer should know about

What are your customers saying behind your back? Marketers spend a lot of time wondering how to get inside the customer’s head. In the past, this meant phone surveys, customer focus groups, and high-quality analytic demographic studies for those lucky few marketers who had the budget. Today, there are are two really easy ways to find out what your customers think of you. And one other way.

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Sure you probably use Google Alerts. And if you have the budget, you should be investing in conversation monitoring tools. But what if you don’t have any money to spend at all? What can you do besides Google Alerts?
First, recognize that for savvy shoppers it is common practice to research pricing online before making a purchase. To mimic the customer behavior, go to your favorite coupon code site. I use retailmenot but there are many others. Search for coupons for your products and check out the ongoing discussion. How does this commentary reflect upon your price?
Second, you’ll want to find out what happened to the product post purchase. Head over to the customer support forums at fixya or wikihow or your alternative support forum of choice. Many of these also have recommendations or ratings from the community about your product. How does what these customers say reflect upon your product?
Third, consider setting up your own hosted community to provide pricing and product support info. having a community built around your product could be a pretty handy thing for a marketer. It’s not as cheap or easy as the first two ideas, but how would setting up a customer gathering place reflect upon you?
Companies, even ones without big budgets, need to be listening to their customers in new ways. Not only is it important that companies hear what customers say, but a company’s brand image is often affected by whether customers feel heard. What are you doing to listen to your customers?

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