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Market researchers need the opposite of a blog

OK, I get it it. You probably haven’t spent much time considering the question of what the opposite of a blog is. But Genevieve Bell has. She is working on something she calls a “reverse blog,” and I wonder if the idea contains an element that we’ve overlooked in social media and online market research. Market researchers struggling with how to adapt to the challenges of the Web might not want to overlook anything.

Genevieve Bell

Image by jdlasica via Flickr


Genevieve is an Intel Fellow who is working with her government in South Australia to get the opinion of the people. She was quoted in FAST Company: “I am running a reverse blog,” she says, “asking citizens to share their stories of how technology affects their lives.”
This reminds me of Dell’s IdeaStorm, where customers can contribute product development ideas. This kind of crowdsourcing is good, but maybe there is a bigger idea here.
We all know that market research has gone online. Those ubiquitous polls by SurveyMonkey provide a structured way to get opinions quantified. And we know that focus groups have moved online, where certain customers are asked to share their opinions in more free-form style.
Is Genevieve on to something? I think she might be. Her approach is free form, like a focus group or crowdsourcing, but is not exclusive (you don’t have to be invited) or focused (it’s not about a specific problem).
Are market researchers looking at this? I think they should be.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in internet marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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Discussion

  1. Avatar Tom O'Brien

    Mike:
    This “reverse blog” already exists. It is called communities.
    We just finished a research project about the future of entertainment where we analyzed over 40 million (online) conversations between some 3 million people. (From the last 12 months.)
    There is a plethora of information out there – it mostly isn’t about brands, but about people helping each other solve problems. Lots of it is about technology.
    If you want to chat about this – you can reach me at the email above.
    TO’B
    MotiveQuest LLC

  2. Avatar Mike Moran

    Hi Tom,
    I am not sure that I agree. My company, Converseon, mines lots of these conversations, but I think what Genevieve is doing ties the conversations together better than just analyzing what people tend to see with no central place to say it when they know the other party is listening. I mean, what I say to someone as feedback is different than what I say to you about them as a third party. There is a need for both.

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