Consumers access the Internet for information at critical decision-related times; PMZ Marketing helps clients build online communities around the subjects that interest target consumers.
These online communities provide critical information helping consumers to make purchasing decisions – powerful online communities act as brand advocates – these consumers have experienced the brand in a powerful manner and have bought into the experience. These consumers are powerful brand allies.
While online communities are a powerful marketing channel; PMZ Marketing helps our clients engage online communities for research at critical points. Fundamentally, online communities can be leverage to:
- Assess current brand experience
- Assess new product ideas
- Develop initial brand messages and concepts
- Refine strategies
- Identify brand-building opportunities
- Gain feedback from early adopters and innovators
Online communities have existed since the dawn of the Internet and the marketer has a number of means at hand to foster these communities ranging from:
- Member sections
- Internet bulletin boards or Forums
- Internet “messenger” services
- Opinion polls
- RSS Channels
- Social Networking
Recently, more powerful tools such as Blogs and RSS have changed the dynamic of online communities significantly – Blogs or Weblogs are web pages that contain brief, discrete pieces of information known as posts. These posts are arranged in reverse-chronological order and uniquely identified by an anchor tag, and it is marked with a permanent link that can be referred to by others who wish to link to it.
RSS or Really Simple Syndication is a data format that allows computers to exchange files containing summaries of information or stories. Each story usually has a title, location, and possibly a brief synopsis. RSS is expressed using standards-defined Extensible Markup Language (XML). There are literally hundreds of tools to exploit the thousands of blogs on the Internet and syndicate these to various devices including computers, mobile phones and PDAs demonstrating the power of Blogs and RSS.
While the power of online communities cannot be underestimated, merely having a blog and RSS is not enough; PMZ Marketing works with clients to define a long-term plan to establish online communities and to maximise the opportunity including the potential of social networking. Our development includes:
- Defining objectives and strategic direction
- Defining the brand experience components for online communities
- Tactical planning and identification of platform requirements
- Specific research objectives
- Implementation and monitoring