Friday, March 24, 2006

New marketing needs new research

As we marketers/communicators talk ourselves to death about the importance of new marketing and new media, we also have to talk about the new ways to do other aspects of our jobs. One that has peeved me for a long time now is the prehistoric way companies research and gather market insight.

Last week I saw Wilco at the Uptown Theatre. Wilco's a perfect example of a long-tail band. I can confidently say I had a majority of values, interests and brand preferences in common with 90 percent of the concert attendees. The concertgoers represented an important market demo. One sought out by many young brands, yet difficult to infiltrate through traditional communication and research. This is a great example of the importance of companies being part of the conversation and part of the community.

I can think of ten products/services that would have reaped tons of insight from simply purchasing a $25 ticket to Wilco. Instead, they are putting down $25,000 to gather traditional research by interrupting the market conversation and capturing only a fraction of the insight available if the company would just take time to truly get to know its market. No spreadsheets. No PowerPoint. No catchy names that translate simply into "People you need to be friends with."

Here are some very cool - no pun intended - "influentials" (couldn't help but throw that in) that big companies are taking notice of and talking to. Call them the new market researches. Call 'em whatever. But you should call them. They are also a great example of the NEW media relations that PR folks such as myself must realize and practice. Five years ago, the PR dudette at X product or Y service would have announced a new product/service by sending a press release and pitching major media outlets. Now, that dudette is much better served by sending a sample or an e-mail - even an INSTANT MESSAGE! - to one of the folks below.

Cool Hunting
Design Sponge
Josh Spear
Owen Mack/coBRANDIT


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