Internet A Treasure Trove Of Information For Marketers
Because of the pervasiveness of the Internet, the use of chat rooms, IM, forums, email and weblogs, the level of "consumer conversation" has risen dramatically. The beauty of this, for marketers, is that it's all digitized, right there on servers across the globe, to be examined and analyzed for future product development and marketing. Research firm BuzzMetrics has taken advantage of these vast resources and made a business out of culling data and analyzing it for marketers. It's most recent report takes a look at artificial sweeteners.
If something doesn't change soon, it seems all food is going to come out of a machine and contain nothing but hard to categorize, unpronounceable. man-made ingredients. It's already happening, and has been for some time now, with artificial sweeteners. A recent study by BuzzMetrics indicates people are wising up to all this fakery and marketers may need to take note. According to BuzzMetrics, 45 percent of all artificial-sweetener discussions among over 200,000 monitored trend-setting consumers in online health and nutrition forums were negative in the fourth quarter of 2004. Specifically, 14 percent of discussions recommended using natural sweeteners instead; 13 percent warned of side effects; 11 percent advocated for limited intake; and seven percent complained of unpleasant taste.
Conversely, 42 percent of artificial-sweetener discussions were in favor of them in some way. Specifically, 19 percent discussed regular usage; 17 percent advocated their use in cooking; and six percent recommended them over natural sweeteners.
This is just a tiny snapshot of the "conversations" that are out there for companies to look at when they consider the development of a product or the marketing of an existing product. It's not an easy task but there's never before been a time when so much information has been available about people preferences, opinions and habits.