Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Bloggers: Brand Ambassadors With or Without Their Blogs

November 10th, 2009 No comments

A few weeks ago, following the new FTC guidelines that affected the blogging community, Mediamark Research & Intelligence released a one-sheet on the size of the blogging community.  With only 3.4% of the total adult population writing blogs, it’s somewhat remarkable that they’ve such a strong impact on consumers and have grabbed so much attention from the marketing and advertising community.


What is it about this niche group, beyond an ability to write (hopefully on similar subjects as the marketers’ products/services) to their captivated audience?  What’s driving them to spend their time writing, often for free?  Going back to that same, most recent MRI study (Spring 2009), I drilled a little further into the heart of the blogging community: those that both write and read the online articles (2.7%, or just 6M adults).


More than Moms

While we often hear about the Mommy Blogging storm, only 51% of adults who visit and write blogs are women.  In fact, less than 50% of all bloggers even have kids in their households, making only 23% or 1.4M Bloggers who are Moms of a kid under 18.  Nearly a third of Bloggers are presumably “roomies,” living with multiple adults in their home.  Similarly, Bloggers are also 55% more likely (than other adults) to have never married.  This, of course, is a direct reflection of their younger skew, as graphed in that Consumer Intelligence article from MRI.


Imagine That

To captivate an audience, bloggers are more than strong writers.  Publishing regularly requires a lot of content; their natural creativity and curiosity combine to inspire that material.  They spend more time going to museums and art galleries; painting or drawing; playing a musical instrument; and reading books.  This also drives their desire to continue learning new things, which keeps them not only in the classroom, but seeking new experiences in travels both domestically and around the world.


Taking a Break

Seeking variety in their everyday is important and they consider themselves to be very sociable, which leads them to spend a lot of time doing fun things.  Activities shared with friends are preferred: participating in team sports; golfing; going to bars and nightclubs; playing pool; attending live music; and going to the movies are just a few ways they like to break their routine with friends. 


Their downtime isn’t always about being out with their friends, though.  They also enjoy time at home, playing word games or on their computer, reading up about new technology and current events, or even perusing the ‘net for fashion advice.


“In My Opinion…”

Their curiosity and large time spent searching for new, interesting things gives them a lot to talk about, on- and off-line.  They thrive at being in the spotlight and will admit they enjoy being the center of attention.  Comfortable expressing themselves and often finding themselves in a leadership position, they’re more likely to have made speeches, signed petitions, called radio stations, written editors, or written something that’s been published.  With friends, they also often seek out ways to share their opinions, particularly when it comes to products.  They like to be the first among their friends and co-workers to try the latest products and services, and often give advice before those peers make purchases.


Making an Impression

With so many eyes on them, it’s no wonder they want to look their best.  Exercise is essential, but they also wear designer clothes to impress others and admit that they, “want others to say ‘wow’,” when they see their tech gadgets.


Under Pressure

Similarly, they also like to give the impression that their busy lives are under control.  With so much on their plates, they use technology to help stay organized, carrying PDAs and booking travel, making purchases and paying bills online.  Beyond not putting a stamp on an envelope, they cut out little daily routines like clipping coupons and preferring stores that offer low daily prices.  They are also more likely to make fast, impulsive purchases and spend on credit if they really want something.


At the end of the day, they still agree, “I’m so busy, I often can’t finish everything I need to in a day.”  Eleven percent have even experienced anxiety in the last year; that’s 54% more likely than the average adult.



Despite their busy schedules, that endless desire to seek, experience and share drives them to be the Bloggers that are not only loved by their audience but by marketers.  If they like a product, they’re likely to talk about it, on- or off-line; they’re brand ambassadors, regardless of their websites.  The FTC may now require them to say if they received that product for free, but that shouldn’t stop marketers from pursuing relationships with appropriate Bloggers.

Categories: Research Tags: , , ,

Experian Simmons: You learn something new everyday

July 10th, 2009 No comments

I had a rather upsetting conversation with (what was) one of my favorite consumer and marketing research providers yesterday. 

I called Simmons (an Experian product), simply curious how much it would cost to gain access to their research.  I’m considering purchasing some consumer data, because I like being smart and I like writing about smart things.  I’m also working on a few independent ventures, and believe even the smallest “shop” needs to pony up some cash for research if they need it.  (Does anyone have a pony I can sell for research?)

After finding my contact was void (what? in this economy?), I was routed and rerouted and put on hold.  Finally, I was put through to a “woman” (the quotes are me being nice) who could tell me how much it costs.  I would tell you, except I still don’t know.  Also, please don’t think I’m being nice to her by omitting her name; she never told it to me.  I would have asked, but she was so short, I thought there might be a gnarly bear standing in her office, waiting with claws out.  I did, however, leave out the costs she quoted me in respect of her obvious fear.  (The below is paraphrased; it all happened so fast!)

“First,” she informed me, “you have to pay for an Experian membership.”  

For a minute, I thought I had another wrong person, “Experian membership?  For Simmons research?”

With a big sigh, she replied, “Simmons is a part of Experian, mam, so yes.  Then, you have to pay for the commercial building inspection.  Then..”

Now I was really confused, “Wait.  Commercial what?”

“Commercial building inspection.  We have to come and inspect your building for security purposes.”

“I don’t have a building.  I own a house and I work in my pajamas.”

“You work out of your home?”


As soon as she realized that I was at home, her shortness diminished to brashness.  At one point, I thought she was going to just hang up, but I still wanted to know how much it cost.  I pleaded that to get a commercial building, I would have to write a business proposal and include how much my resources were going to cost as a part of that.  She explained that I had to be already established, and in a commercial building, before she could even talk to me.

I apologized for keeping her on the phone and let her go before the bear attacked.  I hope she got out okay, but I was left standing in my kitchen, wondering wtf had even just happened.  Did I really just have such an outdated conversation, with what’s supposed to be a forward thinking research company?  They’re going to tell me how consumers are thinking, acting, and spending, while they don’t even support an independent, work-from-home, entrepreneurial workforce, like the one that’s exploding right now due to the recession?

Really, Experian/Simmons?  Are you even paying attention at all?

I might not have gotten my question answered on how much it costs to pay for their research, but I guess it doesn’t matter since I don’t want a commercial building.  It did, however, explain why they’re not on twitter, either.


Categories: Advertising, Research Tags: