Blogging as a marketing device

WordPress blogger Jeff Jarvis wrote about his experiences with Dell in today’s MediaGuardian. I’m afraid that you’ll have to register (it’s probably free). He has followed it up here.

Given the sudden increase in my blog posts that refer to the Guardian of a Monday and Thursday, astute readers will know that I’m merely following the media and online sections of the paper because I’m interested in them (hey, I write articles and work with IT, sometimes, surely I’m allowed to?)

I can’t say that I’ve had a problem with Dell when ordering new, but I have endured a few headaches with their support service – not enough, however, to rant about it in this blog. I can sympathise with Jeff, even thought it looks like he has moved over to the other side and bought an Apple… There are times when you just wish computer manufacturers (and others) would do the right thing from the start…none of this faffing about with “returns” procedures, etc. If the customer wants a refund, it’s often the best publicity you can buy…well, I certainly think so.

What I was interested to read in Jeff’s article is the fact that you can search for any brand name (or product, or person) followed by the word “sucks” to find out how much bad karma is attached… Don’t worry about trying it yourself, just take a look at this and see what I mean.

I was more interested to read that it appears Dell aren’t following this bad karma, nor are they following what folks are saying about their products in blogs (may be they are, but there’s little evidence of it.)

Surely reading blogs makes good sense? And especially for large corporates with “product” out there. It’s free marketing. Need a product survey…check some blogs. Need to know what to put in the next version…check some blogs. [Product] Bloggers are the knowledgeable end-users that corporates should tap into for guidance, for direction and for the honest truth about how to improve and move forward. Similarly, the best way to learn about what’s wrong with your business (and how it can be fixed or improved) is to ask your employees – they know a lot more than than they are given credit for.

Once again, I believe that this is another case for “do not underestimate the power of the blog“, especially for marketing purposes.