People of the Web: Advertisers Are Tuning Into Your “True Voice”

September 27th, 2006 by Zach Rodgers

As people get more fluent with the cheap technologies of self-expression that can project their voices and visages far and wide on the Net, front stoop chatter and opinion-sharing become more pervasive and influential. This fact is of course not lost on advertisers, whose vigilance in recording the slightest shift in the winds of popular communication is unmatched by any teenager or media critic.

Marketers’ interest in the viney jungle of discussion happening online has indeed catapulted of late, with the launch of many new platforms designed to track word of mouth in blogs, podcasts, social networking sites and video sharing sites. They include companies with names like Umbria, Cymfony, Nielsen BuzzMetrics and BuzzLogic. Most of them are geared toward crisis management (i.e. someone with lots of friends and fans online says a nasty thing about your product) but there’s a growing movement afoot to identify and track down these popular people, wrap your arms around their knees and ply them with free schwag.

Anyway, I offer up the following email, sent to journalists today by the Advertising Research Foundation and a company called iModerate, as an especially weird demonstration of advertisers’ growing obsession with the everyday chitchat on the Web. Note the surreal and disturbing new catchphrase, “true voice,” used in quotes.

Candid dialogue and informal discussion now reign supreme on an information highway dominated by blogs, IM’s and online communities. This communication phenomenon is so sweeping and significant that Corporate America is turning their resources to these channels to capture honest feedback regarding brands, products, trends, messages and advertisements.

The informal dialogue spawned in these mediums articulate “true voice” - the unaltered expression of what people are thinking in their own words. The value of this banter to end clients cannot be overstated, which makes it imperative for market researchers to capture this information. iModerate’s instant message based technology is doing exactly that and bringing this form of feedback into the research mix. Click here to join this webcast and learn about… “True Voice” as a phenomenon and why it is so necessary to harness the types of dialogue used in the IM, blog, and online community formats.

And of course, I must end by noting that actually listening to what everyday folks have to say about your product or service isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all. Let’s just make sure spying and bribing of the influential don’t come into it, k?

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