Netnography – A marketer’s secret (and probably the cheapest!) weapon

Posted by on Aug 26 2011 | Internet Marketing

The rage of social media might have calmed down a bit, but the possibilities and opportunities associated with it are still being explored. Companies are scuttling towards social media sites to advertise and announce their products and services and as consumers, we are gladly accepting this marketing trend! Apart from marketing, social media gives us a chance to discuss and share with fellow users (sometimes mockingly), our opinions and experiences on a wide range of issues, from books to movies, from sports to food, from automobiles to software, from clothes to things that are too explicit to be put on a public blog!

When I was planning to get a new cellphone, the first choice for getting opinions was to ask my friends but then common sense prevailed (along with a reminder of past regrets) and I browsed through a couple of forums that talked about which cellphones are popular and which ones are a fail!

Social groups like these, where we get to learn and criticize, are not only beneficial for us but also for marketing researchers, as they help them study and analyze the tastes, opinions, needs and desires of consumers. This method of qualitative research that utilizes social media data is known as internet ethnography or ‘netnography’. Market analysts and researchers get to peek into online social groups to identify and understand the behavior of consumers. The reasons why it is becoming popular are that it is far less time consuming compared to conventional ethnography and at the same time, it is unobtrusive for consumers (After my share of bad experiences with pestering marketing analysts asking for my ‘valuable’ feedback, I am thankful for netnography!).

Marketing researchers have started realizing the contingencies associated with social media techniques and are making the most of it through blogosphere, micro-blogging, podcasting, social networking sites and the likes. Netnography provides them a chance to learn about the likes and dislikes of consumers and get unbiased opinions and reviews about their products and services. Moreover, it provides them with an uninterrupted connection with customers without spending heaps of money.

The pace at which internet seems to be developing, it has made necessary for marketing researchers to identify and use new tools and techniques to understand their customers. Netnography presents them with a clandestine approach to obtain deep strategic insights, invent innovative ideas to enhance their brand image, performance and campaign management. So the next time you are grumbling on a public forum about a gadget that disappointed you, maybe the makers are listening!

8 comments for now

8 Responses to “Netnography – A marketer’s secret (and probably the cheapest!) weapon”

  1. isha

    after reading this m sure netnography is indeed a lethal weapon that if used effectively by the marketeers will help them innovate.. :)

    26 Aug 2011 at 9:05 am

  2. this is awesome! i didn’t know that the makers actually listen to rants on public forums. Now, excuse me while i visit the forum of the mobile manufacturer. i have a few choice words for them. :mad:

    27 Aug 2011 at 12:47 am

  3. Shalini

    hey, nice read! and i hope (for their sake atleast) that the makers are listening- both the good and the bad.
    It would be interesting to see how marketers combine their understanding of ethnography with netnography and help leverage their brand’s image better!

    27 Aug 2011 at 1:53 am

  4. Harsh

    Well-researched and written Kritica…You may want to continue further with a piece on Online Reputation Management.

    27 Aug 2011 at 4:30 am

  5. sonam

    Netnography cool!….A new marketing trend beneficial for both consumers and marketeers.

    27 Aug 2011 at 4:45 am

  6. Kritica

    @Shrey – Haha.. good luck with it!

    @Shalini – Thanks.. Marketers sure need to become more ‘social media friendly’ these days and pay heed to consumer rants.

    @Harsh – Thank you. Will come up with a post on it soon.

    27 Aug 2011 at 4:57 am

  7. Mikhil

    I was wondering where those door-to-door market analysts with the unctuous mannerisms had disappeared off to. After years of “Sir aapke ke paas 2 minute ho toh sir” and the occassional “Beta, mummy-daddy hain?”, all I can say is, ‘All hail Netnography!’

    28 Aug 2011 at 11:23 am

  8. Kritica

    Lets just hope they don’t come up with a new way to annoy us!

    29 Aug 2011 at 12:47 am

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