Research Area Update #1

The topic I have decided to focus on is Customer Relations Management. This is a broad topic. If we were to narrow down this topic even feather, one might ask the question how do companies engage their customer? Is it though online communities? If so what type of messages are they sending to their customers every day? Are they using web 2.0 platforms as if they were one way communication platforms? Or are they listening to their customers and individualizing each message they send?

The company that has won the most awards for the CRM program is Dell. I will be looking more indepth at their practices and asking the question what truly makes them successful? I will be using Radian6 to measure conversations that are currently going on around their topic.

Over the break I did more research on CRM and there were a couple of key words that continually came up in the articles. They key words were e-loyalty, e-satisfaction, and security. I looked more into e-loyalty and there seems to be a direct correlation in several articles I’ve read between e-loyalty, satisfaction, design and security. The user must feel both secure and comfortable with the design in order to be satisfied. If they are satisfied the premise is that the customers will return and remain loyal to the brand, service, or product thus establishing e-loyalty.

I have read several studies but they compare different countries. Some articles look at individualist verses collective societies. Other articles look at consumers in Asia, US, and Europe.

Research Area

Althought I have not completely narrowed down my research topic there are 3 things I am interested in. I have not listed them in the order of interest but rather in the order in which I have the most knowledge of.

1. Consumer empowerment – When companies create a space where consumers can congrigate and share ideas, the owernship truely becomes theirs. If you look at NaturallyCurly.com, there is a section called Curl Talk. Although the site has professional bloggers, users can also engage in online forums and ask questions, swap products, share their stories. They can do this by blogging, engaging in online forums or vlogging. I believe at the heart of the matter, we want to feel important and we want others to listen to us. We look for people that care about the same things that we do and will listen to us. We want others to know our frustrations and trumps because maybe we don’t have a friend in real life that will listen to our stories about specific things like finding the perfect products for our hair. It takes a lot of money, time, advice and experimentation. The beauty industry is about making you feel good and building up your self esteem. Companies can take advantage of this and offer advice to indvidual consumers because the right products are not going to work for everyone. Or at least companies want to provide that space so they can see the conversation first hand. Consumers are going to talk about your brand. Do you know what they are saying?

2. Customer Relations Management – How are companies engaging their online customers? Do they have a Facebook page or Twitter account? How often are they posting new content. Do they continually broadcoast advertisments or do they engage in meaningful conversations with their dedicated followers? How do companies encourage consumers to want to share their brand/lifestyle with their friends? Are people able to connect with each other through these mediums? I am more so interested in this topic from a marketing stand point. If companies are trying to constantly use social media platforms like one way communication then their fans will become deaf just like they have to television, print ads, and

3. Viral Marketing – Where does the campaign start? Is it the conversation around the campign that pushes the idea? When are companies imposing too much and making a message more annoying than exciting? What motivates users to want to spread the message? Should certain parts of the product be kept secret in order to build up the hype? I saw that a lot with the Verizon Wireless Droid campaign on television. One of the best commercials that went viral was the Old Spice commercials. What makes them so interesting? Is it the fact that they are random or funny? Or the fact that views don’t know what to expect?

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