Big Madison Avenue advertising agencies need to know what customers think about specific companies (their clients) and the products and services they sell.
They create branding messages, images, and positioning for these companies that affect how the business is both seen and perceived by the general public.
Such information can be helpful to a small business as well; however, most small businesses are not in a position to be able to afford this level of outsourcing help and detailed analysis in their marketing.
Still, there is an easy way to check on consumer sentiment about the companies that do business in your niche.
There are Internet web sites that monitor and rate companies.
They offer consumers a public forum where impressions and opinions about firms (usually the larger ones) can be given for the benefit and review of other consumers that are considering dealing with a particular company.
Here are some of the more popular monitoring companies:
– My Simon,
– Open Ratings,
– Price Scan,
By checking out public opinion of companies in your niche, you will begin to see what kinds of issues are on the minds of the customers that have dealt with your business and your competitors.
Those people should also be your customers.
You may also gain insight about the likes and dislikes of consumers for particular products of your competitors.
This could help you develop better features in your products or even new products that consumers are specifically requesting.
You should always be aware of your competition and what they are doing. By following their ratings, you will have some idea about how their own customers are feeling about the competition. You will know what to do in your own business and what to avoid doing.
Ratings sites and comparison-shopping sites can be a valuable resource tool when you do research into your niche and market.
They allow you to “listen in” on the conversations of your customers.
Such ratings sites can also alert you to negative campaigns waged by disgruntled customers that decide to become vocal about their displeasures.
One angry customer can spread negative comments around the Internet pretty quickly.
If he has targeted your company, you will need to do some damage control as quickly as possible.
I would recommend you set up some type of regular and methodical rating site review process in your small business.
Checking the pulse of your niche and the consumer sentiment about your competitors will help you to get a handle on the issues, problems, and desires of your customers.
Asking a business directly for this information may not give you the candid and open view you’ll receive from the “anonymous” ratings posted online.
To your online business success!