Federica Monsone of A3 Communications in the UK has conducted a survey on staying informed on the storage industry. The data shows blogs & bloggers are highly trusted sources for customers.
Specifically, decision makers turn to trusted advisors such as analysts and vendors about 45% of the time time, mainstream press about 35% and blogs about 25%. While I am surprised that the bloggers have this much impact, I’m more surprised that vendors aren’t allocating more funding & resources that reach this group of influencers. Today, most vendors regard bloggers as some sort of unruly mob that should be ignored and denigrated. At the same time they believe that they have worked out how to control & manage the analyst community through large scale spending and funding.
Blogs on the other hand, especially in Europe, are usually written by independent experts such as consultants or end users their information is often unbiased and informal, perhaps the result of personal experience or meetings over beers. Differently from journalists and analysts, bloggers don’t tend to write as a job and therefore publish posts once or twice a week at most, typically because they enjoy sharing their views on a particular product, technology, company or other subject. This means that feel quite passionate about the subjects they do choose to write about.
I suggest that blogging is a form of Customer Activism that is done publicly instead of face to face with sales rep or company executive. Customers identify strongly with bloggers often because we are raising issues that vendors have ignored or not able to see for themselves. This makes vendors deeply uncomfortable and often hostile to people like myself.
And customers, if you really want to have vendor engagement, hire a blogger and let them write carefully about your issues. Vendors usually rate your problems and concerns according to how much you spend and this determines their response to your problems. Having an widely respected blogger on staff increases that impact to roughly the size of a large US bank.