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Social Conversations Online Show Boomers Have Strong Product Opinions

Yak yak yak -- there's so much conversation going on in the
cyber community that one can hardly keep up. But there's at least one company
attempting to, while being aware that this conversation may provide a goldmine
of important information to marketers -- especially when it comes to the
opinions of baby boomers.

Bazaarvoice is a social software company that helps clients
create social communities on their brand websites and Facebook pages where
customers can engage in these conversations. And the company uses a piece of
research it calls The Conversation Index to analyze millions of online conversations
to come up with relevant insights and marketable conclusions.

"When brands let consumers talk back and share their
opinions online, rich data rises above the noise," says Erin Mulligan Nelson,
CMO of Bazaarvoice. "The Conversation Index allows brands to tune into millions
of customer conversations and find the insights that improve brand loyalty,
drive sales and fuel innovation."

In addition to helping companies directly connect with
consumers online and via mobile, Bazaarvoice gathers social data derived from
the online conversations which offer insights clients can use to improve
marketing, sales, customer service and product development.

The seven-year-old company's clients include Best Buy,
Costco, Dell, Macy's, Procter & Gamble, Panasonic, QVC and USAA, among others.

And the Conversation Index, Vol. 4, recently released by the
company, yielded some key findings. Here's some data and conclusions gleaned
from consumer conversations:

  • Overall, 82% of consumer opinions about products are
    positive; however, boomers (adults 47-65) are slightly more positive than millennials
    (18-34) or Gen Xers (35-46), assigning 3% more five-star ratings to products
    than the other generational groups.
  • Boomers are more conversational online about products, contributing 45% of
    the total online product opinions. "This is because boomers are more
    experienced consumers and they also believe writing has become a lost art among
    younger people," says Jason Dorsey, CEO of The Center for Generational Kinetics
    in the report.
  • "As young adults graduate from college later than ever before, enter the
    workforce later, and get married and have children later, they are postponing
    when they make many key life purchases," Dorsey observes. "This means a 25-year-old
    today can have a very different consumer mentality than a 25-year-old from a
    previous generation, such as a now-baby boomer. At age 25, baby boomers were
    likely married, working full-time and definitely did not live with their mom.
    Times have changed and this change creates opportunities for marketers who
    adapt by listening to their consumers."
  • Consumer sentiment about a product is based on many factors. That's why it's
    important for marketers to list or promote different aspects of a
    product to make it easier for consumers to see if that product meets their
    needs. For example, consumers who care more about scent than the level of
    cleanliness will be more interested in that aspect of the product than its
    overall effectiveness. That needs to be included in the marketing of the brand.
  • When consumers shop, they often look to find traits in a product that meet
    their own specific needs. Marketers need to know what key words consumers are
    interested in related to their product or product category. For example, a
    brand shouldn't be focusing on fat content if consumers really are buying more
    based on calorie content.
  • The popularity of healthy and organic foods is on the rise. Across all consumer
    packaged goods categories, which include food, health and beauty and beverages,
    the word "healthy" was mentioned 12% more often than in 2011 in online
  • Analyzing data and conversations about old versus new products can enable
    brands to understand how to integrate popular consumer likes of older brands
    into newer brands and if consumers are made aware that their input is being
    listened to, they can feel they had a hand in helping create the new version
    and become loyal consumers of it.