Reviews reviewed

I’ll say one thing about looking at reviews for the Kindle – I now really really want one. There are lots of different sorts of reviews online for the Kindle, I’ve put together a few as a starting point.

The sheer number of largely positive reviews (3795/4900 reviewers have given 5 stars on Amazon) of makes me lust after a product which I’m already predisposed to loving (I’m a geek!). I often use Amazon reviews to assess which product I should buy, particularly for tech things. The qualitative comments mean you can see what people like and don’t like about a product and whether that would apply to you. In the past I’ve bought things which have a negative review if the reviewers’ reason doesn’t apply to me (e.g. ‘it didn’t come with software’ doesn’t apply if I already have the software).

Amazon are masters of using recommendations to tailor their advertising to you and have obviously realised with the Kindle that the reviews are particularly effective as they’ve used quotes from journalists at the top of the product page. These certainly make the Kindle look good and lend some credibility in my eyes as they are from publications I’m largely aware of and trust. For me the user reviews are just as effective as they are from ‘real people’ who have used the product over a period of time rather than just techy people given one to play with for an afternoon (I want that job!). Definitely an interesting example to consider when thinking about credibility of reviews and reviewers.

I think Amazon are missing a trick by filling the page with screens and screens of product information and features which push the user reviews right down to the bottom of the page. I think they should use more of the user reviews higher up the page or at least highlight the excellent user ratings. This would make the product more widely appealing as there is credibility in the volume of reviews.

On a slightly smaller scale, users of The Student Room forum have been discussing their experiences with the Kindle. Where Amazon has volume, this has more focus as users have more in common with each other (presumably they’re all students or about to start University) and may have similar plans for their potential purchase, e.g. academic study, use while travelling, and maybe similar questions or concerns. These ties potentially make the reviews more relevant and useful.

The format of the discussion forum allows people to interact with the comments of others, asking for clarification or adding new questions. These reviews will therefore be more tailored to the audience and specific posters.

As these posts are not written deliberately as reviews however they are often quite cursory or only focus on one or two aspects, e.g. how cheap e-books are. This means the forum is not the best place to go for a comprehensive review but could be used to refine your opinion or act as a starting point.

P.S. This is one of my favourite set of reviews online, see if you can guess the product… – Worked fine with my right hand, but when I came to use my left hand my writing came out looking like the work of a complete imbecile. I can only assume Bic have created a right-handed only pen, and would caution left-handers to “try before you buy”

March 3rd, 2011|Digital|0 Comments|

Towards a map of marketing information systems

Is Daniel et al’s model actually a broadly applicable map or out-dated ?

We’ve been discussing Daniel et al’s article on a map of marketing information systems. The article proposes a ‘map’ of the marketing process and overlays information systems onto it. The basic map shows four stages in the marketing domain. One of its strengths appears to be its broad applicability to the marketing activities of a range of organisations (largely due to the simple, generic format).

The article however doesn’t discuss the likely speed of the overall process though it suggests a slow, contemplative and reflective process. As many of the organisations involved in developing this model were manufacturers or providers of goods, their R & D, decision-making processes and product development cycles may have been quite long and spend a while in each area of the map before moving to the next stage. The overlay of IS support highlights the potentially complex nature of information flows within an organisation. It may be that the emergence of internet marketing allows the process to move very rapidly and for information to flow in new ways.

Smaller, web-based organisations in particular may find that this model doesn’t reflect the way they work if they are constantly making changes to their product/service.  Alternatively it may be that a rapid iterative process that allows customers to work with and feedback on prototypes is actually just a series of very fast cycles around the marketing map proposed by Daniel et al.

Daniel et al (2003) ‘Towards a map of marketing information systems: an inductive study’, European Journal of Marketing, Vol 37, No 5/6, pp821-847

February 17th, 2011|Digital|1 Comment|