What did amaze me, though, is that there are firms out there using pretty sophisticated technology to find out what people think. The question was asked by some dumbfounded theater marketing manager, "why aren't people going to the movies anymore?" No, this marketing manager didn't conduct surveys and collate responses, but instead hired a marketing consulting firm who culled data from what people are already ranting about. An article on Reuters has the story:
Part of me thinks that this is a pretty amazing way to collect and analyze information. It's sort of like hiring thousands of invisible eavesdroppers at coffee shops and living rooms, listening to people's opinions about pop culture stuff in order to better serve up more of the same.
Brandimensions searched 1.9 million Internet blogs and chat rooms where users were discussing the box office slump. Relevancy algorithms were used in choosing 1,350 posts to dissect by using software coupled with human data analysts. The result was a 16-page analysis.
What cracks me up is that the findings merely confirmed what could be read in plain text in any one of the blogs analyzed by the high-tech "relevancy algorithms." The result of the 16-page finding? That people think Hollywood is churning out garbage and they won't pay good money for it anymore.
This is a triumph of our society's love of the professional expert, whose stamp is needed on plain common sense in order for corporate America to buy in to it. Perhaps they ought to spend a little more time really listening to two or three ordinary people and a little less time writing $20,000 consulting checks to companies like Brandimensions.
Sound obvious? Yes, but then perhaps this blog, even now, is being analyzed by other firms who are deciding whether or not to hire a similar service. Such is the world we live in.