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"Conversation. What is it? A Mystery! It's the art of never seeming bored, of touching everything with interest, of pleasing with trifles, of being fascinating with nothing at all. How do we define this lively darting about with words, of hitting them back and forth, this sort of brief smile of ideas which should be conversation?" Guy de Maupassant

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Corporate Blogging - How Blogs Help Companies

Am away from my usual fast (?) dsl link connection - and on a painfully slow dial-up connection.  Was browsing through my news aggregator and i saw a piece by John Porcaro, Group Marketing Manager, Microsoft.  We've connected many times through our blogs and i sense he's a marketing guy who believes in not just listening to his customers, (a lot of marketing guys do this) but in really hearing them and engaging them in conversations (and my guess is not all do).  

I suspect John is one of those who really does.  And tells us how blogging helps him do this.  At his blog, John shares his thoughts and own personal experiences on how blogs help companies.  Where he describes how his blog helps him in his job, by allowing him to have conversations with customers and hearing their views. 

I like the piece he's written.  A lot.  Especially the parts i have highlighted in bold font.    

"I started my blog because I really believe in the clarity that comes from really listening to customers. Marketing really comes down to understanding customer needs, and creating products or services that meet those needs. The best way to understand what customers really need is listening to them. And Iím convinced that really listening (and appropriately responding) leads to a more trusting relationship.

Blogs offer a way to start a conversation. Iím amazed at how much more involved I am in customer issues from the hour or two a day I spend blogging. Most of the time is spent reading what our customers are writing. Because the best blogs are so current, and because they link to other blogs, I find I can follow a thread easily, and get a great deal of information about what everyoneís buzzing about.

Perhaps more importantly, blogs offer a great way of aggregating comments, asking questions, and addressing issues. Iím often amazed at the insight I get on a topic Iím pondering when someone posts a relevant comment.

As a company, I think Microsoft is doing some great things by encouraging technical blogs. Even though weíve never really hired anyone to blog, weíve seen blogs grow organically because it makes it easier for people to share ideas. MSDN blogs are a great way for the tech community to share ideas, tools, even code.

One of the key benefits of blogs is that they connect people as individuals, rather than rely on thinking of customers as an indefinable mass of ìusers.î Robertís blog has helped me understand the issues our customers are concerned about (good, bad, or otherwise!). And putting a ìhuman faceî on Microsoft helps build trust, and hopefully helps customers know that weíre listening."

John ends by asking his readers ... "how are blogs helping your company?"  I'm hoping he gets tons of responses - share them with us John !

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