Don't ask why... I was recently digging around in some "Fashion Blogs" and came across a wonderful example of how product managers can use blogs for free and easy market research.
In a recent post on "The Purse Blog", the author asks readers to help identify a purse carried by Angelina Jolie. The comments were fascinating. Many readers wrote that the purse is, in fact, "ugly" (blasting the idea that anything AJ wears must be good.) But the comments, which should be carefully studied by designers and marketers, also included the following:
chemlex wrote: "It looks like you could be easily pickpocketed when you carry that bag - it’s out of your eyesight, and hangs far off the body and it doesn’t look like it closes on the top."
Chemlex seems focused on practical utility of the bag, not just its appearance or the fact that it is carried by a celebrity. However, "agnes" doesn't see the pickpocket threat. She says the bag is ugly and seems to see that as the cost its utility:
agnes writes: "it’s really ugly, and I think she only wears it because it’s really useful around the babies. you can’t have a baby in your arms while sporting a paddington (full of baby stuff? don’t think so!) not that Angelina ever would sport a padington.." agnes then argues that a guy should "buy something special and beautiful for your girlfirend instead, something YOU picked out. Don’t go buy some ugly bag because you’ve seen it in the same pic as Angelina Jolie."
Similar insights into what "What Women Want" can be found on the ShoeWawa site where a recent note poked fun at some $1,329 gold trimmed Swan boots offered by the "glittery Gods at Gina " saying: "Beautiful artistry like this looks perfectly at home on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, but on your legs it's not quite so breathtaking, or at least not in the same way." Of course, there are differing opinions, The first comment comes from "mary slamaker" who is clearly inspired by the gaudiness of the boots and asks: "I have been looking for some really pretty flip flops with maybe flowers on or jingling beads but all I can find is boring plain ones can you help?"
Of course, the viewpoints are diverse and the comments, in themselves, don't lead to immediate conclusions. Nonetheless, if properly used and studied, comments like these can provide invaluable data in defining marketing and product campaigns. The various voices in the marketplace come through loudly and clearly in this and many other fashion blogs. Finally, blogging allows us to see that the "Market is a conversation." If you want to listen in to that conversation, or be part of it, blogs are one of the best sources of discussion and PubSub is the best way to monitor more than 15 million of them.