Sunday, November 04, 2007

I've Been to Memphis

I'm reading: I've Been to MemphisTweet this!

I just returned from my 24-hour GM sponsored press junket to Memphis, where I learned about and drove the new Chevy Malibu. I've been treated as a member of the press at other events, but never at anything of this caliber. It was cool.

Some of my non-blogger friends, which is to say all of my real-life friends and family, too, don't understand how or why I got invited to participate in a press junket. But market research confirms that growing numbers of consumers turn to the internet to learn about, well, everything. Savvy marketers recognize that blogs (and other social media like Facebook) are an important part of this research. New media plays a crucial role in educating consumers as well as creating product buzz.

For example, Google or Yahoo! search Rolf's Patisserie, a nearby purveyor of delectable pastries and baked goods, and look whose website is listed right below Rolf's. Yep, my very own Scrambled CAKE! My review of Rolf's gets around two dozen views each week. Lucky for them I'm a fan of their scrumptious treats.

In fact, you may notice that I'm a fan of most of what I review. That's because my time is limited and I'd rather write about something I like than something I don't. Someone recently suggested that a few dings here and there might make me more credible (does that mean I'm incredible right now?), so I’ll consider that as I forge ahead.

My luddite friends also want to know why a company would subject themselves to such scrutiny. It's all about buzz, baby. Any company that approaches a blogger or any type of "new media personality" likely thinks their product is great and hopes that the reviewer will, too. Industry insiders have told me that even a negative review can be helpful. First off, any mention of the product adds to the buzz. In addition, a negative review containing constructive criticism can help the company retool or reposition said product.

This week I'm all about the cars. I'm eager to share the highlights of my trip to Memphis, some of which actually involve the Chevy Malibu. And later this week I'm going to give my tired old Subaru a rest while I cruise around in a 2008 Dodge Caravan. I'll have the car for six days as part of a word-of-mouth campaign. I don't get paid for this; it just sounded fun. I don't often drive $40K cars (though the base price of the 2008 van starts in the low 20s) and my kids don't normally get to watch TV on the way to school, so it's something new for all of us. DH and I have long wondered if we could fit our family car and a minivan into our old garage and now we'll get a chance to see. I might even try to serve dinner on that cool little table in the van.

Fun times ahead.

I'll be back soon with an update on my Malibu experience.


Elizabeth said...

It was so great to meet you! I hope we see each other again, maybe at BlogHer this summer? Keep in touch!

Kristin said...

Kim, it was great to meet you... like Elizabeth said, maybe Blogher?