A while back I asked about how we research and buy make up in the UK. Thank you everyone who took part and spent time filling in my questionnaire. The reason I did this little survey was to find out how important blogging/YouTube is to this community in terms of our spending power and to get some insight in to how people find out about new products.
I've had some time to look through the returned questionnaires and reflect on what was said. Here's a brief overview of the results.
I asked where do you find information about new products?
Nearly all of the replies were, you guessed it, through BLOGS. That doesn't surprise me as this questionnaire was geared to bloggers, delivered via a blog and the results are being shared via a blog!
YouTube also featured highly in the replies as a source of reviews with the added bonus that some YouTube reviews also demonstrated the product being used, giving handy tips and any disadvantages were illustrated.
Magazines and TV adverts/QVC were also a popular way to trigger interest in a product, which led to googling for reviews. QVC was popular for people who don't have a lot of choice in their local shops and the 30 day money back guarantee was also a major attraction. Magazines were triggers for further research only as they are perceived to be biased in favour of a product only.
Browsing online stores and Ebay were a less popular way to find new products because of the uncertainty of authenticity and prices for shipping can be high if sent from outside the UK.
Forums, Twitter and PR companies were also mentioned but not as major sources of new product information. This is probably a good thing because many feel that social media is about making friends than advertising goods. However done cleverly and unobtrusively, can be very effective... #Moonfruit anyone?
I also asked about where people find out information about products, not necessarily new products but those they wanted to try.
Blogs was the top answer, again no surprise there considering I asked bloggers and blog readers alike!
YouTube and Forums were very popular sources of product information and helped in deciding whether to buy something or give it a miss.
Magazines, TV adverts and In stores did not feature highly at all, most respondents said that they find those one sided and highly subjective. They also don't like to ask questions in stores as they find it embarassing and the sales staff are not always helpful if there isn't a potential sale.
Brand websites, google and word of mouth were mentioned by most as a method of researching products but was a hit and miss endeavour because it's hard to assess the validity of information. YouTube and Blogs have a much more personal and honest feel in their feedback.
From my small sample size (but still bigger than some adverts for Mascara), I have been able to see in to the world of other make up enthusiasts. So thank you again for taking part and I hope you find these snippets of insight useful. I can't answer the big questions like, how much do we spend, how many bloggers are there etc... that would really help give me some perspective on how important my findings may be.
I am fascinated by how rapidly the landscape of beauty reviewing and advertising is changing. Everyone has a valid view point and it is so much easier to give and find information that is unbiased. Most importantly it is instant and we can do it ourselves for free! We don't have to rely on paid for magazines adverts/editorials and TV to find out about new and interesting brands from near and far. We know how the PR game works, it's all you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours etc...
As one well known and respected blogger once said to me "blogging is the purest form of feedback companies can get.". PR companies and brands alike are going to have to change their game if they are going to keep up.
I am pleased to see that some are making headway in this new world of "personal PR". I feel that there is still a lot of work to do to change the established way of doing things. I can also see that some may not welcome this change. After all, it is the way it has always been and seemed to work but things are a changing. Customers are enjoying their own power to find their own information, trusting reviewers rather than beauty writers for an unbiased view. .There are those who do not go on line to seek reviews of products, they are just curious enough to talk to sales assistants and browse stands or see the latest adverts. Sooner or later though, they will seek better and we'll be waiting to welcome them.
OxfordJasmine, whether I like it or not, is a mini brand in itself which needs managing. Although I don't intend to engage a PR company or change my ways. I am becoming more aware of the need to stick to my principles, or "mission statement" in PR terms. I want to give a considered review rather than a quick opinion. Quick opinions based on little more than a cursory glance can come back to bite you. I am lucky, if I don't like something the chances are that I can talk directly to the PR or brand about it via email, twitter, facebook etc... If I can't, then you have to ask yourself, do they really care about their customers? If that is the case am I going to buy or recommend products from them? Not on my brand mate.
I sincerely hope that this is the beginning of an acceptance by brands and PR companies alike of the blogging community as a rich source of unbiased and focussed feedback on their products. Not all of us just want free products or invitations to events. For a lot of us it's a passion and hobby that we will continue to enjoy regardless of PR intervention.