BLOG-O-NOMENON: An explorative study on the social media marketing phenomenon in the Philippines
Cancio, J. M. (2009). Blog-o-nomenon: An exploratory study on the social media marketing phenomenon in the Philippines, Unpublished Undergraduate Thesis, University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication
This study explores the phenomenon of blog marketing in the Philippines by finding out the significant changes that bloggers with personal influence have caused to the marketing industry in the country. The objectives of the research include describing the blog marketing phenomenon, determining how bloggers function as opinion leaders in the flow of communication, and discussing how bloggers influence the local marketing industry. Moreover, this research seeks to emphasize the significance of opinion leaders in the Two-step Flow of communication within the social media platform.
The key informants of this study are the bloggers. The main method in gathering data was focus interviews with three key informants. Their insights were triangulated with the supporting data gathered from marketing industry experts and followers of the bloggers. The Two-step Flow of communication of Paul Lazarsfeld was used to guide the researcher throughout the conduct and analysis of the study.
Results showed that bloggers are essentially influencing consumer behavior by building relationships with their followers. These relationships turn out to be niche markets that the marketers, both marketing officers and public relations officers, are after. Bloggers are validated to be effective opinion leaders as their practice of blogging manifests the characteristics of personal contact necessary for personal influence as discussed in Personal Influence by Katz and Lazarsfeld (1955). According to Katz and Lazarsfeld there are four characteristics of personal influence: 1) Non-purposiveness/casualness; 2) Flexibility to counter resistance; 3) Trust; and 4) Persuasion without conviction. It was found that bloggers and marketers now have a distinct relationship that can still be further developed and improved. The marketing experts proposed that there should be a means of regulating this rapidly growing marketing tool. However, it was asserted by the bloggers and followers alike that the free and uncontrolled nature of blogging as a personal and relatable mode of communication should be maintained for it to keep its powerful influence over the public.
Blog marketing is an impressively popular phenomenon today; some would say that it is dying while some would say that it is just at its prime. Nevertheless, it is definitely a phenomenon that will continue to affect the marketing industry with its power to directly influence the public. To make a more in-depth study, the researcher recommends methods like focus group discussions with the bloggers or focus interviews with the followers. A study on the ethical issues on blog marketing is also recommended.
Keywords: Two-step flow, opinion leaders, public influence, social media, blogs, marketing