Calling all movers and shakers

Shiona Mackenzie

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Do you participate in newsgroups? Are you an opinion leader? Marketers want to get to know you better. Dr Nan Zhou, Marketing Department, CityU recommended ways that marketers can identify and i

nfluence opinion leaders in newsgroups and turn them into "positive product information brokers", in his 24 February research seminar with Dr Alex S L Tang, Hong Kong Baptist University's Department of Marketing. The topic was "Newsgroup participants as Opinion Leaders and Seekers in Online and Offline Communication Environments: An Empirical Study." 

Dr Zhou and Dr Tsang have been analyzing messages posted by newsgroup participants and studying offline and newsgroup environments as resources for consumption-related opinions. They found that offline opinion leaders rely about as much on offline sources of information as they do on newsgroups, whereas newsgroup participants who hesitate to seek opinions in offline environments rely more on newsgroup to seek opinions. Their research results also reaffirmed previous findings that psychographic variables are more useful than demographics in describing the characteristics of newsgroup participants.


In an age of marketing strategies for anything and everything under the sun, it has never been more important for the commercial world and non-profits alike to know what customers and partners¡Xinternal as well as external¡Xreally want. Ongoing research such as Dr Zhou's work helps marketing professionals understand consumers' needs and wants, and how they are shaped.


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