Passenger Takes 2.0

Social networking sites aren't just for college kids and hopeful daters anymore. More and more companies are looking at online communities as fertile areas for consumer feedback and customer connection. Passenger, a leader in creating collaborative relationships between companies and their customers, hopes to support such brand indicatives with Passenger platform, which became available today. The platform enables companies to leverage their most valuable customers to create a two-way dialogue through which customers may voice their insights and frustrations surrounding the brand. Companies can use this knowledge to improve product development and marketing messaging. Passenger has been in business since 2006, and the company deployed its first platform last August. After working with a number of clients, Passenger is now going public with the announcement of Passenger platform. "We've been flying under the radar, practicing what we preach and identifying market innovators," says Justin Cooper, chief innovation and marketing officer. "Now it's to the point where we're ready to be really aggressive on the sales side and announce that we've arrived." The company cites customers like Coca-Cola, ABC Television, and Sara Lee, as brands whose developments have informed the new platform advancements. The Passenger platform, which is available exclusively on-demand, enables the creation of branded social networking communities. Within the context of these communities, companies can chose to interact with customers and allow customers to interact with their brands, in a way they find to be most mutually beneficial. With this platform, companies may listen directly to the voices of customers, analyze customer desires and concerns, and build customer retention through a direct relationship. This technology also provides a way for companies to test out marketing campaigns or new products before investing large amounts of time and money. Although online customer communities are still relatively new, Denis Pombriant, founder and managing principal of Beagle Research, says, "I think that there are some leading companies and early adopters that are definitely ready for it and have shown that this approach can be extremely valuable." Passenger is one of a handful of companies who are getting serious about leveraging the marketing power of the social networking space. Companies like Communispace and Sparta Social Networks provide similar services. With the public announcement of the platform, Passenger has also announced that the company will release an upgrade to the platform around Q2 of 2007. Cooper says that the slated release will include significant advancements like tools to further drive communication and ways to measure the value of individual customer feedback through peer review of comments. Pombriant believes that products like Passenger will continue to have a place in marketing and CRM in the future. He says, "It's an absolute cornerstone of CRM 2.0 ideas to have the ability to look inside of the relationship and ask the customer very specific questions. Longer term this is a very important trend." Related articles: Mercurial Marketing
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