May 3, 2012 by Charlie Walker
Posted in: In this week's e-newsletter - Sales & Marketing, Latest News & Views - Sales & Marketing, New Research, online marketing
Thoroughly researching a potential customer can make the difference between closing the deal or walking away empty-handed. It’s one of the most effective ways to show customers you understand their needs and value their business. But what happens when you’re researching on Wikipedia?
Answer: Your info could be dead wrong.
That’s because more than half — 60% — of the Wikipedia-sourced articles about potential customers contain factual errors, according to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).
In some cases, it was even worse than unreliable information — competitors sabotaged a potential customer’s Wikipedia entry, and the customer wasn’t aware of it.
One reason Wikipedia information can be less than reliable is because of the access that communications professionals have to edit a company’s entry.
What if someone uncovers one of these errors, whether it’s an honest mistake or the intentional effort to plant false information?
The prospects are disheartening.
A PRSA survey of businesses that tried to get Wikipedia to correct errors showed:
- 24% never heard back after trying to contact Wikipedia
- 40% didn’t get an immediate response — usually several days passed, and
- 12% were left high and dry for weeks.
The solution, for many businesses, is to study up and learn more about Wikipedia and how it works — and how corrections should be handled.
That, and check your own company’s Wikipedia information regularly, so you know when corrections are warranted.
This has another significant impact: 1 in 4 businesses said they weren’t even aware they should be checking for Wikipedia listings for their own companies and for potential customers.