User Manuals Are at Peak Demand. The Reason? Not What You Think.: OwnerIQ Survey Finds Product User Manual Plays Key Role in Consumer Product Education and Brand Experience

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The product user manual is an increasingly critical tool for both consumers and brand managers, according to a survey conducted by OwnerIQ, a company dedicated to helping consumers get the most out of their products. With more and more people turning to the Web for information, the often-overlooked user manual is fast becoming the primary source of product education and the most important part of the consumer brand experience outside of the product itself.

We knew the user manual was more important than conventional wisdom would suggest, but even we were surprised with the importance of the user manual in the total brand experience

    Banishing the popular notion that a user manual is only used to troubleshoot product problems, more than 86% of consumer respondents cited the user manual as the first place they turn to learn about the products they own. More than 77% noted that one of the most frequent reasons for consulting a user manual is to learn about using product features. The survey also reveals that the more Internet savvy the consumer, the more likely they are to use product user manuals and to search for them online: 65% of the most Internet savvy respondents reported consulting user manuals more than five times per year.

"We knew the user manual was more important than conventional wisdom would suggest, but even we were surprised with the importance of the user manual in the total brand experience," said Jay Habegger, CEO of OwnerIQ. "Moreover, rather than reducing dependence on user manuals, the Internet is rendering the manual even more important."

Habegger continued, "Consumers expect on-demand access to user manuals and are even using them as a resource prior to purchase. More than 20% of the most sophisticated Internet users say that they review the user manual before purchasing a product and 26% of this same group indicated that they use the user manual to check compatibility with other products."

Each day, consumers conduct more than two million online searches for self-support information on products ranging from consumer electronics to kitchen appliances. Many of these searches end in frustration because the information can be difficult to find. In fact, 90% of survey respondents reported experiencing some level of difficulty in locating user manuals online. Furthermore, a full 89% of the consumers surveyed reported negative feelings about the product manufacturer when they had difficulty obtaining the user manual.

To help solve these challenges, OwnerIQ provides a network of Web sites that aggregate tens of thousands of user manuals from more than 2,200 manufacturers. With more than one million unique visitors to the OwnerIQ Network each month, the company solves the consumer challenge of locating product information online and supports a positive brand experience for consumer product manufacturers. For more information on the company, the OwnerIQ Network and survey results, please visit: http://owneriq.net.

The OwnerIQ survey of more than 2,700 users was conducted in September 2007. All of OwnerIQ's research is available at: http://owneriq.net/research.

About OwnerIQ

OwnerIQ operates a network of consumer self-support Web sites for common household product categories. The company is pioneering the concept of Ownership Targeting, providing brand advertisers with highly customized programs to precisely target consumers based on products they already own. Ownership Targeting takes the guesswork out of identifying likely purchasers and enables advertisers to influence consumers throughout a product's ownership lifecycle. Founded in August 2006, OwnerIQ is based in the greater Boston area and is led by a proven management team of online media professionals. For more information, please visit: http://owneriq.net.

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