How Social Listening Is the New (and Improved) Focus Group
Is your business still relying on focus groups to understand what consumers want? Businesses in the United States and around the world are investing in a new method, called social listening, to gather insights about their customers, products and marketing strategies.
Social Listening 101
Social listening, or social media monitoring as it is also known, involves businesses gathering comments from online conversation. DataRank collects comments from a variety of sources including eCommerce sites, forums, blogs, and social media.
If we want to track what people are saying about Tide Pods, for example, we'll create a topic in the DataRank Insights application, with a query that requests all mentions for Tide Pods, from selected data sources. Crawlers then grab the comments from those sources and put them into the DataRank Insights app.
So, when you see someone tweet something like this:
"Tide Pods have stained my brand new white shirt and our brand new bed sheets as well. Never using Tide again." - @AlexGamboa1224
How is Social Listening Better Than A Focus Group?
So now that you know the basics of social listening you're probably wondering what can be achieved through the gathering and sorting of these comments, and how it is better than the traditional focus group research method.
One of the best reasons to invest in social listening instead of focus groups is that it has multi-faceted benefits. While a focus group could pinpoint a product issue, social listening allows marketing departments to start monitoring consumers before they know about a product, delve into product issues quickly, and continue listening to conversation after issues are resolved. They can also monitor what competitors are doing, and how they can improve their own marketing strategies.
Stuart Ogawa from Marketwired, told the Financial Times in early 2014, "I think each generation of new products and services developed by listening will be a lot sooner, quicker, faster."
Some of the disadvantages in using focus groups is that questions asked of the participants could be misconstrued, answers could be influenced by the tone of the moderator, or by other vocal participants, and emotion connected with the use of a product is not in a real-world setting.
When people go to Twitter, or Walmart.come to leave a review, they're driven by their experience to say something unsolicited about a product. Sometimes social media marketing can purposely generate comments, but in the case of product launches, and campaigns, they are first-time unbiased opinions about something that is new. See the case of the Velvet Oreos Launch.
A Real World Example
Using DataRank analytics, a billion-dollar brand analyzed conversation to find out what people were specifically calling out as safety issues. Instead they found that much of the negative sentiment was directed at other consumers, condemning their lack of safety precautions in using the product and wrongfully blaming the brand.
Within 24 hours the company was able to share this information with retail partners to calm concerns of a potential recall. Several weeks later a more detailed study with parents validated the initial analysis and the product saw exponential sales.
Other Social Listening Benefits
- Track campaign performance.
- Discover potential product development from online conversation.
- Use deep listening to make informed marketing decisions.
- Develop an understanding of consumer needs.
- Build a relationship between consumer opinion and the product/brand.
- Be at the forefront of innovation in your industry.
- Have a competitive edge in the market.
- Measure success
- Identify Brand Influencers
The #1 Reason To Use Social Listening
It works. We have published 5 case studies that illustrate how DataRank is being used by businesses to meet marketing challenges, increase revenue and monitor consumer sentiment. Download them for FREE on our website.
Follow Josephine Hardy on Twitter