Interview: Carnegie Mellon Professor Ari Lightman On How Students Are Empowered By Learning To Use Brandwatch Consumer Research
By Kara FinnertyJun 10
Published September 22nd 2016
Social data has revolutionized marketing. The market insights extracted allow marketers to become increasingly efficient by revealing a more detailed picture of consumers.
This nuanced picture of the audience has allowed for better market segmentation and targeting. Consumers can be better targeted when you know who is buying, the other brands they like, the content they consume, the frustrations they have, products they talk about, and interests they embrace.
These insights can be used in a variety of ways. Many marketers have used this data as a way of boosting short-term sales. Maximizing the impact of content and campaigns is good practice, but doesn’t take full advantage of the market insights available.
Short term goals will work well while the use of social data is uneven across brands and industries. The early adopters can reap the benefits while the laggards play catch up. However, in time, the utilization of big data will become universal. At this point, the competitive advantage is lost; all brands will be as good at understanding and marketing to their customers.
So to really take advantage of the market insights that social intelligence offers, brands need to think about how they are using that data, and start to develop strategies for the long term: driving customer loyalty by improving the customer experience.
Customer loyalty describes consumers who remain loyal to a brand over an extended period of time, displaying a preference due to the value of the experience and higher quality product than the competition. This loyalty is often based on an emotional bond that has been developed over years.
The emotional connection is earned through consistent product quality, great customer experience, and the brand’s values. When people can compare prices anywhere at any time, these factors become increasingly important as differentiators.
True market insights go beyond simple research and observation to deliver a new way of understanding consumers. It describes a previously unrecognized behavioral trait that if leveraged will create revenue. Recommendations should be credible, actionable and practical.
Conducting social media research with well-defined questions and a robust methodology can surface these market insights that can be harnessed to drive customer loyalty, increasing sales in the long term.
Most people’s starting point with social intelligence is measuring social media metrics. A structured analysis of metrics can be the best method for answering defined, objective questions. If you have recently run a campaign and want to know if it drove awareness, the rise in mentions and share of voice can provide the answer.
For actionable insights, however, you will often need to dive into the data, manually reading a sample of mentions to understand the nuances of the conversation.
This begins with searching for conversations around the industry or product category rather than your brand or product. You are looking for market insights, so people talking about your competitor’s product is just as valuable as people talking about your own.
Once you have the data you need to ensure it is clean. Include exclusion terms in your search to remove any irrelevant mentions. Once you have identified the top trends and topics, it can be really useful to exclude those topics. This will reveal insights that go beyond what you already know.
Taking a random, representative sample of the data will allow you to read through all the data, and mark each mention with one or more categories. By having different parent categories you can identify common demographic segments, emotional responses, frustrations, praise and so on.
These different categories can then be crossed with each other and reveal market insights. The fundamental tenet of social media research is noticing a difference between things. Be curious and keep exploring.
The market insights gleaned during this process need to be used to not just for better marketing but to develop a better experience that drives customer loyalty. Ultimately this process leads towards becoming a more customer-centric brand.
The first step in choosing to be a customer of a brand comes down to them having a reliable, good-quality product.
The quality of your offering can be improved by listening to conversations about your product, to discover what your current customers like and dislike about it.
Market insights around the wider industry can also be used to emphasize certain features in your marketing, or develop the product itself.
Research company Access Development reports that 79% of customers would take their business to a competitor within a week of experiencing poor customer service.
The estimated cost of customers switching their choice of businesses due to poor service is $1.6 trillion.
Research also shows those who receive a positive customer service interaction on Twitter are more satisfied with their experience. They are also more willing to recommend the company, and to pay more in the future.
Social listening can be used to discover the brand associations consumers have with your brand. Segmentation of the data can also unearth the topics and values matter to your customers. These brand values can be communicated through different campaigns.
To utilize market insights for long-term benefits, brands need to leverage social data strategically, putting customer loyalty and experience first. While insights can drive short-term boost in sales, focusing on making customers happy will make the future brighter.