It’s no secret that a critical component to improving marketing success in any organization includes incorporating social listening and monitoring.
Traditionally, the data-driven chief marketing officer gathered data from social platforms, converted them into actionable insights and brought them into the boardroom to prove to other C-levels how useful social data can be.
But as business needs evolve, the additional value of sharing social data across other departments is evident. Social consumer market insights can support every team outside of the boardroom, including customer service, product development, human resources and beyond.
As a result, the traditional practice of centralizing the role of social monitoring within one department–usually marketing–has shifted, and with good reason. While the insights garnered via the marketing department are useful and meet many business needs, organizations cannot ignore that the power of social insights can be leveraged in much bigger ways that are being explored by the evolution of traditional market research roles—the social consumer market insights professional.
The social CMI professional is pioneering advanced customer journey propositions that don’t simply meet the needs of prospective customers, but exceed and anticipate them, as well.
The insights that a social CMI professional analyze go far deeper than traditional monitoring for marketing. These insights are revelatory breakthroughs, not just minor findings affecting marketing.
This new data is working in conjunction with the conventional and, frankly, siloed methods of hunting for and gathering information about consumers, including passive social listening, traditional surveys and focus groups.
The social CMI professional is responsible for taking a 360-degree approach to collecting this data and more, then layering it–or blending it–to provide a more holistic view of the customer. It doesn’t stop with one or two sets of data. Nuanced and highly curated consumer market insights extraction can be found by intelligently analyzing blended data from a brand’s customer-relationship management software, in-store sales, search data, web traffic, weather data, social data and more. The possibilities are truly endless.
Needless to say, it’s an ambitious role–high-level and demanding, with the potential for strong business impact.
During a recent roundtable with CMI leaders from some of the world’s biggest brands and agencies, one concept held fast across the board: By using social data for consumer insights, the raw voice of the customer is collected, helping organizations to understand consumers on a more holistic level.
The wealth of unsolicited, unfiltered conversations reveals not only what brands and products consumers and communities are discussing, but also can uncover their other interests, demographics, social metrics and sentiment data that can be used to unlock an overview of almost any topic.
The roundtable social CMI conversation led to some interesting findings regarding “old” versus “new”:
- Surveys are critical, but they aren’t enough; consumer insights and marketing teams are blending traditional market research data with social data to confirm and assess campaign effectiveness, brand reputation and more.
- Social data empowers businesses to be nimble and smart; the continuous nature of social listening and analytics allows brands to identify trends and jump on opportunities before the competition.
- Social CMI reaches far beyond the marketing and consumer insights teams from investor relations, employee influencer activation and even product development.
There are myriad ways social consumer market insights can add value to the enterprise. Within product research and development, social data around consumers’ conversations can inform opportunities for product innovation, alert stakeholders about service issues and offer a direct line into the feature updates consumers want and need.
The area of market research that the social CMI is applied to can be incredibly niche. Social data can help researchers unearth rich insights quickly without having to conduct a survey or contact consumers directly. It’s cost-effective and directly taps into the psyche of the consumer helping brands embrace the need to truly understand their customers and prospective users on an individual and complete level.
For almost every company, brand health is a critical measurement of success. It ultimately has a deep impact on consumer awareness and the bottom line, and social data provides metrics and insight into the health of a brand.
Historically, measurement proved difficult without devoting resources to surveys and other costly and time-consuming strategies. According to research consultancy Millward Brown, “You can no longer measure brand health without including search and social data to get the full picture. [Social data will] help you make good decisions quickly, and use your budget more effectively.”
To be successful, today’s social consumer market insights professional must be influential across all business units. Whether your title is market research director or vice president of consumer insights, organizations need to recognize these professionals as instrumental to flagship initiatives with proven positive impact on the business.
At the end of the day, the role of the social CMI professional empowers organizations to activate insights that allow functions across the business to drive better results by more intelligently meeting market needs.
The evolution of the market research role should be respected and, more important, assimilated throughout any organization striving to understand their consumers. The power of social CMI to drive business enablement is immeasurable and, ultimately, it can lead to unprecedented success.
Rebecca Carson is the head of research services at social media monitoring firm Brandwatch.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Article courtesy of SocialTimes