Typically, when companies express an interest in brand health benchmarking, the discussion revolves around measuring a change in sentiment or share of voice over time. As they progress along the social maturity curve, their access to historical social data allows them to compare these metrics in subsets.
A retailer, for example, might want to benchmark key performance indicators from the last quarter of 2015 to compare them to the metrics generated by the coming holiday season. However, there is so much more to benchmarking social data, as it can be valuable beyond comparing your data against your competitors or your own historical performance.
Benchmarking and tracking the health of sub-brands is integral to gaining visibility into the volume and emotional impact properties are having on the overall enterprise.
It’s probably an oversimplification to say something like, “Every brand health benchmarking analysis is focused on three primary measurements: volume, time and sentiment.” However, at its core, it’s the truth. These three measurements can be sliced together to create dozens of useful and strategic KPIs.
A huge enterprise business like Amazon might not have worries about overall sentiment metrics or share of voice performance against competitors. However, Amazon’s reach extends beyond the core business of its namesake e-commerce website.
Amazon is the parent company of more than 20 internet brands. Some are niche e-commerce sites (Fabric.com), some are e-retail giants (Zappos) and some generate revenue through content and advertising (IMDB).
Benchmarking sub-brand share of voice and sentiment can provide insight into which properties are pulling their weight in driving consumer word of mouth and which might be having a negative impact on the enterprise as a whole.
What can benchmarking teach us? In looking at the charts below, it’s clear that there is cause for concern over the drastic drop of volume in mentions of Zappos. The final three months of 2015 generated 85 percent of the mentions about the brand in the nine months tracked.
Zappos is a significant revenue contributor, and a drop in word of mouth can translate into a drop in sales. Our benchmarking insight here is that perhaps it’s time to raise the ante on marketing and communications for Zappos–a company that built its reputation on innovative ways of reaching consumers.
The benchmarking of sentiment data at the end of 2015 allows us to generate insights from how sentiment trends over time. In the charts below, notice that despite the large drop in volume, Zappos’ sentiment remains constant.
However, the real story here is the shift in negative sentiment for both comiXology (12.8 percent) and Woot (10.5 percent). Without an initial measurement, the decline might not have been noticed, as it slowly creeped downward over time. Thanks to benchmarking, there is a baseline to return to for context around shifts in KPIs.
Not all social insights matter to every brand, nor can they replace talking directly with your audience. Seeing how data matches up in reality is key. So how do you determine which insights offer your brand the biggest return? Let’s explore that:
Social and sentiment data is important as a starting point when creating a new marketing strategy or engaging consumers on social media. But digital ease notwithstanding, there’s still merit in going out into the field and asking your audience what they want. Assuming your brand’s vision is where industry culture is headed is often powered by what you want, not what the consumer needs.
A recent project led by design and innovation firm Altitude shows this in action–literally. It centers around helping liquor brands increase sales by reframing consumer perception of cocktails made at home.
Although hand-crafted cocktails are all the rage right now in restaurants, people don’t really make them at home. Altitude wanted to know what stops people from muddling mint in their kitchens and what they’d have to do to get people to think “beyond the bottle.”
Instead of surfacing insights on social media, which would likely not reveal what was inhibiting consumers, Altitude visited people’s homes, conducting interviews and watching them entertain and mix drinks. They learned that the experience of drinking at home wasn’t worthwhile because replicating drinks was just too complicated without the proper ingredients, tools, and recipes readily available. So drinking at a local bar or restaurant was much more appealing.
Armed with these insights, Altitude uncovered opportunities to improve the at-home, drink-making experience and an innovative new app–Stem–was born.
The success of Altitude’s approach doesn’t mean social insights aren’t still important. Sentiment, for starters, is always relevant. But there are other social insights that cannot be ignored, although they often are. Competitive intelligence tops that list. Why? Because there’s a misconception about what competitive intelligence means.
You don’t need to keep pace with folks or do what they’re doing, but you should use their intel to power your efforts rather than re-creating the wheel–especially when that intel is readily available on social media. Do a little social listening of your competitors and their audience–which is your desired audience, too–and you can uncover two crucial things:
Both tell you loads about what consumers want and allow you the opportunity to deliver.
And what about customer service? This is another social insight that’s often missed by businesses, or attended to with a very literal approach, i.e., “This customer needs assistance, so we’ll help them.”
That’s important, of course, but customer service can extend beyond simply putting out fires and offering guidance. Predictive analysis, by spotting trends, is next-level customer service, according to Insightly, and it offers an inroad toward customer retention: “If leads hit a certain point and drop out, you’re failing to provide what they need to make the decision to buy. To figure out what you lack, look at what customers consistently ask.”
Beyond that, look at trends like “seasonal buying patterns, related items or the desire for updates to existing products.” All of these factor into your customer service equation; because at its heart, customer service is about giving consumers what they want all the time, not just when there’s a problem.
Keeping consumers happy is the foundation of brand health and business growth. Doing that means going beyond basic goals of social proof–like mentions and retweets–and really delving into who people are and what your brand means to them.
At each stage, you’ve got to think further ahead than before and get creative with consumer engagement–not just on social, but wherever they are in their lives, and with regard to your products. Master that, using the tips above, and you’ll never have to worry about losing them.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Article courtesy of SocialTimes
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”:
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