This following post was featured on Mediavataar.com. You can view the original interview here.
Marketing research has been around for almost a century now. Over the years the use of market research has evolved and today it is used for various activities today ranging from ad tracking to test marketing to customer satisfaction research. The techniques of market research evolved but they till recent times they focussed only on offline data & observation.
But the recent changes in technology & digital behaviour of users has opened another avenue to capture data and observe user behaviour. That of consumer created content (CCC) . However this CCC across social networks is not being put to great use by the market researchers.
The most prominent use of consumer created content today for marketers in India is to measure the brands online reputation or campaign success. There are multiple variants of these two in form of customer sentiment, buzz analysis, conversation spread etc. But lets look at some other ways in which the consumer created content or social media buzz as it is called in common parlance can be used.
PR Planning: While capturing the brand buzz, the data & insights allows you to break up the data basis the type & source i.e. blogs, forums, micro sites etc. Further you can compare it with the competition brand buzz thus allowing you a good sense of the traction that your brand gets viz-a-viz competition & other category brands. In depth analysis into this data will allow you to do platform specific targeting, maintain consistency in your digital PR initiatives, connect with leading digital journalists etc.
Influencer Identification: It is important to understand that an influencer is not some one who mentions your brand once in a tweet or in a facebook update. An individual who is either a category specialist or has repeatedly had a good experience with your brand is an influencer. Consistent & ongoing monitoring of CCC will help you identify these influencers.
Campaign Planning: Web is becoming social. Earned, Owned, Paid have merged into a single digital frame. This increasingly calls for insights & analysis around social web that can be used while planning a campaign. Analysis of conversations will allow you to identify the key platforms, nature of content that should be generated that gels with the theme of the campaign. And yes it means not just the CTR nos.
Measuring Milestones: There exists a social web outside of facebook & twitter. And at the time of rolling out a social web strategy, it is important to define 360 degree milestones. Tactical measurement & analysis will allow you to measure your brands progress against these objectives & milestones that have been defined.
These are still early days for CCC & using the same for market research. But yet there is enough that if you ignore it, you will do it at your own peril. There is no doubt that with evolving nature of CCC, the use to which this data is put will also evolve.