Marketing Research Mindset: Stop Debating ‘Social’

Yes, look here for answers

Is it research or something else? Social media, Business Intelligence, Customer Relationship Management, Online Communities and Marketing Research (MR) – all are ways to listen and understand customers.

My guess is that MR is filled with the most angst amidst some sort of identity crisis in relation to social media.  Witness this recent piece in Research Magazine:

The survey of marketers, conducted for the IAB by research agency Opinion Matters, found that the most common use of social media was to drive awareness and consideration of a brand, as well as engagement and advocacy. 60% of the firms surveyed said they were using social media for research purposes, but when asked where social media fits in their organisation (selecting all answers that applied from a total of six), only 12% chose research, compared to 73% who chose marketing, 33% who chose PR/communications and 20% who chose ‘other’.

No wonder there is angst. MR isn’t really seen as delivering value when in comes to social media. If you get a migrane just thinking about social media, consider the following possible remedies:

1. Social Media won’t go away but respondents have: While people are giving up land lines and don’t like getting unsolicited mail, they’re opting to express opinion on the Internet in a pure, organic way. Partner with an online monitoring firm and create a new social science.

2. Stop hiring more MR professionals: Instead, hire people who understand the digital space. Marketing Technologists speak to ways in which applications enable the marketing process and the customer experience. Innovate.

3. Clients are buying-in to marketing research online (MROCs) and owned media platforms: In order to deliver incremental perceived value – business insights or new ideas – you must play in the right sandbox when it comes to customer listening.

4. Stop acting like an accounting function : It’s the job of the MR professional to guide the CMO and others, in a brand or customer management role, to see the way forward. Focus on what’s in the cloud and drive the next big idea. Act in real-time.

5. If you try to prove ROI you will die: Ask yourself, how many things does an enterprise do without having to justify with ROI? Do marketing, strategy, HR and finance have to deliver ROI to justify their existence? MR needs to focus on business benefits as the way of knitting together social media across the enterprise. Be the Voice of the Customer.

Leadership is the best way to overcome angst and clears the way for taking ownership. No one will fault you for that.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensCRM

5 responses to “Marketing Research Mindset: Stop Debating ‘Social’

  1. Great post, Ted. Research needs to take a leadership position when it comes to social media, yet no one seems to be stepping up (yet). What is most interesting to me is how the trend of social media for market research purposes has changed over time. I recently came across a TNS study from back in 2007 stating that 37% of marketing executives planned to use (or were using) social media for customer insights. It seems that things have changed a bit since then. It’s almost as if the initial value of social media was there for the taking, and then researchers collectively dropped the ball by ignoring the value in favor of “traditional” approaches.

  2. Matt, Thanks so much for your comment. Fast forward to 2010 and several of the largest marketing research firms have acquired or have aligned with a social media monitoring capability — a clear signal that the industry is undergoing a transformation. A big challenge, as I see it, is a culture clash: market research is a post WWII/pre-Internet discipline dominated by baby boomers, that is being challenged to delivery more business value and faces tremendous cost pressures. Social Media monitoring and MROCs are a post-Internet approaches, with many on the payroll that are of the ‘IPod generation’. SMMs and MROCs are on the ascendency as they deliver cost-effective insights within very short cycle times. Someone will put it all together and create a balance where the utility, all of three forms of customer ‘sensing’, is clear to the CMO.

  3. Pingback: Marketing Research: The New Corporate “Trust Agent” « 4ScreensCRM Center

  4. Pierre, thanks so much. Cheers, Ted.

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