Traditional marketing research has always been hailed as an important part of any product development process. The exhaustive research schedule brand managers know all too well sets expectations of how a new product will fare in the market. At least, that’s what common research efforts have told us up until now.
This is the age of social media and networking. Simply put, purchases are made based on friend recommendations and reviews, likes and shares from peers. A 2011 report by Nielson on the state of social media claims that approximately 80% of people with Internet access utilize social media. This makes it possible to conduct market research with an audience that is many times larger than nearly any other marketing or media source can provide. Today, consumers prefer to talk about their favorite products and engage in discussions through online social channels, completely bypassing popup survey forms and avoiding questions from market research personnel all together.
Old school marketers will argue that the new social method may not be up to par compared with traditional hardcore research tactics. But when you boil it all down, the purpose is still the same:
- To develop a product that is tailor made for a target market
- Optimize market reach
- Asses the existing market trends and consumer behavior
- Make product enhancements and modifications
Market researchers are slowly making the much-needed shift from their traditional techniques to modern social media analytics tools in order to obtain in-depth, real time, and insightful market research data. Let’s take a look at how social media analytics tools aid market research:
1. Gaining Market Insights from Social Conversations
Clearly, social channels highlight sharing information and building conversations. Brands and organizations can dig into a gold mine of information with these candid conversations, which are key to useful insights on consumer wants and needs, brand perception among consumers, their products and services. Using social media analysis tools, market researchers and brand managers can very effectively and easily analyze tons of such conversations and derive decisive insights from it, to strategize, improvise and modify marketing plans.
2. Getting to Know the Target Markets
Using the usual methods, market researchers would have to solely rely on boring surveys using lengthy questionnaires simply to understand their target market. Now let’s turn to social media analysis tools, with their sentiment and intent analysis abilities. These techniques tell researchers everything about their target audience – from demographics to consumer opinions without using any surveys or questionnaires.
3. Predicting Trends and Managing Competition
By using social media analysis tools, organizations do not have to wait for the results of market surveys to know the market trends or understand their competitors. They can now thank competition analysis techniques that do this for them.
We are at the perfect time in marketing evolution to carry out effective market research through social media analysis. Market researchers must embrace these tools and make the best use of what it has to offer in terms of cost-effectiveness and clarity through minimal time.