The Social Media Focus Group

The Brandwatch Now You Know event hit Chicago last week, leaving a wealth of digital creatives in its wake. The two-day event was designed to educate about social data and how it is changing the world’s biggest brands. If the people I spoke with were any indication, then the event was attended by a very wide swath of marketers and industry insiders. My lunch table was filled with guests from Guatemala, Madrid, and as far away as Tokyo. All this month we’ll be exploring the multitude of fresh insights and groundbreaking ideas that are fueling digital marketing in 2016 and beyond.

 

We can now look directly on conversations about our product being held by its every-day users.

 

The keynote speaker was Brian Solis, world-renowned digital analyst, speaker and author of such books as X: The Experience When Business Meets Design and The End of Business as Usual. He spoke of the multitude of insights that digital marketing gives us, but that we need to understand how customers feel about our product. Listen to your customers and they will tell you the ‘true story’ of your product.

 

Listen to your customers and they will tell you the ‘true story’ of your product.

 

Social media is revolutionizing market research.  Its very existence provides the businesses with the ultimate focus group. Scaled and accessible, you no longer have to ask your customers or demographic the perfect question to illicit the desired insight like you would with a traditional Q&A or focus group. The digital marketplace has created the Social Media Focus Group. We can now look directly on conversations about our product being held by its every-day users. These are as honest a sentiment as one could hope for. The sheer size and detail of the Social Media Focus Group allows for insights to be gleaned that may never have been thought of in a traditional focus group.  A recent initiative involved 300,000 Wells Fargo agents worldwide. They built online communities for clients to discuss their issues, exchange ideas, and speak to the Wells Fargo experience. The sole purpose of this was to listen. That’s it. Listen to what was being said by Wells Fargo clients and begin to tailor and alter their business model to meet recurring issues head on and glean new insight as to how their services are used. It was through this listening exercise that Wells Fargo learned how to update their online services, improve the transaction process at brick and mortar locations and improve the services offered. The changes Wells Fargo implemented through this listening exercise we not items that were anywhere on their internal radar. Without paying attention to their Social Media Focus Group they may never have known what their customers truly wanted.

 

The sole purpose is to listen. That’s it. 

 

Marketing has an opportunity to work through the entire customer experience. Think about which brands are our favorites. Disney. Apple. Their experiences don’t stop because a sale has been made. Even though companies are pumping more money into digital marketing than ever before, all the ad spend in the world won’t matter if you forget that your product plays a role in people’s lives. Finding your company’s ‘true story’ represents an opportunity to connect deeper with your customers and retain them. Wells Fargo found their ‘true story’. It is our job as marketers to listen and turn these insights in to action.

Come back next week when we discuss how smartphones have changed expectations and put people at the center of their own universe.

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