Europe’s Bankers say understanding customer social media data is top 2013 priority

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The ability to interrogate and make decisions based on consumer data from social media is a key 2013 priority for European bankers according to a survey from the European Financial Management Association (Efma) and the Fair Isaac Corporation (Fico). The survey of credit risk professionals from 27 European countries found that analysing these data to better understand consumer needs was a priority for 54% of respondents.

The results show the growing importance of social data sets in the already data-rich world of financial services. The  industry is currently in a very risk-averse period, meaning that companies are looking for credit growth primarily among those people that they have the most data on - their customers. However focusing just on your existing customers will not help you to win in the current market as customers are risk-averse too in the current economic climate - they will look for the best product for them and move banks to get what they see as a better offer.

This is where the respondents see the role of social media. Analysing data from these sources can help them to better:

  • understand consumer needs
  • predict the products and services that will see most demand
  • identify where they might find valuable new customers

In the current market, the financial services brand that most effectively integrates these social data sources alongside their existing rich data sets has the potential for a real competitive advantage. The ability to predict and tailor products and services that will attract profitable consumers.

Of course getting there will involve work, as with any activities looking to interrogate and learn from social data you first need to understand what data you have (from your own proprietary data-sets and from social and public sources) and then to explore what you can learn from these. Only then can you consider how your business might benefit and the kinds of decisions you can inform.

That financial services firms rank understanding data as such a priority for 2013 shows the value that these firms are seeing from social media - not just as a means of communication but also to inform business and marketing strategies.

Location-based marketing should be about more than just vouchers

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Facebook Deals in Times SquareWith the launch of Facebook Deals in the US in November and its imminent launch in the UK, the opportunities for brands to engage in location-based marketing are growing and set to grow more in 2011.

We’ve already looked at the ways in which marketers can use Facebook Places, and the ways in which location-based services can add value to both consumers and to marketers. But with the launch and growth of Facebook Deals, we will see a rapid growth in use of these tools by brands. And, with luck, a growth in marketing innovation - using location to do things and engage with people in ways that have not previously been possible.

But there is a danger that marketers may not move beyond the use of location to target vouchers, discounts and coupons. That would be a real shame.

Facebook Deals and Foursquare lend themselves to easily provide discounts based on a consumer’s location - a voucher for checking in, a discount for checking in a fixed number of times, a group discount if you check in with your friends. All of these are possible and would be of interest to brands. Taking a tactic that is already used offline and both moving it online and bringing in the location element. But this misses out on the real opportunities for brands to experiment with location-based marketing and to engage with consumers in new ways.

Successful brands will be experimenting sensibly with social media in 2011 as part of their social media strategy. And location-based marketing should be one area for innovation. Rather than just discounting or offering vouchers there we will see innovations in how brands are interacting with consumers. They may be allowing consumers to leave a ‘wish list’ in shops for friends - dropping their wedding list in a department store for others to find when they are there, or leaving their virtual birthday gift list in stores around town through location based services. They may allow customers to sort reviews and find services based not just on what is closest, but what others, people like them, or their friends, think of them. Or they may allow consumers to keep a record of when they have visited a location (maybe a gym or swimming pool) and the activities they did when they were there as part of a training diary.

Location-based tools offer a new way to engage with customers. And the successful brands will be innovating with these in 2011. Vouchers, discounts and coupons are just one thing they can be used for. But the best brands will do so much more.

This post is part of an informal series: Social Media in 2011.

Brands 50% more popular than celebrities in social media

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Internet users in the UK are more likely to follow brands in social media than they are to follow celebrities. A study of over 1,000 internet users (by the IAB, Opinion Matters and RMM) found that whilst only 13.4% of users follow celebrities, more than one in five (20.3%) follow brands. Brands are, therefore more than 50% more popular than celebrities in social media. This is good news for brands and shows the benefits they can get of using social media and using it well. But it also reinforces the importance for all brands of getting a social media strategy in place.

The research also showed than more than one in eight UK consumers have given feedback to a brand or organisation in social media. That is more than half of those who say they are following a brand in the first place and shows that, when consumers are following brands in social media, they are also likely to interact with it.

Another way to ‘interact’ with a brand in social media is not to follow it or to give it feedback directly, but to complain about it in a public arena. The survey found that 7.7% of UK consumers had done just this and in 40% of cases brands had responded rapidly to these complaints and comments. Getting your social media monitoring in place is important for brands as it helps you to find and, if appropriate, respond to mentions and such complaints. The research also shows the benefit of brands monitoring and responding like this - almost four out of every five (77.8%) people who were contacted by a brand were left with a positive feeling about the brand.

So consumers are more likely to follow a brand than a celebrity. Of those who follow a brand, more than half will interact with it and give it feedback. Consumers are also complaining about brands and organisations through social media, and those who receive a response from the brand through the same medium and highly likely to leave with a positive feeling about that brand.

In an environment where we know that most people will happily consume, and be influenced by, discussions and comments. The number of UK consumers actively discussing and feeding back on brands in social media is relatively high, and underlines how critical it is for all brands and organisations to address how they are using social media and to make sure they are using it in a way that makes sense for them, and adds value to them as well as to their audience.

The best market researchers to follow on Twitter

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Research Reinvented have polled the Twitterverse (I hate that word!) to find the most influential people in the market and consumer research areas to follow. Rather ingratiatingly I’m one of them and now get to wait to see if I make the top 10.

At FreshNetworks we make the most of strong research credentials, both in our specific online research communities, but also helping all of our clients make the most of the insight they can get from online communities. You can read more of our recent research posts from making online research better to one on simple, effective market research.

The full list of market researchers to follow on Twitter is below (in alphabetical order) and you can vote for the top ten by commenting on the Research Reinvented blog.

If you fancy voting (and maybe even voting for me) then comment on the Research Reinvented blog here.

Marketing Researchers to follow on Twitter

  • @alisonmacleod - UK - Researcher - Following 49 and 36 followers.
  • @berniceklaassen - Singapore - Head of TNS Interactive in Singapore - Following 126 and 79 followers.
  • @ccsavage - UK - Christopher Savage - Researcher - Following 458 and 381 followers.
  • @comerpatrick - USA - Patrick Comer SVP business development at OTX - Following 71 and 106 followers.
  • @communispaceceo - USA - CEO of Communispace a Research Community Software Provider - Following 2112 and 2603 followers.
  • @cristi_popa - Qualitative Researcher at Yellow Submarine research - Following 535 and 252 Followers.
  • @curiouslyp - UK - Simon Kendrick - Researcher at Essential Research and previously worked at ITV and GfK NOP Media - following 234 and 244 followers.
  • @duey23 - USA - Brian LoCicero - Director Client Relations - Kantar Operations - Following 63 and 46 followers.
  • @emielvanwegen - Netherlands - Researcher at Synovate - most tweets are in English - most tweets are Research 2.0 related - following 395 and 458 followers.
  • @ericsalama - Following 33 and 425 followers.
  • @insightsgal - USA - Researcher - Works for a tradeshow and publishing company - Following 531 and 468 followers.
  • @jennibeattie - Australia - Director Digital Consulting at Digital Edge - Following 378 and 259 followers.
  • @jhenning - USA - Jeffrey Henning - Vovici - Geek since before Geeks were Chic - tweets focus on research communities and customer feedback - Following 1132 and 948 Followers.
  • @joelrubinson - USA - Chief Research Officer at the ARF - Following 632 and 574 followers.
  • @johngriffiths7 - UK - Researcher - Following 60 and 181 Followers.
  • @katetribe - Australia - Quantitative Researcher Tribe Researh- Following 869 and 867 Followers.
  • @lovestats - USA - Annie Pettit - Statistician and Researcher and active blogger on MR - former VP Online Panel Analytics at Ipsos - Following 1873 and 1151 followers.
  • @mattrhodes - UK - Head of Client services at FreshNetworks - specialises in online communities and social media - Following 2155 and 2027 followers.
  • @merrilldubrow - USA - CEO of MARC, former SVP at Harris Interactive - Following 62 and 83 followers
  • @mikemacleod - USA - Market Researcher at Lightspeed, previously at Harris Interactive - Following 1693 and 1908 followers.
  • @montenegror - USA - Multifaceted Market Researcher at Black Mountain - Following 314 and 229 Followers.
  • @mrheretic - Market Research Deathwatch - a mostly cynical but interesting pov on the MR industry - Following 31 and 72 followers.
  • @ogaudemar - USA - Olivier de Gaudemar - SVP Online Community at OTX - Following 138 and 268 followers.
  • @raypoynter - UK - Director at the Future Place - frequent speaker at MR conferences on Market Research 2.0 and winner of ESOMAR best paper award - following 136 and 187 followers.
  • @researchrants - another anonymous researcher and partner in crime of @mrheretic - blogs frequently about Greenfield - new twitter user and most tweets are on MR - Following 32 and 146 followers.
  • @researchrocks - USA - Kathryn Korostoff - Research Entrepreneur and founder of Research Rockstar, a market research training company- Following 42 and 84 Followers
  • @rscionti - USA - Richard Scionti - SVP Solution Services at TNS - Following 82 and 76 followers.
  • @tomewing - UK - Social Media Knowledge Leader at Kantar Ops - 297 and 405 Followers.
  • @tomhcanderson - USA - Tom Anderson - next generation researcher and former employee of TNS NFO - Following 948 and 672 followers.
  • @vincenthofmann - South-Africa - Qualitative Researcher at Submarine former employee at Synovate - Tweets on all different topics, but also on MR - Following 416 and 522 followers.
  • @zebrabites - Australia - Qualitative research director at Zebra - Following 372 and 639 Followers.

Five ways to use an online research community in 2009

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It’s almost Christmas, and for  the penultimate in our Five things to do in 2009 series, I wanted to focus on one specific use brands can make of social media: online research communities. Of the communities we build and manage at FreshNetworks, many are specifically built for research. Even those that are not usually end up offering valuable insight into what consumers think. This insight is something every brand can benefit from, so today here are Five ways to use an online research community in 2009.

1. Get customers involved in your business

It’s often said that the cleverest people don’t work for you. And it’s certainly true that customers and consumers are likely to have quite extensive experience of your products, and how they are actually used. If you want to test a new idea, find out how people are using your product or find out about how you are different to your competitors, then the best way can be to ask these people who know best. An online research community can act as a customer voice and empower internal teams with customer input and insight. If you have a question, however small it may seem, you can get feedback from your online research community, often overnight, and be able to represent the customer inside your business.

2. Innovate with your customers

We’ve posted before about the power of co-creation and of innovating with your customers. An online research community can be a great way of both getting new ideas organically, and of working with your customers on innovation and co-creation. The format means that you can have ongoing discussions with them and involve them throughout the innovation process, rather than just testing ideas at specific stages. Bringing together internal experts and others with your customers can also have a powerful outcome, and in our experience always brings to your brand ideas you might never have thought of before.

3. Find out how your customers interact

Traditional market research has often considered the customer as a respondent - an isolated being who can answer questions about their habits and behaviours. This is a false construct and misses the most important aspect of any market decision - the social context. It is difficult to truly understand the ‘why’ of market research using traditional methods - we  know what people do and think but not why. All we can usually do is ask them what they think the why is. With an online research community it is easier to observe the conversations people have, how they discuss your product or competitor products. How do they advise other people, how do they explain their decisions and opinions, what do they choose to discuss. Answers to all these questions can come from observing what they do and how they talk to their peers. Just watching your online research community can sometimes be an enlightening thing to do.

4. Learn the language your customers use

Too many brands and products are hindered by the language that is used to describe it. We often find that customers use a very different vocabulary to the one that brands use. This can be very difficult to explore and understand using traditional methods. It’s only in an online research community can you analyse and draw insight from the language people use. And then you can ask them why they use this language and not the one that you do. Perhaps the most powerful finding from one of our online research communities this year was that a global telecoms firm was talking about its product in a way none of it’s customers understood.

5. Find answers to questions you didn’t even know to ask

Traditional market research offers great ways to find answers to questions. It’s less good at getting answers to those questions you never thought to ask in the first place. By building a community of customers and then using this for research and insight you will generate organic discussions and debates alongside any activities you run. These discussions will let you understand what your customers talk to each other about, what they really think about your product and how they really talk about. You will be able to see what matters to them most and what they think about it. And most importantly they will ask questions. A well managed online community will see community members generating ideas and debates with each other. If you are using this community for research then you will be able to benefit from these questions, and the answers others give. You’ll know the answer to things that are important to your customers, but that you probably never thought to ask

Read all of our Five Things to Do in 2009 posts

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