How to Get Deeper, More Accurate Customer Insight from Social Behavior

Consider this. A significant portion of the world’s population now uses social media, with Facebook alone boasting over 1.5 billion active monthly users. This level of engagement creates a huge volume of people sharing their thoughts not only with friends and family, but also with brands, with data coming from the ‘natural environment’. This makes it more reflective of consumers’ interests, predictive of their future behavior, and more responsive to current trends than a traditional focus group can ever be. For a CEO, this provides a ‘limitless’ window into areas of opportunity.

A traditional focus group relies on a contrived environment to observe behavior. But the participants have nothing in common except some key indicator, meaning these indirect connections create results that are less accurate, or predictive, than those gathered from people interacting normally with each other.

“The indirect connections of a traditional focus group create results that are less accurate, or predictive, than those gathered from people interacting normally with each other.”

The actionable intelligence of a focus group is limited by:

  • A static worldview, which is like a snapshot in time, and lacks the ability to take future events into account.
  • Operating in a vacuum and not taking into account the participants’ other interests. By focusing solely on participants’ brand interaction, marketers lose the opportunity to plan across other channels.
  • Taking too long. By the time products are designed and tested the world has often changed by the time they’re ready to launch.
  • Size. A focus group can only accommodate a small number of people, giving marketers insights into only a tiny slice of their target population.

The Limitless Focus Group is created by social media sharing. It is:

  • Constantly evolving, using the environment of social media to provide a space for consumers to interact with brands in a more natural environment while also tracking behavior shifts, which CMOs can use to predict changes or trends.
  • Being scaled across affinities that show the many interests and connections of individual users and giving marketers a tool for better targeting for cross-channel brand planning.
  • Operating in real-time with instant and ongoing feedback on products and trends, allowing new products to move to market faster.
  • A better measurement for CMOs to assess advertising effectiveness both before and after using social media, providing critical short cycle measurement.

The Limitless Focus Group of social media sharing provides CEOs and CMOs exponentially more than a traditional focus group by expanding the universe of data available to them. This leads to better, faster, and more predictive decisions—and greater growth.

Related articles:
Paying Customers for Personal Data: How Far Should CEOs Go?
‘Data Blending’ Offers Competitive Edge for Mid-Market Firms
Sustainability in the Age of Big Data

 

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Dr. Alok Choudhary
Dr. Alok Choudhary is the founder, chairman and chief scientist of 4C Insights. He is also the Henry and Isabel Dever Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Northwestern University. He also teaches at Kellogg School of Management.

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