SXSW: Old Man Nielsen vs New Market Research

by Kate Brodock on 16 March 2009

Posted in: Conferences & Events

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“Have traditional surveys and focus groups gone the way of the dodo? Can social media really get to the heart of customer sentiment? This panel will discuss, based on real company experiences, what combination of traditional and social media market research companies need to use to truly understand their customers.”


Daniel Neely, Founder & CEO, Networked Insights
Dave McClure, Troublemaker, Founders Fund
Jim Schroer, Founder, EngageNextGen
Michael J Lambie, Digital Research Director, Nielsen Company

Neely: Social media means more info.  What hasn’t changed? You need to attract customers, you need to stay relevant.  How do they do that?  There’s a whole bunch of jargon out there about the topic of engagement.  It matters if they talk about it, if they’re saying something and if they’re impressed.  Old Way means a lot of data.  The New Way means actionable insights.  Data is free, insight is worth a little money, valuable insight is even a little more money and actionable valuable insight is worth a lot.  Social media is a very simple thing to understand, but let’s simplify it to a level that allows us to take action.

The Old Way required hiring statisticians, running regressions etc.  The New Way adds anthropological perspective to the numbers.

McClure: We use primary data to build a picture of the consumer, and try to segment them by engaging them on the web and being in their communities.

Schroer: There’s an economy out there that is fundamentally based on the rates of 30 second TV commercials.  There could be an argument made that this is now a house of cards.  In social media, people aren’t talking about the same things that are on TV commercials.  During the Super Bowl, a lot of the viewings on website went down after the commercials.  I want to challenge the system that’s base don TV commercials, and I think the measurement of engagement on the web is more effective.

Question: What are the premium benefits you’d get out of a sentiment-based analysis vs a quantitative-based analysis (for Neely)?

Neely: How do we understand things from a jargon standpoint?  How do you look at things from the good and bad, not just the fact that there was a mention?  It’s not just about the number of impressions of interactions.  When we think about interactions, we can’t just think about post-content.  About 15% of people post content.  What about all the other 85%?  Let’s understand the whole story, and then think about how that effects advertising spend?

Question: What about PR?

Neely: If you understood the right story to tell, and how to tell it, that’s going to be pretty interesting.  What about if I can pre-inform that story?  PR is about dropping the pebble.

[Pause to ask audience if they trusted their PR firms ability to measure social media..... very low number of hands went up]

Question: What’s the role of listening and the role of vocal minority?  How do you accurately measure the vocal minority?

Lambie: When you have the vocal minority, you have to understand what their influence is.  There’s a percentage that no one listens to.  It’s about influence.
Schroer: I’d love to see the marketers equivalent of a Q-score.  We wanted about 10% of people to be negative, and we didn’t care about what happens in the middle.
Neely: I actually use Twitter a lot to understand what the trends are.  Back to vocal minority, once you get the place where you can see when people have taken information to another place and started to talk about it, that’s really interesting.
Lambie: I love Get Satisfaction.
McClure: You can really get more of the conversation that’s going on out there on Get Satisfaction.

Question: Have you made any changes based on the way you’ve seen info come to you now?

Schroer: It was all about ratings back then.  Now, if you don’t do something remarkable that people talk about (Seth Godin-style), you’re going no where.  The way you spark those things can be PR, outrageous ad, etc, but it’s probably not going to be a traditional TV ad.

Question: Any cools tools?

Neely: Some of the stuff at Viviky are putting together are neat.  It’s cool it’s coming from an agency.  Some of the other listening strategies in terms of free tools.  Traackr is really cool.

Question: Have you ever used landing page tasks into offline channels?

Neely: In the convention space, some of the big conventions out there, companies are learning on the fly through social media what was going on and getting feedback real time.  People can chat and share stories online, how can we use that?  Liquor companies are using this for local marketing, what do people like where?

Question: Where do you propose where we focus our budgets now?  Are there enough attractive tools out there to shift budgets?

Neely: Absolutely.  You can get to such a level of depth using these tools that you can tell people things like when to place an ad during the day.
Schroer: Just do something that someone talks about.  Too much of the creative is just bland.  Super Bowl ads: the bland ones Coke did, their website hits went down significantly.  Worst commerical in my opinion got a huge increase in hits.
McClure: Sometimes ugly works a lot better than pretty.  Sometimes what people don’t understand is that the cost of non-conversion isn’t zero.
Neely: Give people something interesting to talk about.

Question: What’s your golden nugget of wisdom?

Lambie: Focus groups and surveys have their space, but we have to think creatively and critically.  Your consumers are always moving, you have to keep up with them.  There are a ton of free tools out there to help you stay on top of that.
Neely: Start by using the free tools.  When you find that the information is overloading, you need to find relevance.  That might be a good time to hire someone to monitor that for you.
Schroer: Now we have a measurement for Word-of-Mouth, you just have to understand that it’s Word-of-Net.

A few good Tweets:


What are your thoughts on measurement?  Any favorite tools?

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  • Blake Cahill

    Kate thanks for mention of Visible Technologies. Give me shout sometime for a demo.


  • Blake Cahill

    Kate thanks for mention of Visible Technologies. Give me shout sometime for a demo.


  • Pingback: Monitoring The Conversation Of Tribes | Social Media and Interactive Marketing Blog

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