Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Social Media Is Everywhere, But How Does It Affect Market Research?

Here's a quick recap I wrote on a recent social media event we hosted in New York.

On Friday, June 19, 2009, several experts on social media gathered at Advanced Focus in New York City for a panel discussion on social media and what it means for market research. In order to get a broad perspective of the subject, the panel was made up of people from a wide variety of industries including market research, technology, CRM and PR.

The panel members included:
Mike Rogers, Chief Brain - Brainloaf
Mike Carlon, Moderator - MarketVision Research
Tom H. C. Anderson- Founder & Managing Partner- Anderson Analytics
Susan Roth, Vice President, Online Qualitative – TNS
Leslie Campisi, Vice President & Partner - Affect Strategies
Rob Petersen, President - BarnRaisers Group

The event was sponsored by Brainloaf, an interactive/social media company based in Stamford, CT and Jack Campisi, VP of Client Solutions, hosted the two sessions.

While opinions varied on many topics, there were a number of interesting lessons gleaned from the day. As Tom Anderson would say afterwards in his blog; “…regardless of what social media means to me, to consumers social media can mean very different things to different people. These meanings/definitions/strategies can also change rather quickly for some individuals."

Mike Carlon summed up the day nicely for both the qual and quant sides of the fence...

“On the qualitative side, social media provides a new set of tools for gathering consumer insights. As consumers become familiar with blogs, social video sharing, and video based chats, moderators can use these tools to engage consumers using methods that seem "natural" to them. We agree that there will always be a need to conduct in person qualitative interviews but are excited about adding new tools to our tool box. On the quantitative side, the vast amount of "conversations" that consumer's have about brands and/or trends open up opportunities for insight mining using text mining. Large numbers of conversations can be mined for insight and trended over time. This seems like a natural fit for those tracking the impact of PR as well as buzz around new product launches.”

Coming from the technology angle, Mike Rogers helped explain the wide variety of tools available from the social media toolbox. But he was quick to add that before you choose your tactic, you must have a sound business plan and social media strategy. Otherwise you risk wasting a lot of time, effort and money.

So what was the final conclusion?
C'mon. This is social media. There are no FINAL conclusions. It's a constantly growing and evolving thing.

I guess it's safe to say that while there is a lot of common ground between social media marketing and social media for market research, there are also many significant differences. Social media for market research presents a unique set of challenges but also offers a very exciting new facet of communication and method of insight-gathering to the field.

To request a link to the video of the event, please visit