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Market research through automation and social networks

DECEMBER 20, 2011 – Gathering facts about consumers’ shopping behaviors and preferences through online communities and market research is only one part of the process when running a promotion or campaign – it’s also necessary to measure the progress as the initiative unfolds.

Companies that want to assess the accuracy of their market research and the success of their advertising campaigns now have another choice in analytics tools, as marketing automation software company Pardot recently released new reporting and analysis tools.

“Marketers are living in a new reality,” said Adam Blitzer, co-founder and COO at Pardot. “Fuzzy concepts like branding are less important; data-based decisions matter most.”

The tools’ functions include the ability to track revenues, lead volume and the popularity of online content, which could enable companies to make better-informed decisions about what direction they should take with their marketing programs.

As Kara Trivunovic of StrongMail writes for BtoB magazine, companies that are selling to consumers or to other businesses can see huge benefits from mining data generated through social networks. In turn, these insights can be used to draft and distribute more relevant, tightly targeted email messages that can drive up sales.

“Tabulations of ‘retweets’ or ‘likes’ by consumers give a raw look at what elements of your offering resonate with your customers and prospects at any given moment,” Trivunovic says. “After all, if the audience engages with a given topic in social media, it’s a safe bet that they will engage with it in email as well.”

She adds that through social network data, B2C and B2B companies alike can determine their audiences’ backgrounds, specifically the members’ demographics. It could also open up new markets to a company, since the people logging into social media may be different – in terms of industry or region of origin – from the people a business has typically advertised to.

Trivunovic gives the example of a company that determines much of its social network audience is from the retail industry. After realizing that, the organization may decide to post more retail-focused content on its web pages, or tailor a marketing campaign to appeal to retailers’ preferences.

“In short, a close examination of social networking data can help email marketers keep a close eye on what their customers and prospects find important,” she concludes.