Mining social media partnerships for market research

SEPTEMBER 27, 2011 – Social media websites have proved a useful channel for delivering marketing materials and facilitating sales – such as Express’ ecommerce portal on its Facebook page – and the partnerships between sites can also serve as a means for collecting more information through market research.

As Cynthia Boris notes on Marketing Pilgrim, Facebook’s recent alliance with music website Spotify gives social media users another way to define themselves and gives marketers a means of promoting new artists and getting a sense of different consumers’ tastes. In addition, being able to separate the loyal from the casual consumer will give advertisers and their clients a means of determining who are the best ones to target, she says.

“Take a look at your die-hard customer. The ones that come back to buy over and over again. What could you send them as a reward for their loyalty?” Boris asks. She suggests tapping these enthusiasts, sending them promotional items and the occasional free product, as they will be more likely to become repeat buyers and spread the word to their friends.

Another feature of social media that serves to make more informed marketers is the geo-social function, which can help with location-based promotions and advertising. According to Kinetic Worldwide, the popularity of location-based services is on the rise, with almost half of U.K. consumers already using or aware of the technology and allowing its results to influence their purchasing decisions.

Treating smartphone and social media technology as valuable items in the market research toolbox is a smart idea, as the company’s recent survey also discovered that 85 percent of respondents aged 25 to 34 actually prefer their cellphones to computers or other devices. Many of the respondents said they use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter on mobile devices, when they’re away from home.

Kinetic says its findings indicate a huge opportunity for marketers, who can launch location-based campaigns and create smarter mobile marketing content. The survey revealed that 44 percent of respondents plan to get relevant promotional offers through available location services, with half of the 35 to 44 year-old group saying they’d be comfortable with “location-relevant mobile phone advertising.”

“Significant numbers now say mobile marketing could be acceptable if it is orientated to where they are,” stated Nick Mawditt, Kinetic’s global director of insight and marketing. “Far from being a static home-based form of communications, social media will increasingly influence choices and behavior in out of home environments.”