Market Research and Intelligence

  • How would you like to be able to think of a question about a service or a product and get answers back immediately?
  • How would you like to be able to discover and respond to the slightest customer problem immediately without any cost?
  • And how would you like to find out immediately what your competitors’ clients think of their service or product?

Normally you cannot do any of these things without a lot of time and money. But with Twitter you can know achieve all of these things today. The only cost: your time – Twitter is shaping up to be one of the best intelligence tools available.

The first trial that I know of that showed the power and of Twitter as a research and intelligence tool was a fun test conducted by Jeremiah Owyang. Jeremiah asked people who were watching the Super Bowl to Twitter what ads they liked the best. This was the ground zero test. Instant research! The full results are here at this link but here is a taste:

A recap and you can view all responses

The social media experiment went very well, there are over 2500 responses to the superbowlads account. I spent over an hour hand copying all the replies on that account to this spreadsheet of all the responses. This is a read only spreadsheet where you can do a search (let it load, it takes time) and see how people are talking about the different brands and the ads.

The twitter application held up ok, although many of the replies did not show up on the replies page in real time, you could use the search tools to quickly see what folks were saying.

Massive Volume

It was pretty amazing, every time I refreshed the search tools (terramindsor twittersearch), new responses would appear in rapid order. There were so many responses coming in, (about 625 per hour, or 10 every minute) it was really hard to keep track. I tried to summarize key findings (such as many folks liking X commercial or hating Y commercial), but it became difficult to track.

Track your brand, or commercial

If you work for a company (or you have a client) that advertised on the superbowl, you should be doing searches using the twitter search tools, and add “superbowlads + brandname” to find out what people thought in real time. For example, I know the Dell blogger team is keen to knowing what we all thought, you can check this query of superbowlads + dell to see what folks rated it, it probally wasn’t as positive as they would have hoped.

This Twitter Bowl proved a Eureka moment for Twitter, the moment when many realized Twitter was more than mere toy.

Another very early adopter was H & R Block –below you’ll find video of H & R Block’s Amy Worley explaining how they used Twitter (ironically,  the VJ who shot this interview was discovered via Twitter by H & R Block staff). By responding to Tweets by A-listers such as Scoble, H & R Block was able to get a boost from the web’s chief evangelists as well.

This interview is an excellent case study in itself – covering the entire waterfront of the Market Research and Market Intelligence potential of Twitter.

Or, as J & J found out recently, if you don’t pay attention to the Twitterverse,  you could get into serious trouble. Here is how Twitter brought down a major campaign in a weekend.

The pharma marketer devotes little in the way of marketing dollars to its Motrin brands, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Last year, it spent a total of about $15 million in domestic measured media on Motrin and Children’s Motrin, and in the first six months of 2008, that figure dropped to about $2 million.

Elisa Camahort Page, co-founder and chief operating officer of BlogHer, a blogging community for women with an ad-sales partnership with NBC Universal’s iVillage, called the incident an “incredibly impressive display of the power of social media.”

“[It was] amazing to have that happen over 48 hours, on a weekend in the blogosphere,” she said. “People are now spreading around the apology; it’s such an immediate time frame.”

Indeed, seven of the top 10 search returns today for “Motrin” and “headache” on Google referred to the marketing debacle.

“We now have indisputable proof that online marketing, YouTube and Twitter and all that it encompasses is meaningful and has arrived,” said Gene Grabowski, chair of the crisis and litigation practice at Levick Strategic Communications. “We are seeing real consequences to a mistake. If [social networks] didn’t matter, you wouldn’t see this type of reaction from J&J or consumers.”

As I write this, in early 2009, many well known organizations are quickly following the examples of those doing it well and rolling out Twitter programs. Check  out this link from Paul Dunay, for instance, which provides a current tally of the many companies that are now using Twitter. Or check out this review from Business Week of leading corporate Twitter users. Clearly, using Twitter is no longer “bleeding edge”.

Perhaps the best sign that Twitter is moving to the mainstream is that government is now starting to use it. Here is the current directory of agencies in the U.S. that are using Twitter – they too need to know what you think and how they are doing.

Looking for government agencies using Twitter or other social media? We want the GovTwit directory (below) to include all facets of government on Twitter: state and local, federal, contractors, reporters, academics and more. The list below will be a living list, and we hope to keep it updated via our own research, as well as your submissions.

The most senior politician that is using Twitter is the Prime Minister of Britain – Gordon Brown, who you can follow here (well, maybe he isn’t using it but his personal staff are). A recent post replying to a question about who was behind the effort:

@Phil_Adams We are members of the PM’s digital communications team. Importantly, we are civil servants and not political appointments.

I think that these areas of market intelligence and direct connection are the best places to start for any enterprise.

Next up, head to the Tools page where I take a look at some of the many and easy services that can help you maximize the yield and reduce the noise of combing the Twitterverse for information and value.

And for the rest of the guide:

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