Hello Listeners!

Stephen Rappaport, author Listen First!

Welcome to the Listen First! blog. The book published in April 2011 in the States, and is now available in Indian, Korean, Japanese and Italian editions. It’s available for from Amazon, other fine sites, and your local bookstore.

This blog is a place for me to keep things updated, share stuff I find interesting, and encourage you to comment or contribute so that we can make it a site for listening thoughts, comments and advances that we all participate and share in.

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Listening for Advertising Campaigns: Overcome Two Problems to Listen Better

New York UniversityProf. Mark Edelman invited me to present a lecture and workshop on listening for advertising campaign development to his undergraduate students. In the 60 minutes allotted, I gave a quick rundown of listening – how it came about, what it is, how it’s done, and then presented case examples of listening research and listening used to achieve brand objectives. Then we went into the workshop portion.

The students are organized into agency teams, with each one’s final project being a pitch to win the Kingsford Charcoal account. After supplying them with URLs to a few listening tools – Google Insights for Search, Twitter Search, Social Mention and Ice Rocket, they had at it. In just a few minutes they were searching on key words and getting experience. I love these sessions because of the excitement that comes from discovering something new. They explored for about 10 minutes. I was called over to one of them, the others were on their own. Then I had the agencies report.

What’s always fascinating is how groups approach the problem. The un-coached ones used Continue reading

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Listening – What is an Insight?

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Professor Allie Siarto of Michigan State University on listening. The podcast is here:

We had a pretty freewheeling discussion on listening. Readers of Listen First or this blog will be familiar with my take on the basics – always good to review. The part that I enjoyed most was the opportunity to talk about insights – what they are, how they can be discovered, and how they can be evaluated. For many people, even insights professionals, there’s uncertainty and ambiguity around this – that’s experience we have at The ARF’s Knowledge Center. I wrote a piece on insights for an insights group that I’ll post shortly. Meanwhile, enjoy the interview.

  • Why is listening to social media conversations important for companies?
  • What is an insight?
  • How do we staff for listening?
  • What is the difference between social media monitoring and social research?
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Do not Track: Are We Missing the Era of Personalized Privacy?

Ad Age’s article on MS’s decision to have Do Not Track (DNT) the default option for IE 10 details the uproar over online advertising’s future. I’ll leave that debate for others. I’m going to talk about the approach to privacy that I believe is outdated, but can change for the better.

My research on privacy for social listening, done with Howard R. Moskowitz and Tom Woodnutt (see the presentation) suggests that industry defines the issue too narrowly. Our data showed that there are three mindsets towards privacy, not just one. They are: “I’m in control,” “Collect it, but with integrity,” and “Protect my personal information.” Each group has different triggers for concern and different preferences for reducing their privacy concerns. Although collecting conversations  is not advertising tracking, similarities exist. The mindsets are worth thinking through from this angle. I would like to do a mindset study on advertising tracking to learn how the mindsets compare.

DNT defaults appeal only to the “I’m in control” segment. These folks, who account for about 2/3 of our respondent sample, want the responsibility for specifying their settings and preferences about tracking and privacy.  However, people in the other two groups prefer other methods for reducing their concern over data collection. For example, the “Protect My Personal Information” group’s concerns drop when privacy policies are clearly explained, their privacy settings are respected, and companies are accountable. The  “Collect It” segment is actually turned off by the options that are so important to the “I’m in control” segment, but turned on by clear explanations of how data will be used, rapid complaint handling, and ground rules over what will be collected. Without recognizing that multiple mindsets towards privacy exist, DNT defaults may not be relevant to two groups and risks alienating them. Additionally, privacy is more than settings alone, but an integration of corporate policies, research practices, and personal preferences.

Through some statistical work, we created a “privacy wizard”  that makes an era of personalized privacy possible for the first time. There’s a screen shot in the presentation. By answering just a few questions – which can be embedded on any web page or in an app, an individual can be assigned to a mindset segment in just a few seconds.  After assignment, the privacy policies can be customized on the fly in ways that match a person’s mindset. Instead of one-size fits all privacy policies and default settings, the potential exists to mass customize them for the benefits of consumers and companies. Shouldn’t we?

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Dave Thackeray Interview on Listening and Business Strategy

Britain’s Dave Thackeray – a descendent of 19th century novelist and satirist William Makepeace Thackeray, interviewed me over Skype for his blog. He’s an expert on digital marketing, content and sharing. Here’s the interview:


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Social Media Listening and Privacy

I’m presenting my study on listening and privacy to ARF’s Social Media Forum on June 25 at 2:30pm. Registration is free to ARF members, who can register at MyARF.

The talk is part of a program on Debunking the Obstacles to Using Social Intelligence for Market Research. Details are here. It’s a very rich program, with presos by Paul Banas of Kraft and Tom Thai of Bluefin Labs. Here’s a recap:

Many organizations have proven that social media plays a critical role in their marketing research, yet others are still hesitant to fully embrace social research in their programs. Concerns about ROI, representativeness, privacy, and changing technology are the reasons given for keeping many researchers from exploring the rich insights to be gained from social media. In this forum, expert practitioners from across the industry will address and debunk the following issues with case studies and real world advice:

  • Obstacle #1: Social media is a moving target. It changes too fast to really understand
  • Obstacle #2: I can’t fit social media research into my current research program because
  • I cannot guarantee that it is representative of my target buyer.
  • Obstacle #3: My users aren’t online, so social media research doesn’t apply.
  • Obstacle #4: Social media research is a privacy minefield I’d rather not get involved.
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KPMG Acquires Wise Window – Why?

I met  Marshall Toplansky, Wise Window founder, at the AIMRI conference on April 27. We both got there early and had a few minutes to chat, along with Greenbook blog’s Lenny Murphy.

I’ve posted elsewhere that Lenny moderated a panel I was on, where I argued that for measurement to be meaningful, the measures had to derive from an underlying framework, model or theory. That line of discussion never meets with much success. In fact, when interviewing leading listening researchers for Listen First! I led with a question about which theory, model or framework they used. No one said they used one, insisting on practicality.

But Marshall had news: he had just sold Wise Window to KPMG. Why? Because KPMG sees an opportunity – to measure business results using social measurement in a disciplined way. And that means having a framework, theory or model.

It’s time to move away from “beauty contest” metrics to those that reflect meaningful business performance. What will you do?


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What Concerns Consumers about Having their Conversations Collected for Listening? The Research is In.

The study I described earlier this month is completed and available for viewing and download – just scroll down a bit to the presentation.


  • Privacy is not a one-size fits all proposition, yet this is the way it has been approached.
  • There are 3 different mindsets towards privacy: “I’m in Control,” “Collect My Data, but with Integrity,” and “Protect my Privacy.”
  • Each mindset has different turn-ons and turn-offs. People in the I’m in Control mindset treasure their ability to set preferences and conditions. Those in the “Collect My Data, but with Integrity” are turned off by those capabilities.
  • Privacy policies can be tuned to each different mindset, making it possible for researchers to convey their practices in ways that resonate with all types of consumers.
  • Tuning can be accomplished easily, using a segmentation wizard that assigns people to mindsets and then presents them with tailored content.

Posted in Methodology, Privacy, Research | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

SoLoMo: How Social Media, Localization, & Mobile are Redefining Marketing Insights

Social media, localization, and mobile technology are changing the way marketing insights are conceptualized, collected and analyzed. Greenbook Blog’s Lenny Murphy moderated a panel that included:

– Charlie Rader, Digital Insights Tools Leader, Procter & Gamble
– Steve Rappaport, ARF Knowledge Solutions Director
– Andrew Jeavons, President, Survey Analytics

We explored a wide variety of topics including:

· What is SoLoMo? … . SoLoMo convergence and impact on brands … Measurement, Skills, and the Need for Frameworks and Theory … Implications of convergence for marketing and insight generation

Transcript is here, which includes slides and webinar video. Thanks to Dana Staley for posting.


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Listening to Wine Conversations: Six Questions for Paul Mabray, Vintank

Paul Mabray, CSO, Vintank

Paul Mabray, CSO, Vintank

Startup Vintank created a new “varietal” in social media listening, focusing their company’s offerings exclusively on the wine industry. They aim to provide an integrated social commerce platform with listening at its center. A wine lover myself, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to ask Paul a few questions about their business, business model, social intelligence, commerce, measurement, social CRM and opportunities. Details of his company’s software and service levels are available here.

Steve: Vin Tank was new to me until recently, and is probably new to many of our readers. Tell us about the company.

Paul: VinTank is the wine industry’s predominant social listening and social CRM platform. We power over 4000 wine brands and listen to about 1 million to 1.5 million Continue reading

Posted in Case Studies, CRM, Culture, Customer Service, Marketing, Observations and Opinions, Sales, Social Media Monitoring, Thought Leaders | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Social Media Monitoring – A Brazilian View

Tarcizio Silva

Tarcizio Silva is a Brazilian practitioner and authority on social media monitoring and listening, organizer of several e-books and a curator of the upcoming conference, Social Media Brazil.  We recently had an email conversation that touched on several topics of interest to all listeners – basic knowledge, communication, engagement and financial metrics, and movements towards establishing listening as a discipline.

Steve: Your e-book –To Understand Social Media Monitoring published this past January. What are the trends and key business issues contributors discuss in the book?

Tarcizio: The e-book, which was released in January, is part of a collective series of  publications on Internet and Social Media. Throughout the articles, the authors attempted to define the 22 main topics and questions for the reader to obtain a basic knowledge of Continue reading

Posted in Engagement, Global, Observations and Opinions, Research, Social Media, Social Media Monitoring, Thought Leaders | Tagged , | 3 Comments