How to Get Started With Listening Research

by Frank Cotignola, Kraft

(Note: this piece was originally prepared for Listen First!)

It’s relatively easy to get started with listening research. In fact, many of the tools available today to listen and understand what consumers are saying are free.

The best way to start down the listening research path is to set up an alert for your brand and any other topics of interest using Google Alerts. By setting up an alert you will get a good introduction as to what is being said about your brand and topic of interest, and will help you understand the types of conversations you should be listening to.

Next, you can monitor conversations using tools such as Social Mention, Twitter Venn, Twitter Spectrum, and Google Insights for Search. These tools will give you a level of insight and understanding that goes beyond simple alert notification. However, while these tools are extremely powerful, they don’t allow for the level of flexibility and customization that you will need to analyze multi-dimensional topics. For this level of in-depth insight and understanding you will have to investigate more robust, “paid” tools.

One tool available is ConsumerBase from the company NetBase. ConsumerBase allows you to monitor and interpret conversations that are naturally occurring, using “lenses” that allow you to understand consumer likes and dislikes, positive and negative emotions, and positive and negative behaviors. Using ConsumerBase to analyze 4.5 million conversations about the topic “coupons,” you can uncover the following insights to help develop and better understand a “coupon” strategy:

•Consumers like coupons (especially in this economy) because they provide discounts and help save money.
•Consumers have very strong emotions about coupons, as more than 50% like/love/show strong emotions about them.
•Strong emotions drive usage, as 60% are “frustrated” by them and describe them as “limiting” and “worthless.”
•Interestingly, despite unfavorable economic conditions over the past two years, only 17% say they “need” coupon.

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