Dr. Media says Larry Goldman’s article from DMReview say a lot in a short space, see his bullets under Unsolicited data etc., these points summarize the key elements that need to be addressed to solve the Metadata problem which grows exponentially everyday on the web. A problem which no one has solved, BUT Dr. Media knows pf some groups who have some innovative solutions in the works. I can only say the real answer lies in psychographics but not what you’re used to.

Leaders and Followers

Leaders and Followers

DM Review Magazine, November 2007

Last month
I talked about traditional customer information purchases. I discussed
how these large databases of U.S. prospects and households help
marketers target the most likely prospects and how this business is
changing. Another profound change impacting the data purchasing
industry is that organizations’ hunger for transactional and behavioral
information is spilling outside of their walls. Organizations are
looking for other behavioral information to triangulate hypotheses,
identify segments and needs, and verify brand attributes. And this
information may not always be found within their own systems. Most
likely it exists on other Web sites, partners’ systems or social
networks. Last year, I discussed in this column the way firms were
aggregating information from Internet service providers to help
industries understand how their Web site was functioning versus their
competitors. They were able to rank themselves regarding traffic
patterns, understand which products were being viewed versus competing
products or understand how their own product launches and their
competitor’s were resonating in the marketplace. The new twist on aggregating Internet behavior is the
penetration of social networking and feedback sites. These sites allow
people to provide feedback on products and services, and allow
consumers to interact with like-minded people in order to receive
recommendations from the right people.

Unsolicited Primary Research Data

Social networking sites are
providing an avenue for dialog between consumers and any interested
party. Through blogs, feedback and other postings, individuals are
commenting on any and all things – from hotels to the iPhone. As
organizations increasingly leverage their online capabilities to
involve customers in product development and improvement, this type of
information will increase exponentially.

Marketers are hungry for this type of unsolicited primary research
data that takes customers out of the focus group or survey scenario.
The information that can be obtained from these types of sites

  • Feedback regarding product satisfaction,
  • Feedback regarding current marketing and advertising promotions,
  • Understanding preferences for different product or service categories,
  • Understanding preference drivers for different customer types,
  • Understanding the attributes customers assign to your brand,
  • Understanding the customer-perceived attributes of your brand that differentiate you from your competitors,
  • Understanding the customer-perceived attributes of your brand that you share with your competitors,
  • Understanding which attributes are most important, and
  • Comparing customer feedback on your product versus competitive products.

This information provides a customer viewpoint of your brand,
products and services that is hard to collect otherwise. Text mining
your own customer service information may be a proxy, but it is
error-prone based on whether the customer service agent has added their
own interpretation of various comments. These are usually
complaint-oriented and not truly product feedback. This information can be baked into segmentation models which
can drive targeted advertising. As advertising becomes a prevalent
method of revenue generation on these types of sites, ads can be
tailored to the types of implied preferences by participating
customers. This information can be used to tailor search results by
including preferences as an input, tailor or test new messaging and
start competitive campaigns.


The other aspect of these social sites provides
insight into who the true influencers are. If you ask anyone about
customer value, they will tell you that influential value is a big part
of the equation, basically, the measurement of how influential a
customer is regarding other customer’s purchases. If Oprah recommends a
product, you know you are going to get a boost in sales. If you ask
anybody how you might measure influence, you’ll probably get a blank
stare. Leveraging information created by these new social sites,
vendors are now creating models and algorithms to understand which
customers are the leaders and which customers are the followers. This
information will further help with targeted advertising and direct
marketing communications. Firms may communicate with influencers to
receive product feedback or offer special services and discounts. This
information could allow marketers to try to influence the influencers.
Research continues to show that most people trust personal contacts or
recommendations by like-minded people over corporate advertisements. The new world of social networking has opened up a brand-new
avenue for segmentation, targeting and customer feedback. This
opportunity should provide a larger, less controlled, deeper set of
customer feedback than surveys, focus groups or other traditional
primary research methods. Companies are taking this information and
creating a brand index to show the preference drivers communicated by
customers for industries like hotels. Consumers and brand managers can
compare their product versus their competitors regarding brand
attributes, consumer preference drivers, interest and loyalty, and
identify who in a social network is swaying the crowd.

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