June 23, 2011
Today's guest post is from David Rabjohns, CEO of Motivequest, a social intelligence company.
Anyone who’s ever jumped in the middle of a conversation at a cocktail party knows they run the risk of making a huge social gaffe – so why don’t brands understand the importance of hearing the whole conversation?
While you may be listening to your customers through social media, to truly hear them, you must dig deeper. Traditional social listening tools collect brand mentions, but only about 5-10 percent of conversations in most product categories actually include a brand mention. That means that 90 percent of the most valuable online conversations are happening without a brand attached to them. So while you may be listening, you probably don’t hear the whole conversation motivations, severely limiting your ability to make sense of the consumers real motivations.
The real value for marketers is not necessarily what is being said about your brand online, but what isn’t. This is where the real understanding of what motivates your customers resides. With this knowledge, marketers can understand how to lasso what really matters in order to turn brand associates into brand advocates – passionate, motivated, believers. Listening to consumer-to-consumer conversations allows marketers to directly observe consumer behaviors and develop a deep understanding of not only what they care about, but also why. We call this “online anthropology.”
Consumers’ social discussions revolve around passions. Instead of making up stories and pounding them into people’s heads; we believe you should first figure out what people are passionate about – and then connect to those passions in credible, authentic and compelling ways.
Details are persuasive, but in the marketplace of ideas, context is king. Without seeing how details relate to the big picture you won’t know the difference between the thoughts that are fleeting and the ones forming the next big thing. Great Social Media Research digs more deeply into conversations that make no mention of brands or products.
It is critical to remember that consumers go online to talk about what matters to them; their kids, their cars and their waistlines. Typically, brands are mentioned in a small fraction of these conversations because the brand itself is rarely a key part of the social interaction between two (albeit digitally enhanced) human beings. Brands that are willing to explore the full landscape of consumer conversations are able to better understand the true depths of human motivation and behavior and attract more people to the brand cause that they truly believe in it. Just like the socialites at the party that started this article, we like to cluster around the people with something interesting to say..
David Rabjohns, founder and CEO of social intelligence company MotiveQuest, has more than 20 years of experience in strategic consumer insight research. Disclosure: MotiveQuest has been a long time client of mine.
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