By Partner Pedro Yip and Principal Vincent Blaclard
This article first appeared in MIT Sloan Management Review on December 23, 2019.
New techniques better capture consumer intelligence in real time.
Every day, billions of people talk on social media about where they’ve been, what they’ve bought, and their feelings and opinions about products and services. This information is a gold mine for consumer-facing industries, including retail, consumer goods, retail banking, insurance, and health care. But few companies have acted on this valuable data.
Companies have traditionally relied on surveys, focus groups, and research reports to assess what consumers think of their products or services, but these traditional approaches have several shortcomings. Sample sizes are limited and subject to bias. Studies take time to organize, and results quickly become dated. Moreover, what people say often differs from what they do, like complaining about discount airlines but using them all the same.
Leaders who employ social listening — analyzing what consumers say on social media — can gain a competitive advantage by getting better insights that they can act on quickly, without incurring the higher cost of traditional approaches. This new approach, fueled by social platforms, increasingly informs the new product development, marketing, operations, and international expansion of consumer product companies.
Social listening can serve as the map for a treasure hunt.
It is already overturning how consumer product companies develop, market, and package their products — and we are only beginning to discover the scope of possibilities that machine learning advances will catalyze.
Read the full article here.