4589939731_f77a91d58e_mAre traditional marketing tactics worthless? No, but they need some spiffing up, that’s for sure. And one area that’s sorely lacking in consumer-centric focus might surprise you – focus groups!

The problem with focus groups

Let’s get right to it: Focus groups are brand-centric and brand messaging needs to be consumer-centric now. Focus groups are all about compelling consumers to tell you if you’re successfully creating a desired perception of your brand. But today’s consumers could care less about how you want to be perceived – and whether or not they think what you want, that does not necessarily translate into sales. The picture is much more complex. Today’s consumers defy your marketing personas.

And this also means that brand analytics on social can’t stop at the mention of a brand’s name. This information is largely meaningless too.

Today’s social consumers demand individualized attention. They will not be pigeonholed. They can’t be.

To offer that level of engagement, brands need to understand what makes consumers tick – what they love, what they hate, the causes they’re passionate about, the shows they watch, the celebrities they idolize. Nothing is off limits, and everything matters. It can – and should – help define today’s targeted marketing efforts. Your focus group has both grown significantly larger, while demanded significantly more personalization.

Too little too late

But that’s not the only reason focus groups are a waste of time. It takes at least a few weeks to:

  • Gather a sampling of participants into a single room
  • Ask them the questions that matter to your brand
  • Analyze the data and evaluate its merit

Now consider how much data is created on social media DAILY:

  • Facebook – 1 billion posts
  • Instagram – 311 million
  • Tumblr – 80 million
  • Twitter – 500 million
  • Yelp – 38 million
  • YouTube 86 thousand hours

That’s way more information to draw from than the dozen or so people in a focus group! And the response time is near real-time.

And finally, the mood of your social audience changes constantly based on what’s happening in the news or their own lives. – meaning focus group results are outdated before brands even have a chance to analyze them. And with a hefty price tag to boot.

Putting social to work

So how do brands find the insights they need on social media? Well, WE do it using Audience 3D™. Our new social listening tool takes brands and marketers deeper into the minds and hearts of consumers “in the wild” – to discover what they’re talking about beyond brands, including:

  • How they’re communicating, deciphering slang or emojis
  • Discovering common interests within their overall audience, and building multiple segments to target more individually, at scale
  • Social data to reveal upcoming trends, and inform brands on new products consumers want to see.

7-Eleven has benefitted from this consumer-centric social listening – and other brands can too. But you have to be ready to embrace advanced analytics and leave the focus groups behind.

Reach out and we’ll tell you how NetBase can get you there.


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