In our discussion of the evolution of marketing, and who takes the prize in the battle of old-school vs. new-school marketing techniques, we’ve found there’s still plenty of room for traditional strategies. And yet…

Social media listening gifts us with unique insight into the minds of consumers, and fills in gaps left by traditional market research methods. It’s time to give social the props it deserves – with a little help from our VIP customers.

The shift to consumer-centric marketing

Traditional marketing methods like TV commercials and billboard ads are still very effective for raising brand awareness and communicating information about your brand. They allow you to explain what you do, why you’re awesome, and what your personality is like. But in the Age of You, that’s not enough. And when it comes to knowing and understanding consumers’ likes, dislikes, and aspirations, social media listening offers the clear advantage:

“Social listening obviously gets you to things that people are talking about online and usually large volumes of it with very little ‘hard work’ and typically in less time.[It] overcome[s]harder-to-reach audiences such as young males or time-poor mums and dads, or even a specific profession.” – Amelia Bainbridge

“I believe that social listening allows for more organic consumer insights.” – Alex Ostrovsky

Additionally, when you delve into the nitty-gritty details by looking with a psychographics lens, you can find out what delights consumers, what common interests they have, and what actions those interests inspire. You can then use that data to produce highly targeted and personalized campaigns:

“We now use data to develop strategic approaches instead of throwing it up there and hoping it sticks. We are able to define who we want to target and tailor campaigns to that persona.” – Katherine Jacoby

Personalized, individualized messaging is what it’s all about, and that’s why psychographics are so important. But one old-school method still has a solid place as a building block of social analytics: demographics.

The new face of demographics

Demographics have stood the test of time because they provide a valuable foundation for further research.

When you layer psychographic targeting on top of this, social media listening becomes an incredibly accurate and insightful tool. The most obvious benefit is the ability to create very specific audience segments that you can then engage with highly relevant content:

“I think that marketing has seen [an evolution] through the tools we use and the deeper insights we try to pull. The end goal of marketing has not changed, but the approaches we use, both in research and execution have evolved and become more refined.” – Katherine Jacoby

But what else can social do that traditional marketing methods can’t?

Social media customer care

When you tune into consumer conversations, you can discover their concerns before they become deal-breakers. Social media customer care can come into play BEFORE consumers start complaining on your Facebook page. If a lot of people are mentioning that your last campaign offended them, that’s a valid concern and it needs addressing. You can’t do that if you’re not listening.

Social media opens up a dialogue in a way that traditional marketing doesn’t. If a consumer has a problem with your brand or product, you can have a conversation and resolve it in real-time. Without that immediate attention, the consumer might just harbor resentment and go with a competitor next time.

Real-time damage control

That immediate insight into how consumers feel about brands is exactly what tools like Audience3DTM were built for – but we can apply this knowledge to traditional campaigns, too. Is there an embarrassing innuendo in your latest billboard’s copy? Make light of it on social media. Has your well-meaning TV commercial offended a certain demographic? Now that you’re aware, you have options: pull it, apologize, or ignore. And use social to find out in advance what would work for your next campaign.

Social gives you options in other ways, too. The insights gleaned allow you to choose who to target and how to target them. You can choose what to do once you have users’ attention (for example, send them to your website or capture their data with a competitive app). You can choose what medium to use to communicate your message.

Social gives you choices on every marketing front. That’s one great reason to take it seriously. It’s also where more consumers are likely to be as we head into the future. Make sure you’re there with them.

Want to see how it works? Request a demo for A3D to find out what NetBase can offer your brand. In the mean time, check back next week for the final installment in our Marketing Evolution series!

Image from Tim Pierce

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