Thursday, July 22, 2010

Free Market Research

Free Market Research: "

The internet offers us many great things, but probably one of the greatest is access to free market research data based on our customers.

Free market research based on social media tools is fairly simple. You can use portals like Facebook, LinkedIn and XING to create so called groups where you surround yourself with other likeminded users.

Because of the relationship with their network which you currently don’t have access to, they will spread the word about your product or services to their peers just by “liking” or sharing certain articles you publish.

The articles your members like will then be featured and, in turn, spread to their network.

The free market research part comes in, when your community has grown to a size of multiple thousand users which – in context to your efforts – is not a hard goal to reach.

Major brands like Coca-Cola have developed communities of a few million users following and thus spreading their brand on social media portals like Facebook.

But back to the free market research and how you can get representative results.

Once your community has reached a size you’re comfortable with, you can start engaging them, asking questions about latest products and informing them about updates.

Each of these updates will be featured and visible to them when they logon to the community, bringing your brand back into their mind.

The part where you start acquiring free market research data from is when you start asking them about reviews for your products, for instance where they have last had a Coke.

Coca-Cola, for example, managed to get thousands of responses from their community sharing pictures of their last drink. Among those were images were some from remote locations like people hiking in the mountains, others having a BBQ and yet others just having a casual drink at the office.

Bose, the sound specialists and loudspeaker manufacturer is another company doing a terrific job getting free market research from Facebook.

While the community they have built is by far not as large as that of Coca-Cola, the free market research data they get through social media is even more valuable to their efforts because of their specialization in the market they serve.

Recently they asked their community where they last listened to music which got a tremendous response, the answers superseding the thousands, spreading the word of the question like a wildfire and engaging third party members until then not accessible to the company which lead to a significant increase in brand visibility.

Another interesting question for them to ask would be which song each member listed to recently. In context to market research it would allow them to determine certain aspects of cross selling in cooperation with portals like iTunes. Or, based on the market research data of music distribution portals, allow the determination of demographics in their in their community.

While these aspects may seem exciting enough by themselves, there is the aspect of getting free market research directly from your community, engaging and involving them instead of hiring an institute or agency to anonymously get you the data. While the data you get from the agency may be more efficient, the social media market research part is more fun to the community and gives them the impression of your brand being the more approachable one.

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Lars Hilse

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