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Social listening drives traditional market research

Most of you know that I serve Converseon as Chief Strategist, and I’ve watched Converseon’s great research team pull insights from social media conversation that have astounded me. But some people still don’t believe that social media  can deliver real market research value. If you believe that social media just can’t answer your market research questions, I won’t try to convince you otherwise. Instead, let me explain to you how to use social media to drive your traditional market research projects.

Traditional market research works. Whether it is a focus group or a survey, market research gets answers to your questions. But, in a sense, that’s the problem. Traditional market research gets answers only when you know which questions to ask. If you ask the wrong questions, you don’t get all the answers. Maybe you’ll fail to ask the most important question of them all.

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That’s where social media listening can come in.

It’s unprompted. No one asks a question. You just eavesdrop on your customers and they tell you what is on their mind. If you do enough listening, you’ll undoubtedly uncover all the issues out there. You don’t need to worry about whether you’ve asked all the right questions.

But that is not to say that traditional market research isn’t important. Many smart companies use social media listening to prime their traditional marketing pump. Once social media tells them what the right issues are, they formulate the right questions for focus groups and surveys.

Why use traditional market research at all if you use social? Well, social media can cover the issues and tell you what people think, but usually it doesn’t tell you why. Once you know what people think, surveys and focus groups can uncover the causes of those opinions. When you combine social listening with traditional market research, you create an unbeatable combination for customer intelligence.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is a Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also served as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website,, most recently as the Manager of Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He was a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research and is now a Senior Fellow of The Conference Board. A Certified Speaking Professional, Mike regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide

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