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More and more companies have been interested in using social media for exploratory marketing research, rather...

Question:

More and more companies have been interested in using social media for exploratory marketing research, rather than traditional focus group/interviews/surveys. Some marketing researchers have gone as far as saying that social media can become a complete replacement of traditional marketing research tools. For example, Bryce Maddock of SmarterSocialMedia.com said in a recent interview that “traditional market research is a thing of the past.”

Give one specific, concrete, real lifebusiness example where using social media as a research tool is better than focus group/interviews/surveys, and another example where focus group/interviews/surveys are better.


Answers

Social media is becoming a more important tool for market researchers to use when gaining information for consumer research. ASOS, a massive international online clothing retailer, uses social media to research with much success than any other method they may have wanted to implement. The target users for this online marketplace are people who spend most of their time on social media. ASOS executed a hashtag on Insragram, #asseenonme, encouraging the users to post their favorite products from the store for a chance to be featured on the ASOS Instagram feed. By doing so, they were able to see exactly which products are most popular among what kind of consumers, and were able to repost the most popular ones with information about how to obtain the product.

Instagram offers “insights,” a tool for businesses to see how much activity each post generates. This allows the brand to research which product is getting the most attention and from whom, allowing them to target right to their ideal customers.

In companies such as Johnson and Johnson, where products need to be physically tested to research how consumers react to them, it is not ideal to use social media for research since it offers only visuals. In this case, most products would be ideally researched through diverse focus groups who can test and react to what the brand offers.

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