Competition as an Opportunity: The ROI of Social Competitive Insight Across a Product Lifecycle


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Competitive Insight:
Let's Talk! about competitive insights as an indispensable tool for discovering new market opportunities, industry trends, and sentiment around competitors' products & brands.

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Competition as an Opportunity: The ROI of Social Competitive Insight Across a Product Lifecycle

  1. 1. Whitepaper LET’S TALK: Social Media ROI With Connie BensenCompetition as anOpportunity:The ROI of SocialCompetitive InsightAcross a Product Lifecycle9th in the Social Media ROI Series
  2. 2. Competition as an OpportunityThe ROI of Social Competitive Insight Across a Product LifecycleExecutive Summary:The competition is no longer a threat. In the past, it was difficult to get solid competitive information in a legal manner. Today, competitiveintelligence in the web 2.0 world is not only much easier and cheaper, but it’s readily available to brands of all sizes. Online social networksnot only allow the opportunity to watch what competitors are doing as they market their products, but also offer up products as a choice. Itis also quite easy to see the commentary on how competitors’ products are being received by looking at the sentiment around them. Yousimply need to be listening to the conversations! This whitepaper is the ninth in the Social Media ROI Series, Let’s Talk!The social web has created a new business forum. Social media marketing makes it easy for brands to take their products to market. It alsocreates incredible opportunities for competitive intelligence that never existed before. A social media monitoring tool can gathercompetitive insights that can be used across the product lifecycle to increase a brand’s bottom line.This series of white papers has discussed how social media monitoring can impact every team in an organization. It is frequently advised tomonitor for the competition, and this paper will outline specific ways to leverage that information, why it is important to do so, and therelated ROI.© 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
  3. 3. Competition as an OpportunityThe ROI of Social Competitive Insight Across a Product LifecycleMarket Research Most companies dedicate the bulk of their market research budget to analyzing and reporting on their target markets, customers and prospects. What about that of the competitors? It is now possible to gather information via a social media monitoring tool on specific products, industry and geographic information. A tool can provide demographic information on where consumers interact online and offline. An analysis of this same information, in regard to competitive products, can provide insight into: • New market opportunities, both online and offline • Driving marketing from mass marketing to one-to-one • Informing supply chain decisions • Communities that need and want the products and solutions A social media monitoring tool can provide insights into customers’ preferences at every point of the buying cycle. This information is invaluable for guiding content creation.Product Development Are your products developed in a vacuum? Does your company really know what consumers want and find value in? Sometimes, customers don’t provide the best predictions of their needs and wants. They are close to the products, and this doesn’t allow them to be open to new ideas. There is a very small chance that they will contribute innovative ideas due to their perceptions. This is even more true of developers who work with the products day in and day out. In considering that, it’s important to understand what consumers want, and more importantly, what they don’t want. What will deter them from buying? Analyzing the industry trends and competitive information will open this conversation and provide insight into what is necessary for product development. The ROI becomes obvious when those products gain the support of the industry. Another strategy to consider is using conversations from the social web to do a gap analysis on the following: • What your competitors offer your target customers • Competitors’ strengths and weaknesses • Industry trends • Influencers’ blogs This gap analysis offers many opportunities to evolve your products and prevent them from being developed in the aforementioned vacuum.© 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
  4. 4. Competition as an OpportunityThe ROI of Social Competitive Insight Across a Product LifecycleIdentification of Competitive insight from the social web offers considerable advantages to product marketing.Differentiators, Demonstrating ROI is easy because it will save money on traditional methodologies for competitivePositioning and Pricing research, such as clipping service, library fees, and research and subscriptions to periodicals. More importantly, a social media monitoring tool provides: • Sentiment around competitors’ products and brands • Specific marketing strategies and tactics of the competitors • Differentiating features for positioning The tool makes it as easy to establish metrics around the overall brand sentiment for competitors as for your own brand, and this information can be used to direct your marketing strategy and messages. Many brands use leak tactics in marketing their products. A social media monitoring tool will identify those as soon as possible and provide you with insight the minute it is available, rather than with the typical delay associated with mainstream channels. This allows you to be proactive rather than reactive. Competitive features gathered from the social web become instrumental in identifying how to position and price your products. Combine that information with the sentiment, and your marketing efforts will have a much higher probability of connecting with consumers. The ROI is higher sales due to a highly targeted message that resonates with the target audience.Building Brand Visibility A social media monitoring tool is critical upon product launch because it allows you to actively:and Driving Sales • Facilitate brand building • Identify opportunities to offer choices to those talking about competitors’ products • Increase the frequency of high quality inbound leads • Identify advocates and communities Social channels offer B2B companies the same marketing options that B2C companies have. A social media monitoring tool brings the conversations about competitors to you on a daily basis. A commitment to joining every conversation the competitor is involved in will build brand awareness. This is an excellent tactic for a brand with lesser brand visibility. Over a short time, the brand presence will become equalized. (It is important to make sure that excellent social etiquette is practiced when doing this. Make sure that you provide value and offer a choice. This is extremely important in order for it not to be construed as spamming.) It is effective because people love choices. Often times, they actually enquire about options, such as, “Are there products other than ‘competitor’?” As consumers specifically ask for the type of product that they need, they are more apt to consider your products and convert. The ROI is more sales than cold calling and increased brand visibility. This increases word of mouth and reduces marketing costs. This type of engagement is an excellent opportunity for sales to directly develop relationships with prospects. The tool will identify brand advocates and communities where supporters congregate. Having sales join the conversations with these people will ensure that those interested in the products will have direct access to them.© 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
  5. 5. Competition as an OpportunityThe ROI of Social Competitive Insight Across a Product Lifecycle Case Study: The Movie Industry The movie industry is an excellent example of a product that is greatly impacted by social channels. The internet is directly influencing movie- goers. It used to be that box office results would drive people to the theaters. Now people are reporting on the success or, even more importantly, the failure of a film directly. This is greatly affecting attendance before box office results are even reported. This is going to force the movie industry to embrace social media marketing and interact directly with their potential audiences. Previews used to be limited to movie trailers, but now there are opportunities to have conversations on Twitter and build anticipation through Facebook.Customer Service The customers are in charge of brands now. They demand excellent customer service, and that can be a significant differentiator between your brand and the competition. Many services are Software as a Service (SaaS) or include specific monthly service contracts. Monitoring the competitors will identify where they fall short. Which aspects of product or service do people find particularly gratifying? What aspects irritate consumers? Mine the competitive data and gather the insights; meld that with market research and use it to drive strategic planning.Closing the Loop at the The most important aspect of integrating competitive insight from the social web is to have executive levelExecutive Level support. There is no reason to listen if there is no plan for follow through. There must be a systematic approach for incorporating the insights gathered into the respective functional business unit. That is the only way to realize the maximum ROI. Over time, the efforts will become more cross-functional and seamless, but this will require executive level sponsorship.Identify Top Talent Do you know who the top talent is in your industry? A social media monitoring tool can support Human Resources in their efforts to recruit high quality people. Manish Mehta, VP of Global Online for Dell stated that Dell considers LinkedIn more important than resumes. In addition, many companies utilize social networks such as Twitter and Facebook in their recruitment efforts. They are seeking employees that are fluent in these new channels.© 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
  6. 6. Competition as an OpportunityThe ROI of Social Competitive Insight Across a Product LifecycleConclusion The social web allows businesses of every size to find deep insight into what the competitors are doing and gauge the consumers’ response. This information can be easily gathered, melded into traditional market research and incorporated into product development. Consumers make it very easy to gather competitive information by sharing their likes and dislikes online in social channels. They base their future buying decisions on their own experiences and those of others. It’s important to gather that feedback and ensure that you provide excellent customer service. Overall, consistent competitive listening provides brands with inside information at a very low cost and will result in creating more competitive products, minimizing wasted resources and ultimately, increasing sales. Case Study: Predicting the Success of the Fall TV Show Line-Ups Imagine if you are an advertiser... Where would you like to invest your budget? Would it be in the most popular show or the one that generates a lackluster response? A social media monitoring tool gathers the insight of public response on the social web and gives insight into how the competitors are doing. This provides guidance for the networks to make decisions on programming, marketing, advertising and longevity. The amount of buzz and sentiment about TV programs can predict their success or failure. The following is a brief overview of the fall 2010 lineup from ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, FX, NBC and HBO. The results from Alterian SM2 provide a review of the online response to these networks’ newest TV programs and their predicted success. Each network could use this information to assess the marketing and advertising strategies for their programs. This chart shows the amount of buzz around each program. S#*! My Dad Says garners the largest volume of conversation with Hawaii 5.0 not far behind.© 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
  7. 7. Competition as an OpportunityThe ROI of Social Competitive Insight Across a Product Lifecycle The following charts show the results for programs aired on each network. The information for each network provides invaluable insight in regard to public response to their programs. It will indicate what people liked and what they did not. And more importantly, it is possible to see the specific reasons for audience responses. Patterns and trends can be identified in what resonated with specific age groups in various regions. These demographic trends contain very useful competitive insight. Each chart provides the opportunity to drill into the data and review individual comments:© 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
  8. 8. Competition as an OpportunityThe ROI of Social Competitive Insight Across a Product Lifecycle© 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
  9. 9. Competition as an OpportunityThe ROI of Social Competitive Insight Across a Product Lifecycle The predictions, based on public sentiment and commentary, are outlined below. CBS and HBO have the opportunity to engage in social channels and build on the momentum, utilizing social media marketing. FOX and NBC may need to consider creating a social strategy (or adjusting it if they have one.)© 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
  10. 10. Competition as an OpportunityThe ROI of Social Competitive Insight Across a Product LifecycleAbout the “Let’s Social Media marketing is providing a whole new dimension for brands to connect with consumers. TheTalk” Series with social web is a vast entity and every marketer needs a tool to harness the information in the most costConnie Bensen effective and efficient manner. A social media monitoring tool offers the ability to maximize the digital portion of your marketing budget in order to create, execute, measure and report on a social media strategy. The Lets Talk Series, by Connie Bensen, is a series of 10 whitepapers describing the variety of ways that marketers can increase the ROI of their marketing efforts. Topics will include how to use a social media monitoring tool for SEO, Lead Generation, Social Media campaigns, Customer Service, Competitive Insight, Corporate marketing, PR and reputation management, etc. Connie is the Director of Social Media and Community Strategy at Alterian, which provides marketing software to help brands engage with their customers. She is a key voice amongst online Community Managers. Her blog, is recognized as a leading resource for cultivating online communities, providing best practices for this emerging role and it is listed in as one of the 20 Best Marketing and Social Media Blogs by Women.SM2 Social Media Alterian’s SM2 is a social media monitoring and analysis solution designed for PR and Marketing professionals. SM2 helps you track conversations, review positive/negativeMonitoring (SMM) sentiment for your brand, clients, competitors and partners across social media channels such as blogs, wikis, micro-blogs, social networks, video/photo sharing sites and real-time alerts.About Alterian Alterian (LSE: ALN) empowers organizations to create relevant, effective and engaging experiences with their audience that help build value and reinforce commitment to their brand, through the use of the Alterian Integrated Marketing Platform. Alterian drives the transformation of marketing and communications, making it practical and cost-effective for companies to orchestrate multichannel engagement with the individual. Alterian’s unprecedented integration of analytics, content and execution through industry leading tools, such as the Dynamic Messenger email platform, SM2 Social Media Monitoring platform and the award winning Content Management solutions, enables companies to build integrated communication strategies which create a true picture of the individual. Alterian works with marketing services partners, system integrators and agencies who recognize the need to plan and deliver coordinated customer engagement services in partnership with their clients. For more information about Alterian, products within the Alterian Integrated Marketing Platform or Alterian’s Partner Network, visit or the Alterian blog at© 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
  11. 11. White PaperCorporate Continental Europe North American Asia-Pacific HeadquartersHeadquarters Headquarters HeadquartersT +44 (0) 117 970 3200 T +31 (0) 35 625 7890 T +1 312 704 1700 T +61 (2) 9968 2449Other ContactsWebsite: www.alterian.comEmail: info@alterian.comTwitter: @AlterianYouTube: Alterian’s Leadership SeriesBlogs: www.ConnieBensen.comE info@alterian.comW© Alterian 2010