Research and Social Media: Stronger Together Than Apart


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This is the deck for our webinar coming up on July 30th. To register for this free webinar, please visit:

During this webinar, gain valuable insights into how to improve your customers' experience by using social data alongside your existing data and traditional business metrics – such as NPS. Furthermore, we will share evidence of how market research has evolved to better inform traditional methodologies to improve product launches, campaigns and agile, data-driven business decision making.

What you will learn:
• How to improve your customers' experience using a predictive, scalable & multilingual data set
• How to improve your product launches and segmentations through our Microsoft Surface use case
• How to target your customers more effectively and redirect your campaigns in real-time

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  • A little about the company…SDL is a publically traded company with turnovers of around $400M – having grown over the last years to become the leader in Global Information ManagementBased in the UK, SDL is a global company with 70 offices spread across 38 countries – this enables SDL to support large global organizations. It also means we understand global businessSDL has a key value around innovation – winning awards for its technology and service. This is reflected in the financial success of SDL – remaining profitable with long term financial stabilityPart of the innovation has seen SDL move to support the needs of a range of customers and continuously expanding its reach.
  • Market researchers don’t utilize new methodologies or new data sets for the sake of innovation; they do it to fill the inherent gaps of other methodologies and provide comprehensive insights for their clients. Research has never been static:This can be seen time and time again throughout market research’s history – from the introduction of projective techniques in the 19th century all the way to the use of medical equipment to track brain waves and retinal movement in the 21st century! We are constantly seeking ways to create better insights, and do so at a lower cost. Social media research is the newest example of this phenomenon and by using it in conjunction with traditional methodologies and data sets, you can overcome the most complained about gaps in traditional quantitative and qualitative studies:
  • Traditional methodsSocial mediaLong lead time, especially for projects in which you need to hire multiple vendors, translate research materials, travel, etc. The lead time increases even more if you have stringent respondent requirements, which require you to weed out a number of recruits before defining the right sample Social mediaSocial media has a short lead time, because it is the only real-time, constantly updating data-set that researchers can pull insights from at any time.
  • Traditional research challengesLarge budget items include multiple vendors, recruitment costs, respondent incentives, translation, travel, data collection, data cleaning, data analysis, and presentation. Social media benefitsThere are only four costs inherent with social media research – collection, cleaning, analysis, and presentation. These four costs represent only a fraction of the budget items included in qualitative and quantitative studies. These four research activities are also cheaper with social media data, because the data already exists and just needs to be mined - not completely created from scratch.
  • Traditional research challengesWhen respondents know that their answers are being recorded, they don’t always share their candid feedback. Consciously or sub-consciously they are afraid of retribution, giving the “wrong” answer, or offending the moderator and other respondents. There is a problem of recall in traditional qualitative and quantitative studies. Respondents are often talking about something they have already done or felt, but their memory may not actually be reflective of the event. It is difficult for respondents to verbalize their opinions on the spot and under pressure. They feel compelled to answer quickly, but they oftenv leave out important details. Social media benefitsSocial media data is not solicited and is completely candid – it is created during the respondent’s daily lives. It is completely unobtrusive and observational. Social media data is created in the heat of the moment, as a respondent is feeling or behaving a certain a way. There is no problem of recall, because it is being collected in real-time. With social media data, the respondent has time (and the personal motivation) to talk about a topic, fully explain their position, and even create a discourse with other respondents.
  • Traditional research benefitsThe beauty of traditional methodologies is that you can easily ask potential respondents for their demographic data outright (through screeners). Then, you can target the correct audience for the study and even segment the opinions and views by age, gender, and location. Social mediaAlthough social media has a wealth of data, it is difficult to discern who is behind the data. People rarely list their age, birthdate, location, and gender because of growing privacy concerns. This is especially true when you branch outside of Twitter and Facebook, onto verbatim rich data sources like forums and blogs.
  • Traditional research benefitsWith the right budget, the right screener, and enough time, you can retrieve data from any target audience even if they have limited access to technology. Social media challengesIt is difficult to collect social media data from certain audiences, most notably:Audiences 50+ years oldRural populations in developing countries Low income populations, especially in developing countriesC-level executivesB2B decision makers
  • Traditional research benefitsIn a focus group or in a survey, you can present respondents with a potential ad or product, and they can score it for you and give you constructive criticism. Brands can perfect new campaigns and products before they even hit the market. Most notably the feedback can be gotten under NDA, which means that the brand’s intellectual property is safe. Social media challengesThere is no NDA in social media. If a big brand released a potential campaign or a new product description online for feedback, it would be quickly shared via social media. The element of surprise and the value of the intellectual property would be gone. This means competitors can formulate a competitive response to the ad or the product, before it even hits the market.
  • We were hired by the Learning and Certification division of the company to see how learning preferences have evolved with the advent and growth of cloud technologies. Is there a demand for cloud based learning solutions in the technology sector? If so, is anyone currently filling this gap in the market and how are they doing so? ? How would customers like to learn about and obtain certifications for cloud technologies? ? How do learning and certification preferences differ by generation?
  • With these questions in mind, a deadline quickly looming, and a modest research budget, we created a three-tier research strategy: Three focus groups with three target segments: Millennials, certified users with competitive certifications, and certified users with Microsoft certifications A short, ten minute survey through an internal technology driven respondent panel A “virtual ethnography”, in which we would explore these topics qualitatively in the social media realm by immersing ourselves in the social media landscape and reading through thousands of user generated posts To understand the motivations behind those behaviors, we supplemented the survey with qualitative methodologies, focus groups and social media research, to make the findings more strategic and actionable. We quickly realized that each of the three methodologies we had chosen offered unique benefits and drawbacks. While the focus groups would provide rich qualitative insight and verbatim, it would give us a relatively small sample. We considered increasing the number of focus groups, but it was cost prohibitive. To supplement, validate, and build upon the focus groups, we used social media. While the survey would provide insight into how customers behaved, it would not help us understand the drivers and motivations behind those behaviors. While the social media research offered a low price point, high sample, and deep qualitative insight, it would be difficult for us to tease out the generational element of the study, because people rarely list their age and generation in social media profiles. We supplemented the social media methodology with segmented focus groups and survey data comparisons, to tease out and quantify generational differences.
  • By using this three tiered methodology, we addressed each question with the methodology that was best suited to answer it - leaving no gaps in the research and no research objectives unmet. By using social as a supplement to the traditional methodologies, we were also able to turn around the project on a short timeline (less than 6 weeks from contract signing) and on a modest budget. Finally, the inclusion of social allowed us to get to some very niche, but important insights, about online learning behavior that we would not have been able to uncover through offline methodology. For example, we discovered the prevalence of online gamification as a learning avenue among Millennials.
  • Start with a broad, qualitative social media deep dive. This can help you figure out the right questions to ask in focus groups, in surveys, etc. Qualitative exploration uncovers a lot of unknowns, such as potential use cases or unspoken perceptions.
  • You can easily discern behavior through surveys, web analytics, CRM data, etc. What is more difficult and what social lends itself well to, is finding the WHY behind those behaviors. Behaviors change, but the basic drivers and motivations people feel are more constant and can ultimately help your company prepare for, encourage, and facilitate future behaviors; not just track current ones.
  • Social media is one of the only dynamic, real-time data sets that exist. By tracking themes constantly through social media, you can keep a continuous pulse on a topic so you won’t miss any opportunities between longitudinal studies.
  • After spending 100’s of thousands of dollars on traditional research, it makes sense to validate and quantify those findings through social media. Social media validation of insights gives the initial findings credence, both internally and externally. You can even measure the prevalence of the themes, which makes it easier to prioritize strategies and action points. While this validation can be done through traditional methods, social media provides validation through millions of data points from all over the world and does it for a relatively low cost.
  • Social is really a very misleading term, it is about all conversations – linked in, reviews, blogs, user groups, facebook represents a large but very narrow part of the populationSDL we believe this isn’t about managing social activity, it’s about orchestrating the relevant insights throughout the business, ensuring that the touchpoints of a customer are sending the right message at the right time to the right people. It’s intelligence.
  • How do you know that the metrics are predictive of buying? The PCS metric has been developed using a combination of on and off line research. We created the algorithms over two years R&D effort – working initially with 8,000 people who we surveyed about their real world buying behaviour. The same people allowed us to access their social media profiles and scrape their data from the previous 2 years. By understanding the language they used when discussing the brand or products they owned or were planning to buy we were able to learn the language of the different stages of the buying journey. This allowed us to assign a score to any product conversations and be confident it correlates to real world behavior. Now, we can listen to conversations about any brand or product, apply our algorithms and confidently predict future buying behavior.Why do you think the Chromebook is a potential threat?It is a price story really. At sub $300 mark it is an easy purchase, it puts it in the gifting category and can function well. It is light, portable and easy entry device. It does of course rely on people feeling comfortable to operating in the cloud. So we are saying it is a device to watch as it has the potential to disrupt the category further.
  • Research and Social Media: Stronger Together Than Apart

    1. 1. Research and Social: Stronger Together than Apart Will Scharf Business Solutions Consultant 1.206.940.3078 Based on white paper: “Social Media and Traditional Research Methodologies: Stronger Together than Apart” By: Kara Clark, Market Research Manager SDL
    2. 2. SDL Recognized Leader in Driving Customer Experience • Publicly traded company with $400m annual revenues • Over 2,700 employees in 70 offices across 38 countries • World-leading innovative technology • Award-winning and profitable company, with long-term financial stability • 1,500+ enterprise customers and partners • 42 of the 50 top global brands use SDL solutions
    3. 3. ABOUT SDL SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE SDL Social Intelligence provides enterprise customers with real-time insight and foresight to optimize customer experience. The Customer Commitment FrameworkTM enables global brands to develop and measure product, brand and engagement strategies to drive growth and increase revenues. About SDL SDL enables global businesses to enrich their customers’ experience through the entire customer journey. SDL’s technology and services help brands to predict what their customers want and engage with them across multiple languages, cultures, channels and devices. SDL has over 1,500 enterprise customers, 400 partners and a global infrastructure of 70 offices in 38 countries. 42 out of the top 50 brands work with SDL. About SDL Social Intelligence
    4. 4. Background of Social Intelligence Rooted in market research innovative methods. Applied market research and statistical analyses of the way people use language to reflect their experiences in the journey. Outcome: a proven system of structuring social data to optimize the insights around consumer experiences.
    5. 5. What you will learn today … Our take on the fundamental values and shortcomings of traditional research and social media. How using social media as a data set can offset some challenges businesses have in optimizing the customer experience. How innovative ways of using both can drive targeted and effective actions for the business.
    6. 6. Why social media is being used today by organizations? It’s practical, not just cool and innovative
    7. 7. What does Social Media offer that can offset the limitations of traditional methods?
    8. 8. Traditional research challenges Social media benefits • Long lead time • Often multiple suppliers • Translation of research materials • Travel • Extremely short lead time • All encompassing approach (no need for multiple vendors) • Constantly updating It can drive details of a campaign in a short period of time
    9. 9. Traditional research challenges Social media benefits • Vendor costs • Recruitment costs • Respondent incentives • Translation costs • Travel costs • Data collection • Data cleaning • Data analysis • Reporting • Data collection - automated • Data cleaning – partially automated • Data analysis – partially automated • Reporting – partially automated Budget constraints
    10. 10. Traditional research challenges Social media benefits • Awareness of recording • Unnatural environments • Fear of right and wrong answers • Recall • Important details • Unsolicited • Observational • Created in the moment - No need for recall • Natural discourse is created with peers Unobtrusive and insightful understanding of the customer
    11. 11. What can traditional market research offer that can offset limitations of social media as a data set?
    12. 12. Traditional research benefits Social media challenges • Accurate demographic data • Target broad audiences • Segment opinions with demographic data • Large portions of data are not attributable to demographics • Mostly behavioral based (psychographic data) Demographics and detail
    13. 13. Traditional research benefits Social media challenges • Collect and analyze consumer information from non-internet users Difficulty reaching certain audiences • Audiences 50+ years old • Rural populations • Developing countries • Low income populations • C-level executives • B2B decision makers Targeting non-internet users
    14. 14. Traditional research benefits Social media challenges • Direct feedback during the development of materials • Non-disclosure agreements • Non-direct and unstructured feedback • Removes the element of surprise to the public • Competitive access is inherent Getting very specific and detailed feedback
    15. 15. Social in Action: A case study with Understand the way technology learning preferences are evolving with the growth of cloud technologies.
    16. 16. The logic behind the approach Social Media Research Three Focus Groups Survey 1 2 3 1. Lack of ability to measure exact findings from the qualitative research 2. Lack of ability to get detailed feedback on specific learning programs 3. Lack of ability to understand how the findings apply to the broader global audience
    17. 17. Leigh-Anne Voigt, Senior Market Research Manager at Microsoft, spoke best to the strength of the multi-method approach: “This approach works the way I work when making a critical decision – taking disparate sources of information that work together to indicate action.” Outcome  Objectives met  Minimal gaps in the research  Less than 6 weeks  Modest budget  Unique and niche insights uncovered
    18. 18. Integrating Social with Research Start broad Develop and refine questionnaires and discussion guides Uncover unknowns
    19. 19. Uncover Tease out behavioral motivations and catalysts Develop predictive analyses by testing those with historical data Integrating Social with Research
    20. 20. Integrating Social with Research Track Keep a pulse on the way markets change
    21. 21. Integrating Social with Research Validate Add credence to findings Measure prevalence of findings
    22. 22. Integrating social intelligence with other business intelligence Digital Touchpoints Interactive Touchpoints Traditional Touchpoints Insights SMS E-Commerce Stores Social Networks Mobile Apps .com & Campaign Sites TV Ads Print Ads Email In-store Video Web & Search Ad’s Review Sites Call Center Documentation Pre-Purchase Post-Purchase Customer Journey Customers
    23. 23. Learn more about impacting your customers’ experience and driving your business objectives with our Customer Commitment Framework at Will Scharf Business Solutions Consultant 1.206.940.3078 Based on white paper: “Social Media and Traditional Research Methodologies: Stronger Together than Apart” By: Kara Clark, Market Research Manager SDL