Posted on February 27th, 2012
In this short chapter, “How to Use Numbers to Get Closer to Your Customers”, Paine provides for suggestions for setting up listening posts for marketplace conversations as well as how to effectively use the results to improve the business. As she has mentioned before, it is absolutely essential for a business to listen to what the marketplace is saying because it was always provide an advantage over competitors – whether they’re doing it too or not. Another theme that is repeated is that the quantity of data is not necessarily important; what counts is how well a company is tracking the conversations that matter the most to its customers and its bottom line.
Tap into your customers’ conversations.
A company must first decide what keywords are most important; Paine suggests tools like Google Adwords’ keyword suggestion or WordTracker.com. Google Alerts can consolidate these results and should also be used to track competitors’ names and brands as well. It is important to regularly review results and refine keyword searches in order to exclude irrelevant mentions – which Paine estimates makes up more than 70% of results (p. 101). Regular review also allows for the identification of the most influential channels and outlets – those with the highest comments-to-post ratio (or Conversation Index). Once these are singled out, they should be subscribed to directly.
In analyzing conversation results, a company should determine what the most important issues are for its customers as well as how they are positioned on each issue. The most valuable information, Paine says, is what the marketplace likes and dislikes about a company’s competitors. It allows the company to improve its own products or services and edge out the competition. To the same end, customers voicing frustrations or satisfaction (on sites like BizRate or Amazon) are also extremely valuable – especially because potential customers are “much more likely to trust people like themselves when making a purchase decision (p. 103).”
As with all other aspects of monitoring and measuring, it is essential that a company first establish some benchmarks and baseline metrics in order to draw conclusions at the end of a campaign or other predetermined period of time. Measuring against past performance and competitors will provide actionable insight.
Image via David Drexler