If you are looking to target millennials in a marketing or advertising campaign, how can you reach them effectively? Top brand executives debated the subject at Ad Week 2015, trying to understand whether or not there is a myth about marketing to millennials: is there an inherent issue targeting strategies towards this audience or is there just a natural change occurring within the evolving marketing landscape? Ad experts discussed the apparent lack of interest in marketing strategies that the 18-24 year old demographics show. “The idealism of Gen X is so different from the cynicism of millennials,” said Joy Howard, CMO at Sonos. “For millennials, the marketing is native.”
In general, the advice on reaching millennials from today’s brand leaders? Don’t plan for traditional marketing research strategies, like a focus group. But what does this mean for the future of these methods? Should market researchers throw in the towel, calling it a day instead of analyzing the next wave of consumers? Of course not—they need to find another, more relevant solution for using consumer data. There’s a massive quantity of unsolicited consumer opinion available, and it exists right beneath the modern day researcher’s fingertips. Social media consists of an enormous number of insightful, strategic digital conversation that brands can use and listen to for building powerful understanding about their key audiences. Where can marketers and researchers tap into these insights? Through social analytics platforms. These solutions hold the key for interpreting massive quantities of data effectively and efficiently, driving better solutions for today’s businesses.
So how can social data be used as a resource to understand today’s society? Well, its existence has evolved into the largest resource of unsolicited consumer opinion in the world. People go online, praising or complaining the products or frustrations they are greeted with in their everyday lives. The validity of social media responses ties to the behavior of social media users. People are sharing their perspective to whomever will listen and are not “filtering” their opinions. Social has allowed audiences to oppose and support opinions without feeling the negative effects of an in-person discussion. Even within the controlled settings of a focus group, the desire to participate creates a lens which you must attribute to their decision to join the study. Innately, that decision to join the group will bias the research (on some level). That’s why social data that’s publicly available presents such unique value for researchers: the ethnographic environment has not been disturbed in order to retrieve the data.
Another factor that helps demonstrate the value of social data is the time to insights. When working with a focus group, it’s important to standardize responses and the process by which to aggregate information. When using a social media analytics platform, that process has already been established and verified. The insights that can be pulled from an analysis are built on a test model that aggregate behavior for hundreds of thousands of posts. For example, if a researcher today wants to understand how business people behave when they travel, social analytics can provide those insights quickly, with reliable accuracy.
In the above analysis, we categorized posts according to the behavioral needs of business travelers. While this analysis covers data analyzed from the last 10 months, social data allows users to analyze the conversation for year over year comparison. This let’s researchers see the shifts in conversation as technology evolves, and needs grow. Such insights are invaluable to those members of the travel and hospitality industry. It helps marketing analysts and researchers validate their strategies and hypotheses with powerful, contextually relevant research. And the research can be conducted in a matter of minutes, instead of months.
Many research and marketing analyst teams have already adopted the social media realm as a resource for aggregating consumer behavior analytics. How can researchers rely on the validity of the results? It’s important to vet the analytics solution you use for aggregating social data. The insights the platform generates must be reliable in the same way a research methodology must be reliable. Critiquing a platform is crucial for research success, but one thing is clear: focus groups are out, but data available for market research is growing every day.
To learn more about how to choose the right social analytics platform, read our post here.