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Social Media Data: A Psychographic Gold Mine

As marketers, we understand the depth of our customer knowledge and relationships defines the success of our brands and campaigns. Demographics offer one way to look at customers, but perhaps even more instructive is psychographics.

 What is the difference between demographics and psychographics?

In broadest terms, demographics tell you WHO your customers are…while psychographics help you understand how they think and, most importantly, WHY they act. Demographic data includes age, gender, race, geography, education, annual income, and quantifiable information. Psychographics can be thought of as cultural data, offering a window into people’s worldview, into their habits and what makes them tick. 

 Why do psychographics matter?

Understanding people’s attitudes and values can reveal very deep insights into what drives them as consumers. When you understand why an audience prefers to shop in certain stores and why it buys certain products, you’re tapping into an incredibly valuable vein of information that can help you uncover buying patterns, anticipate trends, and predict which campaigns will most effectively drive conversions. Savvy agencies mine this data to inform everything from messaging to creative imagery to media channels, rotations, and the mix of touchpoints necessary to keep your brand in front of your desired audience at the right times in the customer purchase journey.

 Psychographic data drives results by allowing you to:

  • More effectively segment your audience
  • Identify the factors that influence buying behavior
  • Create messaging that truly resonates with your audiences
  • Motivate customers to choose your brand

 The best source for psychographic data? Social media

Traditionally, marketers have relied on customer surveys for psychographic data. While surveys have always had the drawback of being slow and costly to conduct, in an increasingly fast-changing marketplace they simply can’t keep up with consumers. That’s why, increasingly, marketers are turning to social media data for the reliable, real-time information they need about customers and prospects.

 Social media is a gold mine of psychographic data in several ways. People tend to be more open and honest in their own social spaces than in surveys, and their social profiles offer a veritable treasure trove of highly accurate psychographic information. By monitoring social media feeds, you can understand what customers are actually doing rather than what they’re willing to tell you, or perhaps even believe, about their buying behaviors. Harnessed correctly, social media can replace focus groups, online panels and surveys, providing more timely, more accurate and less costly information.  When you integrate all your sources of first-party data including social media, CRM, Web analytics, transactional data, etc. with third-party data, you get the truly comprehensive 360-degree view of customer values, needs and behaviors that can help you anticipate their future desires and deliver what they want when they want it.

Get started: Four steps to turning psychographic insight into action

Once you’ve used psychographic data to create more meaningful customer segments, you can leverage this deeper customer knowledge across your entire business to drive revenue. Four specific steps you can take are:

  1. Fine-tune your customer acquisition efforts with a more detailed understanding of customer segments
  2. Hone your messaging to speak more effectively to customers at each point in the decision-making process, increasing the rate of conversion
  3. Offer better customer service and more effectively cross-sell by giving your representatives deeper, more accurate information about the people they’re assisting
  4. Develop products that meet the needs of your largest customer segments

 As consumers continue to become more empowered and more discriminating, marketers will need to find new and better ways of getting to know them in order to deliver the customized messages that will resonate and inspire action. Those brands that most effectively tap into social media data will have a distinct advantage in the marketplace of tomorrow.

Exciting times.


Influencer Marketing, technology and the evolution of consumer decision-making

The Internet—and social media in particular—has changed most aspects of how we work and live, but nowhere is that more evident than in the world of marketing. Marketers face the challenge of trying to reach fragmented, distracted consumer audiences who are more informed and more discriminating than ever.  That being said, savvy marketers are evolving their strategy and paradigms to keep pace with technology and changing consumer behavior.

Here are three things to consider:

Say goodbye to the sales funnel

One of the most important goals of marketing is to reach customers at the points in their decision-making journey when you have the highest likelihood of influencing them. In the good ol’ days of traditional marketing, we thought of this process as a funnel. As you recall from your undergrad marketing curriculum days, people start out with a number of options in mind and narrow them down as they move through the funnel until they arrive at their final choice.

The Internet has changed all of that. Consumers are now more proactive and empowered than ever, and are able to “self-educate” by scouring an endless sea of reviews, recommendations, product sheets and corporate collateral before they ever set foot in a store. According to McKinsey, the consumer decision-making process now resembles more of a circular journey. It includes an “active evaluation phase” in which consumers seek out and weigh information about their potential purchase. Nearly all consumers—97%—use the Internet to do at least part of this research, according to BIA/Kelsey.  This new consumer behavior means marketers need to find fresh, creative ways to influence the decisions of their desired audience.

Mass market advertising is dead

Not only are consumers more empowered, they’re also more fragmented and skeptical than ever. In the Mad Men days of marketing, all you needed was a large enough advertising budget and you were virtually assured of reaching your customers. Share of voice in effect equaled share of market.

These days, the mass market just isn’t what it used to be. People have more entertainment choices thanks to cable networks, DVRs, the Internet, and programming innovators like Netflix and Amazon. Prime time TV viewing dropped almost 42% from 1977 to 2003. Even if you do manage to reach your audience, only 10% of consumers actually trust advertising messages. Does it make sense to keep pumping resources into mass market campaigns? Probably not now, and certainly not in the future.

Influencer Marketing is the future

The good news is that there is an approach to marketing trusted by a staggering 92% of consumers: word of mouth. Influencer Marketing taps into the power of word of mouth referral and takes it to the next level. Marketers should consider replacing—or at least supplementing—ineffective mass market advertising with the more targeted strategy of building relationships with influencers who are relevant to your offering and trusted by your customers.

When influencers share information about your brand, products and services with their own networks, their followers pay attention—and your message gains both credibility and trust. By understanding which influencers have the most impact at different stages of the decision-making process, you can target your tactics for optimal results throughout the customer journey. That’s a far better use of marketing resources than investing in a TV spot few people will watch and even fewer will believe.

What’s next?

Technology and the marketplace will continue evolving, and Influencer Marketing will need to keep pace. The next generation of tools on the horizon will allow more precise identification of influencers, identify insights relevant to contextually aligned audience tribes, help marketers better target tactics to each stage of the customer journey, and facilitate enhanced engagement. There are many, many exciting developments under way today that will become industry standard tomorrow. Stay tuned for more.


John Mustin, Wasabi Rabbit’s CEO, spoke with Critical Mention this afternoon to discuss how to build brand engagement through new technology tools for Critical Thinking, a news and thought leadership video series.

With all the social media tools available, there’s an increasing amount of data presented to communication professionals. The “Holy Grail” of social data is a combination of static data about your customers and insights into what they’re most interested in, discussing, and feeling about the marketplace to create a hearty customer profile. Check out the clip to hear how John suggests taking a mass of information and turning it into an actionable strategy.

Nice bootleg video from one of the world’s most industrious AE,  Emily  :)

Look Inward to Reenergize Social Media Efforts


Brands are constantly trying to find new ways to boost social media efforts. Adding followers and gaining share of voice is far easier said than done, as most marketers know. It’s extremely difficult to tap into new communities within a very cluttered space. There’s one resource frequently…

Very similar approach to my post from yesterday.  Great minds think alike.

Influencer Marketing Insights: Are You Overlooking Your Most Important Brand Advocates?

At its core, Influencer Marketing is about turning fans, followers, and devoted customers into brand advocates. Savvy marketers recognize the power of brand advocates to build awareness, generate leads, and deliver tangible business results.

The numbers make a convincing case for why “creating more brand advocates” should be at the top of your to-do list. According to McKinsey, a word of mouth recommendation is the primary factor behind 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions, and an Opinion Research Corp. survey reveals that 83% of consumers say online customer reviews influence their purchase decisions. Brand advocates are two to three times more effective than non-advocates in persuading others to purchase recommended brands.  Who can argue with those observations?

While marketers have been eager to adopt Influencer Marketing as a component part of other intiatives—and I encourage them to do so given the intimacy and engagement that results—it’s clear to me that many are overlooking a critical source of potential brand advocates: their own employees.

Why are employees incredibly valuable brand advocates? Here are three key reasons: 

1. Trust – Recommendations from customers have long been the gold standard for brand advocacy, but the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that employees also wield tremendous influence, with 50% of consumers finding them just as credible as customers. That rockets up to 65% for technical experts within the company.

2. Expertise – Even if the business isn’t in a technical field, employees still have in-depth, first-hand knowledge of products, services and the category that makes them valuable sources of information into which consumers can tap.

3. Reach – Employee advocacy quickly expands a company’s social media reach; these close person-to-person connections are very influential, increasing the likelihood that the shared information will garner attention and engender trust. 

So the million-dollar question is “How do you get employees to advocate?” The answer: Make sure they’re engaged.

A Gallup survey found that 81% of engaged employees were willing to write positive recommendations of their company’s products or services versus a mere 18% of unengaged workers.

This fact makes perfect sense when one considers exactly what it means for an employee to be engaged. According to the National Business Research Institute, these 6 traits are the hallmarks of an engaged employee:

  • Believe in their organization
  • Have the desire to work to make things better
  • Understand the business context and the bigger picture
  • Are respectful and helpful to colleagues
  • Are willing to go the extra mile
  • Stay up to date with developments within their industry

So it’s no great revelation to say that employees who are engaged by this definition—those who are knowledgeable and passionate about their company and category—make natural brand advocates. The challenge? According to the 2012 Global Workforce Study (GWS), only 35% of workers fit this description.

So how can you engage your employees and turn them into advocates? Here are 4 tips:

1. Create a high-performance culture. The Global Workforce Study also found that employees want to be engaged, and a key factor in building that engagement is the company’s culture. To turn employees into passionate advocates, create a culture that nurtures thought leadership and values social sharing. In the case of Wasabi Rabbit, I love to show off the brilliant thinking of my team when they post on our company’s social media channels. They are encouraged and acknowledged to do so.

2. Lead by example. A company’s top executives can set expectations with their own participation. Take an active role in social media and encourage your employees to join in the conversation. The added benefit? Consumers are more likely to trust a company whose leadership engages with social media (source: Go-Gulf).

3. Make the right tools, sites and processes available. Studies show that social media adoption is a key way to spur employee engagement, which in turn helps to create advocacy. Make sure employees have the access they need to social media so they can share knowledge internally and advocate for your brand externally.

4. Lay out the ground rules. Uncertainty about what’s allowed and what’s not can discourage employees from taking to social media in support of your business. So be explicit about the rules, even if the rules are as simple as “use good judgment.” It’s understandable that some types of businesses, such as those in the financial services sector, may need to keep tighter control of information than those of us in the marketing field. If an approval process is required, create and formalize one, and make sure everyone in your company is clear about it. In short, remove ambiguity by sharing the rules of the road.

The final takeaway? Social media adoption drives real business results.  Encourage your best advocates to get in the game.

There is still much work to be done on full-scale social media adoption across the enterprise. In fact, it’s estimated that only 3% of companies are currently taking advantage of social media across all stakeholders. Those businesses that act quickly and make employees a key part of their social media and Influencer Marketing strategies will stake out a significant competitive advantage moving forward. 

According to a 2012 McKinsey report, there’s an additional $900 billion to $1.3 trillion (yes, with a “T”!) of annual value still to be unlocked in the enterprise use of social media. Engaging employees and turning them into brand advocates as part of your Influencer Marketing strategy is an important step to closing this gap. Engaged employees produce twice as much meaningful work as unengaged employees, and a 12% increase in brand advocacy, on average, generates a 2x increase in revenue growth while boosting market share. Awesome!

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