Tags: social | media | consumer | data

Companies Look to Social Media for Consumer Data, Ideas

Tuesday, 31 Jul 2012 10:23 AM

By Patrick Hobin

Companies such as Frito-Lay, Wal-Mart, and Kohl’s are looking to social media to find the latest consumer data and trends for their products, the New York Times reported.

In the past, finding out what people thought about a new chip flavor involved using focus groups, and trend research. Now, Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare are being used point the way, the Times reported.

“It’s a new way of getting consumer research,” Ann Mukherjee, chief marketing officer of Frito-Lay North America, told the Times. “We’re going to get a ton of new ideas.”

Companies such as Wal-Mart, Samuel Adams, Frito-Lay, and Kohl’s are now learning how to mine the enormous amount of information available in social media.

For example, the Times explained, Samuel Adams asked users to vote on yeast, hops, and color to create a crowdsourced beer. The result was an American red ale called B’Austin Ale, which received rave reviews.

“It tells us exactly what customers are interested in,” Elizabeth Francis, chief marketing officer of the Gilt Groupe, told the Times. “It’s amazing that we can get that kind of real feedback, as opposed to speculating,” Francis said.

Wal-Mart even acquired a social media company called Kosmix last year to leverage its ability to extract trends from social media conversations, the Times reported.

“There’s mountains and mountains of data being created in social media,” Ravi Raj, vice president for products for @WalmartLabs told the Times.


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