Social listening – the new NPD


26 October, 2018

Consumer brands have always spent huge amounts of money on new product development. In fact, 10 years ago a typical chunk of the budget could run into millions for consumer insight run through big national surveys, in depth focus groups and pulse surveys all aiming to build a picture of what new products consumers want right here, right now.

But social media is changing all that as Heinz found out last summer when the buzz on twitter fast-tracked their launch of Mayochup, a product which blends tomato ketchup and mayonnaise together. In spring 2018 Heinz was gearing up to launch a new blend of mayonnaise ready for the summer grilling season until it spotted a trending story about a Heinz product available in the Persian Gulf called Mayochup. Jumping on the back of the story, Heinz asked its North American twitter followers to vote for the launch of Mayochup. 1 million votes later the launch was a huge success as Heinz offered a product that gave Americans what they had been mixing up on their plates for decades.

But it’s not only big brands who can benefit from social listening. In fact, it’s even more useful to smaller brands as one of our clients, Gemini Chocolate, found. Completing a process of social listening into vegan chocolate enabled us to micro target the exact customer who was most likely to buy a vegan treat online. Sales growth in excess of 30% was delivered over a 6 month period and we were able to get the tone of voice absolutely right by studying and scanning not only our own engagement scores, but those of our competitors too.

You just have to look at the numbers to see why social listening works for both what products to launch and how to get the most bang for buck from the launch. As an example, three years ago Instagram had 400 million users; today they have over a billion across the globe, as does YouTube. That is a third of the total internet population. Add in those using the other major social networking sites and those numbers are not ones that a brand can afford to ignore. What it does mean is that the sort of insights previously only accessible to major brands with major budgets are now within the reach of SMEs.

A canny business will partner with a boutique firm like Puretas to access the wealth of information available. Working with a boutique is a great way to make that information actionable as the strategists that you get access to tend to have years of experience sifting through data to find the nuggets that will enable you to fast track your growth. After all, they’ve been trained by the best, so why not access their knowledge at a fraction of the cost of an equivalent hire.