Social listening — analyzing what consumers say on social media — is a method typically used in consumer-facing sectors that enable businesses to learn about the opinions customers hold about particular products. What is not yet widely realized is just how much this approach can inform and fuel new product development (NPD). By gaining actionable insights in real-time, without incurring the high cost of more conventional practices, like focus groups and research reports, companies that engage in social listening can gain a competitive advantage.

Also, unlike other methods traditionally used to assess what consumers think of new products, social listening:

  • Provides nearly limitless samples
  • Produces opinions that are not subject to bias
  • Ensures that results never become dated
  • Creates a link between consumer sentiment and purchase behavior

Social media is a largely untapped goldmine for consumer data. And, as artificial intelligence and machine learning continues to enhance the capabilities of social listening, we’re only scratching the surface of what’s possible with this approach.

At Pivot International, we’re a global leader in helping companies translate consumer insights into winning products. With nearly half a century of experience as a worldwide single-source leader, we bring a deep understanding of market dynamics and the consumer landscape to the product development process. From proof-of-concept to design to prototype production to manufacture to supply chain management, we leverage advanced expertise and innovative technology to power our partner’s success.

How can social listening offer insights into your NPD? Let’s take a look.

Smarter, Cleaner Data

Recent machine learning innovations have enabled smart analysis of natural language content and monitoring of images and videos. These advancements have allowed businesses to explore a broader range of consumer sentiment and purchase behavior. For instance, social listening may reveal that when consumers come within geographical proximity of a product or service, they are more likely to post about it on social media or to make a purchase. This means that organizations can now map and update consumer preferences, as well as monitor how consumers connect with and influence others.

Additionally, machine learning helps with the problem of unclean data by filtering out fake content produced by a manufacturer’s marketing agency, sellers, or robots. The consequence? Businesses can avoid garnering misleading data about their brand.

Clearer Customer Sentiment

A product concept that’s ideal for the market right now might be outdated when the product launches. Social media provides clues about changing consumer preferences, allowing companies to better predict future trends and assess whether a trend can support their product goals. Social listening can also determine how trends in one market affect those in another, as well as facilitate the development of customized products for specific demographics.

Improved Operations

On top of providing data that offers insights into consumer opinions, preferences, and sentiment, social listening can give businesses the ability to gather valuable customer feedback that can inform more effective responses and product modifications or adaptations. Social media posts complaining that a portable battery, for example, is too large to conveniently carry could prompt a manufacturer to improve its portability while maintaining the same level of power capacity.

In today’s digital, social media-powered world, businesses that fail to implement social listening may find it increasingly challenging to create products that meet the rapidly changing needs and preferences of the modern consumer. However, businesses that learn how to understand consumers through the online platforms they regularly utilize (3.5 billion people globally spend an average of three hours per day on social media), will have a significant advantage in the marketplace.

At Pivot International, we bring sophisticated methods for gaining insight into consumer sentiment, purchase behavior, and market demand — information that can be leveraged to your advantage during the NPD process. If you’re looking for a partner with a proven track record of helping businesses across the globe bring award-winning products successfully to market, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about the competitive difference Pivot can make to your product development and bottom line.