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The worlds of agencies, brands, and platforms are colliding as brands move social media listening to the forefront of their marketing strategy – often with their own in-house point person. That doesn’t mean agencies have nothing to offer – they just need to add social monitoring to their skill set.

On March 2, NetBase Sales Director Robyn Lindars will speak at the Digiday Agency Summit in Miami Beach, FL, sharing why agencies should avail themselves of social monitoring tools to serve their clients.

It’s a necessity, not a luxury

Marketers, whether in-house or not, don’t have the luxury of guessing what consumers want – or they’ll be quickly out of a job. Brands must have real-time insights to inform their next moves, or they can really get things wrong.

And speaking of luxury, Robyn will use insights from the recent NetBase Brand Passion Report: Luxury 2016 to illustrate why assumptions are so damaging. The report is based on a two-year study of the top 45 global luxury brands on social – and changes from year one to year two are enough to prove that consumer whims are far from steady.

Meaning agencies and marketers have their work cut out for them.

For instance, hard as it may be to imagine a world where long-standing luxury brands like Armani and Versace drop off the top 45 – and aren’t even in the top 70 – it happened. That kind of fall might be the clearest argument for constantly monitoring and analyzing consumer sentiment on social media, but here’s another one:

Social media listening helps agencies identify trends early enough for their clients to take action. For example, our luxury report showed that eBay, which started at the 27th spot in year one of the study, climbed up to fifth place in year two. Trend alert: Etailers are gaining ground.

And the debut of the Apple Watch has clearly sparked a resurgence in the watch market – good news for Rolex, even if they are behind Apple in the rankings.

Why do consumers love these brands right now, and how can marketers sway the love to their brands’ favor?

Look beyond your brand

Robyn will have lots to say on that front, but part of the approach is in looking at ALL the things consumers love, to get a dimensional view of them as individuals. Agencies that find themselves taking a brand-centric approach need to change gears, as the social market has shifted to a consumer-centric landscape.

What this means is brands need to get to know consumers, and speak to them, human to human. To do this they’ve got to drill down into what consumers share from an emotional place – the stuff that really matters to them, even if it has nothing to do with their brand.

Using the passionate luxury audience as an example, Robyn will detail how to use our Audience 3D™ tool to create new, and often unexpected, audience segments with these sentiment insights. And she’ll explain how to create individualized messaging for the varying segments, resulting in the kind of consumer delight that inspires sharing.

She’ll also cover how monitoring the competition can create opportunities to bring brands and consumers closer. Certainly Armani and Versace wish they’d done a better job there.

And of course it’s part of agencies’ job to keep an eagle eye on their clients’ competitors. This is an often overlooked use of social media listening, but it’s obviously quite valuable for a brand to see how it stacks up against rivals, and how its competitors are faring among social users.

Rolex and Apple Watch would be wise to keep close tabs on each other for the immediate future – because when unmet needs are identified, it’s only fair for another brand to step in and offer a solution.

And that’s what agencies can do now as social marketing evolves to a new realm of personalized messaging. Where brands are stumbling with in-house marketing departments – or lacking them – agencies with an understanding of social monitoring have a clear advantage. And they shouldn’t be afraid to use it.

By the time the Digiday Summit wraps up, Robyn will make sure they aren’t.

Not coming to Miami? We’ll tell you more now – just reach out to schedule a demo of one of our social media listening products.

Image from Pablo FJ