Solve for the Right Objectives

Tuesday, October 1, 2013



I attended a blogger conference recently, where some of the great women I met were agonizing about their purpose in blogging, and that they weren't reaching as many readers as they'd like.  I made one of these women pause.

"What are you trying to accomplish by blogging?"  I asked.

"Well, I love how it helps me be known by friends and family...I'm an introvert.  They tell me that they've learned more about me on my blog in the last 3 months than they've learned in the last 12 years," she confided.

When we dug into it, success meant being known by those closest to her.  Therefore, I begged her to disregard the stats about click-through and to instead monitor whether those closest to her were reading and better getting to know her.

Just because the metrics are there, it doesn't mean that they matter.

Don't let the metrics define your purpose.

Here's the application to social media research: just because sentiment numbers are there, it doesn't mean they matter to my clients.  Just because top influencers can be found, it doesn't mean that my clients care.

So many that call themselves "social media researchers" are pulling stock reports from analytics platforms and sending them off to their clients...who are disappointed.  GreenBook Research Industry Trends Report's Winter 2013 findings stated that, "We see very little use of social media data for strategic objectives."  I'm not surprised.  The industry is providing the metrics without asking what we're trying to solve for.

What objectives do you really need to meet with your research?  Let's get after those by looking past the numbers and digging into what people are saying.

Here are some of the objectives I find success in reaching:

• Habits and practices
• Unmet needs
• Painpoints
• Category trends
• Target or segment identification and humanization • Ideation inspiration
• Brand positioning
• Benefit articulation in consumer terms
• Jobs to be done

Let's look past the sentiment analysis, the already-there metrics and go after what truly answers the questions at hand.

David Sedaris on Personal vs Private

Tuesday, May 21, 2013



I was listening to NPR's Fresh Air the other day.  David Sedaris came on.  I perked up, because the English major in me knew the name.

This piece stuck with me.


"But most of his journal isn't for public consumption.  In fact, Sedaris says his public persona as a famous writer is quite different from the person he is — and has been — in private, and the journal is where those two versions of David Sedaris collide."

Sedaris goes on to say that some stuff in his life doesn't make it into his journal because it's too personal.  THE David Sedaris doesn't capture stuff in his own journal that's "too personal."

Back to this blog and market research.  I have to ask:

What's "too personal to share" for our respondents?

  • Does it ever get captured?  If so, where?
  • Who else knows about this "too personal" stuff?


Where do the personal and private collide?

  • How can we get there?  
  • How does the online medium hurt or help this?
There are things that I run across on the internet that seem to be in the "very, very personal" camp.  Stuff that the writers say they haven't even shared with their spouses or closest friends.  "Personal" is such a funny thing.  I love getting to rub against it in the digital ethnography space.

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