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March 20, 2018
How Online Listening Helps Companies Outsmart Their Competition
Zhana Veleska

Software tools for analyzing publicly available online content are gaining in sophistication and popularity. Once only relevant for big consumer brands, listening technology is now widely applicable to companies of all types and sizes.

That’s because years’ worth of online content – social media posts, news items, articles, blogs, reviews, comments and forums – has created a veritable treasure trove of insights and data points specific to a given topic, interest, brand or company. All of this content can be scanned by listening software, then parsed in virtually limitless ways.

CBD uses state-of-the-art listening software to create our own CBD SightLine™ reports. Once searches are set up, CBD analysts can summarize up to two years’ worth of content, or drill down to what’s being said on a given day, week or month.

Here are a few ways that we've used these reports to give our clients an edge in the past – some of which may work for you, too!

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Highlight competitors’ challenges.

For one client, CBD’s SightLine report collects and summarizes negative commentary on a competitor’s ongoing product quality problems. The reporting provides summary data, but also includes actual social media posts, and links to videos posted online. The reporting is leveraged at meetings with prospects and customers. Any buyer would know that consumers are not happy with this brand – impacting sales at the shelf.

Arm the sales and executive teams with positive data.

For a company launching a new air cleaner product that virtually eliminated dust during remodeling, CBD used this software to track the impact of our PR outreach and social media campaign. We looked at all conversations about “remodeling dust” happening in the U.S. In one year, the product name went from zero mentions to one of the top trending words in the conversation. This provided proof points and was highly motivating to the sales team and executive management.

Inform how and where to innovate.

A recent CBD SightLine study on millennials’ preferences in food, beverage and supplements has been widely circulated and used by companies to help guide new product innovation. The report summarized over 12 million data points – social media posts and other online comments – collected over one year. It confirmed trends, highlighted new areas of opportunity, and identified What’s Hot and What’s Not. Knowing millennials’ likes and preferences is key to leveraging their $10 trillion lifetime buying power.

Track regulations.

Two CBD clients are tracking very different regulatory issues with SightLine reporting. One is an OSHA regulation and the other originates with the FDA. Because regulations play out in the public sector, there is a high volume of public commentary and social posts expressing opinions and actions by industry and other influencers.

These SightLine regulatory tracking reports are circulated to executive teams, board members and legal counsel.

Evaluate ad campaigns in real time.

What are people saying about the paid media campaigns costing hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars? Social listening and online content reporting can give you real-time tracking of comments “right from the horses’ mouths.” CBD provided SightLine reporting for a client tracking their Olympics sponsorships, which put a spotlight on gaps in the support from two of their sponsored athlete partners.

These are only a few of the many ways that online listening – and the reporting that trained analysts can create – is changing the way companies are informing their decision making and staying a step ahead of their competition. CBD uses one kind of software – there are many available. The key is to look into this valuable way of adding to the market intelligence every business needs to succeed.