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September 25, 2018
Why Online Listening Plays a Key Role in Marketing Campaigns
Zhana Veleska

You know from being told at a very early age that assumptions are dangerous. So why do so many companies rely on outdated, year-old research or worse, intuition when developing or marketing a product or service?

For example, you might assume suburban millennial moms have the same interests as their counterparts from previous generations, but any major food or beverage company that’s had its market strategy disrupted by this generation will tell you that’s wrong.

So, what can you do?


If your product is discussed on social media, in blogs and on forums – which is the case with just about everyone – online listening is a vital tool for getting to the bottom of what your key audiences want to hear, or not hear.

At noted food industry show SupplySide West on Nov. 8, our Co-CEO, Lori Colman, and I will lead a discussion about the importance of continued research and analysis of market data during the Marketing Effectively & Legally via Social Media session.


The goal is to find and act on the real motivations that drive audiences to purchase and remain loyal.

For example, we examined the U.S. dietary supplement and functional foods market, which is projected to generate sales of approximately $57 billion by 2024, from $32 billion in 2016. For our presentation, we analyzed online conversations from July 1, 2017 to July 1, 2018 and segmented them by audience and gender. This included more than 430,000 posts from social media platforms and blog sites.

While dietary supplements and functional foods are a hugely important market, touching on vital needs for health and wellness, we found important differences between three primary generations – baby boomers, GenX and millennials. For example, millennials have a strong affinity for protein supplements, but it has to be the “right” kind.


Delving into any of these audiences and their preferences, uncovers the kind of granular insights that help develop messaging and refine potential targets for a campaign.

Once you get that information, be sure to:

  • Use language that resonates with your specific audience
  • Pick the right platform
  • Look for influencers
  • Continue monitoring…attitudes, beliefs and influencers change at a rapid pace

The results from online listening will challenge some assumptions and confirm others, which is fine. The most important part is that to get real, up-to-date feedback from the customers you hope to reach.

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