MarketTools Offers Custom Social Networks for Research

  |  August 7, 2006   |  Comments

The Insight Networks platform will monitor existing social networks, as well as create custom sites to monitor and interact with.

MarketTools has added to its market intelligence tools with a new platform for marketers to monitor blogs and social networks, as well as build their own social networks for marketers to interact with and mine for ideas.

The new tool, dubbed "Insight Networks," uses Umbria's Buzz Report monitoring service to keep up with conversations in consumer-generated media like blogs, message boards and social networks. (Separately, Umbria will today unveil an enhancement to the Buzz Report service, called Accent, which allows marketers to manipulate data from the blogosphere in a more customized fashion.)

On top of Umbria's tools, MarketTools adds the ability for marketers to create their own online communities, which act as an ongoing research panel, according to Mike Waite, MarketTools' VP of panels and communities.

"There's a flood of data that's not being filtered or processed. Typically marketers don't know where to begin," Waite told ClickZ. "The solution to a lot of problems would be to give them direct and continuous access to an online community, so they can learn and participate, listen and collaborate."

MarketTools has been building custom research panels for clients for more than five years, and also maintains a panel of more than 2.5 million users accessible through its Zoomerang and zTelligence survey tools. With Insight Networks, clients can still stay on top of trends among its consumers, and they gain the added ability to interact with their customers and maintain an ongoing relationship with them, Waite said.

"It's a fluid way to develop and refine ideas, streamline development processes, or create stronger ties with consumers," he said.

MarketTools takes a three-faceted approach with Insight Networks. It starts with the "discover" process, collecting unstructured data from across the Internet and filtering it with Umbria's algorithms to make sense of topics discussed, sentiment of the discussion, and signal strength.

The "understand" component involves creating custom online communities. This could be a message board, blog, or a vertical Web site designed to attract consumers in the marketer's target audience. Some of MarketTools' clients choose to prominently show their brand as part of the community, while others keep the site unbranded to avoid clouding the research results, Waite said.

For example, a large international banking client created a branded site for its best "global citizen" clients, ones that had banked with them in multiple countries and had a high net worth. The community site it created offers users a place to share trials and tribulations of world travel, moving abroad, and other similar issues common among the group. The bank uses feedback from the message boards and online polls to decide what content to offer, and in turn learns more about this important target audience.

MarketTools has built two custom research panels for consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturer Del Monte Foods, which it has used to test concepts and packaging, and to monitor its brand equity. Del Monte is currently creating a community with MarketTools to move from ad-hoc projects to a continuous communication with its key consumers, according to Gala Amoroso, senior market research manager with Del Monte.

"We’ll be in a position to let consumers tell us what products or messaging we should be developing, as opposed to the other way around, which is happening today," Amoroso told ClickZ. "We’re very excited about this new opportunity and truly believe this will help us get smarter about understanding our consumers’ needs and motivations."

The third component to MarketTools' approach is its traditional survey research, which "helps to put numbers behind what we've learned," Waite said. MarketTools can either build a custom panel for a client, or use segments of its own panel. Typical turnaround time can be as little as 24 hours for some surveys.

Clients that have been most enthusiastic about the Insight Networks tools have been technology product and services vendors, Waite said. Others among MarketTools 400 full-service clients that have expressed interest come from various industries, including publishing, entertainment, personal electronics, financial services and CPG.

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, August 29 to take advantage of Super Saver Rates!


Kevin Newcomb

Kevin Newcomb joined ClickZ in August 2004, covering search marketing and other online marketing topics. He has been reporting on web-based businesses since 2000.

Before the bubble burst, Kevin was a marketing manager for an online computer reseller, handling copywriting, e-mail marketing, search marketing and running the affiliate program.

With a combination of real-world marketing experience and years of business journalism, Kevin brings to ClickZ a unique ability to deliver news and training materials that help online marketers do their jobs better.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.



Featured White Papers

BigDoor: The Marketers Guide to Customer Loyalty

The Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is imperative to success, but fostering and maintaining loyalty takes a lot of work. This guide is here to help marketers build, execute, and maintain a successful loyalty initiative.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.



    • Sales Planner
      Sales Planner (Verve ) - New YorkAbout Verve   Verve is the leader in location powered mobile advertising. We manage one of the largest mobile...
    • Systems Analyst/Support
      Systems Analyst/Support (Agora Inc. ) - BaltimoreIRIS (Increased Revenue Intuitive Software ) is proprietary software that helps marketers...
    • Client Services Support Specialist
      Client Services Support Specialist (Agora Inc. ) - Delray Beach OVERVIEW:  This position requires a highly motivated and resourceful individual...