Friday, October 8, 2010

Secondary Research Tip: Set Google Alerts to Collect Customer News

The latest Research Access post talks about how people get their news.  One of the characteristics of today's technology is that you now have the ability to collect only the news you want.  And that can make a difference in how you view the world.

At the same time, filtering through the plethora of content to get to the news you need is fairly easy to do.  And taking a few minutes to set this up can give you real insight into where to go next with your marketing strategy.

One of the trends in market research is analyzing social media chatter.  The best and easiest way to do that is to set up a Google Alert for the following:

  • Your name, the name of your CEO and management team

  • Your company name

  • Product and service names

  • Industry keywords

  • Customer names

  • Names of products that are connected to your product or service

This is just a short list- the more creative you get, the better your information will be.  Think about creating alerts or filters for specific phrases that people in your industry use.

How to Set Up a Google Alert

  • Head over to the Google Alert page - - like everything else with Google it's simply designed and straightforward.

  • Then enter the name, phrase or term you are looking for.  Enter them one at a time.  Each entry will become an alert.

  • You can specify WHERE you want the filter to scan, how often to deliver the items and which email to deliver them to.

That is all there is to it.  It's so simple and easy, you can't afford not to have several of these running.

What to DO With The Alerts

Once the alerts start trickling into your email you have choices:

  • Collect them to see what pattern emerges

  • Respond to them.  You might get an alert that someone has mentioned you in a PR piece.  If it's a good thing - then reach out and say thank you.  If the alert is of a comment that shows you or your company in a bad light - the best thing to do is to create additional content on your blog or web site that addresses this issue in a positive way - without getting into an internet feud about it.

Google Alert is your very own clipping service.  The great news is that it doesn't miss a beat.  You never have to worry that someone didn't scan properly and missed an important bit of news.

How to Use the Information

The best way to use the information is to identify trends and patterns.  Since so much content is indexed by Google - including Twitter - you will find yourself awash in a variety of voices.  The key will be in the analysis.

My recommendation is to literally code it - like you would any other open ended responses.  Then write a report for yourself or your team to summarize what's going on.  After a few weeks or months, you'll really start seeing what's on the minds of your market.

Start your Google Alerts today and see what patterns emerge.
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