Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Clorox Cleans Up with Listening Capabilities

New Function Fuses Consumer Affairs and Digital Insights

By Marc Dresner, IIR

The ability to synthesize new data streams has been a headache that market researchers at all manner of corporations have struggled with for years now.

So as I was preparing for the Future of Consumer Intelligence (FoCI) conference, I was intrigued to hear a story that, ironically, involves an old school feedback tool.  

When grappling with the “Big Data” dilemma, one critical information source often gets overlooked: Consumer Affairs, Customer Support—call it what you will.

It’s considered rather quaint in some circles, and easily overshadowed by the profusion of seductive listening and engagement sources available online.

Suzanne Henricksen considers this a major missed opportunity for researchers, and she’s determined to “bring Consumer Affairs into the 21st century.”   
Suzanne Henricksen

According to Clorox’s Global Insights Lead for Consumer Affairs, Listening & Digital Insights—a new department that reports into the company’s broader Global Insights function—all of the excitement around social networks, etc., has provided a perfect opportunity to at last pull Consumer Affairs into the insights fold.

“The explosion of social media has made everyone at companies really hot for hearing what consumers are saying about their brands and products,” Henricksen told the Research Insighter.

“The funny thing is that we’ve had access to this type of information for years through the phone calls, emails and letters that consumers have been sending into Consumer Affairs departments. Most companies have been sitting on a treasure trove of information and insights they aren’t leveraging,” she said.

Of course, this adds a new layer of complexity to the pursuit of the elusive holistic truth.

“One phone call does not equal one tweet, does not equal one email, etc. There are different issues, different reach and risk implications and different costs associated with each contact method,” said Henricksen.

“So, it is critical to find a way to bring them all together because if you look at them separately, more often than not I think you might reach the wrong conclusion,” she added.

In this exclusive podcast interview for FoCI’s Research Insighter series, Henricksen discusses:

• Synthesizing disparate data sources, modalities and methodologies

• Keeping up with the accelerating pace of digital innovation

• Adapting to the absence of norms and developing new ROI metrics

• Building a digital warehouse, lessons learned and much more…

Editor’s note: Suzanne Henricksen will be participating in a power panel discussion on “Social Media Insights: Making Them Real and Measurable” at the Future of Consumer Intelligence conference May 14-16 in San Francisco.

To review our world class program, download the brochure here.

Register by Friday May 3 and SAVE $300! 

And for additional information, please visit

Marc Dresner is IIR USA's senior editor and special communication projects lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for marketing and media research, consumer insights and intelligence professionals. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.

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