The purpose of this week’s Reputation Online Live is to discuss the veritable jungle that is the world of online monitoring. For a brand, deciding which company is best to use is an overwhelming decision, even though almost all of the services stem from eight or nine key providers, with the rest simply white-labelled versions of the same product.
The validity of using monitoring providers to track what’s being said about your brand online isn’t in question, but being able to tell which is better than another is another matter altogether. Often the same USPs will be rolled out: accuracy, user interface or price. But when everyone’s saying the same thing, even the points of differentiation start to sound the same.
One thing that isn’t being pushed as a huge plus point (yet) is the potential to use monitoring for competitor intelligence online. Yes, tracking what brands within the same space are doing is often rolled in as an additional benefit, but the reputation angle is what’s largely being punted as the core driver for using monitoring as the moment.
I spoke to the founders of Reputation Manager at Marketing Week Live last week. The company was keen to differentiate itself from the larger players, saying project-based consultancy pinned around audits can be extremely valuable in terms of using monitoring as a marketing tool, instead of one that sits squarely within the PR department. This approach could, of course, support day-to-day monitoring instead of being a competitor, which bodes well for its success in the UK.
Building a specific methodology that tracks the web for brand mentions in relation to key areas of interest, such as pricing, customer service or quality, allows a company to highlight which messages are the most important. Additionally, this shows whether people not talking about something the company does well is an opportunity or because they just don’t care. The former provides valuable insight on which to pin a marketing and PR push around; the latter will prevent wasted spend on a misplaced campaign.
Aligning actual conversation with what a brand thinks people might be talking about is invaluable. This sounds like common sense to many but it’s surprising the number of companies that don’t actually check. Reputation Manager conducted some analysis on BT Openzone using this methodology and showed that positive mentions of the brand centred mainly around service features rather than pricing, which features heavily in the company’s marketing.
This is a broad example of how this aspect of monitoring can be used. It’s a great feature that isn’t being utilised yet even though it could be of real value not only to a business but also to monitoring companies trying to set themselves apart in a crowded environment.