Suresh Vittal [Posted by Suresh Vittal]

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Given the growing volume of consumer conversations across social media it shouldn’t come as a surprise that marketers are keen to start listening to the groundswell. Our inquiry volume definitely reflects that: close to 40% of my conversations with marketers are about selecting listening tools, integrating listening into existing customer intelligence efforts, and best practices in institutionalizing listening across marketing organizations.

Gradually marketers are also focusing on the cost/benefit side of the listening platforms. Far too often, they focus purely on the software costs associated with such tools. But there’s a lot more to this equation than just the cost of software. To help marketers fill in the gaps, we just published our research on the total cost of listening. The key takeaways?

  1. Business goals play a big part in driving the cost structure
  2. The different flavors of listening initiatives – full featured platforms, brand monitoring dashboards, and services led projects – have distinct cost drivers.
  3. Free tools aren’t really free.
  4. Marketers must account for the cost of staffing, training, system setup, and insight generation and distribution.