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Social Media in Product Management and Marketing – Survey Results 2010

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Brainmates recently conducted a survey into the use of social media by Product Managers and marketers. (Note – This research helped us to develop our presentation on the opportunities and challenges of social media and publish our white paper entitled “Collaborative Conversations: using social media in product management“)

Functional applications of social media in product management and marketing

Rather than ask about what tools and technologies were used, we asked respondents to state their use of social media in four functional applications as well as outline whether they intended to increase or decrease this in the coming twelve months. The functional areas investigated were:

  • Promoting and sharing
  • Monitoring
  • Gathering feedback
  • Collaborating

We received 70 complete responses for the survey which ran for three weeks in May 2010. The summary findings are presented below.

We welcome your thoughts and comments. What do these findings say about the use of social media in Product Management and Marketing? Do you feel that the topic is over-hyped? How much of an opportunity or challenge does social media present to Product Managers and Marketers? How are you using social media in your current role?

Respondent profiles

55% of respondents indicated their role was purely product management, 10% were product marketers and the remaining 35% worked in roles involving both product management and product marketing functions.

Although there were a few respondents who worked in small organisations, over 75% worked in organisations with 50 or more employees.

Survey Findings

Social media is used by almost all product managers and marketers. The degree to which the four functional applications are used varies. Simpler and more outward focused efforts such as monitoring and sharing of information were more commonly used. More collaborative efforts were less frequently used but there was still a view that this would increase in the next twelve months.

Promoting and sharing via social media

66% of respondents indicating that they used tools to promote and share information about their products. Additionally, the respondents expected to significantly increase this in the next twelve months.

In discussions with members of the product management community, this function is often regarded as  a stepping stone to developing and managing a comprehensive social media strategy. As such, it’s unsurprising that this function rated highly as it requires very little effort to begin to implement and results can be seen fairly quickly – although accurate measurement poses a tougher challenge.

Monitoring via social media

This was the most used functional application of social media with 67% of respondents using monitoring tools such as Google Alerts or Backtweets to find references to their products or services and any references related to their market, customer segments or competitors.

With more respondents already using this functional application, 43% of respondents indicated they expected to do about the same level of monitoring in the next twelve months.

Monitoring via social media presents a very simple opportunity to stay abreast of issues and hot topics. Product managers have told us that they monitor multiple references and uses a number of tools to categorise and optimise this process so that they know what to focus on.

Gathering feedback via social media

This was the least frequently used functional application of social media being used by just 29% of respondents.

There was however an expectation that this would significantly increase in the next twelve months with 23% of respondents indicating they would use it much more and 43% would use it more.

There are an increasing number of tools and technologies that assist in gathering feedback from a divergent audience. Product managers have told us that tools such as Uservoice and Wikis tools are being used more commonly inside an organisation and that they are now experimenting with opening up the walls to allow customers and wider community members to provide their feedback.

Collaborating via social media

Collaboration was another commonly used functional application of social media being used by 65% of respondents.

Being so commonly used again revealed that many respondents felt comfortable with their existing use with 43% indicating they expected to perform about the same level of collaboration in the next twelve months. Almost no one expected to decrease use with the remainder of respondents expecting to do more or much more collaboration in the next twelve months.

Our conversations suggest that this collaboration will become increasingly open and will see external stakeholders such as customers, partners, suppliers and other community members play a more active role in product development and management.

We welcome your thoughts and comments. What do these findings say about the use of social media in Product Management and Marketing? Do you feel that the topic is over-hyped? How much of an opportunity or challenge does social media present to Product Managers and Marketers? How are you using social media in your current role?

Please add your feedback in the comments below.

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1 Comment

  • I gave a talk at the Silicon Valley P-Camp in 2010 on the topic of Social Media for Market Research in the context of the product management functions. Probably most closely relates to the “gathering feedback” usage pattern mentioned in this post.

    Slides and links to the resources etc. I used might be of interest to those reading this post. You can find it here http://agileproductmgr.com/?p=114


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