consists of following up on the conversations that occur about a business in the digital environment to try to extract as much information as possible and improve strategies, in addition to correcting weaknesses. It is a concept that arose in relation to sectors such as nursing or education and that refers not only to the process of listening to what someone says, but the feelings or opinions that underlie their words.
In digital marketing, active listening acquires special importance, since the important thing is no longer the product or the company: it is the customer. The first thesis of the Cluetrain Manifesto, a guide created by a group of advertisers in 1999, already makes this evolution clear and ensures that “markets are conversations”.
Phases of the active listening process
In order to know the motivations of the clients and correctly develop a line of work, it is necessary to make an exhaustive and constant active listening, which usually consists of three phases: analysis, evaluation and definition of strategies.
- Analysis. In this period, everything that is commented on the brand, its products and services, specific promotions, etc. is monitored in the different digital channels that users can use. It is essential to know what is also said about competition and about the sector in general. Although we are talking about online marketing, it is also convenient to assess the opinions and needs of the target audience outside the digital environment whenever possible.
- Evaluation. Once all the data has been collected, it is necessary to analyze them thoroughly in order to obtain conclusions: what certain comments are due to, what channels users prefer to express themselves, what are the weak points that they point out to us, etc.
- Definition of strategies. This last step is taken from the conclusions obtained, which indicate what actions are necessary to increase customer satisfaction. This process is not closed, but must be repeated constantly to maintain the continuous process of improvement of the company and thus apply it in the implementation of improvements.
The need to monitor conversations related to a certain brand or product is even greater in social networks, due to its immediacy and the ease of a reputational crisis that goes viral in just a few hours. It is preferable never to hide a criticism and try to respond to complaints and doubts from users in a short period of time to prevent a small problem from becoming a really worrying damage to the company.
There are various tools, such as AgoraPulse, Socialmention or Brandwatch,which help control all the information about brands, products, profiles, etc.