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Companies Identify Major Business Benefits in Listening to Online Conversation

New Report Details How Social Media Monitoring Drives Efficiency and Effectiveness in Marketing, Sales, PR, Market Research, Customer Support and Other Areas

BOSTON, MA -- (Marketwire) -- 11/11/09 -- As control of a company's marketing messages -- and, indeed, its very brand image -- continues to migrate from traditional media to social media, companies need to pay close attention to how they're being perceived in online conversations. They also need to take appropriate action, based on the insights they glean.

That's precisely what a growing number of companies are doing, according to a new benchmark report published by the Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), entitled Social Media Monitoring: Why It Pays to Listen to Online Conversation. In fact, the research found that, despite the substantial cutbacks that most companies have been forced to make in light of the global economic recession, 50% of all companies are increasing their investment level in social media monitoring initiatives. The research also found that the insights derived from social media monitoring and analysis can benefit multiple parts of the organization, including marketing, sales, public relations, customer service, market research and product management.

Aberdeen research reveals a number of striking performance disparities between Best-in-Class, Industry Average and Laggard companies. For example, Best-in-Class organizations are 2.6-times more likely than Industry Average companies, and 93-times more likely than Laggards, to improve their ability to generate consumer insights that drive new product/service development. They are also 3.3-times more likely than Industry Average companies, and 82-times more likely than Laggards, to improve their ability to identify and reduce risk to the brand. Best-in-Class organizations also outperformed Laggards when it comes to improving customer advocacy and decreasing customer service costs.

In addition to deploying the right set of enabling technologies, success in social media monitoring requires a combination of strategic actions and organizational capabilities. To that point, Best-in-Class companies are 42% more likely than Laggards to have a process for disseminating insights gleaned from consumer-generated content to key decision-makers and also twice as likely to have a process for applying the insights in the context of specific needs. Best-in-Class companies are 1.9-times more likely than Laggards to have dedicated operations resources devoted to social media monitoring, analysis and reporting.

The report includes a number of recommendations to help spur performance improvements. In addition to hiring resources that have social media monitoring as part of their job description, recommended actions include conducting online consumer sentiment analysis at a granular level, identifying and measuring the value of key influencers, and implementing time-sensitive performance metrics.

"A growing number of companies are systematically analyzing the endless flow of unstructured data that resides in online conversations to generate actionable insights," said Jeff Zabin, Research Fellow at Aberdeen Group. "They are working to ensure that the insights reach the right decision-makers, wherever in the organization they may reside, in a timely and contextualized manner. And, importantly, they are tracking and measuring the results to drive continuous performance improvement."

A complimentary copy of this report is made available due, in part, to the following underwriters: Converseon and Visible Technologies. To access a copy, visit: http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=5971.

For additional access to complimentary Customer Management Research, please visit: http://research.aberdeen.com/index.php/-customer-management

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to AberdeenTM for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen http://www.aberdeen.com or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748 or go to http://www.harte-hanks.com.

© 2009 Aberdeen Group, Inc., a Harte-Hanks Company
451 D Street, Suite 710
Boston, Massachusetts 02210-1928
Telephone: (617) 854-5200
Fax: (617) 723-7897
www.aberdeen.com

Media Contact:
Jeff Zabin
Aberdeen Harte-Hanks
(847) 328-4795
[email protected]

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