Social Media ROI: Advocacy for BMW

April 11, 2011

This is the real “one number you need to grow”.  I’m sure most of you are familiar with Net Promoter Score.  This is the MotiveQuest version of NPS; observed, organic, real.

We measure advocacy, which is the number of people recommending a brand above any others, and have seen strong relationships between the metric and sales in a number of categories including automotive, cellular, CPG, pharma and others.  The underlying concept is similar to NPS – namely that if people are recommending your brand to others, that you will be better off than if they are NOT recommending your brand.

Here is where it is different from NPS.  We are observing naturally occurring recommendations.  There is no suggestion, no survey, no artifice.  People are either recommending your brand to others or they aren’t.  We have tested this extensively (working with a team at Northwestern’s Kellogg School) to validate the correlations between change in advocacy and change in sales or market share.

Example below from the luxury car category showing the correlation between changes in advocacy and changes in share for BMW.

While the scales are different we can see the positive correlation in advocacy and luxury market share for BMW. Looking at the scatter plot and doing the regression confirms the relationship and it’s statistical significance with a p-value of 5% (we’re 95% confident that there is a positive correlation between advocacy and luxury market share). 

Given the complexity of the automotive category and the economic conditions in this time frame it’s amazing that a single factor model can so nicely line up.  With an understanding of incentives to dealers/buyers, advertising spend and supply issues I’m certain the model could be improved but at the end of the day we’re validating that social media does matter. 

Social media clearly has an impact on sales in this category and others.  Many times the relationship will not be this clear or the category may be so complex that a single variable model cannot tease out the results or there could be errors in the metric (source spam/problems, bad language model, etc…)  but if you believe in the 3 tenets, it’s not surprising and quite intuitive that there should be a link between a social media metric and sales.

Of course, to change advocacy you need to know what drives it – but we do that part too!  We have an underlying analytic model to understand in detail what drives advocacy for any category, brand or competitive set.



Trendspotting with ThemeStream

December 20, 2010

About a year ago we (MotiveQuest) were talking with a potential client in the liquor business.  He asked if we could have predicted the Ice Tea Vodka Craze using our software. We thought this was a pretty interesting question and over a few glasses of Ice Tea Vodka we started to ponder.

There are lots of ways of looking at historical buzz and being smart after the fact but we thought it would be interesting to create an algorithm that didn’t just look at buzz but looked at momentum, exaggerating the effect of growth visually.  After playing for a while, a new tool was born that we christened “ThemeSteam”,  A tool that indeed could have predicted the Ice Tea Vodka Craze.  ThemeStream is now a tool that we use almost daily to see what is hot in the categories we care about.

ThemeStream determines the words most correlated with the category conversations for each period and then highlights (through exponential comparison of deviation from the average value) those words that are most dynamic.  This allows us to see emerging, waning, and seasonal trends.

For example recently a client was interested in seeing the impact of Jamie Oliver on the food conversation among parents.  Here is the chart.

Source: Data comes from looking at a combination of food and parenting datasets focused on discussion of kids lunches N=10,995

In this chart we see when the impact of Jamie Oliver begun to have an effect on moms’ lunch decisions and discussions as he is putting focus on nutrition education out-of-home.  Note that we see the Jamie Oliver conversations growing rapidly as soon as the show – Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution begins to air.

This was flagged as a issue for our client well before they would otherwise have been paying attention to it.  We are using this new tool for early trend identification across many projects from food to pharma to consumer electronics.

Tom O’Brien

Welcome aboard Zack

November 22, 2010

It was one of my goals to hire not one, but two great new people for our client relationships team this year.

I am pleased to announce that the second of these two – Zachary Nippert is joining the MotiveQuest team as our new Director, Client Relationships based out of our New York office. In this role Zack will take over responsibility for managing relationships and service delivery with key MotiveQuest Clients on the east coast including Citi, Novartis and others.

Zack joins MotiveQuest from DDB where he was most recently part of the new business pursuit team. Prior to that Zack was an Account Supervisor with DDB with prior experience at DraftFCB and Leo Burnett. In those roles he developed significant experience in client management, brand marketing and using research to help his clients solve complex business problems.

His background as a recovering Mad Man makes Zack a great addition to the MotiveQuest team – and I’m sure the tenaciousness he learned as a goalie for the Cincinnati Cyclones will serve him – and his clients well – it’s great to have him on board.


Welcome aboard Carter

November 2, 2010

It is with great pleasure that I can finally announce that Carter Truong is joining the MotiveQuest team as our new Director, Client Relationships based out of our Portland office. In this role Carter will take over responsibility for managing relationships and service delivery with key MotiveQuest Clients on the west coast including Microsoft and Nike.

Carter joins MotiveQuest from JD Power’s Web Intelligence division where he was Senior Manager, Consumer Insight & Strategy. Carter has 3+ years of experience using social media research to help clients solve business problems, and took increasingly responsibility for organizational development and client management over his time at JDP. Prior to JD Power he worked for Greenhouse Partners a Denver based brand strategy firm.

His experience in social media research, brand strategy and client relationships make Carter an excellent addition to the MotiveQuest team and we are honored to have him aboard.  (In the photo above Carter is enjoying “truckstop meatloaf” on his first MQ road trip!)



July 14, 2010

Yes, it’s true. We are growing and we are hiring. Right now we are looking for a Director, Client Relationships to be based on the West Coast.

The job brief is here Director, Client Accounts

If you are interested, please review the job brief and send me an email  with “DCR Job Brief” in the subject line explaining why you are the person for the job.  All responses will be kept strictly confidential.

Thanks –


The Problem in Social Media Marketing

February 9, 2010

Have you seen the 2010 edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer? I have – and frankly, it has me worried. Specifically the precipitous drop in trust among friends/peers is a concern. I think this drop in trust has three root causes.

In the AdAge article about this, Richard Edelman attributes this drop in trust to a “sign of the times” and I agree that’s a contributing factor, but there is much more to this plunge. I think it’s a direct result of social media marketing. Yes, the mere fact of abusing SM channels (which are p to p conversational channels) with marketing messages causes everyone participating to trust less. Finally, the definition of what a “friend” is has been bastardized by Twitter, FB, etc.

I am a hardliner on “pay-per-post” and “crowds-for-hire” to go out and review things – I just think it is wrong. The term “Sponsored Conversation” is an oxymoron.

I think commercial endorsements (especially outside of their specific field of expertise) are bad for big bloggers, even if it does get them paid. It makes me (and everyone else) think less of them. I don’t think much of “influencer marketing” schemes.

Our business (MotiveQuest) depends on people having real, organic, honest conversations with each other on the web. We collect and analyze these conversations to understand why people do what they do. Our clients pay for these ideas, insights and recommendations to help grow their business. This only works if we don’t WRECK social media by using it to try to sell stuff to people.

Tom O’Brien

Will Obama’s Approval Ratings Dive?

October 13, 2009

We (MotiveQuest LLC) have just completed the third report in our series on the Health Care Reform debate. Because we think brand advocacy is the most important metric for brand health, (we used this to predict the outcome of the 2008 Presidential Election) we decided to take a look at Obama’s advocacy over the course of this very rancorous HC reform debate.

What we see is that the overall level of conversation is down, and some topics have faded (rationing) while others have continued to increase (insuring the uninsured).

Regarding advocacy, we thought that perhaps Obama’s HC Reform related advocacy would be lower than his overall advocacy – but when we compared the two, we found that they are both dropping at similar rates. Since

we have proven the link between changes in advocacy and changes in

sales in a number of categories (Cars, Cellphones) we decided to compare Obama’s advocacy to his approval ratings – the lines are a pretty close match, with advocacy seeming to lead approval ratings by a few weeks. If so, watch out below.

What do you think? Will Obama’s approval ratings plummet further in the next few weeks?