Del Monte Foods Gains Online Social Networking Insight With MarketTools

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Market researcher MarketTools Inc.  today launches Insight Networks, a new service that analyzes relevant content from social networking sites and supports community message board for clients' customers.

Before this, MarketTools offered online survey and customer panel platforms. The service at www.markettools.com/solutions/insight_networks.html combines these offerings to custom analytic reports that take digital unstructured information on blogs and chat rooms and rank it for relevance, frequency and sentiment.

"You can go out and already find each of these unique components [in the marketplace]," said Mike Waite, vice president of panels and communities at MarketTools, San Francisco. "They are each alone incomplete solutions."

Three companies already have enrolled in the service, including food manufacturer Del Monte Foods. Del Monte had no formal initiatives around social networking before using Insight Networks and got most of its customer data from ad-hoc research.

Gala D. Amoroso, senior market research manager at Del Monte Foods, said the company had been, "missing continuous communication with our customers."

"This new product will give us deeper insights into consumer's minds as we listen and watch their ongoing dialogue on various topics that are important to them," she said.

After receiving weekly or monthly reports on relevant topic trends in the online social networking sphere, Insight Network clients can direct conversation on a community message board that is hosted and moderated by MarketTools.

"We will be developing a community site that lets our key consumers communicate and interact with each other…" Ms. Amoroso said. "This will help us get smarter about understanding our customers' needs and motivations, which will enable us to develop successful new products and marketing plans."

MarketTools is already managing two consumer panels for Del Monte under its service offering called Zoompanel. Participants of these panels will be invited to belong to a more permanent community as part of the Insight Network research.

Del Monte has not set any quantitative goals around using the Insight Networks service but said that success will be measured subjectively based on how many marketing initiatives are influenced by the consumer input.

With this new service MarketTools asserts a focus on online communities as a place for real-time market research to be collected.

"I think what people are looking for is a close, responsive, almost one-on-one relationship with their service and product providers," Mr. Waite said.

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