Twitter is a listening platform for brands: DMA 2011

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Marketers should view Twitter as a tool to survey consumers' interests and engage meaningful interactions,  Twitter cofounder Biz Stone told attendees of the Direct Marketing Association's 2011 Conference & Exhibition on Oct. 3.

“Every interaction with a customer is a marketing transaction,” Stone said during his keynote address, adding that marketers were among the first groups to demonstrate Twitter's value as a customer engagement platform.

When first using Twitter, marketers should listen to consumers' conversations rather than immediately relay brand press releases, Stone said. He pointed to JetBlue Airways as an example of a brand that initially failed to communicate with consumers via Twitter but succeeded after asking consumers what they would like the brand to Tweet about.

JetBlue was “interacting as a person,” said Stone.

Brands' personal interactions, such as the JetBlue example, demonstrate meaningful marketing in which companies deepen the “bond between the consumer and the brand experience” by facilitating empathy and “looking beyond the basic conversation about products," he said.

“The more you connect with people over the things that matter to them most, the deeper the level of connection,” said Stone.

Before Stone's keynote, DMA CEO Lawrence Kimmel discussed the opportunities and challenges of such customer-centric integrated marketing, which he said "is not easy."

Kimmel cited a DMA survey that found that 27.4% of marketers said they are effectively integrating their messaging across channels. To more effectively message consumers, Kimmel said, marketers must look to the expansion of the social graph and the adoption of mobile devices, which has added data about what consumers are thinking and where they are located.

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