Online consumer opinions do not start with consumer reviews.There is an entire life cycle to monitor and manage. Consumers and shoppers tweet and post with questions and opinions leading up to and at the point of purchase. And shoppers are vocal about their in-store experience.

Why should businesses care about the consumer life cycle?

Thanks to social media listening and analysis tools, businesses have the ability to understand consumers’ decision-points at every stage of the purchasing life cycle. This enables marketers and market researchers to create targeted interventions at each step of the decision process, from evaluation to in-store purchase decisions to customer recommendations after purchase on social media.

These marketing strategies rely on a comprehensive understanding of the customer experience, a process that is inaccessible through post-purchase reviews and survey responses alone. Access to the entire consumer life cycle provides businesses with the critical insights that are necessary for the creation of strategic marketing strategies.

How do businesses gain access to the consumer life cycle and use it constructively?  

Consumers are constantly engaging in social media—from updating their Facebook statuses to tweeting about the favourite products. The resulting conversations offer businesses a unique insight into the unsolicited opinions and experiences of customers and the ability to analyse not just sales and reviews of a product but the entire consumer life cycle from reception of product advertising and organic in-store point-of-purchase decisions between similar products to actual consumption.

In order to produce a robust analysis of the consumer life cycle, it is vital to measure not only the size and basic sentiment of consumer conversations but also to organise consumer conversations into distinct topics. Social media analysts have the ability to do this by sorting conversations into categories that highlight the different aspects of products that consumers are discussing.

Take Oreo for instance – what does social media tell us about what consumers think about these famous cookies? Are consumers responding positively to Oreo’s marketing strategies and when they decide to purchase Oreos, what exactly does this process look like? Are Oreos on their grocery store shopping list or are they an impulse buy? Social media has the answers.

Businesses are able to understand not only how consumers respond to advertising but also how much conversation a new marketing campaign controls in proportion to consumers lifecasting.

The consumer experience is also full of choices. Marketers can listen to consumers as they consider products and weigh competitors against each other. This comprehensive analysis of the consumer experience is dependent on the use of social media listening and monitoring that can help businesses and marketers make well-informed decisions.

By organising social media conversation about products, brands, or campaigns into customer categories, Crimson Hexagon’s ForSight Platform offers businesses the technology they need understand the entire consumer life cycle. When analysing consumers’ conversations about Oreo Crimson Hexagon found that 30% of social media users were posting positive responses to Oreo advertising while 60% of users posted about lifecasting, offering natural descriptions of how Oreo cookies and the Oreo brand fit into their day-to-day lives.

We were also able to focus on consumer discussions about why they purchased Oreos, including in store placement, packaging, and seasonal flavors. Social media analysis increases businesses’ understanding of consumer in-store purchase behavior and enhances marketing and merchandising strategies for optimal results.

Listening Through the Consumer Life Cycle

Do you give your most valuable product feedback when you fill out a survey form, or when you chat to your friends at the pub or to colleagues at the office coffeemaker? For me and the people I know, it’s the latter. You offer your best advice when the situation is natural, when you offer it up freely.

With the right social media listening tools, brands have the opportunity to listen to the best advice of their customers, and to create and execute marketing plans based on learnings from organic consumer opinion.

Luke Moore

Luke Moore


Luke Moore is UK Regional Sales Manager at Crimson Hexagon.