Large corporations continue to 'grow their ears'. They are not only listening in on customer conversations, they are building and bugging the listening rooms. I posted earlier here about the aspect of this phenomena I call, brands-are-pre-made-decisions.
The newest AdAge tells us:
"A little over six months ago, [Del Monte] created a custom social network focused on dog owners (the clever name: "Dogs Are People Too") to tap for insights into its pet-food business, which includes Kibbles 'n Bits and Milk-Bone. Now the marketer is signing on for another network from the same market-research company, MarketTools, but this time targeting moms....
Marketers increasingly are tapping consumer opinions to help shape and market their products, and Del Monte is one in a string of examples that also includes Dell, which in February began soliciting customer suggestions (and allowing them to air grievances) via a new initiative called Ideastorm, and Starwood, which tapped Communispace to help it mine the insights of savvy travelers.
"...The idea is to develop a relationship ... create ad hoc surveys and get feedback...."
AdAge link. (Subscription required. Let me know if you want to see the whole story.)