With nearly 20 million users active on social media daily, businesses are drowning in data that could be leveraged to inform business decisions and drive value. During the holiday shopping season, consumers and brands blasted over four million tweets, accounting for over 800 million impressions on Black Friday alone, according to StatSocial.

Yet social media remains a mystery to even top marketing executives, according to The CMO Survey, which produces a report by the same name. The survey found that only 13% perceive that they are able to accurately measure its effectiveness, although more than half are under pressure to do so. Among retailers who have social listening analytics capabilities in place, most are not tapping into the full potential of these real-time consumer opinions to inform strategy and operations across the organization.


Organizations struggle with using social chatter to inform business decisions because consumers often talk about brands on social media when they are either very pleased or very dissatisfied. Kurt Salmon understands this challenge and uses sentiment analysis to calibrate social chatter, deriving insights from consumers’ social posts and implementing strategic change across the business.

Listening to consumers on social media and analyzing the data can help determine gaps in assortment strategy, pricing perception and share of voice. Kurt Salmon helps retailers extract such actionable learnings to inform business decisions throughout the organization. Some examples include:

  1. Identifying assortment gaps to transform an amorphous collection of customer complaints on inventory and assortment into a focused, strategic set of actions that resolve assortment composition issues raised by consumers, allowing retailers to externally market improvements to reverse negative brand perception.
  2. Analyzing pricing perceptions among consumers to identify whether product pricing is competitive, aligned with product quality, effectively attracting target consumers and driving sales.
  3. Exploring share of voice to identify the root causes of discrepancies between the number of social mentions about a brand or product and its sales, identifying consumer pain points and competitors’ strengths in order to inform business strategy.

Here’s one recent example of how Kurt Salmon helped a client use social listening insights in new areas of the organization. In helping a footwear retailer analyze its competitive landscape, we recognized that complaints about size represented 40% of the retailer’s negative chatter. Kurt Salmon identified the root causes of this negative chatter to identify key opportunities across the organization.

  • Buying organizations Pinpoint problematic items and adjust inventory levels to ensure appropriate distribution of the sizes in demand.
  • Store operations teams Layer social chatter over sales metrics to better understand performance shifts.
  • Advertisers and marketers Adjust promotions and social media posts to steer conversations toward improved assortments.

Social media insights can’t work in isolation. To fully capitalize on social listening, organizations must:

  • Give one department ownership of social marketing analysis, but create a cross-functional social media steering committee to implement enterprise change.
  • Accurately measure the impact of social chatter–driven decision making and adjust strategy as needed.
  • Invest in the human capital and relevant tools and technology to drive the success of social chatter analytics across the organization.

Nordstrom closely monitors Pinterest and features frequently pinned items in its stores. Arming salespeople with an internal iPad app that reveals popular pins, Nordstrom enables associates to adjust inventory levels by store and department so trendy items are always in stock.


With our depth of retail industry experience, Kurt Salmon takes social chatter analytics beyond the confines of marketing departments to foster improvements along the entire retail continuum. Through a timely analysis of brand perception, awareness metrics, assortment tactics, pricing and share of voice, Kurt Salmon helps retailers identify strategic areas in which to invest, helping shape the value proposition and ultimately drive sales.