Adam T. Sutton

Twitter Surveys for Quick Opinions

May 19th, 2009

Marketing decisions are best made with a level of certainty about an audience’s preferences. You don’t want to start offering a feature that customers aren’t interested in. And you don’t want to push a marketing offer that they don’t care about.

Social media and data mining can be used to find an audience’s preferences. And as we outline in a case study recently, online surveys are still effective strategy. Then last week I interviewed Glenn Edelman, VP Marketing, Wine Enthusiast, who has recently combined social media and surveying.

Edelman is responsible for Wine Enthusiast’s wine accessories ecommerce site, and’s direct-to-consumer ecommerce wine sales. His team uncovered a great strategy for selling wine via email with product pages that include “virtual wine tastings” in two- to three-minute videos (the case study will be published by eTail later this month, and then by MarketingSherpa).

When adding video to the wines’ product pages, Edelman’s team wondered whether the videos should automatically play, or wait to be clicked by visitors before playing. The team asked Wine Enthusiast’s Twitter followers about the idea.

“We thought about testing it but said ‘hey, let’s ask our audience.’ And we got a huge, huge response to never do auto-play. ‘We hate auto-play,’ they said. It was such as negative response that we didn’t even bother testing,” Edelman says.

There you have it. Twitter can be used as a quick way to get your audience’s opinion, in addition to its other marketing applications, such as branding, PR, and promotion.

Adam T. Sutton

About Adam T. Sutton

Adam T. Sutton, Senior Reporter, MarketingSherpa
Adam generates content for MarketingSherpa's Email and Inbound Marketing newsletters. His years of experience in interviewing marketers and conveying their insights has spanned topics such as search marketing, social media marketing, ecommerce, email and more. Adam previously powered the content behind MarketingSherpa's Search and Consumer-marketing newsletters and carries that experience into his new role. Today, in addition to writing articles, he contributes content to the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa blogs, as well as MECLABS webinars, workshops and summits.

Prior to joining MarketingSherpa, Adam was the Managing Editor at the Mequoda group. There he created content and promotions for the company's daily email newsletter and managed its schedule.

Categories: Consumer Marketing, Ecommerce Eretail Tags: , , ,

  1. Andy McMillan
    May 26th, 2009 at 11:59 | #1

    Based on the limited information provided in this column, I would be inclined to say this is an interesting case study, but more as an example of what NOT to do. The Wine Spectator casually opted to treat their twitter community as representative of their entire online audience, with no supporting data. How much more interesting (and useful) this would have been if they had gone ahead with testing the two video options and learning just how correlated the two audiences are. It might even have led to explorations of why they are different (assuming they are) and perhaps some useful targeting based on those insights. Surveys that are easy to do but that lack audience alignment or statistical validity are the bane of online marketing!


  2. May 31st, 2009 at 18:26 | #2

    Is there any reason to believe the Twitter audience might react differently to auto-play than non-Twitterers? I doubt it. Does the response make sense to you. Yep. So, quite rightly, move onto something else. There are an unlimited range of things you could be testing and researching in any business. It sounds to me like the Wine Enthusiast team took a very reasonable approach.

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