How Verizon Uses Social for Marketing Research

Mason Nelder, Director of Consumer Insights at Verizon, joins the Social Pros Podcast this week to discuss the incredible advantages, the challenges, and the long-term company-wide transformations made possible through the customer insights gained from social media.

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Full Episode Details

Macro-Level Customer Experience

Mason Nelder is the Director of Consumer Insights at a little company you may have heard of: Verizon. In his time there, he’s fulfilled a similar role in several different departments—IT, marketing, public relations, and a centralized group called Operational Excellence. During his time, he’s moved from feet-on-the-street marketing to top-level strategy, where he focuses on “the command center, the insights, and overarching social business strategies.”

As the Director of Consumer Insights, Mason has a bird’s eye view of countless pieces of data coming in from consumers across social media platforms. This information informs decisions throughout the company, from marketing to customer care, and from human resources to security.

By using social media to gain customer insights, Verizon is able to study the customer experience at scale. They used to be able to see an individual customer’s journey when someone would come into a store and say, “This broke,” or “I want the latest device.” But now, with the ability to access crazy amounts of data, Verizon is starting to make transformational changes.

“We’re starting to enact a transformational understanding, so that the actions are more of a macro-plan versus a micro-fix.”

While incredibly exciting, it’s much easier said than done. It’s difficult to collect and analyze what customers are saying about your company regardless of size, but it can be especially challenging for Verizon, a company with tons of different products and technologies that service anyone from individuals to the government to huge enterprises.

There are hurdles within each level of the process:

  1. Listening to the right conversations
  2. Gaining actual insights from the information
  3. Taking the appropriate actions


“It’s one thing to be able to take all that voice and turn it into some sort of insight, and then it’s another thing to take action on it.”

Does It Work?

So, how do you prove that this system is actually working? Verizon has actually moved away from proving the results of social media. Instead, it’s more about proving out how they’re dealing with issues they’re seeing come up.  It used to be about “If we do this, we save this much money,” or “If we do this, we make the experience this much better.” Now Mason and his team are trying to wrap their heads around how to measure that experience in total.

Looking at the long-term effects of the changes Verizon makes based on consumer insights, Mason and his team are looking at what people think about the brand and how easy it is to do business with Verizon. “The long-term effect is: Do people stick with you? Do people think you’re easy to do business with? Do people love you because of how you connect them to their network?”

“We’ve always had the customer first, but really being able to understand what customers are saying and thinking and doing and behaving has really taken on, obviously, a much different life of its own in, easily, the last five years.”

See you next week!

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