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Starbucks explores dark social for market research

Brands are increasingly looking to build more direct connections with their customers so they can better cater to their tastes. Companies such as Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble and Lego have tried out crowdfunding, and now Starbucks is looking to do some market research through private groups and accounts on social media.

Mostly using Facebook, although Instagram is also an opportunity, Starbucks has been creating small private groups where it can ask questions of highly engaged customers about any ideas they might have for new products and test out new variants.

“What I’m most excited about [on social media] is some of the possibilities around private groups and private accounts on social media channels,” says Starbucks’s marketing and product vice-president for EMEA Reuben Arnold. “When we think about the crossover between product and marketing, it really allows us to have a much deeper conversation with certain customers who really do care about our brand, who can then get much more involved in things like product development and testing, and we can use the audience in a much more meaningful way.”

There are some clear opportunities in using social media. It can help bring marketing and product closer together,

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