Online Anthropology: A new approach to advocacy measurement

Colin Utley
MotiveQuest, USA


A new methodological approach - Online Anthropology - was applied to surface fresh understanding of customer behavior in the cellular category.The approach revealed a key insight that enabled Sprint to turn a loss of 565,000 customers a quarter into a gain of 1,100,000 customers a quarter (five quarters later).

The approach pioneered:

  • A new approach to quality social listening data management.
  • New ways of exploring social segmentation.
  • New technological tools that enabled the analytical approach.

The research insights changed:

  • Product Innovation.
  • HR Policy.
  • The in-store experience.
  • Customer Service.
  • Marketing.

The business opportunity and objectives: stop the bleeding

It would have been easy for Sprint to feel sorry for itself in 2009. The brand was without the iPhone as AT&T gleefully added an avalanche of subscribers from other carriers. AT&T's biggest weakness was its unreliable network, but that was Verizon's territory. Sprint was playing at a huge disadvantage when it came to model offerings and network perceptions.