That which was private, can now be easily made public.
It used to be you did research and then used it to inform marketing.
Now research can be marketing, and marketing can be research.
A while back I suggested that, instead of bespoke surveys or groups, you could easily undertake research on Facebook, amongst people who had already self selected your brand or interest, and that, as a side-effect of the public nature of said research, it would also function as marketing.
My mate Tom has written a nice piece over on MarketingWeek suggesting that perhaps we need to stop thinking about these things as separate, stop siloing them inside our organisations, and consider the whole field, research, marketing, CRM, customer service as elements of "brand conversations".
In some ways, we don't really have any choice.
Social media has a tendency to make private things public.
We understand that the same entity is operating regardless of which platform we encounter them, and expect some kind of structural cohesion and understanding among those elements.
That's why I think brands work best when they function as behavioral templates: generative frameworks that tell everyone how to behave regardless of circumstance.
The groovy people at co-creation consultancy FaceGroup are doing some research on how social media research is being used in the in marketing research and researching marketing - so pop over and add in your two cents.