MAD Perspectives Blog

Social Media + Big Data = Demand for Analytics

Peggy Dau - Monday, October 01, 2012

The technology watch word, regardless of industry application, is BIG DATA. Whether it is patient data in the health care industry, customer data in high tech or consumer data for packaged goods companies the collection of data and the storage of that data is attracting a lot of attention. Every storage company is touting the value of their products and their ability to store your valuable data. Why the focus on data? Perhaps it is because even more data is now available about our customers, be they business or consumer. Where is this data coming from? It is found in every social network, blog, video and slide sharing site.

Even as I was roaming the exhibits at the International Broadcasters Conference (IBC) in Amsterdam, last month, I noted the attention to BIG data and social media. The broadcast industry, like others, is rife with data. In its case, the data is internal - meta data - describing every media asset. And, for the first time, thanks to social media, broadcasters are able to directly gather data about their audience. Why? Because their audience is tweeting, updating, liking, gaming and interacting about their new, sports and entertainment programs. Rather than having to rely upon the insights of Nielsen, broadcasters can tap into the volumes of social media to understand the needs and demands of their audience.

Extrapolate this for every industry. Companies will collect, gather and store petabytes of data about their customers - raising the next big challenge - how to analyze and gather actionable insights from social monitoring tools and data gathered via other sources. Big data is not so precious, unless there are analytics to help companies understand the hidden value. Analytics will extrapolate the information necessary to support business strategies, marketing programs, financial decisions and R&D. Just as social networks will continue to evolve, social analytics companies such as NetBase, Evolve24 and Kontangent will emerge to disseminate meaningful insights beyond volume of likes, sentiment of comments and numbers of followers.

Storage companies, large and small, are hailing the importance of big data. they provide the hardware to store the data and the software to optimize the storage of it and manage the access to it. Social media will influence the rise of BIG data. Your social media plan must consider the volumes of data that will be uncovered and what to do with it. While social media efforts are often owned by marketing, the impact on IT resources is often neglected. Big data forces a collaboration between marketing and IT.  With that collaboration will come the assessment and use of analytics tools to create real value for companies engaging in social media strategies.

What's your perspective?





Top 5 Blog Topics of 2011

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Yes, it's that time of year to look back and reflect.  I took some time to see which blog topics garnered the most interest this year.  The list does not surprise me.  As B2B companies figure out their use of social media, they are facing questions of where and how to leverage social networks and interact with customers.  With no further ado, here are the top 5 MAD Perspectives blogs of 2012!

#1 - LinkedIn:  Companies are just beginning to realize that LinkedIn is more than a site for networking to find a job.  It is THE site for professional networking to find decision makers, engage in group discussion on industry topics and amplify your B2B brand.  Of course, it is also the site to represent your personal professional brand.  For enlightened companies who empower and value their employees, there is recognition that a powerful LinkedIn profile reflects positively on an employer.  Employees can provide links to key corporate sites.  A profile reflecting the value an employee provides to customers, reflects the culture embodied by the company.

#2 - Planning:  It is difficult to know if you're successful in any effort if you don't have a plan that defines goals, tactics and metrics.  Social media evolved from a individual consumer perspective.  The very nature of social media is immediate and authentic.  How can a company plan to engage socially without losing a sense of unaffected spontaneity?  It is a challenge for B2B companies as their messaging will always be related to their brand and products.  However, defining your audience and their needs will help in developing a plan to provide the right kind of content via the right communication channel.  Know your brand's voice and identify methods to share that voice.

#3 - Strategy:  You might find it interesting that strategy lagged slightly behind planning in interest.  Strategy and planning are closely related.  As we talked about strategy this year, we spoke specifically about how your social media strategy must be closely aligned with your brand strategy.  If a company does not understand its identity and does not have clear business goals, it is impossible to develop a social media strategy.  Your social strategy must be aligned with and support your company's business goals.  These could range from market awareness to customer support to product innovation.

#4 - Social Analytics:  This is a hot topic as we move into 2012.  This space is expanding beyond the ability to monitor and listen to what your customers are saying.  It is taking that data (and there is a LOT of data) and using it to drive planning.  Acting upon data collected is often the biggest challenge for any company.  The social universe gives companies unprecedented access to honest insight, opinions, and concerns.  Through their online activity on both search engines and social networks, customers are revealing their needs, being influenced by the opinions of others, sharing experiences and changing the entire purchasing process.  A critical part of any social media strategy, is defining how to monitor, capture and act upon social conversations.

#5 - Corporate Culture:  This is a carryover from 2010 and continues to be relevant.  Your company's culture directly impacts how employees will participate socially, if at all.  Command & control organizations who are leveraging social networks lack the authenticity of empowered organizations.  Social updates from hierarchical organization tend to revert to push marketing techniques of notifying customers of events, without inviting interaction.  In fact, this likely reflects fear of the unknown at the executive level.  Companies who empower their employees are creating strong customer communities through honest, ongoing interaction.  

2011 has seen more B2B companies adopting different forms of social media.  The pressure is on to show measurable results in 2012.  This  means that strategy, planning and analyzing will continue to be critical for success in this space.  Social media is useful for more than pure marketing, which seems to be the default entry point.  I'm curious to see if companies will utilize social networks for other purposes such as recruiting (Facebook and LinkedIn will fight to the death on this topic), customer support (in more than a consumer centric model) or product development (prioritizing roadmaps).  Broadening the use of social media may reveal the path to measuring its real success for B2B companies.

What's your perspective? 



Get Smart with Social Media Analytics

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, July 20, 2011



Last week I wrote about the importance of social intelligence.  The obvious companion to any kind of business or social intelligence is analytics.  Sure, it sounds boring -the collecting, crunching, parsing and analysis of massive amounts of data.  Yet, if done well, this data can reveal amazing insights about your brand, your customers and your competitors.

Business intelligence has been the holy grail of corporate america since the beginning of time.  of course in the "old days", this intelligence was gathered through human interaction and some possibly unethical behavior (can we say "News of the World").  Today, sophisticated applications collect data within a company to provide insight on sales performance, profit margins, supply chain effectiveness and more.  The challenge with these applications is that they primarily look at structured data from a historical perspective.

Social media has changed everything.  Not only has it changed the way we communicate, but it creates a lot of data!  This data can be collected and analyzed to provide real-time understanding of how your customers are talking about your company or your competitors.  A search on social media analytics will reveal a myriad of vendors.  Most of their solutions are available for a fee which is based on the number of keywords you decided to track.  The best vendors give you the ability to capture data and present it in a graphical manner.  They also allow you to drill deeper on the content presented.

Rather than regurgitate a list of vendors that can be found elsewhere, check out the review on socialmedia.biz.  Before testing any of these solutions, be clear about your goals and what data you really need.  Don't forget about the data you may already have and be sure to look at the complete picture.  Understanding your customer and how they are talking about your business can help you create and optimize marketing programs, customer service, acquisition strategies and more.  So, go ahead, get analytical.  It will help you get smart about your customers!

What's your perspective?