Nielsen Joins Forces With McKinsey For Social Intelligence Consulting

More news in the Social Intelligence world today, as Nielsen and McKinsey launched a joint partnership to compete deeper in social media. Through "NM Incite," Nielsen combines its Buzzmetrics listening platform technology with McKinsey's management consultants, to offer a broad range of social consulting influenced by social media data and analytics. I spoke to the team earlier and learned that this venture is both a response to growing customer demand for social business consulting and a proactive step in building up offerings that will meet enterprises' future needs, as social media spreads inside and outside the business.

My quick take on this is that I see the announcement as a good leading indicator of the social media market: Many businesses want to harness the power of social media data, but few are currently prepared to make those steps on their own. Businesses need help turning social media data into action. This year many listening platforms have ramped up their consultancy staff and offerings in efforts to keep up with this growing demand. As I'll profile in an upcoming research report on listening platforms' consultancy services (in editing now, likely publishing in a few weeks), successful vendors have a strong dashboard for self-service customers along with professional services teams for data analysis, custom reporting, strategy guidance, and overall support. Now, Nielsen and McKinsey's joint venture ups the ante of the level of consulting services listening platform vendors provide.

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Social Intelligence Meets PR

On this blog I write about the importance of social media channels as a data source for Customer Intelligence professionals. Although that topic may be a bit esoteric, the concept of using social media data to inform business decisions spans well beyond just Customer Intelligence. Today I'm going to diverge from the CI pro because in today's Web driven world of vast amounts of metrics and analytics, more and more businesses turn to data-driven decision making. One of the business lines benefiting most from this today is Public Relations.

PR's gone through a dramatic evolution over the last decade and has been reinvigorated by social media. PR teams' day-to-day tasks shifted from news clippings and phone calls, to online media monitoring and emails, to today's social media monitoring and tweeting with influential sources. Social media, and the wealth of data it holds, provides PR professionals with more information to better conduct their work. Through social metrics they can identify and track influencers, better measure the spread of their company's coverage, and more quickly track potential crises before they spread. This should be no surprise to most, as many of social media's early mavens are also some of PR's leaders.

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The 2010 Forrester Groundswell Awards

I am pleased to announce that we've just kicked off the 2010 Forrester Groundswell Awards. We are now open to submissions detailing how you've put social media to work for your company. This is the fourth running of the awards (and my third year helping judge and organize the entries), and I am truly excited to see the state of the industry as it continues to mature.

This year I'm specifically looking forward to reviewing the "Listening" category entries. There are a lot of businesses out there that listen to social media, but how many of them achieve Social Intelligence and truly use "listening" to inform their business decisions and drive better marketing? If you can prove the business value of your listening initiatives, please submit your entry for either the B2B or B2C Listening categories.

Last year's B2C Listening winner, NASCAR's Fan Council, used an online community for market research. It conducted three times its planned research goals at 80% less cost -- and discovered insights from fan discussion to change NASCAR rules to include a double-file restart (disclaimer: I don't fully understand NASCAR rules and cannot explain what a "double-file restart" means, but was still impressed that it changed the official rules based on insights from tits customers) and in turn improved overall brand sentiment. NASCAR actually listened to its fans, acted on the insight, and generated real business results -- a real Forrester Groundswell Award winning case.

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