Over the last few weeks I've been busy talking to clients about my recent research on Social Intelligence - the strategy of using social media data to drive actionable marketing and business insight. It seems that this topic sparked a lot of interest with most marketers and Customer Intelligence professionals out there because, and I'll put this relatively lightly, managing the rapidly expanding vastness of social media data is an overwhelming challenge.
Many marketers I've talked to share the similar pain of trying to "keep up" with so much online conversation, but there's also a crowd that's starting to use all of this conversation to generate rich insights around their customers and brands. But how? Social media can generate a lot of action, both reactive and proactive - it's all in how you look at it and the goals and strategy you create.
This morning at 11am Eastern, I'm leading a teleconference on this subject titled "Driving Customer Insight With Social Media Data" during which I'll talk about the challenges, risks, and (more importantly) opportunities found within social media data. I'll highlight the many different potential uses for social media data and talk about some of the vendors that make this all possible. The teleconference is for Forrester clients only, but after it's finished I'd like to use the comments section here to keep the discussion going and open it up to the public. I hope you can join me for the call, but if not - please join the discussion back here afterwards.
Would you classify your marketing organization as "highly accountable"? What I mean is, are you always able to accurately measure the true business value of your marketing efforts, and do your senior leaders trust the results? If you're like most marketers, the honest answer to that question is a resounding "no". Proving the business value of multichannel marketing is getting progressively harder—and more important—because:
Traditional marketing measurement practices are rooted in stable but inflexible tactics that leave marketers ill-equipped to keep pace with the real time nature of channel digitization.
CFOs wield ever-more influence over marketing budgets, which is driving your CMO to lean harder on you to measure business results with scientific rigor.
Your customers are in control; uncertainty and unpredictability are the norm; and marketers that can't adapt appropriately are doomed to fail.
This is where you come in. I believe that Customer Intelligence professionals are remarkably well positioned to address these challenges head on, and improve marketing accountability across the enterprise. Why? Because you sit at the cross-section of unfettered access to mountains of customer data from a dizzying array of online and offline sources. "Big data" as the recent article data, data, everywhere in The Economist puts it, is big business. CI professionals are right in the middle of it all helping firms capture customer data, analyze it, measure business results, and act upon the findings.
Social media has forced companies into reactive mode. Brands want to know "who's saying something bad about me and how do I track the negative fall-out". But the real power of social media is that your customers voluntarily share a wealth of data that can drive improvements to your business strategy. Right now, your customers, without any prompting, openly share information that would have taken months of surveys - and lots of money - to collect. As social data continues to pile up, it's time to start taking these online conversations seriously and use them to inform your customer intelligence.
The concept of monitoring social media might sound obvious, because most data-hungry marketers understand the value of their customers' social data. But based on my research, even though most marketers may collect this data, far fewer actually use it to inform an enterprise-view of their customers. As any analytical mind knows: collecting data is only the first step.
Over the last few months I've talked to dozens of marketers about how they manage data generated from online discussion - the best practices they use, the pitfalls they've encountered, and the very cool applications they have for using social media data. In my latest research, Defining Social Intelligence (client access), I outline the process and use cases for harnessing social media data to inform your business strategy - a process we call "Social Intelligence".