Recently I had a conversation with Jack Androvich, who will be keynoting at our Customer Intelligence Forum in Los Angeles on April 18th. Here are a few key takeaways from this conversation. If you are a CI professional, a marketer who cares about the role of technology in your job, or a technologist serving marketers, you will find the conversation enlightening.
1. Jack, marketing operations functions tend to have a broad mandate; can you tell us the role of marketing operations at Autodesk and how you defined the mandate for this function?
Whew, just back from four content-packed days at the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) re:Think 2012conference. It was great to meet up with many of you there and connect through Twitter. If you missed my Twitter stream, click herefor a summary or check out the re:Think feed here.
So, what are the key takeaways for Market Insights Professionals from the conference? Simply, we need to:
Improve! On Day 1, we heard several passionate presentations on the need for market insights to evolve and deliver higher-value and more actionable insights. On the next day, Kantar’s CEO said the profession needed improved talent to meet the business’ needs and the ARF discussed the need for improved research and respondent quality.
Innovate! A number of presentations focused on the need for market insights to develop better predictive tools, identify white spaces more effectively, and package insights in more innovative ways. There were many calls for market insights to bring much more creativity to the table.
Integrate! Although not identified as a theme, I would say integration was the “glue” that connected most of the presentations. Whether the presentations were about connecting social to surveys, insights to ROI, or even biometric to behavioral data, it was clear that “integration” is the path to help market insights improve and innovate.
It’s been a week since I got back from SxSW in Austin, and I still can’t believe how absolutely MASSIVE the coverage of privacy, personal data, and identity issues was at the conference. By my count, there were some two dozen sessions, including the Core Conversation I led, across a range of topics that are central to the principles of personal identity management (PIDM).
Photo of PIDM Core Conversation courtesy of Doc Searls
Some of the most interesting takeaways from my perspective:
1. We need a consumer bill of rights that’s defined and ratified mutually by individuals and industry. We need adoption convergence by both groups if PIDM is to succeed in a mutually beneficial manner.
2. We need more cross-functional working groups that include marketers, policy wonks, technologists and consumer advocates. Regulators are simply not going to be able to address the needs and responsibilities of all parties, nor the practical and technological challenges this massive problem faces today.
3. We desperately need guidelines and best practices for privacy policies, governance, and acceptable use of consumer data. By and large, most of the marketers and business people I spoke with WANT to do the right thing, but they’re just not sure what that means right now.
Why do companies "listen" to social media? In short, they listen to learn and improve the business. Marketers use social listening to improve their campaigns and build customer relationships. Customer support teams listen so they can fix problems. PR teams listen to put out fires before they spread. Researchers listen to drive innovation. In this sense, listening isn't a social media strategy; listening is a data collection component of a business strategy. We "listen" as a means to drive action.
But that's not really the case, is it? Most companies I speak with know that listening is important - it seems that nearly all companies know the classic social mantra, "start by listening" - but years into their social strategies, they're still counting the number of Facebook fans or tracking for brand mentions. They're listening, not acting. It's 2012, and we're still passively - without purpose - collecting social media.
This rant comes as the result of two milestones: 1) the two year anniversary of our first research introducing social intelligence and 2) the week in which Google and Adobe double down on the social pieces of their analytics offerings. Although I'd love to spend an entire post talking about the past two years of social intelligence, it took Google and Adobe to inspire me to talk about today's market instead.
So, I’m off to the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) re:Think 2012conference next week. This started me “rethinking” how advertising has changed over the decades, and what that means for market insights professionals.
Back when I was born, advertising was a no-brainer. TV. If you could afford it. Only 3 channels to choose from so the “marketing mix model” was not really complicated. Did you need a lot of research to optimize your advertising? Hmmm, with all eyeballs tuned to you, research-optimized content probably was not as important as it is today (for a trip down memory lane, click here).
Fast-forward a few decades and customer choices have exploded. Has TV been killed by the Facebook star? Should you invest more in Google Adworks than traditional media column inches? If you do venture into social media, in which of the 1,000s of sites do you find your customers? And are they your best customers, i.e. the ones you really want to attract? It’s like playing Find Waldo, except that Waldo is a fickle consumer who keeps moving around.
Companies adopt advanced analytics tools and techniques to convert data into intelligence and drive key customer-facing business decisions. We see that customer intelligence (CI) professionals involved in customer analytics broadly perform three activities:
Generate analytics: Create and produce analytical insights using analytical tools and technologies.
Apply analytics: Choose the appropriate analytical methodology for the business problem and apply it to the context of the customer lifecycle.
Activate analytics: Use analytical output and insights to optimize customer experiences and to drive customer growth, share of wallet, retention, and lifetime value.
A few weeks back, I wrote a post denouncing the idea of predicting the Super Bowl using social data. I had some fun pointing out the questionable research practices behind using consumer opinion to "predict" the outcome of a sporting event. One key issue I argued was that in sports, the public opinion has no influence over the event outcome. But what about using consumer opinions to predict a political election? This can work, right?
USA Today has an article running in parallel with Super Tuesday, aptly asking that same question: Can Social media Predict Election Outcomes? If my post's title wasn't enough of a spoiler, if you read that piece, you'll find a few quotes from me speaking out against the concept. Because, although predicting an election using online opinions is a much more plausible concept than predicting a football game, it's not going to work. And here's why: