Social Listening Isn’t Enough: Start Integrating Social Data

Nearly two years ago, I published our first report on Social Intelligence; it included this headline: “The Time To Start Listening Is Yesterday.” In the report, I pushed for the importance of social listening, but I made a call that there’s more to social media than monitoring conversations for brand mentions. But now, as we near the end of 2011, we’ve found that while most companies do in fact listen, few have Social Intelligence strategies and most don’t yet gain true actionable business insights from the data they collect. So even though listening is still very important for brands, it’s time Customer Intelligence teams start using social data.

That’s why I’m eager to announce our latest research on social media data, “The Road Map To Integrating Social And Customer Data” (client link). This report focuses on the role social media data plays for CI professionals. And as the title hints, the role is “integrated with customer data.”

This research was born out of the idea that too many companies have siloed data practices, keeping marketing and business data on one side of the organization and social media data on another. But as I often say – if you only listen to social media, you only learn about social media. To get the most out of social media data, you must integrate it with other data.

For CI teams, integrating social and business data gives you deeper customer insights, the ability to inform targeted marketing, and a more complete view of marketing measurement. But because integrating social data is easier said than done, we’ve put together a road map on how to do it (hence the “Road Map” part to the report’s title) – here’s a quick peek:

The full document goes into the road map around how companies can evolve from monitoring online conversations to listening for customer insights, to driving intelligence through integrated data, all the way to a framework around how to connect social media to CRM systems for a functional social CRM installation.

Our goal with this report is to get marketers to stop thinking about social media separately and to start understanding how social media influences your business and how your business influences social media. So download the report, determine where you are on the road map, and follow the steps to keep evolving your social data practice. In the meantime, let me know what you think in the comments below.


Can't agree more! I always

Can't agree more! I always believe social media is a great platform to gather data and manage customer relationship. The question is, though, how to effectively achieve this goal... Unfortunately I don't have access to this report. Would otherwise love to read it!

It's all part of the same puzzle

Zach - Totally agree with your post and very interested in your report. A business may silo different channels (most do) - but customers more typically think about the business overall. In order to have a full customer view, integrating insights from social media is increasingly important - and, as customers rely more and more on social media for information/ recommendations, it is becoming more and more critical for businesses to integrate social media into their communications mix.


Thanks for the comments - I'm finding this research hitting home for many marketers. Seems we have no shortage of data - but with that volume (and varied sources) comes great challenges in managing it and even greater difficulty identifying insights. My hope is that companies remain data-hungry, but start putting the data they already have to work.

Social Media Integration


I couldn't agree with you more. The very premise of our company Buzzient is that social data is an enterprise asset, and only leveraged through integration. Hence, we're the only company combining social media data with Oracle's CRM On Demand and Siebel applications, and have a queue of others.

We also have customers who've combined social data with proprietary internal applications. Here's a case study on one of them, extra points if you can guess whom:

I think we're in for an exciting period where companies combine social data to branded and proprietary applications for real business value.