Digital marketers often joke about the speed at which new tools and technology disrupt our daily workflow. If we take a couple days off, the first thing we ask upon returning to the office is, "what's changed?"
While this digital disruption can negatively affect others, I believe marketers are pretty resilient and handle change far better than other functions. We're always looking for the latest gadgets and tools to apply to our craft. Because, ultimately, it's our job to connect with consumers in ways that motivate them to buy our products, use our services or join our cause.
In my opinion, the vast majority of marketers and communications professionals are missing out on perhaps the coolest - arguably most effective - tool available today. Thanks to technology and a group of incredibly smart data scientists, especially those with expertise in text analytics, we no longer have to rely on traditional surveys and focus groups alone to gather consumer and market insights. (Don't get me wring, traditional research is still a much needed service for large corporations.) These brilliant data scientists have spent years studying math and science to measure human conversation - turning the public data avaialble today (i.e. big data) into the largest source of consumer insight. Ever.
What is this called? Social Intelligence.
There are a lot of fancy terms out there that all mean similar things. Social Intelligence refers to the ability to collect a wide variety of public information - be it traditional media (digitized radio, TV, news), social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, message boards, forums) or company-owned data (i.e. survey comments) - to analyze, interpret and draw insights based on what the data reveals. Different companies collect different data sources so be sure your research partner has the capacity to get what you need. Plus, get a sense of how they've developed their algorithms and analytics. Not all solutions are created equal. Not having a data scientis on the core team is a huge red flag.
But, first, how do you know if you're even ready for Social Intelligence. Maybe your current setup with Hootsuite, its insights and your Google Analytics is working just fine... for now.
Here are SEVEN signs you're ready to move beyond Social Media Monitoring to Social Intelligence:
- You're tired of your boss asking, "So what?" when you show her metrics and dashboards, and you'd like to give them more meaningful results.
- You know it's important for people to 'like' your brand and monitor they're saying about you, but you want to understand what you can do to improve your messaging, campaigns or products to make a bigger impact.
- You're at the point that if you're asked to calculate one more quantitative measurement, you might just 'lose it.' You know numbers of followers and percentage of growth is good for preiodic health checks, but you're eager to demonstrate value in terms the C-Suite actually cares about.
- You're aware of what's going on in your industry, but you want a deeper understanding of public perception. (After all, perception is reality in today's always-on, connected world.)
- You want to know what you don't already know. You realize that with all the conversations taking place online, there's a plethora of untapped information just waiting to be explored. You just need the right partner to take things to the next level.
- You recognize that most tools return information based on keywords, and while your team has a boatload of terms to search... you know there's got to be a better way. Plus, all this indutry talk of data scientists, sophisticated algorithms and natural language processing (NLP) has peaked your interest.
- You aren't impressed by basic math calculations to determine influencer scores and the like. You know there's a better way to identify brand advocates or detractors and want to glean better insight.
Be sure to keep this graphic handy the next time you're boss asks you, "Where Next?" Pin it, copy/paste it, bookmark it - whatever you want.