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Monitoring & Analyzing Social Media

With over 1.5 billion conversations stored, can you afford not to listen?

Category: Case Studies

Jan 26, 2009 0 Comments

AdAge: Survey says few CMOs think they’re effectively tracking social media

This article should be viewed an indicator of an approaching tipping point in social media monitoring and marketing:

“The survey of 400 executives found that 56% said their companies have no programs to track or propagate positive word-of-mouth; 59% don’t compensate any employees based on improvements in customer loyalty or satisfaction; and only 30% rated their companies highly in their ability to handle or resolve customer complaints.”

“One problem for marketing executives is that they’re not clearly in charge now of managing the customer experience, customer loyalty or social media today, given that public-relations, sales, consumer-affairs and research-and-development departments all have a stake in those areas now.

Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council, said marketing should take the lead in overseeing the customer experience and satisfaction. And he said addressing deficiencies in tracking and analyzing consumer feedback and buzz may be the key way CMOs can stake a claim to leadership.”

“From our standpoint, if there’s anybody who needs to be accountable for the customer experience, it’s the CMO,” Mr. Neale-May said. “Clearly what marketing needs to do to cover a lot of ground we’ve lost in the organization is more analytics, predictive modeling, and data integration and aggregation.”

That’s exactly what SM2 was designed to do.

(From Advertising Age)

(BTW, AdAge, why do you have a splash page? Don’t you know that it kills traffic by 50%?)

Jan 16, 2009 2 Comments

SlideShare: Techrigy’s CEO Aaron Newman on Social Media Marketing 101

Sm2 Social Media Marketing
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

Nov 26, 2008 0 Comments

Bob Pearson, VP of Conversations and Communities at DELL

If you had any doubt about the mainstream value of social media you should watch this…

From Jeremiah Owyang:

Nov 20, 2008 0 Comments

Social Media and Twilight the movie

Today’s Times business section has an article about the movie Twilight being released this weekend. Made for $37 million by a tiny studio, this teen age vampire flick based on a best selling series is expected to gross up to $60 million in its first weekend. The story of how the tiny studio got this property caught my eye:

“When Paramount passed on making “Twilight,” Mr. Friedman heard about it. Erik Feig, Summit’s production chief, did some research and noticed an intense following online even though the book had not yet reached stratospheric status. Summit pounced, seeing a potential franchise.

The studio bought the movie rights to all four books in the series, which together have sold about 8.5 million copies in the United States and 17 million copies worldwide.”

The buzz was there on social media far before it hit the attention of the big studios.

And you wonder why we think you should be monitoring…

Nov 18, 2008 0 Comments

William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition and Social Media

“Yes. I want to make the public aware of something they don’t quite know that they know- or have them feel that way. Because they’ll move on that, do you understand? They’ll think they’ve thought of it first. It’s about transferring information, but at the same time about a certain lack of specificity.”

from Pattern Recognition

Pattern Recognition, Wm. Gibson’s 2003 book about a mysterious film being released anonymously on the web, may well be the earliest and best manifestation of social media theory in fiction. Gibson, whose 1984 sci-fi classic Neuromancer predicted many things we take for granted today, famously swore off speculative fiction with Pattern Recognition. The reason? Things are moving so fast technologically today that there’s no need to speculate about the near future: It is unfolding before our eyes.

In Pattern Recgnition the main character, Cayce Pollard is a freelance coolhunter- a person with an uncanny ability to identify emerging trends (and a serious physical allergy to brands!). She is also a footage freak, ‘footage’ being snippets of a mysterious film being released by unknown makers. The footage is followed and dissected my millions of fans via social media. Cayce is hired by a mysterious marketing genius to find the maker of the film.

Whenever I read or reread one of Gibson’s books my perspective of the world is altered. Ideas get turned around and connections are made that were not obvious before. It is a kind of mind development drug he somehow manages to deliver via writing. Cayce’s (pronounced Case) search takes her around the globe and she has the help of a wide range of characters all connected by social media and their obsession with the footage- Japanese anime geeks, gypsies running forum sites, Eastern European collectors of vintage technology and more.

This all looks very much like the world today to me. As Techrigy’s marketing director I am communicating daily with customers, partners and community members all around the planet every day. That communication flows through a variety of channels- blogging, commenting, Twittering, email, IM, etc. The people I talk to often don’t look like me, live like me or share my interests but we have things in common that we could never have explored even a few years ago. With Pattern Recognition, Gibson saw this evolution and used story-telling to bring it alive.


Jul 10, 2008 0 Comments

Observed vs. Acquired Research

My recent post on how monitoring changes the market research model in social media generated some really thoughtful responses from major players in social media marketing (read the comments). As I stated there, I believe market research is in transition because of our ability to observe and listen to market conversations without overtly influencing those conversations before they take place. You might define this as observed vs. acquired research.

Acquired research involves building a structured environment and inviting participation. This environment might be a survey, a focus group, a social network or even a true environment like a store design. Apple  built multiple prototypes of full scale Apple Stores in a warehouse and then tested response to them:

“One of the best pieces of advice Mickey ever gave us was to go rent a warehouse and build a prototype of a store, and not, you know, just design it, go build 20 of them, then discover it didn’t work,” says Jobs. In other words, design it as you would a product. Apple Store Version 0.0 took shape in a warehouse near the Apple campus. “Ron and I had a store all designed,” says Jobs, when they were stopped by an insight: The computer was evolving from a simple productivity tool to a “hub” for video, photography, music, information, and so forth. The sale, then, was less about the machine than what you could do with it. But looking at their store, they winced. The hardware was laid out by product category - in other words, by how the company was organized internally, not by how a customer might actually want to buy things. “We were like, ‘Oh, God, we’re screwed!’” says Jobs.”

- from Kottke

The result was a radical rethinking of the entire retail experience. They engage customers with specific questions as soon you enter because they learned that customers have a fairly small set of reasons for coming. Specialized employees wear different colored clothing to indicate that they are greeters, ‘Geniuses’ or managers. Cash registers and conventional checkouts are eliminated, receipts are emailed, etc. And they have the highest revenue per square foot of any retail chain. Acquired research works if it is well-designed.

One lesson learned from this and mentioned by the commenters on the other post is that you can’t always predict behavior or results even in a controlled situation- people will do their own thing and that’s where a lot of the value lies. Which takes us to observed research, in this example (social media), observed in the wild.

Monitoring enables us to build an anonymous observation post where we can listen in on conversations, track trends, define sentiment and demographics and even learn how authoritative the speaker is. We can do this on a global basis across a wide variety of media that is extremely unstructured- some of these are ‘man on the street’ conversations. This is a form of research that simply did not exist until recently and most of us are only at the early stages of understanding how to use it.

Jul 1, 2008 0 Comments

Brief interview with Charlene Li of Groundswell

If you want to know why monitoring social media is mission-critical read this Fast Company interview. Then get Groundswell and inhale it.

Jun 30, 2008 3 Comments

Social media is not a focus group

Like most people involved with social media on a professional level I’ve been reading Groundswell and getting a lot out of it, particularly their insights on social media engagement. However reading it while observing the constantly changing social landscape brings out a big problem with business books and traditional print media devoted to trendy subjects: the rapid loss of relevance.

For example, Groundswell devotes quite a bit of time to a company called Communispace that creates artificial social networks for market research projects. Basically they recruit people to join a network by incentivizing them to participate. They then analyze the results to uncover trends and sentiment about their client’s product or service.

The problem I see with this is that they are essentially using social media to create an old school research tool: focus groups. The problem with tools like focus groups, polls and surveys is that the participants are having questions pushed out to them. This inevitably skews results or misses something that was unpredictable. Social media monitoring, on the other hand, doesn’t have this problem- what you hear is the unvarnished and unguided natural conversation.

The Communispace model, which I’m sure is quite useful, looks transitional to me, an attempt to mash together social media and traditional market research into something most marketers feel more comfortable with. The problem is that if you have to entice people to join something they would not otherwise be interested in and incentivize them to participate, you have colored the results.

If you use monitoring to discover a real community, perhaps one you didn’t know existed, then you’ve found a treasure trove of real opinions, reactions, reviews, etc. The difference between these two approaches is where Groundswell has a bit of a problem. Their Communispace example feels quite dated to me because it is still an attempt to use older marketing survey techniques in a medium that doesn’t require them.

Rather than being a problem, this looks like a breakthrough to me, one that the Groundswell authors acknowledge to some degree. The conflict is that they are Forrester researchers and companies like Forrester have built their expertise on surveying and polling, focus groups, etc. The ability to actually listen in on market conversations made possible by social media will drive a sea change in the market research industry, one that today’s early adopters are starting to understand.

Jun 19, 2008 0 Comments

Social media reaches critical mass

“Text messaging, blogging and social networking have reached critical mass, with more than half of adults now relying on at least one of these so-called Web 2.0 platforms for communicating with friends, family, or colleagues on a regular basis, finds the latest installment of an ongoing tracking study from Interpublic’s Universal McCann unit.”


If half of adults are using it, the rest will soon follow- it’s no longer a subset of the web, it’s the primary communications network.

Internet=Information, social media=communication.