It’s that time of year again. The smell of new crayons and fresh spirals fill the air, and students and parents are shopping for the newest, trendiest clothes and gear to start the school year. Taking advantage of the immense amount of social chatter about Back-to-School shopping, MutualMind did a study to understand the who, what and where of these conversations. The social listening campaign was set up to collect any mention of “Back to School” and one of six of retailers included- Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, JC Penney, Kmart and Amazon. After the collection, our analysts took a deeper dive into the dataset to tag content based on whether a mom, dad, student or teacher was the one making the post. They also tagged content by the grade of students.
The date range of this study was August 1st through August 25th. During that time there were a total of 32,822 mentions. The content was overwhelmingly positive. Marketers can use the excitement of back to school to their advantage to boost sales on not only the products on the supply list but also apparel and backpacks. The data shows that there were 1,920 posts about apparel and 1,098 about backpacks. To a kindergartener, it would be safe to bet a new backpack with Elsa from Disney’s Frozen would be much more exciting than a new package of pencils. These are the things that drive more conversation. Items that would be on the top of any school supply list didn’t receive nearly the number of mentions. Spirals and notebooks combined made up 486 total mentions while folders and binders made up only 475.
We also learned from this study that moms are the ones doing most of the conversing. They’re are blogging about their experiences. They’re talking about how much fun they had over the summer, their excitement for the kids to go back to school and what they need to do to prepare for a new year.
We need insights, not more data. Make that “Actionable Insights”. -Anonymous Marketer
The inspiration for this post comes from a McKinsey article by byPeter Dahlström and David Edelman which talks the coming era of on-demand marketing and how three distinct data lenses are needed for deriving insights about consumer decision journey.
Benfiting from big data requires a well-thoughtout plan for data analysis relevant to your business needs scenarios. On one hand you need technology solutions that allow you to view the big picture, discover hidden patterns and make it easy to find blind spots. On the other hand you also need to have the exploratory and ad-hoc analytics capabilities that lets you drill-down all the way down to gain interesting insights at the most granular level such as a post or a customer. You need different lenses for your data.
The McKinsey article talks about three lenses: Telescope, Binoculars and Microscope. We also empahize the importance of real-time insights and visualizations to get to better data-driven decisions. Although the McKinsey article talk about a marketing scenario, the concept of ‘data lenses’ is equally useful for other bsusiness scenarios where you are working on large sets of structure and unstructured information.
Lets go over these data lenses, as defined by the McKinsey article, discuss the challenges and solution.
1. Telescope. A clear view of the broad trends in your market, category, and brand is essential. Digital sources that track what people are looking for (search), what people are saying (social monitoring), and what people are doing (tracking online, mobile, and in-store activities) represent rivers of input providing constant warning signs of trouble or signals of latent opportunity.
Challenge: The velocity and volume of data makes it hard to see trends.
Solution: By presenting the insights from the data as real-time visualizations and defining a process and action plan to benefit from this info. This is one of the key value of social command centers. It is tough to ignore data when it’s in your face and when.
2. Binoculars. This lens aims to provide a complete, integrated picture of where a company spends its money, which interactions actually happen with customers, and what their outcomes are. That is, you are focused on your brand and compeititors.
Challenge: At this level, you want to have more detailed data from a wide variety of your business situations. Customer touchpoints, performance of digital properties, transactional data such as sales.
Solution: You need technology that empowers business users to search, compare and mashup data of various types. As described in the article, such brand level analysis can be highly beneficial.
One bank has already realized millions of dollars in added value from the knowledge that weak points in the customer on-boarding process were undermining major marketing programs. Only when branches, call centers, and marketing worked together could the bank find the right fixes, improve customer satisfaction, and raise marketing’s return on investment.
3. Microscope. This lense allows you to zoom in to much deeper level and ultimately allows you to look at individual posts and customer profiles. How well do you know the customers, their likes and dislikes? Is marketing to the segment of one is possible? The most detailed lens is commonly used by analysts and managers to do advanced analysis.
Challenge: You are dealing with massive data sets, data is not always clean or complete. You may have to go through hundres of thousands of data points to get to a specific insight. Automated tools and algorithms are usually not sufficient to do this, requiring manual work.
Solution: The technology needs to support a more granular view of the same data set AND to take actions on it. A smart solution will leverage automated analysis first and then allow the analysts to apply their judgements. The Insights Dashboard in MutualMind’s social intelligence application is a good example of this type of lens. Analysts can click through the executive level dashboard, filter data or conduct Boolean search to find individual covnersations and their attributes.
Now that you understand the three types of lenses, you can plan your analysis better and choose the right product for your needs.
Images courtsey of OpenClipArt.
So you finally have that budget you’ve been trying to acquire to build out your social media marketing team. You’ve done your research and picked out your social listening product (such as MutualMind), and now you have to come up with the correct keywords. This can be a difficult task in the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll become second nature. First, you’ll want to think of the brand you’re listening for. Understand all the ways people might talk about that brand. If they’re on Twitter, will they use a hashtag? possibly yes. Will they use the brand’s Twitter handle? If they have one, then most likely, yes! You’ll want to use these variations when setting up your keywords.
I suggest creating one larger, advanced keyword for all the variations to make it easier on yourself when doing comparisons during your analysis.
First step, determine who is your client? Do they have a unique, one-of-a-kind name like “Wal-Mart” or is your client someone such as Target corporation in which your keyword setup is going to need to be more advanced? “Wal-Mart” can stand-alone as a keyword because when someone mentions it, they are definitely talking about the store. On the other hand, when someone mentions Target, they could be talking about goals or shopping or even archery. Pulling all mentions of Target, including those that are not relevant to your research, will cause you a lot of additional work and possibly cost you a lot of extra money. To prevent this, you can use the Boolean operator “AND” to be sure you only pull mentions of Target AND shopping. I would also recommend words such as: stores OR shop OR clothes
To help expand the listening so you pull as many mentions as possible while keeping them on topic. This technique means that you won’t pull every mention of Target, even the relevant ones like, “I love Target”, but the quality of data will be much better. To expand your search, you’ll want to include more “OR” statements, while using more “AND” or “NOT” operators will narrow your search.
Here’s one example on how MutualMind software helps you craft the right keyword query. Note the color-coded syntax validator and the graphical tree-based interface to help you understand and visualize the query. This is one of the most favorite features in MutualMind.
Creating high quality keywords is essential to any social listening campaign setup. The analytics you gather will not be as effective if the data is cluttered with irrelevant content. You must get in the head of the consumer and understand how they may refer to your brand, so you can then understand what your brand means to him.
Today, I’m proud to announce an important new step for the MutualMind team, and a strong endorsement for our approach to social listening. After a thorough review process, MutualMind has been certified as a Plugged In Partner with Gnip, our main social data provider.
Plugged In Partners have to meet the highest standards for “reliable, sustainable and complete access to social data” as the program’s mission statement describes, which is a high standard for any company to attain. What’s more impressive is that MutualMind provides this level of data quality through a true platform, not just a single product. That means our users are able to consume the best social data available however they want it – whether through our white labeled desktop app, our fly-by-wire API suite, or our world-class HD visualization solution, Command Center.
On Gnip’s blog today, you’ll be able to read more about this announcement, as well as a brief case study about how we help customers like American Airlines listen smarter through our platform. We also encourage you to learn more about us by watching our videos about the MutualMind platform, and specifically, our Command Center technology:
We’re excited to join this cadre of Plugged In Partners, and even more so as the only one with this singular focus on giving our users the tool set they need to create the one-of-a-kind, unique social listening solution they want. We look forward to building more upon this bedrock of solid social data as we create even more powerful solutions that help our customers Listen Smarter.