Earlier this week I had the pleasure of hanging out with the lovely Starr Million Baker at Brandwatch’s Now You Know (NYK) Conference in Denver. For two days we listened to some of the top brands – lookin’ at you IBM, Verizon, Bank of America, Toys R Us – and marketing experts discuss opportunities in social, media, and most importantly, data.
As an industry, we’re so saturated with data that we may be slicing and dicing it down to too narrow or self-serving of a view. The data we collect is never the whole picture, and using our skills as marketers to think outside the box applies to how we collect data as well as how we analyze and apply it to our strategies and programs.
Most brands and agencies utilize some type of listening tool to gather information about their customers. This is a highly necessary process to streamline marketing and product decisions, but most brands are only tracking conversations that mention them and similar products and services. This is a big miss as less than five percent of conversations online mention a product or a brand, according to Misia Tramp of Metia. Tracking only mentions of themselves gives brands a highly skewed and narrow view. To get the big picture of a customer or potential customer, brands should be gathering data not only from the inside out, but the outside in.
We should look at social media platforms as a place to engage with customers and audiences, sure, and channels to distribute our content, yes. But what comes before that engagement? How do we know we’re creating content that will resonate? Research. Used to their fullest extent, social media platforms can and should be the playground in which research and data analysts play. After all, what customers are talking about, feeling, experiencing, and assessing every day is the kind of information that can help businesses make better decisions.
At INK, one of our guiding philosophies is “be there before.” This means always bringing new ideas and opportunities to the table and helping our clients to be leaders and influencers by being relevant and early to the party. Listening to the broader conversations and emerging trends within their industries, through social tools and other methods, allows our clients to be not just part of the current conversation, but also where the conversation is headed next.