The Hyper-Connected Consumer: Why Every Tweet Matters
Marketers have always tried to get to know their customers, but did so by profiling broad demographics such as "men 18-34." What's different now in the era of "Big Data" is how much consumers are telling marketers through their comments, "pins," downloads and shares. In turn, marketers are sifting through that enormous flood of data to understand and engage with people as individuals.
But it's no longer enough for marketers to count the number of tweets or "likes" about a product or service. It's all about understanding the sentiment of what consumers are posting. IBM's recent State of Marketing 2012 survey found that while marketers continue to experiment with social media channels, 51 percent are not using this data to inform decisions about marketing offers and messages. That's a missed opportunity for marketers who want to connect with today's customer.
For example, an IBM analysis of social media sentiment in May indicated that Americans were more upbeat about their plans for the Memorial Day weekend, with more people talking about traveling and spending compared to last year. In particular, the "Desire Ratio" - the proportion of positive versus negative comments about shopping - increased by a factor of five for this Memorial Day compared with last year.
That exercise illustrates the insights and potential benefits that social media analytics can deliver to a brand (in this case, any brands that cater to shoppers and travelers). Companies can understand how their customers feel about the products, services that they are providing. Businesses that ignore the impact of social media will be stuck on the sidelines.
Just as IBM's Watson uses analytics to sift through millions of documents in a matter of seconds to answer a question, CMOs can use analytics to cull through millions of Tweets, texts and online comments to figure out the best way to reach each individual customer. In the era of the hyper-connected consumer, companies can't afford not to.