Chapter Two – Targeting Your Customers
Chapter 2 of Marshall Sponder’s Social Media Analytics was supposed to be about “Using Data to Find Your Customer”
I actually finished reading Chapter 2 on the same night as I blogged about Chapter 1. I was tempted to blog about it on the same night, but needed to put it down to make sure I wanted to post what was truly on my mind about that chapter.
You see, I was looking forward to this chapter. It is important to target your customers. It is even more important to use the data that is available to you to ensure they are truly a potential customer as opposed to just another unqualified lead.
Unfortunately, what I got instead was what felt like an infomercial for Integrasco. Eight pages of the Twenty in this chapter were dedicated to recounting “The Integrasco Story”.
Maybe it was the fact that Seven of the other pages were Case Studies, but I left the chapter feeling like a huge opportunity was missed in a key topic relevant to Social Media Analytics.
What I did get however out of this chapter, which I deemed valuable, was that all analytics are at the mercy of their collection system.
Without proper “subject matter expertise” the content that these systems collect are for the most part meaningless, as we are unable to properly apply context to what we are querying against.
While most companies can come up with “analytics” that seem to make sense, most of them are quite misleading. We simply have not achieved the level of context both in the data and in our analysts to truly represent the real insights that are buried in the mass of social media content.
I particularly love the statement Marshall Sponder makes when he indicates that “Data are a commodity, and finding the meanings in data is a specialty.“
The sad truth is that for the most part, companies are still struggling to properly data mine their own existing query-based databases. Many do not have the contextual expertise to properly analyze the sheer scale of content that can be collected through social engagement.
The sad reality of Social Media is the sheer amount of trickery that takes place to get those “viral video” and “word of mouth” campaigns up and running. All of that data that is needed to drive up the initial awareness in many ways pollutes the data even more.
The only context (IMHO) that truly matters is how organic engagers will interact with your brand. The more we know about the psyche and mindset of these engagers, the more we will be able to truly target our potential customers through existing data.
The sad fact is that we are still trying to understand who we are as a society, culture and a species. To expect any software to accurately represent that at the granularity of an individual is still an emerging technology.
As such, my main take away from this chapter is to invest in tools to guide you in understanding the matrix of your community. However, like any tech, the real key to success is investing in the people who use those tools to ensure that they truly understand the context of what they are analyzing.