Marshall Sponder’s Social Media Analytics – “Your client is in front of you, not in a database” ~Robert Lavigne

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.

Click to Read my Review of

Chapter Three – Tracking International

Take Care,

Robert Lavigne, Your Social Business Mentor

4 thoughts on “Marshall Sponder’s Social Media Analytics – “Your client is in front of you, not in a database” ~Robert Lavigne

  1. Hi Robert,

    Thanks for this review of CH2 (interested to read your thoughts about CH3, 6, 8 and 10, as well as 12, when you got up to those, as well).

    Just want to say … your right …. the Integrasco Story is self promotional, perhaps too much so, but , in my defense (realizing I missed an big opportunity to say more), this is my first book and I had to offer the contributors something to get the level of cooperation to make the book possible, and I didn’t feel it was my place to tell people who contributed, “don’t promote yourself”. Also, my editors, who matched case studies against the chapters (my original proposal was to put all the CS in a single chapter – but they thought no one would read such a dense chapter) didn’t suggest taking it out, either.

    But certainly, next book, I will put my foot down. I also want to point out that, unlike some authors, that came in with more cache and actually offer much less than I have, I had to make a calculation that suggested bending backwards for contributors was what was needed to compensate for the fact my book, while broad in it’s treatment of social Analytics, is a niche subject (it led to 2 book signings in London, 1 in Rome and 1 in New York and other opportunities, where many other more established authors, don’t get that opportunity). The book is doing well for a book of it’s nature, but it’s not like it’s featured in the business section, or anything like that – it’s simply too much of a “off the left field subject” to be in the popular vernacular, regardless of it’s relevancy. Nor it it a “how to” book – which some people think it ought to be.

    All in all, for a first book, I think it did well – but look at it this way – in a painting, there are parts that are very prominent, while others are just sketched in, and think of Chapter 2 as one of those areas, that as best as I tried, was just sketched in. When thinking of the book as a whole, after reading it all, consider then the areas that were most prominent vs those that, while they could have, and perhaps should have been stronger, really make the some of the other parts, even more prominent.

    • Thanks for the insight behind the reality of the publishing industry. You are amongst a few first time authors that have expressed such sentiment to me. To your main point, this book is a stepping stone towards your next book and for it to be even more successful, you need to have the benchmark and baseline of this one (good and bad).

      When I read the chapter a second time, I skipped that portion entirely. I think this leads well to your point about it being sketched in. It served its need the first read through, but failed to generate any real traction upon further readings. The core of your thoughts in the book is what will be read over and over again. This is what I will be focusing when reading, and blogging about, the forthcoming chapters. I know you have much to say about the topics in the book and the reality of the publishing industry dictates that not all pages are yours to script.

      I am looking forward to continuing the review of this book one chapter at a time. The format comes with its own challenges, but between the tweets and independent entries, I think it is the best way for me to give back to you on what is a very good and engaging book to read.

  2. Pingback: Marshall Sponder’s Social Media Analytics: A Life@42 Review by Robert Lavigne, The Digital Grapevine | Life@42: A Leadership Social Novel

  3. Pingback: Marshall Sponder’s Social Media Analytics – “Deep within Foreign Territory, the need for Human Intel is Critical” ~Robert Lavigne | Life@42: A Leadership Social Novel

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