It’s that time of year again, where most organizations are finalizing their business objectives and marketing strategies for the upcoming year. Given the uptick in consumption of digital media and mobile communications, it’s no surprise that an increasing number of companies are crafting budgets that funnel resources towards digital communications and away from traditional mass media buys.
Sensational as these news bits might be, they do have some account planners wondering, “are we allocating our means appropriately?” But where to start? ROI forecasting has led many businesses to rely heavily on intelligence results. We often see companies leveraging social listening and digital analytics dashboards while simultaneously measuring other key data points like traffic, content and path analysis reports.
But not to worry, business intelligence is likely trending in your favor. According to a survey conducted earlier this year by Richard Herschel, Chair of the Department of Decision & System Sciences at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, about a third of respondents think it is very important that their organization have a business-centric view of the data model to provide a framework for prioritizing and guiding the development of BI (business intelligence) activities.
The intersection of BI and account planning is rich with opportunities to observe consumer behavior on a scale that was just a decade ago considered impossible. Now, researchers and planners are able to access global data points via social listening to deliver not only better services, but also better products, experiences and ideas. Take for instance, the spirit of holiday giving and our intrinsic love of samples. Denver based gluten-free foods maker Udi’s capitalized on this insight with their Udi’s Joy Mission campaign to spread both free food and joy for the holidays. Via Facebook, users could log-in and send real Udi’s food to their friends through the tailored application. To ensure everyone was able to enjoy the holiday cheer, Udi’s donated a meal to local food banks for every new person who liked the page.
Although the idea was simple, based on the human desire to gift and give back, the campaign effectively leveraged fostering an undeniable emotional connection, as some of the best campaigns usually do.
(Full disclosure, Udi’s is part of the current client roster of Room 214)
To mine insights, innovators and ideators alike need simply to log on to a site such as Facebook or Twitter, (never mind Hootsuite or Co-Tweet or any of the other sometimes difficult to navigate and costly tools) to see what the chatter is all about. With a few more clicks, metrics like geo-location, net sentiment and brand passion are easily accessible. With just a few more clicks in your data gathering process, you’ll be armed with export and tracking APIs.
But what does all of this intelligence-mining really amount to?
Although technology and campaign planning have recently undergone seismic shifts, consumer fundamentals have not. Success, in the case of being able to effectively leverage BI, manifests as the ultimate data-driven understanding of consumers: who they are, where they are, what they’re saying and how they’ll change.
And just this week, Gizmodo published an article staking the claim that “Facebook is Making Us Miserable,” honing in on that je ne sais quoi that most of us are clamoring for. And of course, that level of venerable cool can’t certainly be achieved by unplugging, can it?
It’s a great idea and all, plush with nostalgia and a sense of the good ol’ days, but simply put, we just can’t disconnect. In the era of mandated transparency driven by the two-way 24-hour news cycle, when we encounter an “unplugged” brand that isn’t fully vested in digital communications and social media properties, we can’t help but wonder why they aren’t? Is it because they have something to hide? Something to be ashamed of? Take for example big banks. As of this writing, you won’t find many of them active on Facebook (but that doesn’t mean they’re not listening).
From my point-of-view, at the cross-roads of all of the above, the key to is to rely on every bit of research and the marketing mix available to you. The best brands and the most successful campaigns yield seamless, integrated experiences that blend right in with your life, without you even being aware of it. And whether or not we’re cognizant of it, we’re watching, listening and waiting for that sweet inspiration to share, just because it really is that cool.