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The Power of Customer Information Discovery

Applying insights from social media into your business involves more than just listening.

by Mark A. Stevens

March 2015

In an average month, roughly half of social media consumers will both compliment a brand and express concerns or complaints about a brand, according to a Nielsen survey on social media use in the US.

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It isn’t surprising, therefore, that enterprises are embracing new tools to listen to and interpret the social conversation. Social listening helps brands understand where social conversations are happening, what topics are being discussed, how the public feels about the brand, and where the sales or service opportunities are.

While these insights are valuable in their own right, the real power of social listening comes when social data is combined with a company’s existing data—product introductions, marketing initiatives, sales performance, and customer profiles.

Customer information discovery is a management discipline and toolset that helps business users correlate the social data stream with internal data sources. It helps answer important questions that are not typically available with traditional business intelligence tools alone:

All too often, social listening is disconnected from the rest of the business, and using traditional methods of data integration are too cumbersome to address the dynamic and real-time nature of social media content.”
  • What is really driving our sales success, and how do we repeat it elsewhere?
  • How do customers perceive our new product?
  • Is our marketing effort creating the behaviors we want?
  • Why are we seeing a spike in customer complaints?
  • What is causing our demand projections to be so far off our target?

Take, for example, a company with declining sales. Internal sales dashboards provide the ability to review sales trends across a variety of dimensions, such as product, channel, and geography, but what is actually driving the trends? Social data, analyzed in the context of these granular sales trends, can determine if sales performance is driven by pricing, product features, product quality, distribution, or other factors—perhaps even a detractor who is highly influential on social media.

The customer information discovery toolset must provide the following key capabilities:

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Mark A. Stevens is vice president for Insight & Customer Strategy at Oracle.

  • Easily incorporate structured and unstructured data sources without the need to engage the IT organization.
  • Foster an interactive, open-ended process of discovery, including search and guided navigation similar to capabilities found in leading retail consumer websites.
  • Visualize the data to identify root causes and new insights.
  • Ask unanticipated questions identified in the information discovery process.
  • Mash-up and enrich multiple data sources.
  • Configure, save, and reuse defined data discovery applications for specific use cases.
  • Link new insights back to structured company data processes.

All too often, social listening is disconnected from the rest of the business, and using traditional methods of data integration are too cumbersome to address the dynamic and real-time nature of social media content. Consumer information discovery tools help address these challenges, making it easy to integrate disparate data sources, gather new customer insights, and empower the enterprise to make better decisions going
forward.

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