We recently took on a unique assignment: 24/7, global monitoring and reporting for 10 days around a mega announcement in the mobile industry.
We had developed the social media game plan for the announcement, and the CEO and our client believed effective listening was critical to success. Of course, they were right. Since the assignment was coming from the corner office, we didn’t hesitate to say “yes.”
We set up a Listening Command Center in Austin for the global announcement to deliver two reports daily and alerts, as appropriate. We submitted our first report to the CEO and his team and the response was immediate and positive and contained a new request: “We need this every three hours for the next ten days.” After our team leader picked herself off the floor, we reorganized ourselves and delivered a flash report every three hours. The CEO used our insights masterfully, adapting his messages and presentations in near real-time based on the hot topics, questions and sentiment of the online conversation.
The project gave us a good taste of the future: 24/7, real-time listening to inform dynamic strategies. A few leading companies like Dell and Pepsi set-up command centers to manage listening for customer service and early warning on emerging online issues, but few companies are using real-time insights to rapidly adjust marketing and communications strategies.
Our process was solid. We had four top-notch analysts working around the clock – so our people were solid. Our technology? Not so much. Radian 6 worked well. We had to complement the tool with Google Reader to get the job done. The project proved once again to us that today effective listening is about having the right people and process in place. Current monitoring tools are secondary and often have to be second-guessed or double-checked for accuracy.
In the next 12 months technology is positioned to do more of the heavy lifting. There are some products in academic labs and start-ups utilizing approaches like Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA), an advanced form of statistical language modeling, to data mine large amounts of data for “diamonds.” Future tools also will be intelligent and learn about the problems they are being used to solve.
In short, we want to push a button and have technology tell us in near real-time and more accurately what people are talking about online surrounding an announcement or new product or disease or issue. We want a clearer indication of what’s new or different about the conversation.
Then smart analysts can spend their time drilling down on new insights that might make a difference to marketing, communications, product development and other areas of enterprise.