Who is the actual human we are targeting?

We begin by identifying every single person who is online. We do this by proving which social handles are connected to real people and which are simply junk accounts. The way to prove if a social handle is connected to a real person is to append extra data next to a social handle, such as other social handles, emails, addresses, phone numbers, the social handles of family members, job titles/bios from social sites (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo). This is important because we want to analyze real human beings and their behaviors. The reason we want to study real people is to make accurate predictions about human behavior and the outcomes of behavior in different contexts. When we can predict behavior more accurately, then we are able to influence individuals, which is one of the ultimate end games of marketing, advertising and pubic relations.

When we have a healthy set of columns with this kind of information, then we can move on to using tools that study all of the content posted by an individual, as well as the way the individual describes himself/herself in bios on various sites. We can also study posts about individuals, some of which may include video footage, images, interviews, and sites that denote achievement. This set of software studies all of this content about an individual and classifies him/her as a specific persona type, along with the interests this individual focuses on. This is important because we want to know more about the type of person each individual is and what influences his/her behavior.

The next set of software we use derives insight from offline data, such as the data from credit bureaus, credit card companies, direct marketing companies, catalogue marketing companies, club membership research, background checks, etc. When we blend offline data with online data, we are able to demonstrate with more confidence the brand preferences, purchasing-buying styles, and many other classifiers related to an individual. This is important because online conversations, posts, and self-description in bios do not always give us enough to deeply understand the behavior of individuals. The blending of offline and online data results in a more complete portrait of the individual human being.

In short, we are able to more precisely influence what an individual human being will do in the future. For a brand, this long-term influence is very important as this will be how loyalty and sales are ensured. There are, of course, deeper goals for other organizations, such as governments, religious groups and media groups. These groups are often interested in wholesale culture change, particularly in enemy/competitive territory. The action of changing another culture is a top long term priority of groups that have been around far longer than the Unilevers and P&Gs of the world.

A Formula for Better Insights on Consumers & Their Emotions


THE PROBLEM & QUESTION: The Head of Insight at a major CPG brand is trying to figure out why brand equity is falling. A CEO is wondering why sales are dropping. A Senior Analyst is assigned by the Head of Insight with answering these questions.

THE FORMULA FOR ANSWERING THE QUESTION: The Senior Analyst decides to work with social data to discover the reason for falling brand equity. She comes up with the following formula:

A focus group of individual consumers (with a full dossier on each one) + these consumers’ emotions (at the individual level) about a brand or category topic (machine classifies millions of conversation snippets by emotion) + macro insights on each “Emotion Group”, based on offline purchase data AND all known interests of individuals in that group.

THE RESULT: When Heads of Insight/Brand Managers/C-Suite execs can zoom from macro insights about consumers INTO individual level dossiers making up an “Emotion Group” (a group of people expressing a specific emotion about a product/service), they will gain a clearer understanding of the intent and actions of these consumers. They will see when a consumer says, “I hate this product because…” or “I love this product because…”. They will see what characteristics entire groups of consumers who love or hate a specific product share.

THE IDEAL FINAL SCENARIO: Head of Insight to C-Suite execs, “I can see groups of consumers who are excited/disgusted with our product, the statement each consumer made about our product, and dossier-level insight into each individual making up these groups. I can then compare these groups with groups of consumers who are excited/disgusted with our competitor’s product in a nice neat single screen. Now I know why our brand equity is falling and I can make evidence-backed recommendations about our next move.”

The Advent of Machine Learning as related to Social Listening

The advent of #MachineLearning as related to social listening precipitates a lot of honest-to-God hard work during a transition from human-led to machine-led insights. This will happen because many humans will be needed to create custom attributes and custom classifiers for the machine to use in the new upcoming #AI driven insights industry. Humans teaching the machine to think like we do, to analyze like we do, to understand nuance, culture and the evolution of language (keep in mind, social tech experts, I am referring to a truly global machine analyzing the languages of the world…not just English).

Since there are many gaps in social data, we face an uphill in pairing other data sources to the snippets we get from public sources of conversations. The key to a complete “AI Social Data Intelligence Machine” will be sources such as Axciom, census data, background check sources, private networks like Doximity/A Small World and finally, if possible, the nexus of data from Facebook and Amazon. This particular nexus is a kind of holy grail that the leading machine intelligence experts will eventually open to brand leadership. But previous to such events, we have a grueling journey as analysts, insights researchers and programmers to “teach the machine how to be a human”.

One of the most exciting branches of this “teaching” will be a self-aware machine, an artificial mind that will begin to offer recommendations…and then may decide to act upon these recommendations.

Social Business Intelligence Advance #1 and #2

When social business intelligence solutions provide a “Create Prospects CRM” button, the social analytics industry will have leapt one more notch forward. What it looks like is this: a series of 10,000 individuals have commented on a specific brand/issue over 1 month AND this CRM button collects Name, Current Address, Current Phone, Current Email, Current social links for each individual. Instantly. Downloadable in a CSV format or a colorful PDF “dossier-style” format. The social media monitoring solution that offers this button will become a global leader in prospect generation.

Advance number two is when this service is fully applicable across global borders, delivering such info for residents of all nations.

Research leads to freedom

FREEDOM: Many individuals want to break free from corporate walls, familial boundaries and cultural structures. This, in fact, is the story of progress and also of experiencing depth. There are many systems of thought that offer paths to freedom. If one considers the interior of his/her psyche as akin to a corporate structure, then we can go further with a few metaphors that may be of help in finding freedom. Before getting into this though, it is vital to know that freedom comes from taking 100% responsibility for one’s own actions within a given context. This singular truth is the key to freedom. The intelligence gathering process for business and government provides leadership with clarity, security and power. And the best kind of power emerges from individuals who have taken 100% responsibility for the process of discovery and subsequent strategy.

INTELLIGENCE IS MAINSTREAM NOW: For our current article, we will take the market intelligence community and its function as a means to discovering freedom via responsibility. Market intelligence used to be a rarified action, not frequently discussed amongst co-workers on your average coffee break. In fact, in many traditional settings this is still true. But there are many forward-thinking corporations, communities and individuals who understand the power of deep intelligence on any given topic or interest. The market intelligence (MI) process has actually become more widespread in the corporate world due to the advent of social media monitoring tools like Radian6, BrandWatch, Sysomos and PeopleBrowsr. Even very basic Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google searches provide the average man and woman a point of view previously unknown. For example, one may type keywords related to a specific interest into the search field at a social network and discover people nearby who share that interest. A new “in-the-flesh” experience becomes possible through such location-based searches related to an interest.

THE FIREFIGHTER AND FUTURIST: The advent of readily available intelligence brings humanity as a whole to an entirely new level of responsibility. Answers to most questions are at everyone’s fingertips. And this experience of responsibility translates into freedom for the corporation, the community and the individual. The process of going from a passive “bored at work” search for one’s passion to standing up from the chair and diving into a completely new life may be described as going from the “Firefighter” to the “Futurist”. To explain: the Firefighter is approaching an interest on an ad hoc basis, reacting to outside stimulus and “sitting at the station” waiting for an emergency. The Futurist is deeply engaged on both a global and local level, using intelligence to drive a process of rewarding, pro-active discovery. The Firefighter has no focus other than the emergency he reacts to…the Futurist is immersed in a broad, deep and future-oriented journey that draws in topics, people and places outside the immediately relevant environment. To be clear yet again on this comparison: the Futurist is creating the reality that the Firefighter often reacts to.

The Futurist has realized that reality may be defined ahead of the curve of fate or karma. While the consequences of an action take place within the boundaries of a specific world, the Futurist has moved on and discovered a completely novel experience, devoid of the content and context wherein the previous consequence was generated. He/she may then transform “the past” via valuable learnings, cultural understandings, and innovative approaches discovered “in the future”. A leading solution helping Futurists do this now is Recorded Future.

RESEARCH LEADS TO FREEDOM: The deepest importance of Market Intelligence has to do with creativity. When one discovers the complexion of an eco-system surrounding a specific interest, then he/she may tweak the elements of that eco-system and create what he/she wants. This is why researchers and business leaders must work hand-in-hand to shape our world. And this is also why it is inexcusable for any individual to say he/she cannot find a path to a dream. Even the simplest location-based search around an interest will place one in the company of others who have thrown themselves with passion into achieving very similar dreams to one’s own. Try this today, using the search fields in the various major social networks. Go deeper with social business intelligence tools.