With the digital revolution and various social media platforms, data equals intelligence and intelligence is wisdom. Social business intelligence is all about wisdom—the wisdom to listen, interpret and act authentically, tapping into the wants and needs of the billion-plus consumers who openly express their opinions online.
In traditional research, companies elicit feedback through periodic surveys and then enhance their findings through focus groups. Both have inherent limitations. Surveys are episodic and offer inauthentic information, since the questions themselves alter the answers given, creating a distance from reality.
Focus groups suffer from the most human of all issues: The loudest person in the group wins and sways others through a combination of charisma and decibels. In both cases, the information rendered is faulty. When companies combine this result with internal business data, they glean the business intelligence they use to make fundamental decisions about product development, honing existing services, and where and how much to invest. Unfortunately, traditional BI is imperfect, making acting on feedback a game of guesswork. Million-dollar decisions should be based on real-time and authentic data, not “spaghetti on the wall.”
Social data offers a way out of this problem. As consumers offer opinions, expose their likes and dislikes, and express raw emotions, they produce a treasure trove of intelligence for brands. Socializing the feedback process offers instant advantages: You gain real feedback in real time and can make data-driven decisions on a dime, translating feedback into informed action at lightning speed.
Underpinned by technology and with a team of smart people ready to listen, interpret and act, social business intelligence can offer unparalleled advantages as you make new product decisions, develop in new markets and abandon unprofitable areas in favor of growth. When you make advertising and media decisions, and socialize your systems and incorporate social data into everything you do, your decision systems are enhanced and provide a more immediate ROI.
Classic business intelligence yields data from the inside out. Social business intelligence works in real time and leverages powerful technology to offer you the outside-in view. Now there is no more excuse for navel-gazing. The outside world is at the tip of your fingers!
Paul Dunay is an award-winning B-to-B marketing expert with more than 20 years’ success in generating demand and creating buzz for leading technology, consumer products, financial services and professional services organizations. Dunay is the CMO of Networked Insights, a leader in social media analytics, and author of five “Dummies” books: “Facebook Marketing for Dummies” (Wiley 2009, 2011, 2012).
Follow him @PaulDunay