As emergent technology speeds up and the monitoring of digital and social media escalates, data collection will definitely continue to be a front-and-centre concern, albeit one that has to be managed well. In his article, ‘Reading the River’, (Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/OgilvyWW/read-the-riverogilvyredpaper-4843692), Dimitri Maex writes that “what had been a nourishing trickle of data has turned into a roaring torrent. The trick, as any whitewater guide could tell you, is learning to read the river.”
What if you don’t have the capacity to do so within your organization?
Why not utilize academia as partners? The Wharton School Customer Analytics Initiative is a perfect storm of industry, student, and faculty working collectively on business issues that require both an applied and purely academic approach. Any university worth going to should have industry knocking on its doors to work on case studies, specific business challenges, and offer mentoring and engagement in the classrooms where students will gain the most benefit working shoulder to shoulder with respected business leaders.
I think there is also a benefit to marketers to working with not only IT departments in universities, but also law departments and in some cases, anthropology faculty who can analyze data with yet another lens on customer behavior. The data challenge is only going to grow. David Pogue from the New York Times recently wrote an article about the challenge of data storage, the cloud, bandwidth, and data caps. These will all impact marketers in the future who will have to execute campaigns that have looked under every ‘rock’ as it were to assess possible risks for their clients. I think partnering with experts in the field within the academic community can only augment a successful research strategy.
Since digital natives will outnumber boomers soon enough, there will be a greater need for comprehensive data measurement in particular because so much of it will be on social and mobile platforms.
Sentiment 360state that they “can refine that ocean of new media data into actionable streams of business intelligence that can then be integrated with your legacy decision support systems.” Saatchi and Saatchi hired Sentiment 360 a month after they opened their doors. A month. This tells me not only is data changing, but how important it is for marketers and advertisers to collect the right kind of data. At seven grand a month, no one is kidding around about the importance of sentiment analysis on the web. It isn’t simply a matter of Google analytics anymore—what are people feeling about your brand, what is the ‘sentiment’ in forums, on Twitter, Facebook and blog comments? What is their level of emotion about your brand and how do you assess that engagement and utilize the measurement to increase your ROI? Actually, I like to use the term, ROE (return on experience) because it seems to fit this new media world more aptly sometimes than the traditional ROI acronym.
So in light of this ‘torrent’ of data, it seems to me that it just makes good business sense to utilize outside sources, such as academia to dig deeper into data, across multiple disciplines, and as someone who is passionate about experiential education, I think allowing digital natives—soon your largest user group—to wade in on your customer behavior will generate tremendous ROI (and ROE!).