MutualMind visualizes social intelligence

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MutualMind visualizes social intelligence
MutualMind visualizes social intelligence

"We're focused on real-time social intelligence and virtualization. We're not an old school social listening company."

That's what MutualMind co-founder and CEO Babar Bhatti told us, and it's worth emphasizing the term "focused." The MutualMind solution doesn't attempt or claim to deliver the full functionality of a marketing cloud. It offers actionable, analytics-based social intelligence, overlaying a versatile visualization element; it also provides engagement and work-flow creation opportunities from the same interface; and it seeks to differentiate itself from the competition through real-time intelligence linked to its visualization tools.

What does that mean in practice?

MutualMind's product has two main components, the Desktop Application and the Command Center. Hands-on users will need to be most intimately familiar with the former; that's where they'll spend most of their time. The Desktop Application is a set of dashboards which allow users to select, segment and save data-sets, tracking the customer conversation across an impressive range of channels.

The solution may not be just an old-school listening tool, but it does listen of course. It tracks the usual social suspects: Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Instagram, Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter and YouTube. It also monitors a wider range of content from news media and blogs. Like its competitors, its waiting on the API to integrate Pinterest.

Desktop Application

The listening experience is far from passive. Although the Desktop Application will send notifications of relevant social and other activity, it invites users to define the exact criteria to track. Based on a demonstration, my sense is that the heart of the tool is its "Adaptive Listening" interface. Boolean search and tagging allows users to quickly set and save a multiplicity of complex rules for identifying and monitoring highly defined conversations among highly specified audiences (down to numbers of Twitter and Facebook followers, for example).

This interface looks simple to use. Typing triggers creative auto-suggestions, but doesn't restrict users to drop down lists. From the same interface, users can set rules which prompt actions--adding audience members which fit defined criteria to an email list, for example. Even so, it struck me that users needed to be nimble and smart in composing their inquiries.

"It does require a certain skill level," Bhatti agreed. Some people get it quickly, while others struggle. MutualMind expects the Desktop Application to be run by business analysts, or by marketers who are relatively comfortable with data and analytics. Certainly users will tend to be on the business side rather than technicians. It's not a tool MutualMind wanted to "dumb down," and training is provided.

The Desktop Application offers the opportunity for immediate engagement, allowing users to post a comment or response, including relevant links, to any conversation on any of the tracked platforms. What it doesn't allow is publication of responsive assets--videos or white papers, for example; you can't attach files to the response.

"We're focused mainly on the analytics," said Bhatti. "The outgoing, publishing part is different. We have enough in our system that you can respond as different things are happening. We didn't want to do a little bit of everything." MutualMind, he said, is not a product which helps you plan and schedule things like Facebook posts. While it's not necessary to leave the interface to make simple, on-the-spot responses, users will need to look elsewhere to manage and distribute marketing assets.

The Command Center

One of MutualMind's distinctive selling-points is the automatic generation of visual representations of the data captured within the Desktop Application. At the Command Center, users can drag, drop, and configure HD visualizations based on a growing number of widgets (currently 16). Although large screen displays are dramatic, the tool is mobile compliant also.

This seems to be as much an outward-facing tool rather than something to help those members of staff who are hands-on with the Desktop Application. Bhatti told me that initial use of visualization, especially by those new to the tool, could be a short-cut to understanding the business context of data, but sees one of the main purposes of the displays as getting business units on the same page when it comes to the data and its interpretation. It's a "decision support system," he said--and it can also be used on large screens at conferences or other public events.

A 360 View

I asked Bhatti what future challenges MutualMind expected to address. He mentioned improved integration with enterprise systems, and an ever-enhanced ability to predict events rather than just look back over data. Also, MutualMind is developing the product's cognitive capabilities, through a partnership with IBM (MutualMind's platform runs entirely on the IBM cloud, so it's an IBM customer as well as business partner.)

"Everyone's talking about getting a 360 view of the customer, but nobody's there yet," Bhatti said. Using the IBM developer portal Bluemix, MutualMind is accessing the Watson Personality Insights API to develop an automated understanding of the values and needs of influencers and customers, based on the content of social messages. 

Target Market

The MutualMind product isn't for everyone, of course. Although pricing starts relatively low--$1000 per calendar month, Bhatti told me--the depth of analytics offered is just too much for "a dentist or a mom'n'pop shop." It's aimed at mid- to large-size businesses, not casual users.


Company Name: MutualMind

Headquarters: Addison, Texas

Categories: Analytics, Marketing Automation, Monitoring, Lead Generation

Describe Yourself: MutualMind is a Social Intelligence Software company, providing its customers with a platform to understand, visualize, and act on social data. Our customers consume social data through our platform in three ways, using Software-as-a-Service model: Desktop application, the Command Center, and our API suite. Our platform is a proprietary engine leveraging real-time analytics, machine learning, text analytics and dynamic, data driven visualizations.

Main Competitors: Radian6, Brandwatch, Sysomos.

Website: http://mutualmind.com/

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