Predicting consumer behavior is the Holy Grail for many
brands, and enterprise software maker SDL believes its new social analytics product
can help them do exactly that. SDL’s Customer Commitment Framework (CCF) allows
brands to measure and predict consumer behavior by listening to their online
How it works:
The CCF tracks social conversations online around a product at
different stages in its lifecycle. By gathering data on what consumers are
saying on social media, blogs, forums, articles and customer reviews, the
software can score how consumers feel at each stage of the product’s
introduction to the market. The goal is to track online consumer behavior from
the point of product awareness to the point of sale. This provides the C-suite
actionable data, which enables them to make decisions on investments and
“We want to show our clients how to make data driven
decisions based on the social data set.” says Dave Clark, vice president of
marketing for SDL’s social intelligence unit. “Because social media is so rich,
it provides a highly contextual view of consumer purchasing behavior.”
The CCF’s social data gathering tool can collect data as far
back as 2007, and it presents current data in just about real-time. Users can
access the data using the Customer Commitment Dashboard, which looks something
like this. (using the iPad 4 as a demo product)
The CCD presents three sets of scores, grouped by the
different stages of the customer’s interaction with the product. The product
commitment score (PCS) measures purchasing behavior, the customer relevancy
score (CRS) measures sharing behavior and the brand commitment score (BCS) measures brand
advocacy. By monitoring the digital conversations at each stage, the software
gathers enough data to model which consumer is most likely to buy the product,
what type of content will get shared and identify who the most influential
consumers are when it comes to brand advocacy.
The graph represents the life of a product, from the time
people become aware of its existence, its launch, purchase and
post purchase experience. The scores indicate how well the product does at each stage. Clark says it was important to define the product stages in actual
marketing terms, such as awareness, affinity, influence and evangelism. In this
way, marketers can accurately identify which stages the product is doing well
in, and where it is lacking. Awareness scores are down? Step up the advertising.
Support scores lacking? Improve customer service. The products scores can also be mapped against the industry average as well as specific competitors.
This also provides a powerful set of data to enable grouping of customer types. Consumers can be placed on a matrix of varying marketing efforts, for e.g. consumers who are more likely to pay attention to media buzz, versus customers who need constant interaction to follow through on a purchase. The different consumers and their different paths to purchase can be mapped and efforts to market to them can be optimized.
Apart from providing the data, SDL backs it up with
consulting services, to provide recommendations based on the results and
actually make the data meaningful.
Challenges and limitations:
SDL has come up with a product with not too many competitors
and it is certainly a powerful tool when it comes to analyzing the vast, often
overwhelming world of social conversations online. One of its biggest
advantages is the fact that it can process consumer data over a long time
period very quickly, providing results in real time. It is certainly more cost
effective than traditional marketing research.
However, it is important to keep in mind that not all
consumers are online, and an even less of them will talk about a product
online, unless they really, really hate it. The negative mentions far outweigh
positive ones when it comes to products being talked about online. And while
it’s easy to track sexy products like smartphones and tablets that drive a lot
of online chatter, what about the more pedestrian items, like chewing gum or
toilet paper? Not exactly products people will take to the web for mass discussion.
While this makes the software ideal for consumer products, its use is less
obvious for B2B companies.
Nevertheless, in a world where digital conversations are
only going to increase, SDL has positioned itself in a fairly unique space and
we can expect companies to see some powerful results if the software is