Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sentiment Analytics: Next Wave in BI

Business spends huge sums shaping brand image and promoting brand awareness. To gauge the effectiveness of particular campaigns, brand managers will study transactions, for instance sales made in response to direct mail or using coupons, web-page visits and ad click-through, etc. But study of past transactions is of limited use in understanding potential buyers who are not responding to market messaging, in understanding competitive positioning and in picking up on nascent trends. Surveys and social-media mining, especially for attitudinal indicators, can fill the gap.

Recently, I was talking to the marketing executive of a software firm. He said "We are spending huge amount of money and efforts to promote brand awareness. But we can't measure effiectiveness of the same. We have to heavily rely on surveys. By the time we receive survey results, it's too late to take any corrective action." I am sure there are lot of companies in the market who have similar pain.

There are several tools available in market today which can help you measure sentiment of people about your services, product & brand.What do customers, reviewers, the business community – thought leaders and the public – think about your company and your company's products and services – and about your competitors? What can you learn that will help you improve design and quality, positioning, and messaging and also respond quickly to complaints?

Recently, we did a PoV for a bank in India. We have found out that people are not very happy with their branch banking services. Things that they didn't like about bank were long queues & inadequet parking space around bank's branch. When we further drilled down to investigate, we found out that long queues were primarily due to very high number of customers in that area compared to number of branches. The bank took corrective action immediately. They have shifted branch to a location where in there is ample parking space, and opened one more branch.

One of the company is using sentiment analytics to determine which executives have the highest correlation to positively moving the stock price when they deliver positive news. They found that certain executives had a positive influence on the markets, while others actually had a negative influence because of the tone of their delivery. This is very interesting. Stock market is often driven by sentiments of people. I have noticed one thing since Obama took over as president of America. Whenever Obama delivers a public speech, there is a negative sentiment and decline in indian stock exchange index(SENSEX).

One of the bank is using sentiment analytics to determine whether their customers are happy with their services and products or not. If a customer is happy with bank's service then they are passing that lead to marketing dept so that they can cross sell/up sell more products.

One of the consumer electronics company is using sentiment manager to analyze feedback about their newly launched product on review sites such as Amazon & CNET. They use this feedback as input to their product development lifecycle.

There are several such examples of sentiment analytics. I think this is going to be next wave in business intelligence space.Sentiment analytics can help customers to make more sense out of their Business Intelligence reports and KPIs. If your sales is going down in one region then is it because
1. Your sales team is not efficient or
2. Your supply chain is weak which results into frequent stock outs at dealer place/store or
3. Your brand is percieved as expensive or low quality goods or bad customer service.

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