Outside Insight the New Necessity for the C- suite

By Nitin Bhatia, Director Agency Partnerships, Meltwater India

The most effective leaders have one thing in common, they are excellent decision makers. From day-today decisions to the decisions that affect their entire company, brand, and industry  influence, great leaders make great choices.

Informed decisions - The phrase itself subsidizes risk to a great extent. The more factors you involve in your decision making process, the higher the chances of eliminating ambiguity or uncertainty in the outcome. That is why Big Data became the buzz word in the industry, companies started analyzing data points and information and offering customer, sales trends every where. Unfortunately, just because we have access to a great amount of  information doesn’t mean that we’re always looking at the right information. In fact, a lot of companies focus on data and information that they collect themselves on historical performance - data on internal processes, benchmarks, campaign successes,etc. And that’s the problem. Internal data only offers part of the equation of understanding the company’s position, while leaving out the critical real-time external data such as brand coverage, competitive coverage, brand influencers etc.

"Analyzing internal data and not benchmarking with the outside can be fatal. The modern CEO has to look out at external factors and analyze them to get actionable insights"

Analyzing internal data and not benchmarking with the outside can be fatal. The modern CEO has to look out at external factors and analyze them to get actionable insights. Where and how do we find external data? There are more than 1.13 billion websites in the world and by the time you read this article the number will change substantially. There's an ocean worth of information publicly available concerning how customers perceive a business, its products or competitors. This is data is in the rawest form available to us. Leveraging this external data for decision-making is what we call 'Outside Insight.'

The closest anyone can relate to online data is Social Media. In fact, thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Blogspot and Wordpress that allowed people to share their views online. These social media platforms are not websites but ecosystems where people aka any company’s consumers today live in. They share what they eat, where they go, what  they do, whom they meet, what they buy and why they buy it. Any CEO and CMO who is “Customer Obsessed” would love to know as much as they can on their consumers.

How can Outside Insight prove valuable to a business? Well, let’s look at an example. Pantone announces colour of the year every year in January. In January 2016 “Rose Quartz” and “Serenity” were the colors of the year. Meltwater monitored more than 60,000 online conversations within 10 days of it launch. People were posting jewelry pictures, hair color, kitchen walls, furniture and dresses in these colors.That was more than enough for the companies to understand and predict that color plays a vital role in buying decisions and we saw launch of many products in these colors. In fact, Koovs.com was smart enough to launch a full range of cosmetic products in these colors. So for my readers, the color of the year2017 is “Greenery”.

As I said earlier digital media is an ocean, these handfuls of social media channels are just a subset. Today we are seeing more ecosystems evolving where people express their opinions. Then there are other websites, which give out more information - Job Postings, Review sites, product listings, ad spends, stock updates, commodity prices and many more. All these sites have so much to offer to businesses. There are more than 280 new contributions, either a pic or a review posted every minute on Tripadvisor, imagine how valuable information that is for Tourism Boards, Hotels, Ticketing Sites etc.

The future lies in listening to all new ecosystems, analyzing them and connecting the dots to get meaningful insights. Companies need to get into correlative analysis.

Needless to say with the advancements and evolution of tech, even information out there in huge volumes can be listened to and analyzed in a systematic way. Too much data means too much clutter; listening tools that do not offer Boolean filtering will never do justice to outside data. Smarter search means accurate data and more reliable insights.

Modern leaders and marketers need access to the most critical information on real time basis. Quicker access to information means more intelligent decisions, stronger positioning and quicker earnings. We are investing in tools that can give predictive actionable insights to a CEO in a jiffy. Artificial Intelligence will do the due diligence, rank the information on importance, relate it with the current scenario, overlay the client’s preference on them and draw a correlative analysis from it. In the end, the modern CEO will have actionable Outside Insight that is freshly filtered and delivered to him in real time.

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