All posts by Kelly Pennock

For the third straight quarter, Visible has outpaced market growth and we are continuing to grow thanks to all our new customers, including Walgreens and Y&R. Earlier this morning, we also announced a $4 million round of funding. This will enable us to continue to set the industry standard in social media monitoring and analytics. We  plan to use the funding to invest further in engineering and enhance the sCRM capabilities of Visible Intelligence, so that users can get an even better understanding of conversations happening online and cross reference those conversations with other customer and prospect information.

We also announced key partnerships with companies such as SymphonyIRI, to bring new ways of measuring social media; Meteor Solutions, to provide commentary services in social media monitoring and engagement; and we are proud to announce that we are now a Gold level member in the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN).

 

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Forcing Innovation

A couple of weeks ago we featured a video from the Forrester Marketing Forum that asked the question Is data the secret sauce to marketing innovation?” I wanted to share my own thoughts about social media data, and how it is forcing marketing innovation.

Social media is so quantitatively and qualitatively different from other sources of consumer data that marketers have only two choices: ignore it or innovate like crazy.

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The Radian6 acquisition by Salesforce.com is an extremely exciting event for everyone in this space.  Congratulations to both parties.  Salesforce did the analysis and made the bet that the ability to understand and engage with social media will be an integral component of customer relationship management going forward.  If early reports on Radian6’s revenue (http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/salesforce-buys-radian6-for-326-million-enters-social-media-monitoring/46710) are correct, Salesforce apparently placed a great premium on these capabilities.

The acquisition is exciting, but not a great surprise.  For those of us who believe that social media analysis and insight will soon play an important role in the business processes of every sizable company, the deal is confirmatory more than surprising.  The integration of social media monitoring with established efforts in brand and competitor tracking, PR, market research, marketing measurement, lead generation, customer support and much more is already under way.  More and more companies are recognizing this as a best practice. The market is growing quickly year over year and at a quickening pace.  In other words, social media monitoring, and all that it implies, is already going mainstream and this just an illustration of how mainstream.

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For a few years now, Social Media Monitoring has been a departmental activity, driven mostly by marketing curiosity about brand and competitors.  Like almost everything else related to social media however, this is changing, and quickly.  As more and more companies face the reality that social media is substance not fad, and Social Intelligence is more than just awareness of consumer sentiment, the enterprise is beginning to weigh in on the selection process for technology and vendors.

For a variety of reasons, the coordinated enterprise choice for go-to Social Intelligence technology will probably not be the same as the isolated departmental choice.  For departments experimenting with social media, simplicity and price will often carry the day in the selection process; but for the enterprise, priorities are very different, with essential characteristics such as scalability, flexibility, reliability and integrate-ability, trumping more narrow departmental concerns.  I’ll examine each of these attributes in an enterprise context.

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Agencies, businesses and the media are all eager to understand the role that influence plays in the social sphere so they can leverage it for competitive advantage. But agreeing upon a single definition for influence as a social media metric is proving to be a frustrating challenge – and one that lacks the promise of a satisfying resolution. The problem: There is no one-size-fits-all definition that can be ascribed to influence.

Influence has chameleon-like qualities. What it means will change depending on what you are trying to accomplish, whom you want to reach, and where you want to do it. There is no one, clear set of criteria to fit every situation and no one generic group of influencers to target consistently. The influencers you need to connect with can vary by industry, or even by product lines. For example, many people overuse the term influence, applying it to concepts such as “authority” that may be significantly different, and, as a result, tend to perceive the role of an influencer too broadly.

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Rant or rave, almost everyone is talking about almost everything, or so it seems if you follow Twitter or Facebook, or the millions of blogs and forums and other sources of privately produced but publicly consumed content. These mega-communities, and the ecosystem of tools built on content from them, represent the only en masse way to listen, understand, and interact with current and future customers, the same customers that determine the current and future value of the brands they discuss.  For that reason, companies ignore social media at their peril.  We all know that.

While the potential value of social media is clear, painfully little of that value has been realized.  There’s golden content—hints of the next public relations nightmare, or opinion trends that capture the effectiveness of a current campaign, or countless conversations that offer an opportunity to grow loyalty, for example—but most of that gold is buried too deep for today’s tools to extract.  That’s the dilemma and the frustration: essentially everything you need to know about your brand, product, or service is in there, but you just can’t find it or turn it into a specific decision or a specific action.  Most of us know this as well.

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