Social Listening vs Traditional Marketing – Understanding The Oracle Acquisition of Collective Intellect

Social Listening with BloomThink
Creative Commons Attribution via Flickr User Visualpanic

In the world of impulse consumerism you can attempt to stay top of mind through saturation marketing (expensive) or you can compel a transaction with artificial limits on deals, quantities or geographies (difficult) or you can become top of mind by entering with a splash at the right time (data-intensive).

The first approach is the traditional media marketing approach.  Big spending gets eyeballs some of those eyeballs belong to people who will want your product.  But you have got to gain volume and maintain attention with no way to actually track a sale.  Look at the image.  The first approach tells the world that they have tetris tiles available and hopes that someone needs one.

The second is the coupon / contest approach. Getting people off the couch to get to an event or to change buying habits is difficult.  The payoff of the contest or the discount on the product has to be extremely steep in order to compel the desired behavior.  It’s the Black Friday deal which gains awareness and attention but the profits are often slim if there at all.  Hope is placed in down-stream purchases from newly loyal customers.  Look at the image again.  The second approach tells the world to stock up now during their 2-for-1 tetris tiles sale…you know, in case you ever need a tetris tile piece.

The third approach is the engagement approach.  Understand what the consumer needs and when they are almost ready to make a decision then present your deal, your product, your offer.  This is the intelligence-drive approach. With enough data in aggregate about consumer trends and the ability to engage with individual consumers via social channels businesses are able to deliver compelling and persuasive information at the right time.  The third approach listens and watches for when people share that they’re remodeling and repairing their bathroom and need some tetris tiles.  They then let that prospective consumer know that they have exactly what is needed and that it is convenient to buy.  The hope-based approach of market saturation is traded for precise targeting.  The profit-gutting approach of behavior modification marketing is traded for persuasive and timely information delivery

This third approach is behind all good social media campaigns and it is a big reason why there has been a mass of acquisitions in the social media monitoring space.

Social media monitoring is all about “listening” to what is being said about you, your products and the market space in why your business exists.  Oracle’s most recent acquisition of Collective Intellect directly supports this social listening and BI approach.  Collective Intellect brings deep textual and semantic analysis to social conversations.  By gaining the ability to mine social conversations for sentiment, trends and names, they deliver extremely rich contextual business intelligence.  Collective  Intellect has focused their software on the social media spaces.

Way back in 2008 while working at Oracle I wrote:

A BI engine can create a concept map based on term frequencies, term proximities and term usage. When combined with metadata classifications and transactional data, an organic classification structure begins to surface. Mapped against topics, groups, or classification phyla, specific semantic ontologies begin to emerge. These organic ontologies can then be used as the basis for BI inferences that produce predictions for users.” In B-eye Network Magazine

Four years later, my prediction has been borne out and I am excited to see where it goes.  Added to their recent acquisition of Vitrue and being similarly placed in the Oracle cloud, Collective Intellect looks to position Oracle as a premier source for social media business intelligence.  This is the critical ingredient in the third, and best, approach outlined above.

But Oracle is not alone in recognizing this space., already owning Radian6 has recently acquired Buddy Media. And Adobe is still blazing the trail with their prescient acquisition of Efficient Frontier which completed early this year.

This space is hot and more innovation and acquisition is likely as businesses and brands realize that understanding the customer (whether B2C or B2B) is the most effective way to engage the customer.

Resources & Links:

Oracle announcement of the acquisition

TechCrunch review

Collective Intellect on SlideShare

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