Friday, January 31, 2014

The Customer Brand Score and the Future with Big Data Analytics

Let me preface this post by admitting that I don't always read everything that comes out of Cognizant's publishing machine.  I work for a company that employs around 170,000 people, and many of those people are overseas and are focused on different industries and/or technologies than mine.  Simply put, I don't always find everything from Cognizant relevant or useful.  However, I recently read a whitepaper that makes a lot of sense.  Titled "The Customer Brand Score" by Vijay Raghunathan, this paper focuses on the interaction of data captured from social media, and how it can be tied to CRM data.  In my opinion, Vijay has hit the nail right on the head.
Figure 1 - Mapping Social Identities
The Customer Brand Score makes perfect sense to me.  Figure 1 above, taken from Vijay's whitepaper, shows how external data such as likes, shares, comments, and blog posts can be collected from social media, fed into a database, and linked with data collected from CRM systems like dollars spent, repurchases, purchase frequency.  Linked together, this can be extremely valuable data.  We have come to a point in the maturity of the industry where we have capable listening and analtyics products that can collect and identify much of this social data (e.g. Radian6, Adobe Social, Crimson Hexagon, Sysomos,etc.).  We also know that there are great traditional CRM technologies out there that are tracking the internal data of customers (e.g. Salesforce, Netsuite, Infusionsoft, etc.).

The one thing we haven't seen a lot of is the ability to make that connection between the two.  This is where the term "big data" starts.  Vijay's paper suggests that there are ways to link these two together using sophisticated integration in databases.  That information is then dissected, and customers are given scores based on those different levers mentioned before (shares, spending, likes, etc.).  The company then comes up with a strategy, and targets customers with certain scores.  Customers can be divided up based on social sentiment, and handled differently if they are thought to be detractors vs. advocates.

There are so many possibilities for this concept. The companies that are able to make that connection will have extremely powerful data.  They can then use the data to help marketing, customer service, R&D, sales (basically every department in an organization). The new digital marketplace poses significant challenges to new and established companies.  However, it also provides opportunity for all companies to capitalize on real, accessible data that can be used to better serve customers, provide increasing loyalty, and make more money.