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What consumer data will inform brands and marketers in the future? And how will they access this data? We have some ideas.

More connections = more to monitor

Big Data is already powering the strategies of brands with regard to design, manufacturing, marketing, sales, and more – and the amount of Big Data will only grow as the Internet of Things (IoT) expands.

Already companies like Rolls-Royce use Big Data for after-sales monitoring: “Rolls-Royce engines and propulsion systems are all fitted with hundreds of sensors that record every tiny detail about their operation and report any changes in data in real time to engineers, who then decide the best course of action.”

In the not-too-distant future, brands and marketers will need to pull insights from even more places in a similar way – like automatic feeds from connected devices – to supplement information direct from consumers on social media. Social listening tools will cover more ground so brands can as well.

Talking machine to machine

What about artificial intelligence (AI) interfaces? Tomorrow’s social listening tools will need to interface with AI devices/robots for information as well. It’s entirely possible social posting will become more automated – with devices doing the sharing based on consumer preferences and programming.

How will this impact the way we use sentiment analysis to understand consumer behavior and preferences? Real-time sentiment monitoring will become that much more important – because it may only be when there’s a problem that consumers will personally speak up.

If you’re not already expertly managing social customer service, you need to get ready. It’s only going to be more important going forward.

The same can be said for consumer reviews – another way consumers speak their mind if they don’t complain on social media. If your social listening tools can’t find and analyze this data, you’re not getting a full picture of where you need to act.

Data that’s a heartbeat away – literally

As wearables become more popular – as well as smaller, more accurate/comprehensive, and more connected – this data will need to be assimilated into the mix. So too will the next level of this type of technology – implantables.

Will marketers use things like bio readings to assess/confirm sentiment? Could a quickly beating heart at the movie theater tell you your new lead actor is about to break in a big way? Or that people will soon be promoting the thrill of your newest amusement park ride on social?

It sounds like the stuff of sci-fi, but it’s already happening. Technology company Three Square Market in Wisconsin offers microchip implants for employees to use to access its building and make food purchases at work.

But personal use cases are extensive, and it’s only a matter of time before microchip implants replace things like house keys, car keys, music players, phones, and who knows what else? Already there are implantable glucose sensors for diabetics. And your Fitbit can already measure your heart rate, steps, etc. – so an implantable Fitbit could do that and more!

As next level tech gets smarter, social listening tools will as well.

New channels of social communication

With all advances in technology come new channels for connecting to each other. What new social networks will be inspired by tech like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), which are predicted to become mainstream any time now? And how will brands uncover and use the data created there?

And what about self-driving/talking cars? Or drones? They’ll surely impact geo-marketing strategies – but only if brands are listening. Tomorrow’s social listening tools will give brands access to a lot more data if they keep up with the changes as they happen.

What won’t change

Of course, whatever the tech and whatever the tools, these voluminous new data sources will still be used to determine where consumer passion lives, and how to interact more personally in the places consumers most want to be engaged – wherever that may be.

Robots may become our personal assistants, but human emotion will still be the driving factor behind all decision-making – just as it is now.

So keep fine-tuning your social listening and sentiment analysis skills. Both will be needed in the future, even if the tools themselves change.

Need a better understanding of how social listening tools work? Reach out and we’ll give you a demo!

Image from Lee Maguire

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