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Every company has different ideas around how to manage emerging technology and ways to incorporate it into day-to-day operations. Some are better at this than others, and it’s important to have a realistic view of where you land on that ‘ability to adapt’ spectrum. The social sentiment analysis maturation model is one (entirely relevant) measurement to gauge this ability, while providing tips around leveling up and the many things possible when you do!

Where You Want to Be vs Where You Are

Finding where you are on the sentiment analysis maturation model takes little more than a brutally honest evaluation of what you’re capable of in the realm of consumer understanding. Every company wants to believe they have the pulse of their target audience(s) and to some extent, they all do. To some extent. Let’s look at some differences:

Ad Hoc

We see Ad Hoc usage and understanding of sentiment analysis, where companies are able to demonstrate value and uncover some unique insights. They can respond to issues, track campaigns and source some creative content from what they see. It’s an occasional effort with equally sporadic results, so it’s hard to show true value here. They have good intentions, but they just don’t have a path to get farther along.

Organized Organizations

Next come the Organized Organizations that have become pretty familiar with the metrics available and trust the data lots more than their Ad Hoc neighbors do. They use it to measure brand health, gather competitive intelligence and track campaigns. The data is starting to take shape here and it’s enticing. They have plans to move forward.

Productive Places

The Productive Places active online are using sentiment analysis in their departments to plan for impact. This is where the process gets pretty exciting. They’ve moved beyond brand health and so on, as that’s a solid part of their measurement metrics, informing everything they do – and now they’ve leveled up to understanding customer experience, making the most of their marketing strategy, and innovating in ways they’d never expected previously. The ideas and understanding start to come quickly here. It’s a lot to take in.

Operational Experts

And then we see the Operational Experts. They’re forecasting, measuring converged media and activating optimized responses in every area – strategy, innovation, customer care, competitive intelligence, brand heath – they’re ahead of it all. All pistons are firing and it’s an incredible thing to see. Indicators for operational excellence live here. It’s where every organization strives to be. This is where data comes alive in limitless new ways, demonstrating value and capturing unique insights as they go.

And these unique insights are a huge differentiator for any brand, as is being able to seamlessly embed measurement and real-time activation into an organization’s day-to-day.

As Melissa Waters, Lyft, VP of Marketing said, “World-class creative is table stakes. I need a strategic partner who is embedded in our business every day, helping us with product decisions and helping us with the way we design our service experience–not just making ads.”

But how do you get there? That’s the rub – you have to understand and plan ahead for the struggles any brand faces with organizational change.

Organizational Challenges & Building the Right Team

Your CMO will likely love the idea of making changes and moving toward these operational insights, but s/he will also know it requires lots of work. And they may not be willing to take it on right now once you consider it from their perspective.

25% of marketers cited organizational and structural challenges as the number one reason they haven’t adopted data-driven attribution. That’s a bleak statistic. And your CMO has probably been up against this hurdle for a while. When you’re talking about big organizations with lots of moving pieces and people bringing different perspectives and priorities to the table, s/he knows that you can do everything right and your measurement plan may still fail.

That’s more than a bummer – it’s a department killer, depending on the quarter.

Having the right team in place that’s supporting you is the first step to success (or failure).

According to Gartner, building a data-driven marketing team does not mean staffing it with a bunch of data scientists. You’ll want people from a variety of backgrounds, as data is never straightforward; people who can spot trends and correlations, definitely – ibut also creative types who offer a different approach. And you’ll want specialists focused on a range of roles, including:

  • Web
  • Social media
  • Social listening
  • Mobile app/games
  • Segmentation
  • Digital media
  • Data visualization
  • Statistician/modelling
  • Tagging
  • Data architect

And you’ll need a director of analytics to wrap it all up and be in communication with your executive sponsor. You have all of that? Swell, but don’t discount that last part.

Executive sponsorship is typically where communication falls apart, and why organizations struggle. If your team isn’t experiencing acceptance and encouragement and active promotion of your efforts from an executive sponsor, your data-driven marketing will remain a tough sell for the rest of the organization, as they all have their own (other) metrics to hit each quarter.

But let’s assume you have executive sponsorship wrapped up – what comes next takes time and patience.

Becoming an Incremental Change Agent

This is where the rubber hits the road and you make some noise. You have a leader in place, empowered to make decisions that impact your marketing organizations company-wide. Maybe that leader is you? And you have the right people on your team – one of which is you, the unofficial (or official) incremental change agent!

You don’t just sit back and say, “I did everything I can. Now, I wait.” Instead, you stand up and advocate your program. You map out transitional steps, and explain processes that demonstrate what is happening and why it’s relevant. You share excitement around what you’re doing, what you’re learning about your consumer base, your competitors, and potential new product or service offerings and you get others excited about the potential too.

You need to ask a series of questions to move forward.

  • Is anything automated? What and how is it working for us? What does it tell us, specifically?
  • Do we have tools in place that create the reporting cadence we require?
  • What reports do we require?
  • Do we have processes that are aligned with company goals? And is it standardized across the organization?
  • What is the company vision? How are we achieving it?
  • Are we successful in measuring the business objectives and marketing objectives and how we’re moving the needle for the organization?
  • Do we have the right team in place in every part of the organization?

And you devote time to making changes so that each answer will be a resounding “yes!”. It doesn’t happen overnight. And we need to get comfortable with the incremental changes necessary to make it all possible. A big vision requires correspondingly significant planning to accomplish – areas that a gap analysis would reveal many steps to fill in. Be ready to climb those steps.

There are many places to start your changes, and each offers impact. Be reasonable. “Today, I’m going to make this one change and align all of our reports so they all are standardized.” And that can be a big undertaking in itself – and one you should celebrate and show off once accomplished. It’s important to make sure your internal marketing is as exceptional as you strive to make your external marketing become. The sale starts within. It’s a good litmus for your other efforts and a great way to ensure success.

This way, you can build out your scope of work in a way that provides realistic benchmarks for your team and generates organizational buy-in as you incrementally progress.

Probably a good starting point is to not recreate the wheel and tie in your efforts with the data NetBase has ready and waiting for you – 27 months’ worth of topic data in many cases. And if you integrate it with other data and other systems and standardize your reporting through its awesome dashboarding, all of a sudden that incremental change feels pretty – and is – significant. Talk about inspiring organizational acceptance!

Michael Fein, SVP, Strategy, Insights, and Analytics at PMK•BNC

A business builder with an eye for identifying opportunities. He consults on consumer insight-driven marketing, analytics and optimization across online and offline channels for brand building and direct response marketing.

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