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Consumer tribes in times of Social Big Data

How to nd, identify and sell to them

In social media, it is all about one-to-one dialogue and tribes. Social Big data presents a new challenge. What changes with Social Big Data? The 4 Ps of Insights Deep proling, up-selling and cross-selling Social targeting The unique selling proposition is nally possible

LOHAS for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability is one of many demographics emerging in richer societies. LOHAS is composed predominantly by highly educated women concerned with the environment, who buy organic food and do yoga or maybe zumba. If Whole Foods wants to come to Madrid or Ciudad del Mexico, this is going to be a good demographic to start with. How would that be done if this was 2001? A Traditional market research team would be hired and then proceed to call people, screening their habits or maybe approaching individuals in busy streets to answer a long form. Only a fraction of those would be identied as the target audience, because most of the subjects simply would not match the criteria. But this being 2013, Whole Foods new country manager has decided to try to gather data in Twitter. Using social media mining software she searches for relevant terms like yoga, zuma, organic food, and in less than one week has gathered 100k people. The second step in this process is to store all the indentied users timelines and apply clustering and other text mining techniques to discover patterns and trends in the collection of the data. Last step is to have experienced analysts browse through this collection of tweets, a process very similar to a focus group, which in a way, is what Twitter is: a very broad, spontaneous focus group with 250 million participants. Welcome to the new world of market intelligence where social media meets consumer tribes. According to professor Bernard Cova in the article Tribal Marketing: the Tribalisation of Society and its Impact on the Conduct of Marketing a tribe is dened as a network of heterogenous persons -in terms of age, sex, income, etc. - who are linked by a shared passion or emotion; a tribe is capable of collective action, its members are not simple consumers, they are also advocates. When we connect this denition to what is happening in current Social Media Platforms today we found those tribes are taking hold of a good part of the digital landscape. There are Facebook groups to discuss wine, golf , health Insurance and a myriad of other topics. Experts inuence thousands of consumers with a mere 140-character message in Twitter, Yelp and Foursquare are the new destinations to look for great venues. Moreover those tribes are taking hold of the very Facebook pages, where brands manage their content. In the same way consumer tribes members send messages to Brand ofcial Twitter accounts demanding customer care and better products and services. From their side, many brand managers have put in place an army of so called social CRM analysts to be ready to sooth the masses in the event of any kind of digital uproar, not at all infrequent. Threatens though may represent also new opportunities, as we all know. In Social Media consumers inform marketing managers and sales people of their deepest desires and life events as never before. Consider @Mom39 that describes herself as a mom, living in Barcelona, trained as a doctor and a die-hard fan of jogging. Or the 40 year old @CarlosFly living in London with a lot of mentions about cars and using often Foursquare to check in at several airports around the world. I bet many companies would die to get such detailed information about their consumers.

The good news is now they can. With the right software tools in place, a marketing analyst or a sales rep can use social media to indentify, classify and interact with just the right person. Consider the two ctional characters above @Mom39, a professional doctor and mom and @CarlosFly, a guy who love cars and ies a lot. Lets say you are a sales rep who work for an insurance company, both people may fall into your target audience. What now?

In social media, it is all about one-to-one dialogue and tribes.

This new world is many times the opposite of the classic traditional sales environment. Instead of cold calling with some vague and generic offer, a sales rep can pick right the best time to say something to a potential client. What if your Twitter monitoring software alerts you about @Mom39 tweeting Oh-oh today I turn 40 years old. Gee, that was quick!? Perfect timing to approach her! You could tweet something like @Mom39 40 is the new 30, plus you are 10 years wiser, congrats! . Bingo you got in touch with your future customer. Just wait a few days and send her a link to a text about why smart people should be best informed about insurance together with information about your services. Lets get now to @CarlosFly. You sell a lot of car insurance so you congured your software to monitor all car fans Facebook groups you could nd. You have just got another alert reporting on @CarlosFly latest post: Guys I want a new car. Any recommendations?. But wait, the system also tells you about @CarlosFly frequently check-ins at airports. You have just the right product for him: by buying car insurance from you @CarlosFly will get 10,000 points in their favorite loyalty airline program. You decide to mention this as well as your personal favorite car brand on your comment to @CarlosFly. What we just described above is only the tip of the iceberg of what happens when one taps into the enormous power of on-line consumer tribes. We are back to being groups of hunter-gatherers looking for food, fun, beliefs, and 1000 other things, this time in a 24 x 7 digital world. In a multi-choice world people cannot be pinned down by classic demographics any more. There is an endless on-line stream of information about each one of us and we just started making sense of it. 5 years ago we would nd a few hundred mentions of a brand on Twitter, today we count millions. This brings us to our next most important point: big data.

Social Big data presents a new challenge.

These days, companies internal data about consumers are only a fraction of what is stored externally on other computer clouds. Even the most sophisticated loyalty program cannot possibly deliver that @CarlosFly has just started looking at cars to buy. There are more than 1 billion Facebook users worldwide. Twitter, with 200 million active users, generates over 400 million tweets daily. Consumer data and various dimensions of their behavior can already be found in social media platforms: What do they drink? Where do they go? What do they watch on TV? What do they buy apart from your product? Its all there somewhere on the enormous stream of social Big Data.

What changes with Social Big Data?


Data sample Data silos Data used only once and then discarded.

N=all. Today it is possible to analyze (almost) everything coming from Social Media. No more data silos. Social Data from different sources can be stored in one data warehouse. Information can be re-used. The cost of storage in servers in the cloud allows you to save a large volume of data and reuse it, even if the data has been collected for some other purpose. What is better than Why for Social Big Data. Often we will not get the explanations for everything but we will have more certainty about what we are talking about thanks to the huge volume of data analyzed. The end of having just one version of the truth. The data tell stories and the stories depend on the questions asked. In other words, get used to having many versions of the truth according to the questions you ask. The very nature of Social Big Data is unstructured, meaning that there are a few or no elds to ll in, only the continuous stream of text. Analysts should be able to gure out how to extract information from the streams supported by proper software.


A single version of the truth

Structured data in traditional databases.

Despite all the hype Social Big Data needs not to be a complicated matter. We should not feel anguished or worried about how we are going to deal with yet another buzz word amid the tons of work we still have to do. A thorough framework already exists to start a Social Big Data Project focusing on knowing your consumer and his or her social-digital track record to maximize the possibility of a sale. We call it the four Ps of Insights.

Bio Brand Mentions Intention/Action Apps RTs

Price or Cost Mentions Brand Mentions

Key Insight Indicators

Location Check-ins

Bio Brand Mentions Intention/Action Personality Traits
The 4 Ps of Insights

is just a guide, a heuristic if you like, to help us to come up with good questions to ask the data. There is an old joke in the data mining community: if you press the data hard enough they will confess. The 4 Ps just helps you to get this confession. The items you see below each P on the gure are all typical elements of social media platforms and are called attributes. Bio for example allows Twitter users to describe themselves in 140-characters or less. For example, our @CarlosFly has this great Bio to account for his Twitter persona: Great guy, love cars & wine, engaged and hoping to have kids one day. Like the Bio many other attributes can be extracted from social platforms as shown on the gure: location, check-ins, Brand mentions, price conversations etc. The 4 Ps gather those attributes on 4 dimensions so it is possible to look at them and their combinations to both gure out questions and designing a social Big Data project to answer them. Most importantly the 4 Ps, preferences, pricing, places and people help us to indentify incrementally which consumer tribes compose our consumer universe. What follows is a brief description of each P.

The 4 Ps of Insights

Preferences. By using Facebook likes, comments and shares or Twitter mentions it is possible to rene
continuously what you know about a consumer set of preferences. Getting back to our example: @CarlosFly just tweeted that he is watching a great Sci-Fi? The software should get this written on his prole right away. By following @CarlosFly Twitter or analyzing Facebook Pages and groups where he is active, one can build step by step a map of @CarlosFly tastes, which we call his preferences-DNA. Knowing the Preferences-DNA of a person means you and your team will be able to make thoughtful offers to her on a regular basis resulting on better sales performance. People get loads of information on-line before going to a real store to make a purchase. If you need a new TV you will probably use a few sites to look at models and cost. You can go as far as to compare prices with friends in Facebook and tweet about expensive stuff and bargains. By inspecting carefully your Social Big Data reservoir you can nd incredibly evidence to answer the broad question: How does your offer compare to your competition pricewise? And how do you devise strategies to deal with it?


The zip code reigned for decades for grouping consumers in cities and neighborhoods. Fast forward to the second decade of the 21st Century: people do Facebook check-ins, Foursquaring and much more. Do you know the digital geography of your consumers? Is @Mom39 from our previous example doing check-ins on travel agencies? Maybe it is time to offer her travel insurance. The P for Places has a whole new meaning in social. It is less a xed location and more a string of venues where people hang out and shop. Many more people declare what they do professionally (just like @Mom39 in her Twitter Bio) and associate their professional prole in Linkedin to their other accounts on Twitter and Facebook. Furthermore stating their hobbies and locations on-line, complements the picture to understand which tribes of people appeals to your product. We picked People as our fourth and last P, to emphasize that companies are dealing with very well-informed, complex and sophisticated human beings, who do not t into old fashioned social-demographics anymore. Concepts in place how a company starts selling using Social Big Data? On a typical selling strategy we have two basic scenarios: either you bring new business to the company, i.e. consumers who did not buy your product yet, or you look at your current customer base and try up-selling and cross-selling strategies. Social Big Data software and methodologies work in both cases. Here is how:



Deep proling, up-selling and cross-selling

Imagine the following future scenario for Maria, an insurance company sales rep. The software tool her company acquired sends her fresh leads every morning by crawling Twitter and Facebook for relevant topics marketing analysts have dened. She nds out on top of her list the last tweet from @Mom39: her tweeting about turning 40. Maria quickly tweets back @Mom39 30 is the new 40 and follows her. A few days later, Maria goes back to her priority inbox on the tool and sends another tweet with a link about her insurance product. At this point @Mom39 is curious, clicks on the link and registers on the web site form leaving her phone number. Bingo, Maria has got a hot lead and is ready to call to have a great sales conversation. She reviews Maria prole made by the software and nds out about her recent check-in on a travel agency. She makes a mental note to mention travel insurance in the conversation as well. The scenario above is happening today in several companies around the world. As we have explained earlier in this article, consumers are not static entities in databases anymore. Via a technique called deep proling, software tools monitors continuously for information extracting and structuring data around the consumer, i.e. deepening the consumersprole. As in the case of @Mom39, all the relevant digital tracking she leaves behind can be reviewed at any time by a sales rep to contextualize her sales pitch when she nally get her on the phone. This is fundamentally different from traditional social media monitoring, which are concerned with monitoring the brands whereas a deep proling tool is concerned with the consumer and the data around her. As you might have already concluded Deep Proling may both be used to new business as described above or to up-sell or cross-sell to an existing customer. In order to take full advantage of this possibility there is an important point you should insist with your digital marketing manager to have done as soon as possible.

Social targeting
Does your companys web site have a social login? Social targeting is a way to nd out more about your site visitors by inviting them to use their Twitter or Facebook user name to log on into your web site. Both platforms allow developers to ask permission to see likes, bio and other data that can be then aggregated to nd the best t to each visitor. Companies are also going beyond these basic matching procedures and are using sophisticated statistical processing to infer what a given consumer with a mention story might be interested. One popular technique is clustering, where it is possible to group people according to their similarities. You may have the wine lovers cluster mentioning Ribera del Duero or Catena Zapata vineyards or the game-fanatical cluster mentioning top on-line games. A new visitor can be automatically classied under one of these clusters and successful past offers to individuals belonging to it may also work for this new person. Going back to the case of @Mom39, once she clicks on the link Maria sent her she would be presented with a landing page with a social login. From the moment she registers using her Facebook or Twitter login, the system will know a

whole lot more about her likes, preferences and other data and she could be handled by the marketing & sales people with much more care and precision. To illustrate how to up-sell and cross-sell, suppose the insurance company Maria works for has a partnership with an airline company to sell tickets and travel insurance products together. After @Mom39 registers Maria gets to know a lot more about her. She informs her followers in Twitter she is planning her vacations, Maria quickly scans through travel destinations Maria has liked and nds Santorini. Bingo, Maria alerts the Airline system and generates an email with a great Santorini travel + Insurance offer. In this example we see how Maria both performed an up-sale and a cross-sale at the same time, by tapping into the power of Social Targeting. The possibilities of integrating personalized communication to consumers have never been this broad.

Facebook and Twitter Social Login Buttons

As times goes by, social targeting-enabled systems gather a lot more of consumers information and starts to group individuals who share same preferences with @Mom39 or @CarlosFly, i.e. the consumer tribes around the products and services of the company. Marketing teams in your turn can research these tribes to design new offers, prices and services, come up with third-partner promotions and even dene future products.

The unique selling proposition is nally possible

By identifying and understanding consumer tribes selling gets a lot more sophisticated. With the right tools in place each lead gets a contextualized offer that takes into consideration whom a consumer is, what she likes, where she goes and the best possible time to make her the best possible offer. Unique selling propositions have never been so close to our reach.

Jairson Vitorino, PhD CTO of Elife, @jvitorino