I attended a conference in San Francisco earlier this month, titled “The Future of Customer Intelligence.” While attending one of the sessions I felt a smile come across my face as I was reminded, by one of the speakers (a presenter from Sillicon Valley’s Delloitte Technologies “Innovative Incubator” ), of the “parable” of the Boiling Frog or the “Boiling Frog Story.” You remember the story, the premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death.
The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability of people to react to significant changes around them that occur gradually, in concert with being “boiled to death” by inattention. For example, one presenter talked of the demise of Kodak.
Obviously the “people” analogized here are those of us navigating through the complexities or context of today’s marketplace or business world, passively attending to this quarter’s financials and ignoring the opportunities to know more about what we don’t know about the social, economic, climatic, technological, cultural, etc. trends that surrounds us that have a potential of impacting our organizations and businesses. Quote, “70% of brands could disappear and consumers would not care.” Why?
Images and attendant emotions associated with experience such as viewing photos or videos, listening to victims stories, or the political rhetoric that followed in the wake of Sandy and the Oklahoma storms may serve as another futuristic analogy of things to come following the demise of some businesses.
Is it possible to not only observe but to begin on a journey of “knowing more about what we do not know” by gathering and measuring the trends in value change; impact of technology of purchase behavior; millennialism, the decrease in consumer loyalty to brands; decreasing confidence in big business; the explosive business impact of the sudden emergence of predicted global economy; so much data that you get a brain cramp thinking about how to organize, analyze, and observe trends coming from multiple data streams; the impact of an ageing population; the dichotomous polarized grouping of the rich and the poor; changes in cultural and climatic conditions across the globe, etc.
One place to start the journey is to begin paying attention to social conversations (defined as the narrative voice of people as “heard” within the context of social media/internet).
In the conference there was a mention of the idea that in the near future the scientific method would become obsolete because “any data that is not real time is obsolete (yesterday’s) data is simply historical” (interesting thought!) Thus, gathering and analyzing social conversations related to all of the trends identified above can serve as an initial phase of beginning to “know what we don’t know about” about things that may affect the future of our businesses/organizations.
Collection and Analysis of social conversations can be garnered from many different sources. Among them are:
- Social media sites
- Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Yelp, etc.
- Social/Cultural Event recordings
- Media/News Releases
- Political speeches
- Qualitative Research Efforts
- Respondent answers to O/E questions
- Focus Group recordings
- IDI reports
- Internal Corporate Sources
- Customer insights streams
- Call center audio recordings
- Recordings of Corporate events
- Company and competitor websites
Tools & methods for organizing these conversational messages could include:
- Text Analytics
- Traditional charts, graphs, and tables
- Dashboards and data visualizations
Once collected, organized, and analyzed, resulting information can produce:
- Trend analysis
- Confirmation of intuitive hypothesis
- Competitor/product/service comparison
- Alignment/misalignment of intended advertising message with consumer experience
As per one of these conference presentations, you could start evaluating your business by asking these types of questions? Do you understand the deep demographic and psychographic changes that are leading to changing consumer needs? Do you have the right organizational structure and management practices that gives you access to right talent to help you better understand consumer needs? How are you leveraging big data (yours and other’s) to better understand customer needs? Because you can rightly conclude, the future consumer will:
- Be ethnically diverse, and attracted to different products
- Use a different set of criteria to measure their probability of purchasing your products and services
- Be technology savvy
- Very much cost aware
“We at Discovery Research Group believe that facilitating your success is the nature of our reason to exist”Robert Higginson; VP Business Development and Client Relations