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5 Questions with Will McInnes, CMO of Brandwatch

Mike McMaster | 05.04.2017

Datorama sat down with Will McInnes, Chief Marketing Officer of Brandwatch, to talk about the company’s new expanded strategic partnership with Twitter, the surge in companies adopting social analytics platforms as a core marketing technology, and the company’s annual user conference, Now You Know, next week in Denver.

Q: Congratulations on the big announcement with Twitter! What else can you say about your new, expanded partnership heading in to your annual NYK event in Denver?

A: We’ve just announced an incredibly exciting new phase of our partnership with Twitter, and it means we’re going to be working closer than ever before with our friends at Twitter to bring truly useful innovations to market to help brands better understand consumers.

Twitter’s Official Partner program has selected only five companies from the social technology marketplace to be part of this initiative and here at Brandwatch we are absolutely honored to be one of that elite group of technology companies. As a result of this new Twitter partnership, Brandwatch will deliver even faster speed to insights and unparallelled access to richer historical social data. This is a huge part of our mission statement. Our customers are first priority and this is just one in a long list of initiatives (including the entire purpose of our Customer Success team) to provide our users with the best technology and most hands-on support in the industry. I mean it when I say these are truly exciting times at Brandwatch and in the social intelligence industry as a whole.

Q: The list of brands participating in this event is pretty impressive: Dell, AOL, 3M, IBM, Delta, and many more. What is it about social analytics that has so garnered the attention of all of these brand marketers?

A: Social media has completely changed the way people consume information. People rely on social media to get their news, discover new products and share their thoughts and feelings about absolutely everything and anything. That massive shift in consumer behavior has done a couple of things to change the landscape for brand marketers.

First, social media platforms have created an enormous amount of new data about how customers perceive and interact with brands. Social has also given marketers a new way to interact with their consumers. But translating that opportunity into business value is a real challenge. In a recent CMO Survey, 41.5% of marketers reported that their business hasn’t been able to show the full effectiveness of social media on their business model. So we’re really excited to hear from some of the world’s most recognizable brands at our Now You KnowTM Conference. It’s an ideal forum to learn directly from the people faced with this challenge of proving the value of social every day in their work. In the grand scheme of things, this is still an extremely young industry, and there’s a lot that we can learn from the experiences of our peers.

Q: You mentioned the data that is created by social media platforms. How does Brandwatch help businesses take advantage of data from platforms like Facebook and Twitter?

A: The amount of data being created on social media platforms today is truly unprecedented. Take Twitter for instance: every second, on average, there are more than 6,000 tweets sent out into the Twittersphere. To put that in perspective, that’s the equivalent of the complete works of William Shakespeare being produced every 9.8 seconds. And that’s just Twitter! A brand marketer somehow needs to make sense of all of that, plus Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and whatever platform may be coming next.

Social intelligence technologies — which include listening and analyzing data from social media platforms and the entire public web — allow marketers to distill the billions of conversations happening on social media every day and turn that mass of conversation into insights about the topics, trends and people impacting their business in real time. By listening to people at scale, marketers can make quicker decisions about how best to communicate with their audience and promote their brand.

Q: How do brand marketers turn that intelligence into business value?

A: Increasingly, the brand marketer’s job at an organization is more and more about data. A few years ago, Gartner famously predicted that the CMO would spend more on IT than the CIO by 2017. As it turns out, that prediction was correct. Today, marketers are using data to learn more about customer experiences and the customer journey, and social analytics is deeply ingrained in that process.

Marketers can use social analytics to test the efficacy of their brand advertising, understand how people perceive their brand, garner research for new product development, and even monitor their competitors. And the real time nature of this intelligence enables marketers to be more versatile and react to the needs of their customers immediately. We are finding new and innovative ways to use social listening data all the time and influence the way that brands interact with people.

Q: How does social analytics fit within that customer journey? What other kinds of data sets do you see marketers using to help them interpret what they are seeing on social media?

A: One of the unique things about social analytics is that data allows us to follow users throughout their customer journeys. Some people will share opinions about ads that they like or dislike, others will reveal thoughts about product features they wish were available, and some people will leave detailed reviews on products they’ve already purchased. Many people will do all three. Marketers can learn from every one of these interactions and extract useful insight from that data to guide their business decisions — whether that’s updating features, choosing to directly engage with a dissatisfied customer or leveraging brand advocates as influencers.

Those decisions can often be tied to results, and marketers that are using social listening data within their decision making apparatus often view social analytics in the broader context of their marketing strategy. For instance, if a specific campaign is targeted at 18-30 year old females, we can measure whether that campaign is inspiring conversation among that audience. If we take it a step further, we can start to analyze whether social is having an impact on sales and conversions among that demographic.

Our partnership with Datorama makes it easier for marketers to apply the power of their social analytics to decisions they are making about their media strategy. We already have customers using Brandwatch data in Datorama today and we’re excited to see what additional insights we can build with the partnership in the future.

 


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