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IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: Making Social Web Data Actionable with Lisa Joy Rosner, CMO, NetBase

April 1, 2013 No Comments

Social media has taken on a life of its own within today’s business world, and as more and more organizations begin to utilize social media for business purposes, there is an increasing amount of data being produced.

In the below interview, Lisa Joy Rosner from NetBase outlines ways in which organizations can integrate the data being collected through their social media channels, and utilize this social data in conjunction with their other data sources to maximize business value.

  • Q. How do you feel social media has changed the way business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) companies conduct business today?

A. All the traditional models have been flipped on their heads because customers are now in charge.  There’s been a mass adoption of social media, which you can see in statistics like one from Edison Research showing 58 million Americans checking their social networks several times a day – they have the “social habit.” Because of that, the business model has changed from B2B and/or B2C to the consumer being at the center, or what we call C2B (customers-to-business). Within seconds, a positive or negative consumer post can go viral around the world and affect a carefully crafted brand message almost instantaneously.  The message here is to know, understand and engage with your fans who are chatting across the social web.

When consumers are conversing on social networks, they’re expressing their opinions, likes, dislikes, and behaviors. In some cases, they’re specifically telling brands how they expect to be serviced. Companies have caught on to this. Sixty six percent of the Fortune 500 have Facebook pages and 73 percent are active on Twitter, and in turn over 33 percent of consumers check those brand pages daily. The bottom line is that businesses now have to publish, monitor, analyze, and engage in real time or they’re going to be left behind.

  • Q. What do these changes mean for global enterprises?

A. Social media has become another data point that needs to be integrated across multiple use cases and joined with other data sources. It’s going to play a pivotal role in how we make business decisions in this new era. Enterprise activities able to use insights discovered through social media analysis include Customer Service, Campaign Tracking, Product Launch Tracking, Brand Tracking, Crisis Management, Competitive Intelligence, Predictive Modeling and more.  The key here is to use social data in conjunction with your other data sources.  For example, your current business intelligence data warehouse can tell you what has happened (what your top sellers were), but if you add in social intelligence, you can see what is happening now (what your top sellers are today) and make real-time decisions (like offer an in the moment promotion or increase stock to certain locations).

Big data, that is, overarching trends and patterns we can discern from analyzing billions of posts, and little data, that is, actionable insights we might get from a single post on a Facebook brand page, will both affect strategy, even for the biggest organizations.  These can tell you a lot about how to run C2B, because your consumers are talking directly to you in real-time.

  • Q. Can you please explain a little about a C2B model and the benefits it can offer to businesses today?

A. The C2B model institutionalizes the practice of making sure that the customer voice is heard across all  departments in the enterprise and is at the center of your strategy.  The galvanizing requirement is implementing a “single source of social media truth” so that all business decision making is done based on the same data set and accuracy. It is also best to have historical data so that you can do trend analysis and even predictive modeling.  Once this is in place, you can understand your advocates, badvocates and madvocates, and learn from what they’re saying. It enables you to do things like detect crises before they go viral and mitigate the damage, or to provide instant customer care by engaging with customers in real time on the sites where they’re active. At the highest level, running C2B enables enterprises to increase sales, enhance customer satisfaction, and stay ahead of the competition.

  • Q. What do you see as the pros and cons of social collaboration within the workplace?

A. A big attraction of social collaboration in the workplace is that it’s a form of real-time interaction. Among the many pros are that it can streamline operations and decision-making, bond employees from across the globe, and spur creative thinking.
The cons can be classified as potential cons. All kinds of social collaboration can turn into a time sink or a distraction if not used properly. You need to have rules of engagement that HR can assist with, and a strategy, which makes social media no different from previous waves of technology innovation, from copy machines, to fax machines, email to video conferencing.

  • Q. Can you please tell us about NetBase’s social command center for brands and real-time marketing solutions?

A. NetBase social command centers differ for each client—they’re mashups that pull our real-time social analytics data via API into various widgets and dashboards that are displayed across a series of screens. Depending on client needs, they may enable users to look at real-time sentiment based timelines, likes and dislikes in word clouds and pie charts, or analyze the online conversation by geography or gender or domain location or other parameters. We can combine this information with transactional data, a real-time Twitter feed, competitive data, or other metrics to give clients real-time insight into campaign results, events, evolving crises and more.
Command centers usually take the form of a special room with big monitors where representatives from several departments can gather for cross-functional collaboration and real-time decision-making. Organizations finding them valuable are in such industries as CPG, Fast-Food, and Media and Entertainment.  NetBase has a customer success team as well as a partner network that help to build and manage command centers.

  • Q. How does your NLP technology with text analytics and machine learning work to deliver clean and accurate social media data to organizations?

A. Simply put, NetBase reads language at scale. Our DNA as a company is computational linguistics. In fact, we have 14 PhDs and several patents on the topic. We’ve taught our system to diagram every sentence from across the public social web, just like your grade-school English teacher made you do. That enables us to understand even the subtleties of language, like slang. For example, we know when “sick” means “ill” and when it means “awesome,” or when “killing it” means “doing an amazing job” and not “murdering something.” We have even coded our system to understand the sentiment or passion intensity expressed via emoticons as well as abbreviations like gr8.

The importance of NLP for social media analytics is that to be accurate, you need to understand the context of what’s being said. We do that with a higher degree of accuracy than any other social media analysis solution on the market.

So, when you think about a command center and reacting to a crisis (or something amazing) going viral, understanding with the highest degree of accuracy is key to successful decision making and then appropriate action.

  • Q. What are the primary business benefits of this?

A. Our customers use NetBase for very important business decisions, whether that’s spotting and mitigating a crisis in its early stages, serving customers, analyzing the competitive landscape, assessing the success of a new digital campaign, product ideation, or a range of other use cases. Making the right decisions in those instances requires accurate, clean data, and that’s what we deliver. At the end of the day, customers report that we’ve helped them sell more, improve customer satisfaction and retention, manage digital campaigns, and save time and money for their organization.

  • Q. What other solutions will NetBase put forward in 2013 to help organizations take advantage of the benefits offered through Social Business today?

A. We’ll be enhancing our engagement console so that users can not only understand consumers but also engage quickly and effectively with them. We’ll also be adding  publishing capabilities and additional channel-specific offerings beyond our Facebook,  and Twitter.  NetBase is an agile development organization.  We update our solutions every two weeks and incorporate customer requests. We innovate at the speed and of social, so you never know what is coming next, but every two weeks there are a whole host of new features – this delights our customers.

Lisa Joy Rosner is the award winning Chief Marketing Officer at social intelligence company NetBase, where she works with the largest brands in the world—including Coca-Cola, Kraft and Taco Bell—as they transform their approach to real-time marketing.

Ms. Rosner is a 22 year veteran marketing executive in Silicon Valley, who is known for her creative and educational approach.  Before joining NetBase, she was an e-commerce expert, having served as vice president of Worldwide Marketing at BroadVision Inc. and vice president of Marketing at MyBuys, where she worked with such companies as Sears, Wal-Mart and Circuit City.  Prior to that, Ms. Rosner worked in the business intelligence market at Brio, DecisionPoint and Oracle.

Lisa Joy is an active blogger and guest columnist on many topics related to social media. Rosner has served on the marketing advisory board for the Silicon Valley Red Cross and the Wornick School as well as the Content Committee of, the AMA and Benchmark.  A guest lecturer at the Hass School of Business, Stanford the Tuck School of Business and Universtiy of Wisconsin, Lisa Joy is frequently quoted in top tier press including The Wall Street Journal, Mashable and Giga-Om.   Named a “Silicon Valley Woman of Influence” in 2013, Ms. Rosner received a bachelor’s degree (sum cum laude) in English literature from the University of Maryland.  She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and mother to four young children.


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