Tesco just announced its acquisition of social media marketing firm BzzAgent. This follows Walmart’s April acquisition of social media analytics firm Kosmix.
The world’s first and third largest retailers have thus set into motion what they view as the next stage in customer intelligence and engagement.
Each firm’s acquisition reflects a gap in their prior organization. Tesco has maintained what is apparently one of the most advanced customer intelligence databases for over a decade, while Walmart’s current consumer insights group was launched in February of 2011. (I’ve created a Storify story with background on Walmart and Tesco’s consumer intelligence approaches up to and including today’s acquisition.)
With a wealth of consumer insights already at hand, Tesco’s acquisition of a firm that specializes in linking loyalty and social-network promotions makes perfect sense in extending their existing intelligence into social engagement. What they do not get with BzzAgent is a social intelligence platform – a way to collect insights from social networks. Tesco may already have such insights through their existing database in order to add social graph connections as an additional layer on its existing consumer insights. Continue reading
An “alliance of geeks and poets” is how Patricia Cohen describes the emergence of data-driven research in the humanities in her great piece in the New York Times.
Ms. Cohen ‘s article describes the rise of “digital humanities”. As she reports, “…researchers are digitally mapping Civil War battlefields to understand what role topography played in victory, using databases of thousands of jam sessions to track how musical collaborations influenced jazz, and searching through large numbers of scientific texts and textbooks to track where concepts first appeared and how they spread.”
The opportunities for new insight and understanding about culture, civilization and consciousness seem immense – but there are also important limitations to data analysis to be recognized here, challenges that measurement for business communications have been wrestling with for a while. Ms. Cohen quotes a Princeton professor for this perspective: Continue reading
A simple definition for an “influencer” is someone who has the leverage required to drive an outcome. Very often that leverage is held in the form of information. In the web2.0 world, information-driven influence is frequently understood as the extent to which information can be made public by any single source, that is, the “information network” or “reach” of that source of information. This trend is illustrated recently by stories about the use of the Klout service to determine VIP guests at the Palm in Las Vegas, and the buzz about the new “Hashable” application.
Many definitions of influence leave off here – essentially making “influence” equivalent to “reach”, and overlooking other fundamental variables in the influence equation, the information and the informant. Simply having the capability to reach people’s ears is useless if you are not credible and/or have nothing helpful or useful to say. Continue reading