Value. Fear. Curiosity.
These are the top three ways we saw clients and the marketplace interact with sentiment and perception data in 2019.
Conversations across sectors are now littered with “data driven decision-making” comments. However, what that means in practice varies widely from the largest corporations to the smallest startups. After hundreds of conversations this year, we have distilled down our largest takeaways to understanding and moving beyond these three ideas. More data, not less, is what’s on the horizon for businesses and getting comfortable with how data can improve – not overwhelm – their internal processes.
Seeing the Value.
When clients and practitioners gain or develop an actionable understanding of sentiment and perception data, our analyst wonk hearts sing. This doesn’t mean a cursory skim of a report dashboard or absorbing a quick soundbite. Rather, it’s when businesses shift their thinking around decision making based on the knowledge they are gaining by integrating data analysis into their workflow. For Metric Centric that takes the shape of Consumer Voice (CV) Snapshots, Audience Impact Score (AIS) Reports, or other offerings. The critical objective is to actively listen to customers. Shifting from assumptions to quantitative knowledge placed our clients a step ahead of competitors and well-positioned them to anticipate customer needs. However, this segment of the market remains far too smaller given the amount of information and tools available to evaluate and understand sentiment and perception data.
Overwhelmed by Fear.
Tapping into our most basic instinct of fight or flight, there remains a significant sector of the market that actively avoids explore sentiment and perception data out of fear. Not to be overly grandiose, but it is feared by some practitioners because aligning workflows to quantitative data may mean that current, even longstanding, marketing or sales efforts could be proven to be out of sync with the market and customer base. Sometimes masked as skepticism, the fear of sentiment and perception data is closely linked to the “fear of the new.” We distrusted SEO before we couldn’t imagine not accounting for it. We discounted the relevance of SEM before seeing its impact in practice. The “we” of the market always starts from a place of doubt and evolves only when the market shifts its acceptance. Often vocal, fear-driven influencers can slow down organizational growth or minimize potential for increased customer satisfaction.
Not quite ready to jump in feet-first to integrating sentiment and perception analysis into their decision making process, we see many individuals and organizations “dipping a toe” or two into the water again and again. Hesitant of what might be learned (good and bad) there’s a desire to go slow, but not dismiss the idea of better understanding the data. This is the area where we expect to see the most growth in 2020. Moving from a quick snapshot that provides valuable discussion prompts yet not enough actionable insight, organizations will keep “flirting” with the idea of changing or adding to their process by pulling in new data set (of sentiment and perception). We anticipate market forces and early adaptors to emerge in 2020, and they will increase the understanding for the value of alternative data.
Where does your own organization, or your own thinking, fall into this spectrum? Are you enthusiastic, but not an adopter? Confident it’s rubbish and no need to pay attention? Or are you wondering what relevance all of this may have for improving your own marketing advantage. There’s room for all of them, but in 2020 the vision for growth in this area is going to be clear. Will you be ahead of the curve?