September 18, 2014

Jennifer Roberts of Collective Intellect: Influencing Behavior

Social media is all the rage, but it isn’t just fun and games. Understanding your customer’s intentions and reactions can be crucial to the success of your campaigns and tapping into that can have a longer term impact or influence on the conversation than you ever imagined. Tune in as Jennifer Roberts of Collective Intellect joins Brent Leary for an in-depth discussion on the importance of social media analytics.

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Jennifer Roberts of Collective IntellectSmall Business Trends: Before we jump into things, can you give us a little bit of your personal background?

Jennifer Roberts: I have been at Collective Intellect for nearly two years as their marketing manager and started off at Sun Microsystems doing web development and web marketing for nearly 10 years.

Collective Intellect is a social media and text analytics company. We help our customers better understand their customers’ intentions and expressions of behavior so they can make better strategic and tactical decisions based on this intelligence.

Small Business Trends: Collective Intellect ran something called the “Collective Intellect Super Sunday Ad Tracker” in conjunction with CNBC. Can you tell us about it?

Jennifer Roberts: It was designed to measure the influence of ad campaigns prior to the big game and then after.

We did a slightly different take on the traditional ranking system that you might have seen with the Ad Bowl by looking at not only the share of conversation (volume ranking of how often the campaign was talked about), but how consumers were talking about the brand. By extension, understanding how expressions of their intention, purchasing language, viewing behavior and volume activity translated into the definition of the engaged customer.

Small Business Trends: Can you explain what engaged consumers are versus total buzz?

Jennifer Roberts: The engaged consumer metric is a value that represents the social indicators we created specifically for the ads for the Super Bowl. We created indicators around affinity, favorites, purchasing language, funny, viewing intent, offensiveness and favorability.

What we were trying to do is isolate and extract conversations relating to how customers were reacting to a brand. We ranked those indicators in the engaged consumer index, so our client could see a couple of days before the big game how the advertising was impacting customer expressions around the intent to purchase. Did that change as the ad was promoted on You Tube or was showing during the Super Bowl? And how long after the game did the consumers continue to express and interest in purchasing or viewing?

Small Business Trends: Chrysler was one of the most popular, but it also looks like it was one of the top ones on the offensive list?

Jennifer Roberts: Yes, what happened was kind of interesting and quite amusing. The Chrysler ad seemed to generate a lot of conversation, but it wasn’t until Karl Rove actually reacted unfavorably to the ad that it prompted a lot of discussion and a lot of conversation from the social media universe.

When Karl Rove was offended by the ad people got on and started conversing how they were offended that Karl Rove was offended, so we have a whole indicator dedicated to capturing consumers that were sensing offensiveness.

Although they were not really offended by the ad, they were offended by Karl Rove. So we we’re still able to extract that conversation and extract that language the customer was using, and see how other variables had impacted the campaign. So there is the ad and then there are individuals who can impact the discussion.

Small Business Trends: One influential person actually drove the discussion around the unfavorableness and offensiveness.

Jennifer Roberts: Yes, absolutely. I think that brings the real interesting point that social media is extending the conversation in terms of encouraging on traditional media and within the social media sphere. It’s not like he really was advertising or campaigning in an isolated incident. It is really a conversation continued both before and long after the campaign.

It is critical for a company to realize that they can have a longer term impact or influence on the conversation than they ever imagined, just by tapping into social media. Understanding what consumers are saying specifically around their behavior or actions or response to a campaign.

Small Business Trends: Purchase language. Can you explain that a little bit?

Jennifer Roberts: We were looking for words where the customer is saying “I want to purchase, I want to buy” or any kind of variations on that, which is their particular charm. We are able to identify, collect and categorize that under an indicator. What is the purchase intent?

Small Business Trends: M&M’s comes up quite a bit on the positive side of things. Are there some good takeaways here?

Jennifer Roberts: One thing we notice is people want to laugh. They wanted it to be funny. Most of the time, the ads that resonated most from the viewers were funny. They were lighthearted and created the most positive reaction within our indicators.

Small Business Trends: So let’s look at the flip side. If we look at Go Daddy, what kind of things should be avoided?

Jennifer Roberts: Most obviously I think tattoos and young women don’t resonate well with audiences. They’ve gone down a particular path to really pushing the envelope as far as their advertising campaigns. It just seems like the content of their advertising wasn’t soliciting the right response.

Small Business Trends: If you are a smaller company, what are the take aways to figure out how to create the experiences that have positive buzz, customer engagement, and also lead to that purchasing opportunity?

Jennifer Roberts: For a smaller company, it is really looking at it strategically – where they want to invest their time and energy or adoption in the usage of social media. Understanding the metrics of social media within the context of the overall marketing and business strategy and really trying to tie any outreach efforts they have to other metrics within the business.

To move beyond just monitoring mention and sentiments and trying to isolate how customers are reacting to a particular outreach, and how to influence their behavior.

Small Business Trends: Jennifer where can people learn more?

Jennifer Roberts: They can go to Collective Intellect.

This interview is part of our One on One series of conversations with some of the most thought-provoking entrepreneurs, authors and experts in business today. This interview has been edited for publication. To hear audio of the full interview, click the right arrow on the gray player below. You can also see more interviews in our interview series.

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Brent Leary


Brent Leary Brent Leary is a Partner at CRM Essentials and organizer of the Social Business Atlanta conference. Brent serves on the advisory board of The University of Toronto CRM Center of Excellence, writes the Social CRM column for Inc.com's technology site, and blogs at Brent's Social CRM Blog.

3 Reactions

  1. I’m offended that people are offended that Karl Rove was offended – lol!

  2. I think the most important component that most people seem to miss when doing social media, is the actual intent of the user. Once you figure this out, then you will be able to connect with people based upon their needs.

  3. This is the most powerful stuff any marketer could ever read…Go back to the beginning and read this post again as this is what business is all about. Test,test and test again. Understand your customers and interact with them on their level. Give incentives for free and talk to them. Remember your customer value.

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