Integration of Surveys, Social and Sales
The Triple S combo was the Holy Grail, but it has been found now


Integrating data from different sources is admittedly nothing new. Marketing Mix Modelling (MMM) albeit difficult and expensive has been done before, with some really impressive results. The one kind of data that was and is still missing, are unsolicited posts from consumers expressed on social media and other public websites, such as e-commerce and reviews sites. The reason this data has been missing is that it is unstructured, and traditional MMMs can only deal with time series.

DigitalMR has for the longest time been advocating that there is a way to accurately measure what people say on the web and use it to produce customer insights. Yes, there can be millions of posts out there, and it is tough to harvest only the posts that are relevant, and so many languages; we say so what? We have machine learning on our side and if used properly we can expect wonders in the very near future.

DigitalMR and Nielsen have presented the results of an R&D project at the ESOMAR MENAP 2017 conference, which aimed to discover correlations between social media monitoring metrics derived from posts in Arabic, retail sales and tracking survey KPIs. The wonderful news is that the R square between sentiment and sales is 0.81. What is more impressive is that the beta coefficient for positive sentiment and sales is double that compared to negative sentiment. There were not enough data points to prove positive correlation between social metrics and survey KPIs in this instance. DigitalMR has done two other brand tracking integrations with social posts in the past (in the Dutch language), and both delivered very positive results in terms of visual correlation of trends. What is more important is that because the social data is as granular as we want it to be in terms of time periods, it can play the role of an early indicator to monthly brand health or NPS trackers.

The above paragraph proves that there is enough evidence for a new approach that we would like to coin: SSS = Surveys+Social+Sales – the triple S combo. This will be an ongoing tracking approach that will combine social listening tracking with brand health or NPS trackers, as well as retail sales and distribution data from Nielsen reports. At some point a few years down the line the role of tracking surveys will be reduced to a handful of questions, making SSS much more efficient. Social posts and retails sales from POS scanning can be tracked down to the minute so we could soon be looking at daily or even hourly reporting… tracking surveys will need to either evolve to real time intercepts or become extinct altogether.

This post feels more like an announcement of a big scientific discovery than it probably should. A lot more work is needed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that social listening correlates with representative survey trackers. Just in case SSS will become a thing, don’t forget that you learned about it here first… (This sounds like something a news channel anchor would say…!) One of our predictions along with other futurists (years ago) was that the Marketing Director of the future is a journalist. Here we are, almost behaving like journalists in our effort to perform well at inbound marketing.