Thursday, June 26, 2008

How to Track Buzz for Big Brands - WiseWindow


One of the biggest challenges for most small companies is generating buzz—getting people to talk about their products, online and off. Big brands, however, have a very different problem: keeping track of the incredible volume of content being generated relating to their company, product or service.

That's the problem WiseWindow is attempting to solve for brand managers, marketing research firms and CPG ad agencies. WiseWindow is an online (SaaS) platform designed to aggregate consumer sentiment as expresses across more than 12 million sources—forums, blogs, opinion sites and other social media venues.



WiseWindow attempts to measure "what moves people" in terms of attributes and buying factors. Their system aggregates opinions expressed across a vast number of online sources and applies intelligence to the data to help marketers, researchers and brand managers make more informed decisions across areas from product development to advertising.

The "intelligence" applied includes:
  • separating comments about a specific brand and product from unrelated content (e.g. isolating content related to Dove shampoo from text about birds or ice cream bars);
  • analyzing positive vs. negative sentiment (e.g. understanding that "unpredictable" is a bad term for a restaurant meal, but a good term for a movie plot);
  • graphing the importance of product attributes in the purchase decision;
  • comparing buzz for competing products; and
  • considering the element of time (e.g. if a product is described as "cutting edge," it's vital to know if that description is two weeks old or two years old).

Strengths

WiseWindow applies powerful, sophisticated analysis of opinions expressed across a very large number of sources to help consumer product and retail managers make informed decisions about product design and promotion. It not only analyzes sentiment by positive or negative, but also takes into consideration the authority of each source based on multiple factors (assuring that commentary on low-traffic sites isn't unduly weighted). It enables rapid analysis of a vast amount of data aggregated across millions of websites.

The tool isn't applicable only to CPG manufacturers and retailers; here's an example of WiseWindow in action tracking voter sentiment with regard to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain.

Weaknesses

Both the demo and the product are still a bit rough around the edges. When I sat in on a live online demonstration of the product, even beyond the technical glitches that can happen with any web-based presentation, the presenters seemed unprepared with their message. They dove immediately into examples of what can be done with the product without explaining, at a high level, what it is, how it works, and who cares. The selection of bloggers for outreach also seemed a bit odd. Although I found the product fascinating, most of what I write isn't targeted at large CPG firms or retailers. Someone like Kevin Hillstrom at the MineThatData blog would seem like a more ideal target for this.

WiseWindow's tool still needs some polishing as well. Some of the buttons are rather cryptic (what's an "overdeveloped positive"?) and certain graphs were mislabeled, seeming to show patterns that weren't really intended. Brand managers responsible for making multi-million dollar decisions based on this data will need to understand how the aggregations and trends are being developed as well as the ability to model the data in various ways to match their own needs and preferences.

Pricing

Doesn't matter. If your company, product or service generates thousands of mentions per month across the web, WiseWindow is worth investigating. If it generates only a small number of citations, you don't need this.

The Bottom Line

WiseWindow at this point appears to be an immature but very powerful tool for the monitoring and analysis of very large amounts of consumer opinion data. It is best suited for brand managers and market researchers who view themselves as cutting-edge, early adopter types willing to work with an early-stage product and help shape its development. Early adopters can potentially get a jump on competitors by being armed with this analysis, and WiseWindow stands to benefit from the product development input of this group.

*****


Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom

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