Tom H. C. Anderson was “Johnny on the spot” this morning with a short post on what the SaaS CRM behemoth Salesforce.com acquisition of social media monitoring platform Radian6 means for market research. Here is his take:
“I heard a rumor two weeks ago that one of the potential runner ups suitors might have been a marketing research firm. Either way this is exactly the convergence I’ve been talking about here on the blog and elsewhere recently. Datamining, and especially data mining unstructured data (text) opens up analytics to everyone. It’s going to get a lot more competitive in marketing research soon!
Great news for individuals who are analytically savvy (lots of job opportunities), bad news for research firms which have everything tied to just the old information gathering and analysis techniques. Everyone wants a piece of this from Ad and PR agencies to other business services (even your clients)!”
I agree, and would go so far as to say that since Radian6 recently purchased a consultancy, 6Consulting, that this sets the stage for a highly competitive offering that has MR squarely in its sights. They now join the ranks of firms like Alterian, Decooda, Omnicom, WPP, and others that are quickly consolidating major resources to deploy what can only be a data driven insight offering that is far superior to what most any MR firm can do.
Radian6 is great for mining lots of data, and providing it in real-time. But what exactly do you do with it once you have it? The company is working hard towards providing actionable insights, but the matter of dealing with the onslaught of social data remains.
In the comments of our post about Dennis Howlett’s interview with Paul Greenberg and Estaban Kolsky, Kelly Kraft wrote: “We do already have some of the right monitoring tools to collect the data, but we simply don’t have the right people yet to provide proper analysis.”
That’s something Greenberg himself hit on when covering Radian6 for his 2011 CRM Watchlist: “They understand that the ability to capture and organize (note I didn’t say analyze) all this unstructured data is useless unless the formats that are provided are both readable and provided in a way that makes the information meaningful.”
Here’s how Salesforce.com plans to further integrate Radian6 into its platform:
- Sales and Service Cloud: Social media monitoring and engagement has emerged as the requirement for any brand and customer engagement strategy, helping companies join conversations about their brands and stay connected to their customers and prospects. By combining Radian6’s social media monitoring and engagement platform with Sales Cloud and Service Cloud, companies will be able to keep customer success at the center of their business with real-time social intelligence.
- Salesforce Chatter: Radian6 and salesforce.com will create the bridge between public social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and online communities, and Salesforce Chatter, the private, secure social network for the enterprise. Chatter feeds will no longer just contain the activity happening within the walls of a company, but will be filled with real time insights from fans on Facebook pages, followers on Twitter, comments on blog posts and more.
- Force.com Platform: Developers will be able to build apps that tap into the power of Radian6, putting the social web into everything they build. In such a dynamic market, this acquisition will present a huge opportunity for salesforce.com to extend its developer and partner ecosystem with technology not available anywhere else.
I really hope the MR industry is paying attention. Like Tom, I have been ringing the alarm bell on this for a while. It’s time to get serious folks.