October 27, 2009

This Week In Business: Twitter And Database Marketing

You aren't likely to find many folks doing this yet. But it is coming.

Let's pretend that MineThatData.com is an e-commerce business with $100,000,000 in annual sales, big enough to have people saying things about the business on Twitter.

Let's assume that you are a loyal customer. As you go through the checkout process, I ask you to volunteer your Twitter ID ... it isn't necessary to complete checkout, mind you, but I do ask for it, and you volunteer it.

Now that you've volunteered your Twitter ID, I give your ID to my contact center staff, and I ask them to research what you have to say about my business online. It is their job to ascertain whether you say positive things about my business, or negative things. I ask them to enter a value in the order entry system --- an "A" if you say nice things and evangelize my brand, a "B" if you've ever said anything nice, a "C" if you never say anything, a "D" if you criticized my brand once, and an "F" if you are out there bashing my brand.

Get the picture? I've just scored you based on your sentiment toward my brand.

So now it is November 15. We're planning our wonderful Cyber Monday e-mail campaign.

My team decides to look at your "Sentiment Grade". They segment you into different e-mail campaigns:
  • Grade of "A" = "Take 20% Off And Get Free Shipping".
  • Grade of "B" = "Take 10% Off And Get Free Shipping".
  • Grade of "C" = "Enjoy Free Shipping".
  • Grade of "D" = "Have Any Concerns, Please DM (Direct Message US) For Help".
  • Grade of "F" = Not targeted for an e-mail campaign.

It is just a matter of time before this happens. You will see text mining algorithms, vendors with sentiment solutions, and contact center staff all combing through everything you say, rewarding customers who are complimentary to your brand.

What are your thoughts? Is it acceptable for brands to comb through your social media commentary, tabulating positive and negative sentiments into their customer database, rewarding customers who are "brand advocates"? When is it acceptable to do this ... when you volunteer your Twitter ID to the brand, or can the brand just go out and proactively research your behaviors without you knowing about it?



  1. a brilliant idea - but it is very time wasting for the staff peaople, just extract the tweets of the accounts and analyse them by Text-mining - this works and it is not that time wasting.

    Whats about also - connect to this people, by following them and get in dialog by Twitter. Sending them new Information about the products, service and so on ... we have just started with this for our clients - and got 1.100 Followers a month for a contact lense seller (www.twitter.com/lensbest_de)

  2. Sure, you can use text mining, that works just fine!

  3. What about using this information as a way to do so many other things than just offering sales?

    If a group doesn't love your company, find out why and see if there's something you can do.

    If a group loves your company, find out what it is they love about the company and do more of it so the word is spread.

    Also, you want to make sure that by giving promotions to these people you're not losing money because they would have bought the products whether or not they had 20% off. It's often better to give something as a thank you than give a discount.

    Excellent thoughts though, I think it's data worth tracking.


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