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?


All These Little Taxes ... And Big Taxes Too

For twenty years, Amazon capably made a ton of profit ... they just didn't pass it on to shareholders ... instead, they reinvested the ...