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by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

Here at Digital Leadership Associates social-experts.netpeople often think our office looks like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, with all these social media tools around us. We sit there and look into the future. If only.

In fact we keep the tools we use to a minimum. There is one tool we use and have done, pretty much from the “get go” of DLA two years ago, which is Brandwatch.

If you didn’t know, Brandwatch is a social media listening tool. That’s an understatement as it takes all that “stuff” that is happening on social media and turns it into insight. To give you an example, companies can post away with no real, rhythm or reason and Brandwatch can actually show that business, what you are saying. Or put it another way, when your prospects are looking for your product or service. Brandwatch can show you what these buyers will find.

A practical example is something that happened to us recently. We actually lost a piece of business as the prospect was searching for “programmatic social selling”. Now our, social selling program is programmatic but we just hadn’t thought of it like that. So what’s a social selling company to do? Of course, we wrote a shed load of content with the key phrase “programmatic social selling” in it. We should be on page one of Google. Now here’s a thing, it’s only using Google that I know that. But using Brandwatch I’m able to see not only how this term seems to resonate with my audience, but also if my competitors are using it.

So What’s Exciting?

Well Brandwatch and their major competitor, Crimson Hexagon have just merged. Adam Gray my co-founder and I spent a very pleasant hour with the Brandwatch CEO, Giles Palmer. Now there are mergers, but this one is pretty exciting.

From a macro prospective, there are now something like 7,000 companies in the world that called themselves “martech”, short for Marketing Technology. Take overs and mergers of this category segments are always interesting, to us market insiders anyway.

What about the Customer?

Interesting that with only 20 days into the “term of the deal” there is already a plan. There will be a new road map by the end of 2018, where it will be decided which features will be moved to the new merged product. Giles pointed out that Brandwatch had a great “front end” and Crimson Hexagon had a great “back end” but things are not, as you would expect that simple.

Giles went on to explain that “Crimson Hexagon was great at Brightview, object detection and historic data” whereas, Brandwatch “had the edge, with its flexible user interface (UI), we would expect both Brandwatch and Crimson Hexagon customers benefiting in 6 months”. Having a plan is great, but a plan that is about the customer is awesome even in this day and age.

Obviously, with different pricing models there was a few things to sort out, but you feel that Giles will err on the side of caution and the customer, rather than seeing this as an excuse for a price hike. Time will tell.

Exciting in Social!

So why is this exciting in the world of social? Giles sees this as the time for Brandwatch to “press the reset button on social data and take the use of social data to the next level”. Grand statement I know. But Giles wants to “break the use of social data out of the social media department and place it in the hands of other business people.” There was a clear statement of direction that “Brandwatch wants to remain the darling of the social media geeks, but also it’s time to move up in the Enterprise.”

In our Book “Smarkeing – How to achieve competitive advantage through blended sales and marketing” Adam and I talk about the new for a new paradigm (sorry publishers like words like that) where first party data (the data you own, for example in your CRM) is merged with third party data (data you buy in) to enable prospect and customer insights. Now, I’m sure Giles hasn’t read the book, but it was interesting that he put this forward as the future of Brandwatch and social media data use.

To conclude, Giles commented “we want to make social media more useful, we want to redefine social data for business people. We want bigger and bigger questions to answer with all types of social data and increase the use case”. It is that vision that I think we should all applaud.

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