Episode #83: Discovering the Four Levels of Social Discovery

Grad Conn

February 23, 202110 min read

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There are 4.7 billion people online. And 4.1 billion of them are on social platforms. The first step to building a true 1:1 marketing program is to discover what those billions of people are saying to you, about you, about your brand category, and about your competitors.

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Welcome to this CXM Experience. As always, I’m Grad Conn CXO, chief experience officer at Sprinklr. And we’re continuing a discussion we started yesterday about mass one-to-one marketing.

We talked a little bit about where we’re going, we talked a little bit about the history of communications and how we’re evolving from one-to-one, to mass, to now mass one-to-one, and spent a bit of time with Marc Pritchard, talking about how they’re reinventing marketing at Procter & Gamble. Truly one of the world’s great companies ever. And that’s not just because I work there. They really are an amazing place.

The one thing I will say about P&G, and this is not a knock on P&G at all. It’s just an observation. For most people, P&G is their first job because P&G hires straight out of school and promotes from within. They were very dogmatic about that when I was there. I think they’re still pretty dogmatic about it, although it’s changed a little bit. But the promote from within philosophy created a very consistent culture, and consistent language. Everyone knew what everyone was talking about. And getting in there right at a school allowed you to carry an attitude of learning. It’s a very strong learning culture. It’s very academic in some ways, in a good way.

The only problem, being your first real job is that I just assumed that all companies were like P&G. And that everybody operated this way. It was just the way the world worked. And, of course, it’s only once you leave that you realize that you were in Oz, and you can’t get back. They don’t give you any ruby slippers. But I miss P&G every day, but have enjoyed my adventures since then. II will say, really, really, really amazing place.

So, core to this mass one-to-one marketing platform, which we’re all going to be building, right? So, all of us are going to have to figure out how we get mass one-to-one to happen. The nuance, of course, is it’s not going to be necessarily one-to-one. Sometimes I might do eight million ad units, sometimes I might do 20,000 ad units, but it is much, much more personalized than pure mass where I would do one ad unit. Or two, think of that as a split run. Now, you may still be doing thousands, tens of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands and, every once in a while, potentially millions of creative units.

The mass one-to-one system really needs three things. Because if you’re going to have a conversation with somebody, you need to know them. And you need to listen to them. That’s just normal human conversation, right. If you sit in front of someone who’s not listening to you, I mean, it happens a lot these days, actually. If you’re trying to have a conversation with someone who’s on their phone, they’re really not listening to you. And they’re not going to respond to you in a way that’s legit. It’s very frustrating and maybe a little bit angering. So, you’ve got to be thinking about yourself with your customers like you’re sitting at dinner with someone who can’t put their phone down, right?

And so the three steps that I’m going to outline on this one, I’ve got discover. This is the process of listening and hearing. And by using the word discover, as opposed to listening… I know listening is typically what the industry calls it. But I find that not everybody really understands what listening means. And I’m not sure listening is even necessarily quite the right word for it. Because it really is about how do I discover what people are saying. And there’s many places that people are saying it. And we’re gonna come back to that a minute. Then classify, which is take all the stuff I’ve discovered and make a classification out of it so I can do something with it. And then engage in some way. Solve a problem, amplify a fan, turn around someone who’s bitter or angry.

I like to talk about the discovery phase as building the haystack. The classify stage is finding a needle in the haystack, and the engagement phase of processing the hay. I like hay as a metaphor because everybody likes hay. So, unless there’s like some anti-hay organization out there who will be angry about my hay analogy, I usually find I’m pretty safe with this one.

Let’s talk about discover. There are 4.7 billion humans online right now. It’s amazing, right? Five billion cell phones out there. It’s kind of amazing. Five out of seven. Two billion people left to bring online. We’re gonna do it. Google’s got a great project called the Next Billion. But you know, we’re very close to having every human on the planet online. It’s an amazing, amazing time we live in and it’s incredible how quickly it’s happened.

Really, in 20 plus years… 25 years, it’s pretty amazing to be able to do what we’ve done. If you were to go back in time to the mid 90s and say, Oh, yeah, we’ll have 5 billion people online by 2020, I think people would think you’re a little bit out of your mind.

Of those 4.7 billion humans, 4.1 billion are on social platforms of some kind. So, 4.1 billion are sharing information in a public way. That’s incredible too. In social, we’ll talk about forums, we’ll talk about review sites, there’s many different things. But there’s a lot of different ways that people are sharing out there. And they’re also doing a lot of texting, they’re doing a lot of messaging. The messaging platforms, in total are moving about 65 billion messages a day, between humans on the planet. We’re a busy, busy species.

The perspective from space… if there really are aliens, and they really are watching us. They must be fascinated. I don’t know what they’re thinking. But first of all, we obviously are extremely social animals, which is our power. Our ability to organize and get together. That’s what makes humans powerful, makes us very unique animal that way. But also, they must think we’re hilarious. All the things that we talk about.

Let’s talk about where we all are. There are 25 different social platforms, TikTok being one of the newest ones. Clubhouse being a new one, actually make it 26. There are 11 messaging platforms, WhatsApp and WeChat. Things like that. There are 500 million blogs. 500 million blogs. Mine, CopernicanShift.com is one of those 500 million. There are 50,000 review and news sites. A lot. 110,000 forums, Reddit being I think suddenly in the news a little bit more with Wall Street bets. But Reddit has been around and been very important for many of our customers for a really long time. So ignore forums at your peril. There are 1,500 broadcast channels, TV and radio. And they’re about 5,000 print sources, newspaper, magazine. Those are the major platforms that are out there. All that’s digitized now and available in digital form.

As you may have guessed, Sprinklr pulls all of that in. Sprinklr’s actually accessing more than 400 million different data sources. Can compile a very, very large haystack. I like to tell people Sprinklr is the world’s best haystack maker. And we’re the world’s best needle finder. So we make that haystack large, and we can get anything we want out of it.

So, what happens to all that stuff? We keep a real-time database of that. The CXM database for Sprinklr has got more than a billion records being ingested every day. There are 15 billion automation runs every day. There’s real-time reporting available on 600 billion records. And there’s real-time alerting on a billion different time series. The scope of what’s been created at Sprinklr, from a platform standpoint, is really quite astounding. The team led by Pavitar Singh, who’s our CTO, has built probably the most sophisticated AI platform in the world. Because our data set is so large, our training set is incredible. So algorithms are algorithms in AI, but your training set is where you really make the difference. And we’ve been able to build this magnificent training set.

And as you think about how you’re discovering, you have to also think about what are you trying to discover? Do you just want to get to the people who are talking directly to you, people who are @ mentioning you? That’s normally thought of and referred to as monitoring. And I would say that monitoring everyone who’s speaking to you is table stakes. Although ironically, most people are still ignoring them. But it really should be table stakes. These people are calling your 1-800 number, they’re dropping packages off at your office. They’re mailing envelopes to you. They’re trying to get a hold of you on X, formerly Twitter. You just can’t ignore them. That’s the base level.

Now the next level, which usually 10 X’s, the amount of stuff that you’re discovering, is people talking about you. They may not be @ mentioning you, but they’re still using your name — sometimes it’s misspelled, etc, but talking about your products, you really want to hear that. You really want to be part of that conversation too Remember these are public conversations. You’re not breaking into people’s private conversations. If they’re mentioning you and you don’t respond, they’ll be disappointed. They expect it.

The third level, and this is probably about 30 X’s of the amount of stuff you’re pulling in and discovering, is people who are talking about your competitors. And this is where you can get a lot of insight on pricing, on products. A lot of insight on competitor motions, on competitor advertising, on competitor promotion strategies, and competitor direct marketing strategies. Very hard to find it otherwise. So again, really recommend you do that.

But where it really gets interesting is the fourth level. And they are only four, by the way. The fourth level is when people are talking about your brand category. If you’re say a shoe manufacturer, people talking about golf, you sell them golf shoes. People talking about volleyball, sell them volleyball shoes. People talking about beach volleyball, they don’t wear shoes, but you find the thing that’s relevant.

The financial services industry I think is one of the most interesting ones because a lot of these public signals that people send off… I’m getting married, I’ve had a baby, I bought a new car, I bought a new house… I’m thinking about these things. Those are key financial signals as well. So leveraging those in the financial services sector, insurance, banking, etc. would be an amazingly disruptive marketing motion. And I’m not really seeing enough financial institutions go after this yet. The ones that do are going to reap the benefits.

So, four levels: people talking to the brand, 10X that people talking about the brand, 30X that people talking about your competitors, 100X that people talking about the category. And that is discovery. Basically, the only way to think about discovery in my mind is you gotta listen to everything that everyone is saying about you everywhere.

Thanks for listening to me today. For the CXM Experience. I’m Grad Conn, and I’ll talk to you next time.

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