Why Social Business Intelligence Matters


The aspect of social business intelligence I focus most in my work is
inviting user input and feedback at early points of development
. This can help improve existing service design experiences, products, and processes before release to then iterate before subsequent releases.

It is also one of the reasons why I like the lateral association# of Maximally Valued Product for MVP, which in product development parlance stands for Minimum Viable Product, a strategy used for fast and quantitative market testing of a product/feature, popularized by Eric Ries# for web applications.

Some sample use cases for social business intelligence I often discuss here are:

  • Market research –- to analyze audience makeup/preferences, also to research the (obvious and not so obvious) competitive landscape, identify product/service trends (as opposed to fads)
  • Brand/marketing intelligence -– the main question is: why do customers buy from us? What products/services they love/hate, conducting deep/semantic listening for sentiment analysis
  • Competitive intelligence -– to identify which products/services do the job, who your business/brand is compared to, who's #1 and why
  • Product innovation & lifecycle marketing –- to learn which new products excite users, which features work for them, what should we introduce first, then second, etc., new products customers want
  • Customer service -– beyond support in social, this is an opportunity to develop relationships/get critical feedback in real time
  • Threat assessment –- companies always want to know what is going to happen, yet they rarely engage in their own assessment to figure it out, here's where we intersect with predictive analysis

Yet most companies still want to either skip strategy altogether (done in house), and/or intend to compress user research ("we know our customers"), and just jump into build (give me a widget/app/web site).

Where marketing used to be complicated, the proliferation of social networks and explosion in the number (and combination) of devices people use have made it a complex proposition.

As I've said in many a conversation, automation and integration would suffice, if it weren't for the people part.

They make it a different (money)ball-game. Definitely more adventurous, and even surprising. Mobility and access are empowering people and blurring the lines between digital/in store and media/brands. That's where it gets interesting.

Social business intelligence matters because it helps address the main pain points that separate a remarkable experience that keeps people coming back to it from a meh one. To address the main reasons for push back on a sound strategy and user research:

  • The strategy may not be working too well — often because usually designed to prove a thesis, yet skips the "disprove" part
  • "We know our customers" — is a very different proposition than we understand (value = relevance) our users
  • Widget/app/Web site first could be a waste of resources — built it and they may (not) come

Social networks are a treasure trove of useful information to understand user behavior for the keen observer/listener who is looking for feedback and clues as to the motivations, intent, and tasks people are looking to accomplish.

Combined with existing customer data, this information forms the feedback loop that helps your business remain relevant.



Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover
the value of promises and its effect on relationships and
. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her to speak click here.