FutureM in Five Minutes – Five Killer Takeaways

Jessica Payne

One look at the #FutureM stream on Twitter will tell you storytelling and big data are dominant themes this year. Yesterday, I attended the a session titled, “Social + Analytics: Does Social Media Opinion Matter?” which explored compelling concepts like sentiment, data ambiguity, ethical measurement and smarter storytelling. Each alone could lend themselves to an ongoing debate and yardage of commentary. But for those with five minutes to spare, here are my top five takeaways to memorize.

  • Those with a behavioral analytics skill-set will pull ahead. The time for siloed analytics specialists is gone. Whether in-house or agency side, departments looking to drive the bottom line must mandate a baseline understanding of analytics across teams. Members of staff who can easily aggregate the right data, but more importantly, scrutinize and summarize it, will become rock stars, hunted by competing firms and clients. It’s imperative organizations facilitate training to expand that skill-set beyond one or two Jedi and invest in recruiting others to keep their department relevant and performing.
  • Sentiment scrutiny will (and should) increase. Positive, negative and neutral sentiment still matter as they can yield valuable data and insights sales teams can use to better a product, mitigate issue escalation or simply promote a positive user experience. We haven’t reached a point where analytics tools can accurately interpret sentiment 100% of the time simply because algorithms can’t always pick up on slang or sarcasm. Left alone, chances are your sentiment breakdown will be inaccurate and you may be left asking what Guen Yi (formerly of Disney) did, “what am I going to do with 96% neutral?” Don’t leave human, manual data analysis out of the process.
  • Time to consider a scoring system. I’m not a fan of slapping arbitrary values on digital behaviors because they – and the platforms themselves – change frequently. However, playing with a pilot scoring system could have its benefits as long as access to the right kind of data and feedback loops (e.g., sales, customer service) exist. So, develop a system to accommodate both – then dabble. Try the latest revamp of Google Analytics where you can assign value to all sorts of data, aka “events” on a website.
  • Revisit even trusted KPIs. The good thing about developing a standardized measurement methodology is that you can perfect it over time. Let’s say you’re six months to a year into a robust measurement program. You’ve mastered reporting and providing a steady stream of insights to your clients a– even pivoting programs as a result. Don’t forget to revisit your KPIs. Programs change as does audience behavior. Do the KPIs reflect that? Identify new correlations to reveal more about the behavior itself than volume of behavior like time, spikes in traffic, downloads versus complaints. You could get more insight than before.
  • Storytelling isn’t just a buzzword. In her latest piece, Kathy Klotz-Guest pointed to a Stanford study which revealed that “stories are remembered up to 22 times more than facts alone.” At FutureM, the conversation has shifted from “content” to “smarter content.” I’ve written before about the churn of content for the sake of SEO and so welcome this new dialogue about storytelling; essentially, delivering meaningful content of value to create an impact and (hopefully) drives audiences to perform some sort of desirable behavior. The concept isn’t new, but in the lurch for SEO, has been ignored. Smart teams will recognize this and like analytics, will invest in great storytellers; involving them further in the process than before.


These are just five of the five hundred killer concepts coming out of FutureM – what are yours? Comment below or tweet @jpaynebu

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