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I'm a partner in the advanced analytics group at Bain & Company, the global management consulting firm. My primary focus is on marketing analytics (bio). I've been writing here (views my own) about marketing, technology, e-business, and analytics since 2003 (blog name explained).

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July 21, 2009

Structured Collaboration in Social Media: Design For Analytics (IBM Research Talk Recap)

At Kate Ehrlich's invitation, I gave a one-hour talk yesterday at IBM Research and the Center for Social Software titled "Structured Collaboration in Social Media: Design for Analytics".

The presentation made three main points:
  • Social marketing today is limited by the (un-)structure of social media. (And, most marketers accept the constraints of these media as they exist today, and "reasonably" adapt themselves to them.)
  • Applying "Structured Collaboration" principles to social media design ("unreasonably" adapting the medium) can expand and improve user engagement.
  • These same principles can inform the design of "engagement" for marketing analytics, to make segmentation and targeting easier and more effective.
The presentation included a survey and evaluation of the social marketing landscape today, and described two important shortcomings that limit what marketers can do with it:
  • "Off-the-rack" collaboration structures that don't align -- and often work against -- what marketers are trying to accomplish 
  • Sample bias given the "1-10-90" nature of participation 
The presentation then described and illustrated "Structured Collaboration" principles, and talked about how marketers like Nike are realizing significant results through initiatives that reflect them.  Then, we discussed how the design of these initiatives can reveal segmentation and targeting insights much more readily than the typical application of marketing analytics to conventional social media.

Finally, the talk offered some existing examples for how to exploit these principles cheaply, as well as some ideas for how several firms could apply them to realize their own versions of what Nike, and more recently others like Fiat, have done.

Thanks once again to Kate, Ethan, and Irene, and to all their colleagues for participating!

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