Driving Actionable Insights

Brian Melinat from Dell and Justin DeGraaf from Coca-Cola discuss non-marketing use cases for social data.

The next panel was hosted by Susan Etlinger of Altimeter Group and paired Brian Melinat from Dell with Justin DeGraaf of Coca-Cola as they discussed the use of social data throughout the enterprise. While the marketing department is often the initial group clamouring for social data in many businesses, both Dell and Coke have found valuable applications elsewhere in their respective organizations. Susan led a lively discussion that explored how social media data can be put to use in supply chain management, customer support, product development and other business units.

Brian shared that Dell’s use of social data was seen to track back to 2006 and the monitoring of a blog created by a customer who had a less than satisfactory experience. In addition to improving customer support by listening to social channels, the company also uses social content to shape (and adjust) the launch of a recent ultrabook product. While the ultrabook’s specs and OS directly addressed the needs of a unique audience, they also learned that it was priced too high upon release. Literally overnight, they used social inputs to adjust the price of the device back to parity with a similar Windows-based machine and audience sentiment trended positive immediately thereafter.

Justin talked about how Coke’s public affairs, Knowledge and Insights (K&I) and HR teams were all extremely interested in the use of social data to improve their business decisions. One example that he shared was how the K&I team was using social inputs to add more context and relevance to internal Coke performance reports, making them more “normal”. He went on to talk about how the packaging team learned that a seasonal can featuring the famous polar bears was generating customer confusion and frustration. Thanks to social data monitoring, they learned that the reversed red and white colorway on the can made people think that they were actually opening a can of Diet Coke versus the regular flavor. Lesson learned – you don’t want to mess with a fan base as loyal as Diet Coke’s!

To wrap, Susan asked them both what they thought was on their “wish list” when it came to future uses of social data. Brian wanted to see stronger correlation between social identities and actual user emails, thereby enabling Dell to create incredible new lead generation activities. It would also allow Dell to better monitor the full 360 view of the customer and their specific product needs. Justin spoke about wanting to find more explicit causal relationships with their investments in social. It can be difficult to find the impact that social has on brand awareness when a product like Coke already has 100% awareness. Justin closed by challenging the audience to employ more use cases when demonstrating the business application of their products… eye candy isn’t enough. This is certainly something vendors should take to heart when pitching major brands like Coca-Cola and Dell in the future!

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