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Visible Technologies sheds Light on Consumers

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VisibleTech logo.pngVisible Technologies (VT) is a provider of online brand management solutions for the new Web 2.0 media environment, giving clients insights in consumers' attitudes and intents. Presenting their strategies and directions are Bill Baker, CTO and Blake Cahill, VP of Marketing. The focus is on social data integration with existing platforms and on the creation of the Social XML standard.

Social media is exploding...without substance? Watching the conversations surrounding your business. 75% persons engaging in social conversation. They are categorized into five types. The blogsphere has grown with steadily decreasing cycle time. Twitter has 15M. Facebook has 200M users spending 2.6 billion minutes per day. Brands are no longer in control of their destiny because social media has hijacked.

The company... VT founded in 2005 They have 83 employees
in Bellevue WA and offers products that track, measure and engage in social media conversations (TruCast) and online reputation management (TruView). Bill said, "This is BI - it's the data we always wanted. ...Twitter is the world's biggest focus group."

Demo... TruCast for a large tech firm. Showing Topic Manager. Gut tells me that this stuff is tough! Garbage-to-signal ratio is huge. Structuring this networking data into something meaningful to VT clients is a continual challenge. Slide on "Why can't you use Google?" To do it properly, need to do hundreds of searches, and content is multi-topic.

Yes, you can generate a cute dashboard. But what do you do with this information?

Engagement Manager... neat! Asks my questions about actionable. consistent message from company. can have templates to answer popular issues.
Leading to engagement with positive folks (to encourage) or negative folks (change attitudes.

VT network.pngWhere are the conversations going on? ...the ecosystem shows the connections with blog sites to individuals. Colored in green/red to indicate opinions. Can browse around, expanding branches of the network structure.

VT pipeline.pngContent pipeline... has three stages: filter/validate, categorize/enrich, shown below. Off to the left side is a traditional data warehouse that strips off the good data from the 3 stages. Bill said, "One persons spam is another person's ham!" when asked about what data to save. 

Scoring can be done automated but to do it properly, use people who are properly trained.

VT brandcloud.pngBrandCloud... neat! left=neg, right=pos, top=your-brand, bottom=competitor-brand, middle=generic-brand.

An example was
a client was about to launch a campaign, but discovered that product was not in stock. Duh... A disconnection between marketing and manufacturing. The uses for TruCast range beyond sales and marketing into product design and product life cycle.

My Take... VT is focusing on a tough problem that has potential to enable traditional companies to be smart about new social media. My primary concern was about what you do with social analytics. The discussion about engagement was very insightful. VT is doing good work and is a company that I will track.

Post-Script... That afternoon I received the June 1 issue of BusinessWeek that contained an article What's A Friend Worth? by Stephen Baker. I would recommend this article as background reading on Visible Technologies and their business focus.

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