MavenMagnet: Social Listening is in the Stone Age

Has the marketing community set the bar too low? We think so. Marketing professionals focused on social media mining believe that their current social mining tools or dashboards – as they are commonly called – have set the bar for the possibilities of analyzing information on digital platforms. They are barely scratching the surface of a massive pool of data available beyond social sites and they settle for flawed research methods.

How does MavenMagnet differ?

  • Artificial Intelligence instead of Boolean Logic Eliminates Bias — Social listening depends on using Boolean logic i.e. the paring of adjectives required to make the sample size manageable. Our proprietary software and algorithms understand the context of the conversation. For example, if you were using a social listening tool to track Cricket mobile phones you have to add a modifier such as “mobile” or “phone” to make the search manageable and avoid irrelevant references to the bug, the game, the bat, the lighter. But people don’t talk using modifiers so many valuable comments are lost in the screening.
  • Data Beyond Social Networks — We track and analyze all the social networks but go much deeper to include specialized areas such as professional forums, communities, blogs, chat rooms, reviews, news feeds, etc.  We can also fully integrate any data sources to which your company subscribes.
  • Qualitative Research on a Quantitative Scale — We are not a dashboard. We deliver a fully analyzed in-depth report that is synthesized down to key insights and actionable recommendations, appending verbatim to each of the insights from the quantitative assessment. We provide the context, nuance, and texture of qualitative research but provide it on a totally representative and projectable scale.
  • EU GDPR compliant — We adhere to the most stringent industry and government standards.

At MavenMagnet, we have long been disruptors. Our patented technologies and technique garner insights that are of such quality that they map to market performance. We have created a new path-breaking approach to market research: qualitative insights on a quantitative scale, a “discovery” approach based on true customer voices (not questionnaires), verbatim available for creative development ranked by impact, analysis and integration of huge data sets, measurement and key performance indicators, and results in four weeks or less.  But our key challenge is to demystify the belief that social media monitoring tools have set the bar. We’re way past it.

MavenMagnet: Privacy and Unleashing the Power of Digital for Research

Facebook’s recent data breach and EU GDPR coming into effect in May place a spotlight on privacy issues. At MavenMagnet, our operating principals of adhering to the strictest privacy standards have guided us since our inception. At the beginning, we envisioned a new method for market research, a method that would use immense digital data sets culled from publicly available information, applying our patented technologies to analyze the data in a statistically reliable manner.

While we worked hard to develop our proprietary technologies and process, we were ever mindful of the privacy needs of the customers and consumers we would study. We have always followed the highest privacy standards.

  • We use data only as part of custom engagements for our clients. Our insights are used for holistic decision-making about brands, products, campaigns or customer segments.  We do not target individuals or micro-target ads on Facebook or any other social network.
  • We only access public data. We don’t use any app on any social network to gain access to private consumer data.
  • We never collect, use or share PII information about any consumer or customer. All our research is macro-level.
  • We do not hold data for resale to third parties.
  • We are not Facebook dependent. Facebook typically make up less than 15% of the data we use for a typical engagement.

At MavenMagnet our goal is to provide accurate insights and deep analysis while driving efficiency in the research process. We are propelled by science. We are motivated by our clients and their unique challenges. We adhere to the highest privacy standards. Contact us to discuss further.

MavenMagnet: Disrupting and Reinventing Market Research

Market research has been stuck in “status quo” mode for decades with little or no connection between qualitative and quantitative research findings. Focus groups are used for qualitative insights. Surveys of a few hundred provide quantified projections. Traditional market research is plagued with respondent bias, research fatigue, sample size limitations, and time sinks involving questionnaire development and panel recruitment, data collection and compilation of results. And after all of this, the data is tainted by the questions you ask.

Imagine instead that you could analyze tens of thousands of conversations “in the wild” and with statistical precision with insights delivered in four weeks or less. Imagine that you can drill down in level after level of detail to understand key drivers, all the way to verbatim. No questionnaires. No focus groups. Your consumers and customers speak directly. Quantitative findings are fully integrated with qualitative insights.

And this is no dream.  We deliver insights in this manner. Today.

At MavenMagnet, we have been at the center of disrupting the current customs and practices in market research. The status quo standards are not acceptable to us. Our approach is based on pure discovery with large data sets using digital conversations from all types of digital sources and way beyond social networks. Our technology goes wherever there is public data. And we can work with your proprietary data sources, too. We use the most advanced technological, analytical and statistical techniques and apply these to “big data.” We believe that “leading the witness” with questions will not produce the quality of insight needed to address today’s pressing marketing challenges. We believe that technology is the key to quality, efficiency, agility and speed.  Only technology will reveal your true consumer and customers’ views.

MavenMagnet: Quantifying The Power Of Your Brand

Many marketers dream of having the capability of tracking their brands vs. competition in an accurate manner that tracks with business performance and in a way that is cost effective. MavenMagnet delivers on both fronts. We have proven that our key performance indicators (KPIs) – in industry after industry – track with the business.

What goes into these KPIs? A typical study will start with a deep analysis of a brand’s positioning relative to competition. Our technology creates a “big” data repository of digital conversations gathered from across the web and way beyond just social media. Using this data, we quantitatively assess key brand drivers using a discovery approach – no questionnaires and no biases – and our analysis incorporates the nuance of focus groups. We include a visual presentation of brand attributes by impact. Further analysis determines the drivers that can be owned or shared by the brand, including recommendations that drive customers to purchase. And we identify the gaps, too.

We build on this work to create the KPI that we call our brand magnet score. We use industry benchmark data going back two years to build a standard scale. We incorporate differentiation, engagement and sentiment by creating various indices based on competitive brands’ relative performance on key purchase drivers, the relative volume of digital engagement around competitive brands, and overall sentiment trends (positive, neutral, mixed or negative).

The result is a brand magnet score, a single metric, you can use to track your brand every month or quarter or time period you choose. Accurate. Cost effective. Speedy. We deliver this score in about four weeks and then when tracking for instance monthly, within a week of a month’s close.

It is a powerful tool you can use today to track the power of your brand. And we’re not dreaming.

We’re happy to help you.

MavenMagnet: Finding Insights In Millions Of Conversations

Millions of Conversations Can Be Tapped By You
Your customers and prospects talk every day about your company, brand, or products and services. And we don’t just mean via social media. They talk in industry forums. Or specialized professional sites that draw them in. Or on lifestyle web-sites where they like to spend their free time. Our technology crawls across the web to find digital conversations in blogs, news sites, forums, reviews, ratings, and yes, social networks, too. Our technology goes wherever there are conversations.

Order Out of Big Data Chaos
MavenMagnet uses contextual analysis to extract the core themes out of the noise. We find patterns in people’s opinions to define brand drivers, describe a customer persona, explore a new category or market, or drill into your company’s reputation about an issue.  Just like chaos theory in mathematics, this digital analysis — when deciphered using technology and reviewed by expert analysts — finds order in what looks like total randomness. And when you look closely enough at this randomness, patterns start to emerge which provide insights to identify opportunities or to course correct.

Statistically Precise
The beauty of information extracted from chaotic digital conversations is unparalleled, especially when compared to any other way of doing market research. MavenMagnet’s methodology eliminates respondent bias and “research fatigue” that plagues traditional research techniques.

The data is vast and the power is immense. The debate about your brand is continuous and our reach is unmatched. All you need is the right technology and the right techniques to make sense of it and strategize your next move.

The bar set too low

A key challenge for a disruptive product is to set the new bar (or standards). The more path-breaking the product, the higher the bar. With every iteration of the product, you raise the bar. The ideal approach to market a disruptive product is to get a few early adopters. The trend-setters, the people who have it in them to embrace innovation. These will be the people who will challenge you. They will imagine things and share ideas. They will see the potential and push you to raise the bar even higher. They will be your mavens. They will help you tell the world that the bar can be set higher.

The bigger challenge is convince the laggards that the current bars are set too low. These are the skeptics, the people who resist. For a disruptive product to get mass adoption, you need these people.

MavenMagnet is leading the charge to disrupt market research. The social media monitoring tools set the bar for what can be done using information on digital platforms way too low. These tools, or dashboards as they are commonly called, are not even scratching the surface as far as the potential of this massive pool of data is concerned. MavenMagnet technology and technique garner insights that are projectable to map to market performance. Over the years, we have been blessed by the early adopters. Every product we develop, ranging from competitive analysis to ethnography to customer journey, we work with early adopters who help us make these product better. We iterate, we develop new features, new products and keep raising the bar.

Our most important challenge is not to create path-breaking products. We know how to do that. We have an active pipeline to keep doing that. Our key challenge to is demystify the belief that social media monitoring tools are doing what can be done using digital data.

Status quo

Status quo – the existing state of affairs, current customs and practices. In any industry, status quo is something that is widely accepted and used as standards. A disruptive product is something that challenges the status quo. An early adopter embraces the disruption. The product that perseveres through the resistance of status quo reaches mass adoption and sets new status quo.

One of the industries that has status quo set for decades is market research, we commonly refer to as traditional market research. Focus groups of tens are used for qualitative insights. Surveys of few hundred provide quantified projections.

There are quite a few issues with traditional market research. Let’s talk about the top ones. It is plagued with respondent bias. The answers are driven by the questions you ask. There is no discovery based on what consumers want. Research fatigue limits the sample sizes. Time involved in developing the questionnaire, recruiting respondents, collecting data and compiling results is way too long when the average life of products in most industries is down to months. The biggest issue that’s a key hurdle in garnering strong insights is the disconnect between qualitative insights and its natural quantification (again you can get forced quantification using the Q&A process).

What are we doing about it? We are challenging this out-dated status quo.

MavenMagnet is transforming market research. We are taking the entire concept of Q&A out of the research equation. This eliminates respondent bias and let brands hear the real voice of the consumers. The insights are completely discovery based driven by consumer perception. Our sample size is in tens of thousands, so we provide natural projection of these insights. We deliver qualitative insights on quantitative scale in one to four weeks making it actionable for brands to update their positioning, understand their consumers, and optimize their campaigns.

What Bud got right that Nike did not

The study was presented at Advertising Week and published in Smart Brief.

MavenMagnet presented exclusive data at Advertising Week on Wednesday that highlights how brands should react to the tense political environment in the US.

The marketing analytics company studied the reaction of British consumers to two distinct campaigns from brands in reaction to President Trump’s proposed immigration ban earlier this year: Budweiser’s television ad that highlighted the beer company’s immigration roots and Nike’s more direct campaign that included an open letter opposing the policy.

In short, Budweiser’s campaign was a win, while Nike’s was not – even though both companies were on the same side of the issue. MavenMagnet assessed that Budweiser garnered a positive “net vibe” of 32%, while Nike saw a negative net vibe of 17%.

The “Born the Hard Way” TV spot traced the immigrant roots of Budweiser’s founder, interweaving the immigration debate with the brand in an authentic way, MavenMagnet CEO Aditya Ghuwalewala said. It drove positive association for the brand while maintaining a safe distance from political and cultural mudslinging.

But Nike’s open letter was far more direct and prompted negative reaction from President Donald Trump and his supporters. It also prompted conversations about Nike’s working conditions around the world, sparking social media posts that included the word “hypocrisy,” and questions around why Nike’s ads focused on African Americans when the America’s immigrants are more diverse.

The findings echo larger conversations happening at Advertising Week about accountability. The lesson for marketers is clear, says MavenMagnet’s Cleve Langton.

“Basically, if you’re going to take a stand, make sure you clean up your own house before you start commenting on somebody else,” he said.

Grid and Maze

Manhattan, for the most part, is a grid. It is easy to navigate. The simple layout of the city makes it intuitive and predictable. You can go from point A to point B without much effort.

Indore, my hometown in India, or for that matter most cities in the World that are not developed on a grid pattern, can be called a maze. It is not easy to navigate unless you have a GPS or have intimate knowledge of the place. The city has grown without a planned layout, so to go from point A to point B, you need help.

Grid and maze analogy is a simple way to contrast something intuitive, simple and well-planned to something non-intuitive, complex and in some cases over-planned.

It’s as much applicable for designing products, and even websites and presentations. The most useful designs are the ones that are simple and intuitive. Design that makes the outcome second nature. The design that makes product easy and pleasant to use. The design that doesn’t need a manual (which is equally complicated) to explain how to use your product.

The key is to understand who your customer is and then design your product in a way your target customer finds it pleasant to use. Anything, no matter how complex it is, should be simplified to a level your customer finds it easy to use. Don’t kill the sophistication, hide it or present it in a way that is easy to consume for your customer.

My engineering mindset often pushes me in the direction of sharing with clients the amount of sophistication that went into the technology and technique to extract actionable insights. It is important for the client to know that there is science and data behind what they are using so that they can build trust on the outcome and they use it to make a critical business decision. We present it in a way that is simple for a marketing person to understand the engineering behind our product.

100 Days of Trump Fights with Brands

Originally published in Ad Age

In the hyper-partisan Trump era, brands have been caught up in conflicts with the president, his supporters and his opponents at breathtaking speed. And consumers have jumped on every one of them.

As voters take stock of President Trump’s first 100 days in office, Ad Age asked research firm MavenMagnet to help evaluate the impact so far on seven brands that got caught up in what you might call Trump fights: CNN, Delta, Lyft, Macy’s, Nordstrom, The New York Times and Uber.

Its analysis of more than 6,400 online conversations about brands and Trump from election day through April 1 suggests that while diving (or falling) into the thicket of national politics is probably best avoided for marketers, the outcome is not preordained.

Consider two brands that that got very different reactions to their Trump fights: Nordstrom and Lyft. When Nordstrom dropped Ivanka Trump’s clothing line, online discussion about it had an overall positive 24% “net vibe,” with 62% of conversations on the subject favorable to the brand and 37% negative. That was the best that any of the brands evaluated did.

Lyft, which made an ACLU donation in opposition to President Trump’s first travel ban just as Uber was accused of profiteering during a related taxi strike, generated a net vibe of minus 32%, according to MavenMagnet.


Online conversation about seven brands’ dust-ups with the president and partisans skewed against the brands on the whole.


Source: MavenMagnet. Methodology: MavenMagnet analyzed 6,421 conversations in social media, on blogs, in forums and elsewhere online between Nov. 8, 2016, and April 1, 2017, selecting only conversations pegged to brands’ conflicts with President Trump, his supporters and his opponents.

MavenMagnet conducted analysis of digital conversations in channels including social media posts as well as forums and article comments. All conversations and posts evaluated by the company for this research related to the brands’ interactions with Trump and Trump policy, said Aditya Ghuwalewala, CEO of MavenMagnet. “Trump amplified the feelings around these things.”

The unpredictability of the Trump effect also played out for two media outlets evaluated. Although Trump has long disparaged both CNN and the New York Times, they fared quite differently in public conversation online during the period measured.

The media brands
Maligned by Trump as “fake news” along with other news outlets in February, and previously mocked as “Clinton News Network,” discussion of CNN in that context had a negative 8% net vibe. Terms including “fake,” “biased,” “reputation” and “truth” all surfaced as important words surrounding the brand, though from negative or neutral perspectives, according to MavenMagnet.

The news brand Trump likes to refer to as “failing,” however? The New York Times seemed to get a positive spark from the Trump effect, enjoying a 16% positive net vibe in the period assessed. And as with CNN, the conversation around the Gray Lady’s brand and Trump was driven by what MavenMagnet refers to as customer accountability measures, where the Times spurred more positive sentiment than negative. Yet some of the same terms that crept into CNN discussions came up often in those conversations about the Times, including “fake” and “truth,” both from neutral points of view.

In the three weeks following the election, the New York Times told CNBC its subscription sales grew 10 times faster than in the same period the year before, netting an additional 132,000 paid subscriptions.

“While the pro-Trump segment believed Trump’s allegations of the publication fabricating news to propagate anti-Trump opinion, a larger majority believed in the legacy of the publication and supported it for exposing Trump,” MavenMagnet said in its report.

The Times was also among media brands cashing in this week on Trump’s criticism, running ads for Comedy Central’s new series parodying the president that play off his “failing” and “fake news” jabs.

The retailers
And then there were the two retailers who were swept up in Trump-related controversy. Nordstrom, which dropped Ivanka Trump’s clothing line in February, blaming poor sales, achieved the highest “net vibe” of any brand measured, at positive 24%.

Trump famously tweeted at the time, “My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly” by the Nordstrom.

The company seems to have been saved from overall negativity in part because its explanation for dumping Ivanka Trump’s brand was focused on its poor sales performance — not pressure from the #GrabYourWallet boycott effort, which pressured consumers to stop spending with companies affiliated with anything Trump-related.

Macy’s, however, did not fare so well. The retailer had ditched Ivanka’s dad’s menswear line way back in July 2015, after he referred to Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals as he kicked off his presidential campaign. Yet, it appears consumer memories of that move may have been a little fuzzy after the election, when the brand was stung by the #GrabYourWallet campaign.

“The majority of the buzz around Macy’s political affiliation was led by conservatives and Trump supporters who decided to boycott Macy’s for banning Trump’s line and caving into banning Ivanka Trump’s line,” noted MavenMagnet’s research. Macy’s never did actually dump her clothing line, though, and it appears the negative perception was partially spurred on by misinformation.

According to the firm’s analysis, Macy’s, which has also been plagued by news of layoffs and store closures, had the lowest net vibe of all brands measured at minus 90%.

The transportation brands
“Customer accountability” was also a factor affecting brand perception for Delta. After United Airlines forcibly removed a passenger from a plane this month, some may have forgotten about what happened on a Delta flight in late November when a passenger bullied others to support the new president, shouting, “He’s your president, every g—— one of [you]. If you don’t like it, too bad.”

Delta banned the passenger from its flights for life, but made the mistake of allowing him to stay on the plane, which caused discomfort for other passengers. Overall, 35% of Delta conversations related to Trump were linked to customer accountability, and 62% of those were negative.

Delta also elicited allegations of racism by people who believed that it would have kicked the disruptive passenger off the plane if he hadn’t been white. As a result, 8% of Trump-tied discussions around Delta revolved around social responsibility, all of them negative.

After its brush with the Trump effect, Delta’s net vibe was low: negative 38%.

For ride-sharing competitors Uber and Lyft, the social responsibility factor played a big role in framing consumer perception.

In the wake of the Trump administration’s initial attempt to ban travel into the U.S. by people from several majority-Muslim countries, Uber’s decision to reduce surge pricing during an airport taxi strike in protest sparked a lot of discussion about the brand’s social responsibility. The decision “was appreciated as a responsible act where Uber stepped up to support the consumers who were left stranded at the airport because of the taxi strike,” according to the report.

In fact, the research shows the term “stepped up” had the most positive impact among terms associated with Uber in the period measured. The “delete” of “#DeleteUber” boycott fame also turned up as an influential term, but in a negative way, of course.

Despite the fact that others criticized Uber for “sabotaging” the taxi strike, discussion was split nearly evenly. In all, the Trump-related conversations revolving around Uber and social responsibility were 54% negative.

Uber’s executive leadership also came into question, and according to MavenMagnet, 62% of conversations about the leadership team and CEO Travis Kalanick, who stepped down from President Trump’s economic advisory council, were negative. “Concerns around Kalanick’s ethics were led by his linkages with Trump,” noted the report.

Uber’s net vibe through it all was minus 19%.

In the midst of the #DeleteUber fiasco, Lyft made the bold move to publicly donate $1 million to the ACLU, partly in hopes of reinforcing its pro-immigrant stance to woo people frustrated with Uber.

Only 9% of the conversations tracked around Lyft in relation to Trump were related to the brand’s political leanings, though 67% of those were negative, “led by conservatives who disliked the anti-Trump measure of supporting ACLU.”

Around 30% of the Lyft discussion revolved around social responsibility, although, using MavenMagnet’s metrics as a gauge, the brand’s ACLU donation bet may have backfired. Seventy percent of those conversations were negative. “Lyft’s donation to ACLU was criticized by the right-wing Trump supporters who saw it as an anti-American act of supporting illegal immigrants who were perceived to be responsible for unemployment and terrorism in the country,” MavenMagnet noted.

In all, Lyft, which chose to wade into the treacherous political waters rather than being thrust into them, generated a negative 32% net vibe, not far off from Delta’s 38%.