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2017_03_09 SCIP CI Magazine Why Ci Needs A Fresh Approach

Article on SMINT by Luis Madureira published on CI Magazine 217 Spring Issue by SCIP

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2017_03_09 SCIP CI Magazine Why Ci Needs A Fresh Approach

  1. 1. Competitive Intelligence12 SMINT: Why CI Needs A Fresh Approach
  2. 2. 13www.scip.orgVolume 20 • Number 1 • Spring 2017 SMINT: Why CI Needs A Fresh Approach Late 2007, I was hired by Heineken in Portugal to set-up and run the CI function reporting directly to the CEO. At the time, we were several market share percentage points behind our most direct competitor. Two years and a half later, the CI function was World Class by several different assessment frameworks (WCCI and M-Brain / GIA Roadmap), and Heineken was market leader. That was when I started thinking what could I do to improve further. In 2012, I presented SMINT - Social Market Intelligence - to the SCIP community at the European Summit, in Dublin. And during the last 5 years, I have been implementing this approach in business both globally and locally. This article provides a detailed explanation of what it is and why you should consider using it. Back then, and even moreso today, we live in a world marked by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, or as it’s termed by the military, a VUCA World. This is a world where Black Swans occur at an increasingly faster pace, and crisis management is business-as-usual; where companies are unable to predict what happens in their home market, industry, or category, let alone beyond borders; where causes and effects interlace in a complex web which makes it extremely difficult to identify the root causes and the problems management has to decide upon; where the significance of events is impossible to quantify and dimension. VUCA factors are potentiated by a set of drivers resulting from societal and technology changes. Amongst these interweaving factors are primarily effects on the social consumer, such as connectedness, mobile, omni-channel, and real-time. A basic definition of the social consumer is essentially someone who consults those theytrustbeforemakingabuyingdecision through any of the channels available to them, including the web, social networks, and traditional media (TV, Radio, Outdoors, Press). This includes relatives, friends, or even complete strangers who have experienced the product or service and shared their views. Have you ever consulted reviews made by other people before booking a hotel? Have you ever clicked on Amazon’s recommendation “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought”? These are daily examples of social consumerism. The social consumer now has a wealth of consumer-generated information at their fingertips! The super-connectedness of global communications has challenged how companies interact, engage, and maintain relevance and trust with their key audiences and public-at-large. The reputation of a company must endure the “tyranny of transparency”. It is no longer possible to define and control what a company stands for. Instead, this is increasingly defined by the shared opinions and experiences of socially- connected consumers. These have greater access to information and news, by Luis Madureira
  3. 3. Competitive Intelligence14 heightened awareness of economic and geopolitical matters, and the experiences of other individuals communicated via online communities and social networks, who are more discerning about the companies they choose to do business with or support. According to Andreas Kaplan, mobile marketing can be defined as any marketing activity conducted through a ubiquitous network to which consumers are constantly connected using a personal mobile device. The increasing active mobile social users, as per a We Are Social study, has gone up from 1.968 to 2.549 billion, an estimated penetration of 34% of a total population of 7.476 billion, reinforce the significance of this driver. Furthermore, a study led by Nottingham Trent University has discovered that the average person checks their device 85 times a day, spending a total of five hours browsing the web and using apps. Considering the smartphone is never more than an arm’s length away from their users, even when they are asleep, this means that it’s common these days to see an angry consumer venting their frustration in some social network of their choice. This means, that on the other end of the line, a brand crisis might emerge and need to be managed! At its core, omni-channel is defined as a multichannel sales approach that provides the customer with an integrated shopping experience. Integrated being the key word in the last sentence. The customer can be shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, or by telephone, or in a brick-and-mortar store, and the experience should be seamless. In fact, the omni-channel experience goes beyond sales, and much into communication. Today, the social consumer expects to make a complaint in a Facebook post and receive a phone call by a brand or product representative that has the power to make it up for them. This example is a note to highlight that it’s not enough to just have a multi-channel presence, but an integrated operating system is of essence. An omni-channel social customer relationship management capability is critical these days, as well as the capability to listen to the social consumer himself, all this without invading his privacy! The demand for “real-time everything” is evident in the social consumer’s lack of patience in waiting for whatever he needs or desires. Simon Sinek explains this and the Millennial’s Paradox in an interview given to Inside Quest perfectly ( It is all about instant real-time gratification. The sense of “you can get it just because you want it”, puts a huge pressure on companies and brands. If we analyze the result of all that is laid out above, we got a twofold insight. On one side, business leaders are left lost, confused, unsure, perplexed, disoriented, or bewildered…you can choose the one that fits reality best. This lack of comprehension or awareness results from the fact that the speed of business is increasingly fast, and most business leaders are now from the previous generation and have not kept up to date with technology’s advances. Even worse, they are not tuned to the new generation’s mindset. In fact, in some ways, neither is marketing as a discipline. With all of SMINT: Why CI Needs A Fresh Approach
  4. 4. 15www.scip.orgVolume 20 • Number 1 • Spring 2017 the technology and societal changes that technology provides we currently have a data deluge to analyze. Data itself will grow exponentially with the advent of the internet of things, where machines interconnected will produce data around the clock, compared to humans who did this during waking hours. This “disruptive technology” brings an opportunity to CI which is the need for deriving actionable insights to guide organizations and brands through this new fast changing competitive environment. In a nutshell, Competitive Intelligence needs to have an answer to the Social Business paradigm. This can be described as the need to understand how a business can evolve by effectively embracing the fundamental principles of a business era in which social technologies and sociological changes affect the ways in which organizational and customer success is achieved. The answer I devised is SMINT. The S(ocial) M(arket) INT(elligence) acronym deliberately avoids the confusion with social intelligence, a discipline in the realm of social sciences, while at the same time differentiates from CI- as-usual to highlight the answer to the Social Business paradigm. As a proposed definition, SMINT makes sense of the increasingly fast-changing business ecosystem by developing actionable insights on the external environment, market, industry, players, and consumers to understand, compete, and win in near real-time, though providing the basis for establishing a sustainable competitive advantage. SMINT relies on Design Thinking as a mindset, though using an integrative approach as well as abductive thinking. Abductive thinking differs from the linear reasoning of deduction and induction, and is much closer to a mental map, in that abductive thinking works with a series of iterations to come out with the best solution for several parts of the problem at hand. On the other side, it runs on improved traditional CI methodologies and frameworks, obviously adapted to cope with the challenges highlighted above. In practice, SMINT is the ultimate Early Warning Opportunity System, as it collects, processes, and disseminates a flux of actionable insights in almost real-time. The connected social consumer leaves a digital footprint that SMINT picks up using specific social web listening tools, providing public information on trends, tastes, opinions, recommendations, and complaints to inform on such topics as business strategy to marketing tactics and communication messages. The increasing mobility of this consumer guarantees that most times his reactions are not filtered as they are vented on the exact moment the consumer experiences a good or bad experience. This provides some exciting gold nuggets to inform marketing and innovation, sometimes even new business models. Since these reactions can also be shared in different channels, SMINT integrates both the traditional channels as well as online channels, so it can generate real social business insights, therefore informing the social business, commerce, and customer experience strategy. Most importantly, SMINT is collecting data in real-time on key intelligence topics. This allows for businesses to interact with the competitive environment in the shortest amount of time possible, through exploring opportunities and mitigating the threats. Since the organizations using SMINT will listen to their own performance in real time this allows for a virtuous iterative cycle of self-improvement on their own strategy and tactics. Since digital transformation can be seen as the path to social business, SMINT can also be seen as the operating system to support the transformation itself. In this realm, this approach can support the business transformation in several areas, from culture to strategic processes, and most importantly to support decision execution and fine- tuning in real-time. Most significantly, SMINT brings the consumer and customer to CI, as of today we can listen to the consumer and customer in real-time using a myriad of social listening tools, from keyword search to geolocation based informatics. This can also confirm or prove wrong the hypothesis of one-off ad hoc Consumer Research studies. Most importantly, you have on-going and real- time examples which can give marketers the opportunity to understand live the consumer reaction to marketing and branding initiatives. This integrated virtuous loop is an important competitive advantage over competitors! SMINT: Why CI Needs A Fresh Approach
  5. 5. Competitive Intelligence16 SMINT: Why CI Needs A Fresh Approach I had the chance to work with a customer over the span of a few years, first without SMINT and later with SMINT in full power mode. This means we were integrating all the types of sources that you can imagine, from traditional media (TV, Radio, Outdoors, Press, etc.) to digital news. From traditional advertising to online advertising, all types of advertising investments were included, even direct marketing, monitoring, and listening to social media channels from competitors all around the world. The difference was astonishing! On one side, being able to help steer the business with real-time actionable insights and its implications is priceless. One of the first projects for this client was a deep dive on a specific competitor. This led us to the critical insight that our customer’s marketing communication was working against it. Basically, they were communicating a competitor’s strength, and not their own! This led us to developing a new global communication platform. When we were in the final phase, almost ready to launch, a different competitor launched a marketing campaign in a strategic market that was identical to the one we were developing for our customer. We had to make a deep dive on this subject and foresee if this would be the new global positioning of this different competitor. Can you imagine if that was true and we were not monitoring? Can you imagine the cost of developing a global marketing communications platform? And can you imagine the cost of launching a new campaign that is identical to one of your key competitors later than his? On the other side, being able to make a deep dive on any subject, at any time, since you have the key intelligence topics and questions support data on record, is of an incredible added value. For the Competitive Intelligence function and professionals, but also for the customer who at any given time can inform his decision making with factual evidence. The working document of the deep dive that would inform the annual planning was a collection of 1000 slides which were used to inform business, business unit, go-to-market, marketing and communications, digital, advertising and even messaging strategy and tactics. Because of the integrated and all organization level approach, we could analyze social media using hypotheses that we would never be able to even identify with the best big data processing and tools. Such hypotheses, led us to identify with no margin of error the strategy used by the competitor for their campaigns on social networks. This allowed for a guerrilla approach that ultimately would convert prospects for our customer before its competitor. In a nutshell, SMINT can integrate all sources to analyze all the elements of the competitive environment, and all organization levels and functions, to derive actionable insights and implications to your company in real-time, constituting a strategic flux that allows for informed decision making in anticipation of your competitors, thus providing a sustained competitive advantage. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Luis Madureira is a Graduated from NOVA SBE in Economics with a specialization in Marketing, and accredited with a CIP-II (Master of Competitive Intelligence) by ACI – Academy of Competitive Intelligence. Vast experience in FMCG and Consulting, in companies like Diageo, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Red Bull, United Coffee, Heineken, Ogilvy and ÜBERBRANDS. Held leadership roles in Marketing, Sales, Strategy and Intelligence at Local and Global levels. Chairs the SCIP Portugal Chapter and he is an Associate Scholar in circa 10 University Post Graduations and Masters internationally. Author of Social Market Intelligence – SMINT. Set-up the CI Centre of Excellence for OglivyRED, the strategic consultancy arm of Ogilvy & Mather, as Global Competitive Intelligence Practice Lead. Currently he leads the Brand Building (R)evolution as Partner of ÜBERBRANDS, helping companies, boards and leaders navigate their competitive environment by informing their decision making with actionable insights, support the design of winning strategies, and the development of innovative products, services and business models.