The truth is out there Reading between the lines has never been so easy, writes Kirsten Levermore
Since the dawn of marketing, we have longed to know what customers really think of us. The modern incarnation of opinion-mining can now bring us the emotion behind the words of surveys, online reviews, forums, customer care calls and more, at a scale we could only have dreamed of, and at the speed of a broadband connection. Mindreading may be near. But real value still requires work. Text and speech analytics tools match the words, phrases and punctuation we use in social media, comments, forums, helplines, reviews and more to determine ‘emotion’ or ‘feeling’. Words with a positive connotation are given one
score, words with negative or neutral tones, diﬀerent scores. These numbers can reveal truthfully how eﬀective a campaign, latest product or most recent piece of content has been received.
Market researcher Winkle builds emotional profiles of reactions to campaigns, brands and pieces of content all over the world. Its chief research oﬃcer Phil Sandy tells Dialogue about a recent project to produce hard evidence of the importance of emotion in sales success. “Winkle looked at more than two million reviews across 15 diﬀerent categories,” he says. “Using sales data for the products mentioned in the reviews, we were able to identify, from the way people were writing the review – so, not relying on a star rating or emoji rating – those with words demonstrating high signs of excitement early after launch correlate highly, not only with higher rating scores, but also with client data for successful products. Likewise, the products that had high signs of frustration and more negative emotions were products that didn’t survive. So this big pot of data has been great for giving us hard proof of something we had always believed anyway: looking at emotional drivers is critical.”
Dialogue Q3 2018
I shall not tell lies
If we already knew about emotion in marketing, then where is the value in sentiment analysis? Founder of Speak with Persuasion, and digital marketing expert, Bas van den Beld, suggests that sentiment analysis is significantly more valuable than direct market research because of a simple truth: people lie.