Analytics, Insights and Outcomes: Tales from the Newhouse School of Public Communications

This past weekend, I had the privilege of presenting to a class of Masters Students at Syracuse’s Newhouse School of Public Communications. These students are completing their degree virtually which in and of itself is pretty cool but as part of their 15 month program, they need to spend two weekends on campus completing in-person course work. This weekend’s focus was on social analytics (powered by our good friends at Sysomos) and included a broad array of content including my keynote, a panel (which I moderated), a case study and some training sessions.

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The focus of the keynote and the panel I moderated was the role that social analytics and insights could and should play in driving better marketing and communications. Given the focus of our company, W2O Group (a partner of Newhouse’s, Center for Social Commerce), this is an area we are very passionate about.

During the keynote, I talked about how social listening has evolved into social intelligence over the last 10 years. This evolution took agencies and brands from listening for brand mentions to providing deep insights from the social/digital web informing all functions of business including:

  • Advertising
  • Product development
  • Customer service
  • Content creation
  • Sales
  • Crisis communications
  • Public relations (and so on).

We talked about different models like the 1-9-90 rule of influence and building conversational “mountain ranges” versus “sky scrapers” as well as W2O approaches to helping customers with affinity analyses, conversation blueprints and attribution modeling. Since everyone likes to see case studies, I made sure to include success stories from clients like McAfee, HP, Warner Brothers, Best Buy and BMC Software.

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The next morning, I was joined by Assistant Newhouse Professor, Jennifer Grygiel, CEO and founder of Delmondo, Nick Cicero, Senior Manager at Sysomos, Jason Harris and VP of Content at Syracuse University, Stephen Cvengros. As mentioned previously, we continued the conversation around social analytics driving better business outcomes. It was a lively discussion (especially for 9:00 AM on a Saturday) and touched on topics like whether it was worth the risk for brands to use platforms like Snapchat when they didn’t have robust APIs/access to data, the predictability of a video going viral and what we as professionals today would give as advice to our younger selves.

Clearly the morning was a success as we managed to trend on Twitter. We also had a ton of great questions to complement all of the amazing content provided by my fellow panelists. To be honest, we probably could have talked for another 30-45 minutes but I’m a big believer in the saying, “less is more.”

A big “thank you” to Kelly Lux (Operations Director and Adjunct Professor) and the Newhouse School for hosting me as well as Sysomos, the faculty and all the smart students I met while I was there. I look forward to staying in touch with all of my new connections and hope to be back to teach again before the end of the school year!

Aaron Strout
Aaron Strout
CMO and head of financial services practice
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