Romi Mahajan joins Metavana as Chief Marketing Officer

Over the next few months we’re going to be introducing you to the latest trends and tools that will be hitting the market research scene.

As you get to know these new trends and the people behind them, you’ll notice that they view the world not as a set of independent cogs and wheels forced into the interaction, but as a biological eco system that naturally delivers valuable information that we need to pay attention to.

The first in our series is Romi Mahajan, a leading expert in the world of market research and technology. Romi hosts the Marketing Access Blog, which is part of the Survey Analytics family of brands and he has just recently accepted a position as the Chief Marketing Officer at Metavana. Metavana tunes into the voice of the consumer from diverse web sources to help companies discover and classify expressions of opinion and emotion.

I chatted with Romi about this new company and the opportunity it presents for business and for market research.

Romi, what are some of the trends that have been most apparent to you in the world of market research and social media and sentiment analysis?

When we examine the world today, we see 3 interesting trends that we hope to help corral and tame for the benefit of organizations of any size and consumers eventually.

  1. The Social Web is a HUGE source of proliferating data. 250M tweets a day, 800K facebook posts an hour, and so on. Amazing amount of data, growing geometrically.

  2. The data/content on the Social Web is largely unstructured, asyntatic, ungrammatical, and emotional versus binary fact-based. The content is full of “affect” and “emotion” which need to be parsed and understood.

  3. The Social Web is always on. It’s 24/7/365 and it’s world wide.

And given all of this, what is expressed on The Social Web affects all Brands, all companies, all organizations……making for an interesting challenge and opportunity!

You’ve recently taken a position with Metavana, a new company that’s taken on the challenge of making sense if this kind of data. How can businesses benefit from Metavana?

Metavana offers businesses the ability to track consumer opinions about their brands, products, and services; benchmark themselves against competitors; and selectively participate in the dialogs. As a result, they will gain a faster and deeper understanding of innovation and positioning opportunities as well as of whether changing market perceptions are likely to influence buying decisions and other consumers. All businesses need to understand the marketplace, the community, and what their current and prospective customers are saying. It’s really that simple. My job is to make it cost effective and value added for them!!

Metavana provides sentiment analysis – what is that?

Sentiment Analysis is a way of understanding and making meaning out of this efflorescence of unstructured and emotional content on the web. And it’s important to do because The Social Web is the “new authorative,” it’s the new driver of trends; we are moving closer to the source of what REALLY drives people to act.

We believe that solving this problem is not just about smart Engineering. We believe it’s a fundamental Physics and Non-Linear Mathematics problem. Furthermore, it’s all about quick-turn categorization and helping organizations act on real insights/meaning. Furthermore, it requires considerable business model innovation in which Voice of the Customer becomes everyone’s job and is not a sequestered, episodic, and one-off project. So we believe we have the one-two punch.

What are the risks of not paying attention to sentiment analysis?

Let me ask a slightly different question. What are the risks of not having finance or not having telephones? The fact is that companies can choose to know what their current or prospective customers are saying and feeling or not... but my admonition would be if you decide not to, do so with the clear awareness that you’ll be left behind by others who are employing smart sentiment.

Sentiment Analysis is the Next Big Thing – Are You Ready?

Text analysis isn’t new anymore and making sense of the social media chatter was last year’s trend. If you haven’t been paying attention to that – you are already behind. Take note of the term “Sentiment Analysis” and start thinking about how not knowing what’s being said about your business and your brand and the emotions behind it can effect profitability.