We have been working a lot lately with a number of large retail multi location brands on social business intelligence. And as you might imagine, one of the social data streams of increasing importance to these brands are location based services. Location based services include Facebook Places, Foursquare, Gowalla (although they are changing direction), Twitter and others not yet commonly used in Australia like Yelp.

What is increasingly important to all organisations is that mobile-social-local and the creation of consumer content through check ins and the like is growing at a rapid rate – and this data is critical to organisations who want to engage consumers locally, who want to market locally and who wish to respond to local service issues.

The US leads in this area but here are some interesting numbers:

  • 84% of consumers review local content
  • 13% local content reflects negative customer exp
  • 67% trust local online content posted about businesses
  • 50% of mobile phones in US are Smartphones
  • 1 in 5 smartphone users check-in

And our usage of location based services is increasing as the information is becoming more relevant to want we want to do as consumers – think Urbanspoon.

But what we did notice is that when consumers check in and associate a comment or message with that check in they typically do not mention the brand name as we assume its part of the check in itself. And we may not use product names or other normal keywords that brands search for when monitoring for social business intelligence. Let me give you an example and hope someone is listening. I no longer frequent my local McDonald’s store. The reason is that the machine that makes the shakes – which is my favourite part of a McDonalds meal – never works. I mean, everytime I went there the machine was out of service. Time after time. And when I checked in, I left a comment regarding my dissatisfaction with this situation. But, nothing ever got fixed; so when we go to McDonalds its no longer to my local store.

Now this information should be useful to the store manager and to the brand owner; but they may never see it. Traditional social monitoring tools work on keyword searches and typically those keywords include brand names, product names, competitors and perhaps some specific terms the brand uses for positioning or wants to track for risk related issues. Which means that they may never see this social business intelligence. Enter venuelabs, who refer to this as the blind spot in social business intelligence.

VenueLabs is focused on Location-based ¬†Monitoring Analytics & Insight and working with them we were able to capture a whole new set of insights for these multi location brands that were not captured in the traditional keyword based search tools or in single location based monitoring platform source before. And typically, the ‘blind spot’ for these businesses was in the range of 70%-90% – that is, 70% to 90% of the location based consumer content was not being picked up by keyword tools alone! Imagine the lost opportunities.

And imagine the insight available for any multi location business – banks, retail, restaurant, fast food, grocery, fuel, franchise and more. As the future of ‘social’ becomes increasingly mobile and local these location monitoring capabilities are going to be more critical to business success in these industries.

In a short time working with a number of organisations we were able to discover new social business intelligence in:

  1. Customer Insight & Research
  2. Customer Sentiment
  3. Marketing Measurement
  4. Reputation Management
  5. Compliance Monitoring & Operations

And so impressed were we that we have decided to add Location Based Intelligence to our overall Social Business Intelligence offerings – and partner with venuelabs to deliver that. So if you have a blind spot in your social business intelligence let us know. We can definitely assist you.