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January 23, 2007

Cymfony responds

by Josh Bernoff

Jim Nail at Cymfony responded to my post on his own blog. He points out that it's hard for companies to figure out where Cymfony fits in since their own organization doesn't neeatly compartmentalize Web influence.

[W]ho in the company should have responsibility for this? And the ultimate organizational question: whose budget does it come out of?

Given today's corporate structure, there is no easy answer to this question. For example, we may find a robust discussion of customer services issues, but brand management is looking for reaction to a new marketing campaign. The finding may never cross the organizational chasms which Forrester's Peter Kim has recommended need to change in
this report. Elana Anderson has also noted that marketing and customer service don't work together well.

I asked some questions, which he tried to answer. For example, does the buzz on the Net reflect people's actual opinions? Jim's reply:

In order to determine what is important, you need market influence analytics, which uses the large volumes of comments available and all the cues available in it to identify when an issue is the rising, collective voice of  a company's customers.

The second question is the predictive ability of the data. Some great work has been done already, such as this paper that correlates changes in the sales ranking of books on Amazon to waves of online chatter.

I'm still not convinced that any analytics can project the people on the Net to the whole population. It's still worth watching, but that doesn't make it the gospel.

And despite Jim's attempts to make it seem as if the Cymfony name is cool ("C and F are the hot letters these days") I think I hit a nerve . . .

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