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Lessons Learned from the SAS Launch of Social Media Analytics

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2010 is quickly shaping up to be a year known for the proliferation of social networking analytics services and applications.

What’s interesting is that many B2B brands are paying attention to how their brands are perceived, and as a result are looking at sentiment analysis, predictive analytics, data mining, linguistic modeling and latent semantic indexing – all techniques for bringing meaning to unstructured content. For additional information on how data mining and predictive analytics are rapidly re-ordering the analysis of social networks please see The Forrester Wave™: Predictive Analytics and Data Mining Solutions, Q1 2010 (free for download).

Analytics Has Always Been Sexy, SAS Is Making It Strategic

There is something incredibly alluring about crunching data through an analytics app to see what new insights emerge. From entirely new customer characteristics to understanding pricing elasticity, to understanding the dynamics of distribution channels including key factors driving customer churn, analytics has for many companies has been their compass they navigated through the turbulent times of the last few years.
Yet at a more fundamental level analytics has as elegant simplicity to it – a sexiness – of giving an analyst the power to parse through terabytes of data and succinctly, clearly and accurately define new relationships and insights never before seen. Add in the torrent of unstructured data created on social networks every day and the need for not just parsing and analyzing data, but finding strategic insights becomes a priority fast.

Lessons Learned from the SAS Launch

What immediately became apparent about how SAS orchestrated the launch of their Social Media Analytics service earlier this week was that they fully expected the majority of attendees to be virtual. After reflecting on how well the entire launch went I came up with these following take-aways:

  • Televising the launch event live over the Web with no opt-in, no downloadable webinar apps, was a brilliant decision. To attend the launch all one had to do was click on a URL and up came the high resolution video with live feeds. SAS got all the barriers out of the way technologically for anyone wanting to view the launch event.
  • The launch event panel was balanced between the pragmatic and product-specific. You can never tell with a launch event if it is going to turn into a pitchfest, yet SAS tread lightly on that line and instead showed how strategies could quickly be created, measured and modified based on the Social Media Analytics Service.
  • Making the launch event conversational by having leading thought leaders in analytics and CRM participate in real-time. This was invaluable as the questions often brought out an entirely new facet of the service.
  • Authenticity is King. One could tell the launch events primary goal was to educate, not hype the Social Media Analytics service. What was impressive is how SAS came at this event to illustrate how a company could quickly transform analytics into results.
  • Eating Their Own Dog Food. Finally anyone who has ever been in marketing in a high tech company has to appreciate the comment made in the clip below by Jim Davis, SAS Chief Marketing Officer. He says they will analyze how the launch even exceeded their expectations using the Social Media Analytics Service

Bottom line: SAS has set a new standard on how to successfully launch a new service using social media. There’s great irony in the fact they are immediately analyzing this launch using their own software – what a great series of lessons for so many companies who will launch new apps and services this year. Thanks again to the SAS Team for making this event so easy to attend virtually, I really appreciated it!

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Louis,

    Enjoyed this post, yours being one of a few I’ve seen critiquing the actual social media launch tactics, which was fun to read from my perspective. Lots of lessons learned internally here as a result of this, which you’ve summarized brilliantly. And while it may seem obvious that a social media strategy should be a component of a Social Media Analytics launch, you are spot on in its application to ANY product launch, which we fully recognize at SAS. This is one of several hundred posts I am wading through (yes, adequately responding within the social space still involves a human touch, no software for that yet), no doubt fueled in part by the virtual press conference and active engagement with thought leaders like yourself leading up to this launch.

    Thanks for taking time to attend our event and offer your own perspective, it is much appreciated, and I look forward to engaging you in the months and years ahead in this exciting area.


    John Bastone
    Global Product Marketing Manager
    SAS Customer Intelligence

    April 21, 2010

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