The Smart Way to Uncover the Mavens

Im at the Technology for Marketing & Advertising (TFM&A) Show in London, which is almost like therapy after Mobile World Congress. Its busy, and theres a good buzz about the show, but after MWC, it just feels wonderfully compact and manageable.
20 minutes ago, I had a briefing with Chris Underhill, CEO of a company called smartFOCUS, which has come up with a neat analytics offering that enables brands to get a much better handle on their social media campaigns.
They may not be well known in mobile circles, but I know smartFOCUS from many years writing about direct and digital marketing for trade publications. They have some very clever, robust technology, that enables marketing people, as opposed to data analysts, to conduct what they have always called train of thought analysis on their database.
So lets say you have 1 million customers. A marketer can sit at his or her PC, and with a few mouseclicks, from this 1 million, select just the women; then just the women aged 25-34; then just the women in this age group who have bought from the company in the past three months; then from these, just the ones who live within 10 miles of a bricks & mortar store. You get the picture: in a few minutes, you have whittled the 1 million down to maybe 50,000 and youre ready to run your next campaign.
smartFOCUS has noted the trend for brands to enable recipients of their email campaigns to share them with their social networks. Its new solution enables brands to track the effectiveness of this type of activity. Lets say a campaign goes out to those 50,000 people. The smartFOCUS solution can analyse, after the event, how many of those emails were shared with recipients social networks. It can then identify how many of those shared emails were successful in acquiring a new customer for the brand, and identify the best-performing social networks in terms of referrals. It can also flag up all sorts of other useful attributes about the most influential referrers, such as where they live, how old they are, and which of the companys customer segments they are in. All of which enables the brand to identify key influencers – the 'Mavens' in Malcolm Gladwell's 'The Tipping Point' – and start to prioritise them in future campaigns, in their attempts to acquire new customers.
In an age where social media is becoming more important by the day, this is one of the best examples Ive seen of a company enabling brands to not only tap into the power of social media, but also, to measure its effectiveness, and use the results to inform subsequent campaigns.
Theres no mobile element to this as such, though Underhill told me that he is in the process of building the firms mobile strategy. But with brands clamouring to work out how best to leverage social networks, this looks to me like a powerful tool in their armoury.

David Murphy