2. Be flexible. Being flexible requires a change in thinking, as well as a change in analysis tools. In a multi-device, multi-channel social world, the questions that businesses need to ask of their data are constantly changing. Most social data is unstructured, such as the text of a Facebook post or tweet. However, along with analyzing what a consumer said, marketers need to know when and where she said it, what else she was talking about, and what she did-this structured data includes what was clicked on, downloaded, re-pinned. Solutions must be flexible enough to integrate and handle all types of data. Equally important, marketers need tools that allow for ad hoc queries that drive the complex investigation required of social data. Analysis shouldn't be constrained by data schemas that limit the type of questions that can be asked.
To date, marketers may have only been able to ask, "How many red dresses did we sell via Pinterest last week?" But with investigative analytics, the sky's the limit. The flexible approach of investigative analytics yields new ways to gain insight from questions that haven't even been dreamed up yet. For example, if you identify a spike in sales from Pinterest leads, it would serve you well to find out why it's happening and identify patterns you can then capitalize on. Questions may include: "Are there 10 boards in particular giving the most leads?" or "Are we selling more red dresses to the 15-22 demographic when the dress is pictured on a real model instead of a mannequin?"
3. Prioritize the need for speed. In a world where trending topics, social campaigns and consumer preferences change at lightning speed, marketers need to extract intelligence quickly enough for it to be useful. Companies no longer have the luxury to wait days or even hours for answers; stale data just won't do. They need technologies that focus on ultra-fast query loading and performance against large volumes of data. That way, instead of historical reports that return intelligence in hours or even days, innovative marketers can analyze and act in real-time - whether it's serving up a location-based coupon or launching a promotion that takes advantage of a trending topic.