Database: Text Mining in Marketing
In the world of marketing, text mining has gained greater awareness and favor as social media, inbound e-mail marketing, filtering and other "digitized" communication and documents in free text have flourished—and as the cost and quality of tools available to analysts and marketing departments have become more accessible.
Day after day, critical business rules are being implemented based largely on the identified use of keywords and phrases in free-form text fields provided by prospects, partners and customers, as well as the frequency and proximity (clustering) of their use in relation to each other. It's an analyst's dream, and sometimes a marketer's nightmare: There may be too much data to deal with.
I've often said that text mining is a first cousin to the more established data mining. Both seek to discern patterns and trends from substantial data repositories. Yet it's not easy devising computer systems that can "read" text that is written as natural language. Thankfully, a discipline known as natural language processing is providing success stories.
Marketers are using text mining for two primary functions: classify data subjects by segment and predict behavior. Let's explore the latter use via a personal example.
Customer Service Analysis: A Missed Opportunity
During the past year or so, I have been experiencing problems with my cable service. Initially purchasing the television component of its offerings, I quickly enrolled in the company's Internet service and, not too long after, its phone service. My frequent calls to customer service personnel resulted in the same response with which many readers may be familiar: "Disconnect your cable modem, wait a few minutes and then reconnect." This, I was told, would re-initialize the cable signal entering my home and get me back online.
While I wasn't quite sure what "re-initialize" meant, it did appear that this procedure worked. The only problem was that I was disconnecting and reconnecting several times a day—hardly a quality experience.