Seeing The Future

August 4, 2016, by , in Blog, no comments

On separate occasions this month we have been told two different ways: “You literally predicted the future for us.” We’re not actually soothsayers or oracles, we just applied our skilled listening to their questions and brought back real behaviors that helped fill in gaps in their audience decision paths, validated personas, and provided a deep look into their targets that surprised them. In both situations described below – one B2C and one B2B – we took a typical research project and showed them something hidden inside about their audiences.

“You Pointed Out a Massive Weakness, And It Was All-Too Prophetic”

Sometimes we’re sorry we were right. For one particular client we completed a comprehensive research project where we looked at the sentiment for a service across multiple audiences, compared peer and competitor brands, and evaluated the current channels and depth of outreach. We’re used to providing insights that our clients aren’t aware of, but in this particular case they carried a dire warning: behavior of a key audience type was low and relatively weak from a positivity stand point. In essence what we relayed was that the brand was vulnerable and that the weakness was ripe for exploitation in the event of a crisis. The news was all-too prophetic as a crisis unfolded soon after the project’s wrap-up that proved us unfortunately all-too right. While we immediately worked to blunt the damage, our report was quickly seen as something they’d only wished they’d done far earlier. What’s more, this isn’t the first time we’ve been able to tell a client about vulnerabilities…

“Industry Trade Journals Are Just Now Talking About What You Told Us First”

Audience behavior, generations, industry journals eventually busting myths – can you afford to be behind the curve? What if you’re the first to notice and seize the opportunity? Another recent prophetic insight has come from our research results preceding an industry report by weeks – and going far more in depth. This particular one had looked closely at how a specific kind of engineer behaved online, including the breadth of demographic representation, from the recent graduate to the wizened retiree. While some might have doubted a particular generation would have frequented “social media,” we were able to dutifully document that not only was every generation represented in the forums and messageboards, but in fact the older ones actually played some significant and influential roles. (What’s more telling is how those older generations likely don’t see those forums or message boards as social media – they wouldn’t touch Twitter with a ten-foot pole and several share Facebook accounts with their spouse at best.) Months later that same observation originally given in our presentation and passed along in the 100+ page appendices bubbled up in an industry publication, hinting that they had begun to see it too. Recognizing first-mover advantages is one of the key benefits of Feedback’s kind of social listening, using actual human beings and tempered with strategic analysis.

We Can’t See The Future, But We See Behavior and That’s Just As Telling

Feedback can help you understand what’s happening at this very moment, we can tell you how it got here with our historical look at trends, and, because of our laser-focus on behavior and devotion to understanding context, we can take that a step further and create a predictive modeling to help you make smart decisions NOW. In addition to the several clients who fall into the categories above, we’ve had recent clients make major adjustments to their front lines and internal programs within weeks of our presentations. We may not be soothsayers, but we are a kind of seer.