When One Start Up Gives Birth to Another: The Genesis of 4Sight and Evolution of a Value Proposition
By Mark Jeffreys, CEO, 4Sight
Today we’re announcing the creation of a new company – 4Sight – out of another start-up: Mobile Agent Now. It turns out that we’re in good company so to speak. The history of start-ups is one of evolution of value propositions and with that the name of the entity that provides that value evolves, as well. Who remembers the companies Brad’s Drink, Backrub, or Relentless? Probably no one except the founders of what would become Pepsi, Google, and Amazon, which is what we know those respective companies by today. The market dictates value and with that so goes the name of a company.
The backstory: unintended value add
In January 2018, we launched Mobile Agent Now – born out of my 16 plus years of experience at P&G, particularly on Gillette. I saw how brand building was being transformed: brands were shaping their story in the online space by engaging with social media posts, blog comments and reviews. And I was frustrated by not having the capability to respond more quickly. So I set out to fill that need by offering a better solution: responding to reviews in a faster and more cost effective way through agents who happened to be mobile. That business has grown to a strong value proposition with a number of household name brands as clients and will continue to help brands fuel sales via review management, but the fascinating part of the story is more what came out of it: a new capability to build brands in a world overwhelmed by content.
So what happened? As we responded to reviews, we uncovered that what clients valued more than anything were some of the real time trends and insights that came from analyzing those online comments. For example, discovering through an Early Warning Alert that their products were being shipped without a key promised value add or that a promotional item included with purchase was offensive to its target audience despite a multi-million dollar investment. These were of value because the brand could take immediate action on them in a meaningful way to drive their top and bottom line.
Today, actioning data is often the aspect lacking in data analysis. For example, most brands read their social sentiment (your brand’s sentiment is more positive, more negative, etc.), but I remember scratching my head as a Marketing Director wondering how I action more positive social sentiment. I wanted to understand the 3-4 key things I needed to do based on real time data e.g. dial up a different part of my benefit, adjust a feature on my product design, etc. – that is all actionable.
The Ah-ha Moment – better data in real time
One of my former bosses at P&G used to say that online data was ‘liquid gold’. It’s ‘liquid gold’ because, unlike a focus group or consumer survey, it’s unfiltered, real time and always on in the form of social media posts, blog comments and reviews. You get the really-really – authentic reactions not just about your brand, but about your competitors and category. And there is no need to find old data from which to benchmark: reviews, blogs and social media posts usually have 4-5 years of history built in.
But like gold, this data is only valuable if it’s mined and shaped into something. We realized that given the thousands of new data points being created every minute online, it’s not humanly possible to manually mine those thousands of unstructured data points that exist on dozens of sites. The aid of a machine is needed.
But machine learning can only take you so far
The exciting thing is that we’re at a moment in history when artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing fields are exploding across disciplines. That’s a huge enabler to manage reems of unstructured data. But machines cannot internalize your brand strategy, meaning they cannot identify potential claims or recognize competitive vulnerabilities, which is why machine learning needs to be married with insight strategists. Our strategists are the ones that can help drive those insights to action e.g. changing product or service offering, adjusting communications, etc., based on the drivers, themes, or opportunities vs competition.
Over the past 9 months, we have built a proprietary set of algorithms that does just that: the ability to Extract, Harness & Activate insights on brands (and competitors). Leveraging a Series Seed round of funding and a team of data scientists and executives with 50+ years of experience, we built a series of offerings that we like to say is about discovery: discovering unexpected insights that exist in consumer data.
Brand Building 2020 & Beyond
In a world where there are 350,000 tweets per minute, 5 billion Facebook comments posted per month, and millions of new reviews every month on Amazon, winning brands are those that are able to harness that real time data faster and better than their competitors and then action it in market. That requires foresight, which is why we have chosen to name our new entity 4Sight. We’re excited to continue to partner with brands to help them solve some of their most vexing business challenges, taking insights to action.
Here’s our new site www.4sightadvantage.com. Reach out if you have questions or want to learn more.