15 May 2018

How Natural Language Processing Can Tell You What Your Clients Think About You

It’s all about digital these days. Feature-teeming apps allow you to finesse on and scale up about any Marketing action you take. Among the many digitized platitudes that all work to some extent, there is one technique a company with enough scale can no longer do without. It is the NLP-enabled technique called Sentiment Analysis.

While Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing have fomented disruption in more than one business domain, Sentiment Analysis & Opining Mining are either an edge or a concern for companies throughout the B2C space. This depends on how early in the trend they embarked on it.

So what is Sentiment Analysis and how can you use it in your Marketing endeavors?

Sentiment Analysis - What Does It Mean?

Sentiment Analysis & Opinion Mining allow you to hear and systemize what your clients think about your brand or product, or those of your competitors. You can listen to their opinions practically across the Web, including social networks, forum posts and twits. In essence, you obtain a structured and actionable imprint that reflects the entire panoply of tendencies, relations, opinions and attitudes pertaining to the object of your interest. While the technique is still far from full-crowned maturity, it is mature and sophisticated enough to give your Marketing process a significant boost.

By now, Sentiment Analysis & Opinion Mining have gained so much footing in the Marketing processes of many companies, that they are regarded by many, along with some other NLP-powered approaches, as the next big thing in Marketing.

How does the whole thing work?

The Mechanics Behind the NLP Miracle

You will have probably guessed by now there is no extraterrestrial intellect or anything ultra- mundane behind Sentiment Analysis & Opinion Mining. Based on the object (s) of your interest, NLP experts come up with a set of so called Named Entities that can be the name of your company, brand, those of your competitors, or, even, the name of some event or events associated with them.

The system locates all occurrences of a Named Entity in vast volumes of textual information, contained within a social network, or residing elsewhere on the Web. They also compose a set of rules derived from your historical data and the practices of your industry. Simply put, they determine the relations that arise between different words and word groups in a certain business or otherwise peculiar context.

In order to enable machines to identify similar relations and contexts in future, NLP experts use Machine Learning. In accordance with your interests and the purpose of your search, the system identifies occurrences of a Named Entity that appear in a given context and interprets this context.

While Sentiment Analysis mostly allows measuring the generic positive and negative sentiment with varying precision (positive, negative, neutral and the degree of polarity within a text source, to be more precise), its more sophisticated sister technique called Opinion Mining is capable of handling much more intricate tasks. For instance, it can locate a context that signals a buying intent, or a situation in which your product is compared with that of your competitor.

Although, Sentiment Analysis and Opinion Mining still remain largely rule-based, the relations between words and word groups are now also increasingly determined based on their semantic similarities. This is gradually making the technology all the more powerful.

How Can You Use Sentiment Analysis?

The great thing about Sentiment Analysis and Opinion Mining is they are sufficiently mature and totally practicable in a number of ways. In Marketing, there are several purposes and usages in which both the techniques, excel.

Let’s see in more detail how you can benefit from them.

Managing Your Brand’s Reputation

Given the breadth of the Web, it seems impossible to keep track of all occasions on which your brand may come under fire because of some imperfections in your Customer Service or due to a capricious client. With Sentiment analysis, you have a means of spotting all negative feedback and reacting to it in a timely manner.

Similarly, you can detect positive feedback, thank those who have provided it and, thus, further strengthen the bond between your business and your clients. This could also be a great way to introduce and promote a new product.

Gauging Your Client’s Reaction to a New Product or Product Feature

If you lack marketing insights and have your doubts about whether a new version of a product or product feature should be introduced, Sentiment Analysis can help you too. It allows you to easily collect feedback on similar products or features. By changing the value of a variable that reflects a product property, such as, for example, a color, material, or shape, you can identify the option that is likely to tickle your audience’s fancy.

Comparing Your Product with Those of Your Competitors

Sentiment Analysis is an asset if you are striving to understand what it is that makes your audience favor your competitor’s product over yours. You can both make adjustments to improve your product and play up those of its properties, which your rivals’ products lack.

Learning About Your Problems Early Enough, So That You Can Respond

What those folks out there say after they’ve had a brush with your product or service can, sometimes, make or break your whole business undertaking. Sentiment Analysis is a great whistle-blower. If this great new pizza chain of yours has chairs that eventually make your back flare up, or you serve ketchup every other visitor reckons to be an abomination, you’d better know about this soon enough. With Sentiment Analysis, you can learn about what puts off your clientele early enough to be able to respond.

Deriving Meaningful Ideas that Can Help Your Business

You may a have bunch of best-in-breed marketing mavens in your employ, but what your clients can suggest may, sometimes, be of greater value, especially, if they do so en masse.
If you hear a score of people say they would buy one of your cardigans if they were red, you may want to think about why you have them all yellow and green.

Improving the Quality of Your Marketing Efforts While They Are Underway

Some of the less successful marketing campaigns (let’s face it, not all of them pan out exactly as expected) can be made more productive if you get a chance to tune in to your target audience’s vibes as the campaign unfolds. You can make adjustments on the fly, replace or optimize those campaign elements that are underperforming and, thus, save your time and investment.

You can imagine how all the more important this can be if you are targeting a new, foreign-speaking market for the first time.

Regionally Customizing Your Product & Service Offering

Other people’s ways often take a while to understand and remember. You have no guarantee though that all subtleties and niceties are taken into consideration even if you have a consultant, a friend, or an employee who hails from an overseas market you are targeting.

People may just tend to like other colors, dislike the sound of a product name or motto you are using for a campaign, or consider an ad to be indecent. Sentiment Analysis is a truly multilingual friend who is always on the spot. If you have a market that speaks a different language and differs culturally from your location, the technique will provide some additional insights that will be hard to obtain otherwise.

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