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Unlocking Attitudinal Profiles to Activate Consumers

Introduction
Organizations of all types, and within all verticals, whether they are large companies, advocacy
groups, public service organizations, campaigns, retailers or government agencies, value a loyal
community that acts in ways that are aligned with the organizations goals. These goals vary
widely and each organization defines desirable actions in different ways. Marketing
professionals understand that regularly and predictably activating a community is as important,
if not more important, than acquiring new members or simply retaining them.
Activating a community requires a deep understanding of what drives the choices that individual
members of the community make, and the ability to leverage that understanding into
motivating individual actions. This paper describes the core elements of the Discourse Analytics
Community Activation Platform (CAP), and how organizations can make use of the strength and
flexibility of the platform to engage with members of their communities and motivate them into
action, one member at a time.
Attitudinal Profile: A schematic for consumer choice
Every choice a person makes represents his/her value system how the person evaluates the
various attributes of the choice in comparison with other available choices. One person may
buy a car for its fuel efficiency, and another may buy for its status, while a third may buy it
completely based on the price. Typically, how an individual views alternative choices along a
combination of multiple issues determines the final choice. This goes to mean that each choice
has a specific set of key drivers and each persons view along these drivers provides insights into
individual choices.
A profile of a persons attitude that maps the level of
importance they assign to each of the key decision
drivers and their leaning (favorable or unfavorable)
along these drivers provides a highly predictive model
for the choices an individual makes. For example,
shown on the right is a profile of a bank customer
along issues that drive adoption of mobile banking.
This graphical representation shows the profile of a consumer who is more interested in access
and security issues than with privacy and familiarity (represented through relative thickness of
the bands). The concern related to mobile conversion is on privacy, which is low on their
priorities. If the bank recognizes these leanings and drives appropriate messages to the
consumer, the chances of a successful conversion from the on-line platform to the mobile one
are high.

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Traditionally marketing and consumer analytics have focused on demographic profiles and some
psychographic profiles (through past actions) to understand consumer choices. While there may
be instances where some homogeneity exists in choices among demographic groups (age,
gender, race etc.), it is more an exception than a rule. Choices are mostly based on attitudinal
profiles, and once we understand attitudes, we can determine consumers likely choices with a
higher degree of reliability. Clayton
Christensen has often referred to this choice
model as equivalent of hiring a product to
do a job on the basis of its core attributes1.
Explaining choices through demographic
profiles or even through psychographic
profiles essentially captures correlations,
and rarely explains why a choice was made.
Attitudinal profiles, on the other hand,
focus on the reasons behind the choice.
Unless we understand the principal reason
for an action, it is unlikely that we can figure
out how to inspire a different action. In
their seminal book Nudge, Richard Thaler
and Cass Sunstein lay out strategies to
inspire actions based on a deeper
understanding of behavioral choices (2009).
Discourse Analytics provides an integrated
system that helps organizations listen to
their community, understand the key
drivers of individual choices and implement
strategic initiatives to educate and influence consumers. The platform consists of four modules:

The DA Consumer Engagement Framework that actively engages consumers to obtain


information that help build individual profiles;
The DA Consumer Activation Platform that enables enterprises to deploy targeted
campaigns to increase activation;
The DA Analytics Engine that uses information gathered through consumer engagement
to build profiles, and enables organizations to deploy highly effective campaigns to
influence consumer actions; and

Clayton Christensen, in his lectures and papers, have effectively articulated that consumers choose products
because they want a specific end goal accomplished through the choice a job to be done. According to
Christensen. The fact that you're 18 to 35 years old with a college degree does not cause you to buy a product, it
may be correlated with the decision, but it doesn't cause it.

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The DA Knowledge Repository that stores longitudinal information of consumer


profiles, similarities, clusters and other insights derived by the Analytics Engine.

The architectural overview in the figure below shows the overall structure of the system.
Architectural Overview

Building profiles through consumer engagement


Developing attitudinal profiles requires evidences of consumer behavior that indicate the level
of interest in an issues or the consumers leaning along a key driver. The Discourse Analytics
Consumer Engagement Framework engages consumers in active conversations on a variety of
key drivers to record information that help build profiles. Recent trends have created an
environment in which large amount of information is constantly being shared by consumers
through their social media interactions, purchases, and other activities. Consumers are more
willing to provide insights into their wants than ever before. The DA platform enables
organizations to listen to these expressions and gain insights into consumers attitudinal
profiles.
Instead of simply relying on static demographic and psychographic information and listening
passively to streams of data (as performed by social media analytic systems), the DA Consumer
Engagement Framework enables organizations to turn interactions with its customer base into
ongoing two-way conversations. These conversations could be in the form of opinion polls and
surveys that seek opinions, or curated articles and discussion opportunities that seek responses
from the consumer. Polls, surveys, articles and other engagement elements that are aimed at

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generating profiles are curated and classified such that consumer responses to them are
indicative of either interest level or specific leaning along one or more issues of interest.
The user responses across multiple engagement sessions over a period of time are aggregated
to develop the profiles. These responses may come from different channels online, mobile, or
through some social media outlets such as Facebook, LinkedIn or twitter. Each consumer
engagement is used as a weighted evidence to help build attitudinal profiles. The weight will
depend on the type of channel and type of interaction, as well as the level of knowledge about
the consumer. The mathematical approach to profile building is described in the box (page 2).
The DA Engagement Framework uses a proprietary algorithm to uniquely identify the consumer
during each session. This approach reinforces the analytical strength of the system by
essentially opening up a broad array of channels for consumer engagement.
The DA consumer engagement is continuous, and constantly updates user profiles. This
longitudinal approach helps track changing attitudes due to shifts in stages of life or other
events, and can act as a gauge that indicates changing macroscopic trends that enterprises
should always monitor.
Profiles as instruments of motivation
Attitudinal profiles essentially indicate a priori levels of interest and leanings. The consumer
choices and decisions are based on these profiles. The fact, however, is that these biases are
developed on the basis of available knowledge, and enterprises do have an opportunity to
educate consumers and potentially influence these choices through targeted pieces of
information or interaction that can modify interest levels or leanings. The DA Consumer
Activation Framework offers three distinct pathways for inspiring consumer choices. They are:

Targeted deployment of specific campaigns aligned to consumers profiles. For example, a


campaign that highlights price advantages of a product are most effective when delivered to
consumers that are price sensitive than those that are driven by convenience, appearance

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or other issues. DA framework allows enterprises to easily identify target consumers for
each campaign thus improving the effectiveness of campaigns.

Building connections among like-minded individuals. The DA Analytics Engine analyzes the
consumer profiles to constantly assess and cluster consumers with similar attitudinal
profiles. This enables enterprises to build connections among the members of their
communities to link like-minded individuals even with those from whom not enough data is
as of yet available to complete their profile. One of the most effective ways to influence a
consumers choice is by highlighting choices made by other like-minded individuals. In a
research study on the use of Yelp in restaurant choice, 72% of consumers surveyed
indicated that they valued ratings and feedback from strangers who seem to have similar
interests than even their close friends.

Unlocking broad campaign themes. The DA Analytics Engine performs cluster analyses on
each modeled community to identify any revealed clusters of attitudinal profiles. Such
clusters may be hidden within the thought profiles of the members of the community.
These can be in the form of a general dissatisfaction in customer service, or a broad
perception of quality concerns etc. If and when identified, these clusters and their
characteristic profiles can act as the blue print for a campaign theme or an operational
theme that can help enterprises in improving consumer retention and activation.

One of the most powerful components of the DA Analytics Engine is the ability to predict consumer
actions on the basis of profiles and profile similarities. The predictive analytics modules helps
enterprises develop expected responses to specific campaigns and incentive programs, which can be
used to optimize allocation of resources.
Summary
Discourse Analytics offers a unique, analytic solution that helps enterprises activate their community

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and maximize the life time value of their consumer base. This easy to integrate solution not only
allows enterprises to understand the behavioral profiles of their consumer base, but also enables
them to deploy strategic campaigns and other engagement initiatives.

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