Recently The Marketing Consigliere had an early morning coffee with a very engaging gentleman who is at the helm of a small but promising start-up company. Rory Kelly of Wegora, a collaboration platform with an integrated semantic analytics engine. Having recently blogged about Attensity, another semantic analytics platform developer and just last week blogging about an acquisition by that company, The Marketing Consigliere was extremely interested in what Rory had to say about his company.
Allinio: How does your product/service allow Marketers to better gather, analyze, share, and act upon data?
Kelly: Traditional methods of customer research such as polling and focus groups are expensive and don’t work for every situation. Meanwhile, web based movements like Pepsi’s Refresh campaign have shown that large groups of people will actively participate when they are properly encouraged to give their ideas. But, these campaigns often add little to the bottom line because they fail to capitalize properly on all that online engagement.
At Wegora, we’ve found a better way- Our idea engine allows you to engage millions of people to in a massive brainstorming session. You can structure this engagement as a competition or let people run wild commenting, posting and collaborating. Either way, our semantic analytics engine is busy behind the scenes taking those ideas and breaking them down by the contributor’s age, gender, location, and other categories. This data is presented to the client in a confidential report that shows which ideas or opinions different customers support and why.
Wegora stands behind this data because it is customer-driven and untainted by the heavy hand of a pollster or focus group leader. You can use this data, not only to identify which customers like your product and which don’t, but also new memes that could have a powerful affect on your overall marketing strategy.
Allinio: What is the value proposition of Wegora’s offering to Marketers?
Kelly: Wegora is a subscription-based online application that maximizes customer online engagement. By selecting Wegora, a marketer will experience more efficient engagement campaigns that generate an unmatched quality of market data. This offering will support a firm’s ROI objectives by providing elite market research that leads to greater sales at an unmatched price.
Unlike its competition, Wegora gives you precise per customer opinion data that not only produces a binary positive/negative value for each demographic/subject relationship, but also delivers data that explains why each demographic feels the way they do.
Allinio: What is a common misconception that the market has about Wegora’s service?
Kelly: There are two common misconceptions and I will address them below:
1. Wegora’s engagement campaigns are touchy-feely luxuries that do little to improve the bottom line.
Truth: Wegora doesn’t just help your company’s image and improve customer loyalty. We give you crucial insight into your market. We deliver hard data on exactly who does or does not use your product and why. We tell you how customers use your product and how they perceive your company. In today’s competitive market this data isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.
2. No one will participate.
Truth: People will participate, but like any marketing strategy, execution is of paramount importance. If you launch an unsupported, unadvertised campaign, you will engage few customers and gain little from your marketing investment. If you make customer engagement a center-piece of your business philosophy you will attain tremendous participation and engage your audience.
Allinio: What is the most successful or innovative use of your product/service by a business to date?
Kelly: For the past year, the National Peace Corps Association’s award-winning Africa Rural Connect (ARC) project has used Wegora to solicit ideas from people around the world to help solve rural Africa’s greatest challenges. Over 10,000 people have created profiles on the ARC Web site so far from more than 100 countries around the world — posting and collaborating on hundreds of different ideas. Active users benefit from engaging in the ARC community and many experienced on-site discussions turn their ideas into detailed and practical project plans. Participants made and continue to make valuable connections that generate financial investments as well as investments of time and energy from the African Diaspora.
An independent auditor concluded that ARC outdid its closest competitor by soliciting 20 percent more total entries and generating an average of 20 percent more ideas per day at half the price and six times faster than the competition.
Allinio: What is your greatest challenge as a marketing organization?
Kelly: Our greatest challenge is getting both our clients and their users to take advantage of the remixing aspect of Wegora. In addition to submitting new posts and commenting on others, this feature allows users to open submitted ideas in a fully editable format where they can change, expand, and improve upon the posts–we call this remixing. Wegora is not a wiki. Instead of linear versioning, Wegora allows for a three-dimensional proliferation of ideas. Each new version is unique and may embrace and enhance different characteristics of an original post.
We encourage users to build off each other’s ideas and turn one good idea into many great ideas and strongly believe the power of remixing can be a catalyst for generating the best ideas. Although this feature remains underutilized by our users, I believe it will become the centerpiece of the platform as we learn how to articulate its power and utility.
Allinio: Rory, this sounds very interesting and different from other business intelligence tools that depend on user generated content and social networking for web analytics. We’re all looking forward to hearing about some good case studies coming out of the use of Wegora’s platform. Buona fortuna!