Jorn Lyseggen

The New Boardroom’s Unfair Advantage

Stockholm 16:34


Jorn LyseggenThe New Boardroom’s Unfair Advantage

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So we are called Outside Insight-- using media intelligence to inform strategy and measure success. I will do the presentation in English because it's a little easier, and also to make sure that you fully understand what I say. Because when I come to Sweden everyone says, yeah we understand Norwegian, but my feeling has been that Swedes don't understand as much Norwegian as they claim.


So in my presentation I will try to look beyond the immediate horizon and try to look at what is coming down the road and try to think about, you know, a little bit about the future. So fundamentally today I'm going to share with you three propositions. They're three propositions I have that I think will all be very important in shaping your day and the way your industry and your peers are working.


And the first one is that company decision making will change. And by company decision making, I mean the big decisions. So overall I think companies in the future will make decisions dramatically different than what they do today. I think media intelligence will become a lot more strategic, and maybe that's a pretty obvious one. And maybe somebody feel that media intelligence is strategic today, but I think media intelligence will drive strategic decision in a way that it's not doing today. And the third proposition I have is that MarCom will be elevated to a much more strategic function than it is today. A lot of people here are working MarCom and I'm sure a lot of people, of course, feel that their function is strategic. But my proposition is that it will be elevated to a much higher strategic level than we see in today's market.


And I will start this out with short about background and how we look at this development market and how we arrived to the development in our industry. And of course you know about Meltwater. Of course, you know some of our services. But Meltwater put it was originally founded in 2001. We've grown to the global leader in use and social media analytics. It's headquartered in San Francisco, where I currently reside. It's grown from its humble beginnings to more than a thousand employees. We have more than 23,000 corporate clients and more than 50 offices across the world. And we built without external funding. So we actually built the company based on 100,000 Norwegian kroner. And you can ask yourself, why. Well, that's what it takes to incorporate a company in Norway and I think that's the situation in Sweden as well.


So this is where they started. And we have been following this industry for many years. So it started in 2001, and as I said, we started with very humble beginnings. There were two guys and a coffee machine and 100,000 Norwegian kroner. The computers in the background are actually used computers that I got from an old client of mine. And the office space was something we borrowed for free. So it was very scrappy and very appropriately addressed. The first address we had as a company was called Shack 15, so all good memories.


The product vision as Niklas was alluding to initially was, from the beginning, that we wanted to help executives to understand the world and to make informed decisions. And the idea was if executives come to work in the morning, have their normal cup of coffee, within seconds we are going to help them understand their brand, their clients, their competitors and the general industry. And our slogan back then was informed decisions. And in Sweden you have a word that is absolutely beautiful and I haven't found that in any other languages. And that is [SWEDISH] In English it says, media monitoring. That's not the same. You call it maybe, you say social media analytics. It's not the same at all. But that was really the vision that we had initially. [SWEDISH], to help executives and companies understand the world that they're competing in, navigating in, and trying to make success.


And overall the company, every day we process an enormous amount of data, hundreds of millions of documents. We do 2 trillion searches, I think you're all familiar with that. Capturing data, enriching data-- we have a proprietary search engine which, incidentally, is actually primarily built in Gothenburg, of all places. So we have an engineering team there. And of course, we do real time analytics. Over the years, what we concluded is that what we really do is not news monitoring, is not media monitoring. But fundamentally what to do is that we track leading performance indicators. So if you think about the brand, brand is much more than the marketing metric. A brand, a brand perception, and brand development says a lot about how you are going to perform in the future. So it's really a leading performance indicator. And the same thing with client feedback, of course. If client becomes increasingly happier with our services or less happy with services, these things are early indicators of future performance. They are leading performance indicators.


And, of course, whatever happens in your industry, what ever moves your competitors are doing, the same thing there they are all leading performance indicators. If all your competitors are massively investing in new products and rolling out a range of new products, that will impact your future performance as well-- so leading performance indicators. And that's what we offer to more than 23,000 corporate clients. So we are very proud and honored to work with some of the biggest brands in the world. Everything from Apple-- even Google is a client of us. A favorite of many is Manchester United. Harvard University is a client. My personal favorite is actually the Vatican, so even the pope in Rome is a client of Meltwater. So then we have the good people with us.


If you take one step back and look at the companies and the company this year in decision making, what we see is a shifting focus from internal to external data. And internal data has been around for many years and companies, all companies, are very rigorous mining internal data. They want to make sure that they're data driven. They make good, informed decisions. And there's lots of software that help you doing that-- ERP systems, CRM solutions and, of course, business intelligence. But all of the data that you analyze are old. The data are months old, quarters old, maybe many, many years old. And they will be lagging performance indicators. And the shift we see in the market is an increasing focus on all the wealth of insight you can find outside, externally.


If one of your competitors hires a lot of say, data scientist, that says something about their intent. If they file patents that says something about their strategic intent. There's lots of information you can find externally that is very relevant for you. And that is how we call leading performance indicators. And just to make it very simple, mining internal data is, in many ways, like driving your car and looking in the rear view mirror. You're looking at the history. You're looking at the things that have passed. Whereas external data is looking at leading performance indicators, what's going on the front of you, where is the road going, well how is it curling, what is the ups and downs, what are potential roadblocks you will run into.


And going forward, this is not going to be anything less relevant. I am sure that you've seen this quote, as well. It's a staggering quote. Eric Schmidt, now chairman of Google, says "Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003." That is absolutely staggering, and this is a few years ago, so now it's probably even more. And this has implications. An implication is that every one of us, as individuals, and as companies leave lots of digital breadcrumbs. I don't know if you tweeted something, you wrote something on Facebook maybe you wrote something on LinkedIn, maybe you checked in. You leave lots of different pieces, of digital breadcrumbs about you and these pieces can be combined. And the same thing with companies, when you hire people you leave digital breadcrumbs. When you do online ad spend you leave digital bread crumbs. And, you know, the idea will then be, if you can connect the dots across all these different data types you can create incredibly powerful intelligence. And that intelligence can make you do good and better informed decisions. So for that reason, we believe the decision making is changing. Decision making must change, because today most executives have a blind spot to all these opportunities. Or that maybe they know about it, but they don't rigorously pursue this.


And finally, decision making is changing in three key aspects. Number one, you add new data into the equation when you make decisions, namely external data. And secondly, the timing of decisions, the need for decisions, are much faster. It's moved from after the fact to the point when events start to unfold. Maybe there's some bad development in social media that you need to capture. You need to attack it. You need to find a way to dissolve it before it grows out of proportion.


And I think one of the key opportunities in external data, of course, is benchmarking. Because so far companies make a lot of analyses, but mostly on internal data, which really makes them insular. They're insular analysis is mostly about your own company. Externally, you have the unprecedented opportunity to benchmark apples to apples with your competition. And you can track it and compare in real time, how you're doing. Am I doing better than competitors or worse than competitors. So, for example, if you get a lot of following on Facebook, maybe you get lots of engagement on Facebook, maybe you're really happy about that. But you need to think of not only your own performance, you also need to compare that with the performance your competitors. If your competitors got actually relatively more engagement on their Facebook on that time period, it doesn't matter that you did well because your competitors did better. So net-net, your position was actually worsened.


And where this leads us is that the increased complexity drives development towards more data-assisted decision making. So on the right hand side, you see Watson and Watson beat who? Garry Kasparov-- the best chess player in the world. So it doesn't matter how smart you are if you don't have the proper systems to help you, you know, you can't win. So, fundamentally, what are the consequences? Number one, executives who look beyond the rear view mirror reports from internal data and develop a large appetite to understand external data and the road ahead.


Number two, decision making will increasingly start to look like a massive A/B testing exercise. So in real time you test different strategies and see how your ecosystem or your competitors respond. So say, in Germany, say you're running a part of a global business that's in Germany. One of your competitors are reducing the prices by 20%. What can you do? Maybe you drive more marketing. Maybe you try to reduce prices. So in real time you can then evaluate different strategies to see how they unfold. Maybe you move to double down the marketing in the American market instead, because if they focus on Germany, then you go after Americas. And I also think that this will go all the way to the top of the company. It will also affect the boardrooms. And I actually think one of the things that boardrooms will do is increasingly use analytics engine, benchmarking your company with competitors in real time, and not on historic performance, because that you don't have. But externally, you can find leading performance indicator that tells you how you will do in the future.


And fundamentally, we believe that a new software category is about to emerge. It grew out of all the old clipping services. And it was clipping because it was the sister technology, right? For people who are sitting and cutting newspaper articles out, news clippings, and these were then of course digitalized. And thank God for that. The second generation was then social media analytics. So today everyone is very rigorous and wants to drive a lot of intelligent and an good analytics in social media. We believe there's a third generation about to emerge and that is, for lack of a better word, big data analytics, based on the wide range external data types according to what I talked about earlier.


And here's the catch. I believe that MarCom is uniquely positioned to fill this void. This will be a new function within the company. This is going to be an important strategic focus. And MarCom has opportunity to fill this void because MarCom is doing a lot of the analytics on most of the external data today, and becoming more rigorous on analytics, moving from mentions to leading performance indicators. MarCom can provide a lot of value to their respective companies. And MarCom, I think, also will go beyond media, adding job postings and other data types, and process through the same analytics engines that they're using currently for social media. And the key piece here is that I believe successful MarCom organizations will move from justify budget spend to support key decision making and become a really valuable resource to CXO.


So in summary, external data is becoming one of the richest sources of a business insights. Executives who look beyond their internal reporting systems in order to understand what is happening. Media intelligence is becoming not strategic, but very strategic. The way companies are run is a consequence change. MarCom can help provide valuable insight to aid strategic decision making. And if successful, MarCom can be elevated to a valued resource for their CXO in order to understand the overall competitive landscape.

Meltwater’s founder and CEO discusses how data from outside the firewall is transforming decision-making. Find out what it takes to respond to ever-changing markets in real time thanks to “outside insight.”


Jorn Lyseggen

CEO & Founder of Meltwater

Jorn Lyseggen founded Meltwater in 2001, and has led its expansion as a pioneer in media intelligence. He also founded the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) to nurture startups in Africa.

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