Throughout my time at Nielsen, I've had the privilege to sit down with dozens of senior executives, making sure that our insights and advice help them improve their businesses through better understanding of consumers and markets, and ultimately drive their growth.
Increasingly, I seem to get asked the same question, "how do I take advantage of social media?" This question is partly driven by the recognition that social media is huge. (According to Nielsen's newly released May 2010 data, three quarters of U.S. online users visit social media sites regularly spending about 5.5 hours a month visiting social networking sites at the workplace alone). It's also driven by executives' belief that social media data is full of incredibly valuable information and insights into consumers.
What's really at the core of these questions is the sense that social media has the potential to transform their business. And that the most sophisticated companies are starting to harness this wisdom – this social media intelligence – to create competitive advantage. Some are pros, others are novices, but many still struggle with how to do it, let alone how to do it quickly.
We created NM Incite because we recognize that consumers have greater leverage and power than ever before. Consumer content and opinion is now inseparable from the purchase process, and social networks are now becoming an invaluable sounding board for all manner of product ideas and feedback. Billions of consumers now regularly access the internet and increasingly comment on products and services. Recent data suggests that two thirds of consumers won't make a purchase decision without checking consumer opinions online.
For many companies, social media insights have been locked in functional silos, making it difficult to leverage across the organization. Many of these same companies also struggle with how to interpret the volume of data generated by social media and which measures they should focus on. These are difficult problems to solve. And it's even more difficult if you are trying to truly unleash the potential of social media across an organization, through product development, marketing and communications, customer service, supply chain and resource planning.
The combination of McKinsey's renowned consulting capabilities and Nielsen's online consumer intelligence will help our clients address this problem. We'll advise clients how to develop and implement actionable strategies that have an impact across their organizations. Our mission is simple: use social media intelligence to create a competitive advantage for our clients.
It's early in the history of NM Incite, but we're already at work with members of the industry to help shape our future offerings. Pilot engagements are kicking off and we'll be evaluating metrics and building new ones to help businesses gauge their successes.
We'll be updating you on our progress. Please stop by often or contact us with any questions if you'd like to get involved.