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The Gospel of Data Science

By Sander Biehn | Aug 18, 2015

I recently read Andrew Carnegie’s autobiography. If you’ve never heard of him, he was a fabulously wealthy iron and steel tycoon in the 19th century. His story outlines his rise from a poor, Scottish-born immigrant to one of the richest men in the world. It is well-written and captivating. And it is peppered with invaluable business insights that are still applicable today.

You’re probably wondering how this applies to social media, right?

Well… Among the book’s many insights, there is one that relates directly to the emerging world of B2B social media and social selling.

Carnegie tells us of a time (the early 1870s) when iron and steel production were not guided by science and chemistry. The ingredients and amounts thrown into the melting pot were determined by the intuition and whim of the guy in charge. He was allowed to throw anything he wanted into the pot. The foundry relied on his experience alone to create the best end product. Sometimes things worked out, sometimes the batch had to be discarded. There was no real understanding of how the composition of the materials impacted the quality and results of the end product.

Carnegie decided to employ a chemist to fully understand the composition of the raw materials and identify the correct proportions to use for his iron and steel. The result was a deep understanding of what chemicals and proportions impacted the quality of the finished metal. The use of science created less waste and a higher quality product. Because of this, Carnegie’s products commanded a premium in the market and earned his firm a reputation for quality and the trust of his customers. All of which made him very, very wealthy.

When Carnegie’s competitors found out about his use of chemistry, they are known to have said they couldn’t afford to hire a chemist. Only after it was too late did they realize they couldn’t afford NOT to hire a chemist.

Can You Afford Not To Use Data Science?

Just like the budding US Steel industry of the early 1870s, the same is true for the emerging arena of social media; specifically, in the use of social media for B2B marketing and sales.

The world is full of social selling “experts”, but they differ little from the alchemist standing over Carnegie’s melting pot.

Using data science, Thought Horizon has proven we can determine which specific social media activities impact a sales rep’s performance. We are able to outline on a very granular level how our clients should invest in B2B social media marketing and then help turn that investment into double-digit revenue increases. We have found that this social media data is – in Carnegie’s words – the “blazing sun” that will illuminate the truths in B2B social.

Through our successful use of data science, we have built a deep understanding of B2B social media. Our clients have benefitted from this knowledge, and we have used it to amplify their sales teams and boost their revenues.

One of the most important things we’ve discovered is B2B social media has a sweet spot, and whether you are operating in that sweet spot is the difference between success and failure.

Another major result of the data science is being able to prove social media marketing and social selling ROI in real dollars. This goes beyond most of the attempts by current social selling experts who are still proclaiming results using impressions, clicks, likes, favorites, etc….

Just as Carnegie was able to do 140 years ago, we’re changing our industry by using science to forge the highest quality B2B social media program available anywhere in the world.

Can you afford not to use data science for your B2B social?


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