Romi Mahajan is a well-known technology marketing speaker and expert; he serves on a variety of advisory boards and speaks at over a dozen industry events per year. He most recently served as the Worldwide Director of Sales and Strategy for the Digital Marketing and Search team at Microsoft. Prior to Microsoft, Romi was founder of the KKM Group and served as CMO of Ascentium Group.
Romi is also one of the founders of Research Access, and he has been a vital contributor to the online conversation about marketing and research.
Dana Stanley: Congratulations on your new position as CMO of Metavana. You’ve been a regular contributor to Research Access in the past, and I hope your new responsiblities will allow time for some continued guest posting!
For those who might not be familiar with Metavana, could you please take a moment to explain what the company does?
Romi Mahajan: Dana, writing for Research Access has been such a joy that I hope you allow me to continue to offer an opinion here and there!
I’m excited about my new role as CMO of Metavana, precisely because I believe we can make a real dent in reality with this company and really serve customers and the industry.
Metavana is at its essence a sentiment engine. What this means is that our engine can parse and make meaning of the geometrically-growing and unstructured/emotional content on the Social Web. We want to help redefine the Voice of the Customer and move it into the mainstream of business planning.
DS: There are increasingly more companies these days in what’s come to be called the field of Sentiment Analysis. I understand Metavana has some unique ways of analyzing, scoring and packaging web sentiment. Could you give us a sense of the scientific principles used in Metavana analysis?
RM: Metavana attempts to solve a tough problem that is governed by the following 4 connected notions:
- The Social Web is truly the “Big Data” Web. There are 250 million tweets a day and 800,000 Facebook posts an hour. And so on…
- The content on the Social Web is unstructured, asyntactic, often ungrammatical, and emotion — versus ordered, clear, factual data. It’s chaos; the tower of Babel writ large.
- The Social Web is always-on- 24/7/365 and is worldwide.
- Despite all of this, the Social Web reveals important truths about each of our brands….
We believe this is not a smart engineering problem but is really a physics and non-linear math problem. That is what we’ve based our algorithms on.
DS: It wasn’t that long ago that market research was considered to be surveys and focus groups – and that’s all. How do you think Sentiment Analysis – and Metavana in particular – fits into the overall market research picture?
RM: Look, market research has its place in the world but has not quite risen to the challenge of the Internet and Social Age. Market research tends to be episodic, one-off, and sequestered in the organization. Further, market research often lacks timeliness and context. Sentiment analysis (and Metavana by extension) change this by helping organizations understand the Voice of the Customer in real-time and in the real context (emotional, etc.) — that is what will define the next phase in the market research evolution. I believe in market research and want it to shine and have its rightful place.
DS: How will you use analytics and research in your role as CMO of an exciting internet company?
RM: Beautiful question, and I won’t sugar-coat. We’ll analytics and research in the company to determine market sizing, the “nature of the beast” we are trying to slay, and what customers and partners feel and think. But in a startup you go with gut often and you hope that decades of collective wisdom are brought to bear to do the right thing!