When I first heard the term "alternative data," I immediately thought to myself, "Sounds interesting—what the heck is it?" So being the media nerd that I am, I decided to dig a bit deeper.
What I discovered turned out to be familiar, fascinating, and a potential game changer in the world of b2b media (or any media for that matter). I immediately envisioned a new revenue stream.
According to TechTarget, "Alternative data is information gathered from non-traditional information sources. Analysis of alternative data can provide insights beyond that which an industry's regular data sources are capable of providing."
Reading this quote, I see a new way to tap into a market that we either weren't willing to or able to before. This gives us the ability to think about other tactics that we can dig into to gain industry knowledge for ourselves and/or for our clients.
FICO listed the following areas of collecting alternative data within the financial industry, which also can translate in the media world:
- Social Networks
- Social Profiles
- Survey Data
- Clickstream Data
- Transaction Data
- Mobile App Data
How does that help me, you ask? Think of it this way: the opportunity for researching and staying ahead of your competitors in ways you hadn't thought of before. Data mining, data mining, data mining.
For some additional context, the Wall Street Journal's Telis Demos recently wrote an article about alternative data and how it allows for getting ahead of trends in the financial industry.
Hedge funds in the U.S and Europe are spending more than $170 million annually on alternative data, according to a survey by Greenwich Associates. Historically, alternative data has mostly been based on things directly relevant to forecasting sales, according to Telis.
How much is your company spending on alternative data?
A great example of a company at the forefront of this technology is called Metric Centric.
Metric Centric's founder and principal manager, George Assimakopoulos, states, "It is important to understand and then score what the marketplace is saying about a company's business, brand, clients, and competitors." The key word here is score.
From my experience, clients hate nothing more than when companies perform research for them and all they get in return is a bunch of numbers and charts with no analysis, insights or—dare I say—a scorecard.
This type of information is invaluable to any company. The ability to translate marketplace information is extremely instructive as it can help companies understand what upcoming trends will be in any industry and, overall, what people are saying about a company and the market they are in. Clients love this kind of information.
Metric Centric was kind enough to give me an inside look at how the "sausage is made" and how the data is not only crucial to clients, but also has the ability to provide suggestions on next steps as well—something I just stated above as a decisive selling point to clients.
For example, Metric Centric creates an Audience Impact Score (AIS) as part of the report to clients that includes the following six crucial areas:
- Executive Summary
- Scorecard Dashboard
- Customer-Centric Success Benchmarks
- Background Data Summary
- Key Influencer Identities
- Tactical Improvement Programs
By taking the alternative data and combining that with the traditional data, Metric Centric can provide a powerful story that companies can use to understand new trends in the marketplace and look at how to strategize for digital campaigns, whether that's content or other methods of marketing.
Being able to do the research for clients is one thing, but having the ability to translate that research into an impactful score report is a game changer.
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