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In her Brands-Only Summit presentation, Hitachi Data Systems' Global Online Marketing and Social Media Manager, Sharon Crost, explains how they're using social technology and "big data" pipes to gain insight into the buyer's aggregate online activity.

She also shares how they leverage that information to nurture customers through an online journey.

Below is live coverage of this session:

— Sharon: Our buyers’ journey is complicated and convoluted. We need to use big data to gain insight into this journey and our buyers, generally.

— Sharon shares some key questions that follow from looking at Hitachi’s big data:
Who’s out there?
Is anyone influential?
What content is relevant?
Any intelligent insight?
How do I get business impact?

— Sharon used Slide Share to put together a simple form on their site to collect data. The people who filled out this form were the most interesting to them as far as a continued pursuit to understand them.

— Sharon: I plotted the followers Hitachi has on Twitter, then added our other communities, and then our employee advocates. What I found was that then I looked at the long-tail, I realized that our accounts only accounted for 13% of their influence, which means that 87% comes from their followers. From there Sharon decided to empower those people by giving them content to share and interact with. They also have an internal platform for providing content for employees.

— What content is relevant? When you look at the data you’ll see some “stars” emerge. Our customers define which content is important to them. The marketing team doesn’t get to decide what content is out there; instead, our customers do. We will place paid media on top of our “star” content/conversations.

— Sharon: Putting an xtra thrust on a performing conversations can give uplifts of over 20x organic performance.

— Sharon: Is there insight in this big data? Over 50% of the data out “there” is unstructured. This is “dark data.” How do we get insight out of that data? We pulled in pipes from Twitter (API), sentiment analysis, event calendar, competitors, and search terms. We also did a content insight (key search terms), buzz insight (industry events), and competitive inside (negative social sentiment).

— Sharon: How do we get business impact? Give the information to your stakeholders! We used small data. If it’s good news then you get thriving stakeholders, if it’s not, then you get budget!

Q & A:

Q: How do you get people to fill the form out that you created? Do you link directly from social media or is it a landing page?

A: We try to be very polite. Use the channel in which you offer the form. Be channel-specific. Generally, we try to do permission-based initiatives. For example, on Slide Share, we put the form at the end of the cast and didn’t interrupt their viewing.

Q: What is lead-generation or gated content and how is it different from others?

A: We do buyer maps. If it’s awareness we won’t gate. If it’s consideration then we’ll gate that type of content.

Q: Do you offer any materials after the form?

A: We generally use the form for nurturing. When they fill it out we will send an automated email taking them through a nurturing cycle. We do try to follow up right away so they know we are listening. It develops trust.

Q: How do you do reporting across the enterprise?

A: We used to do generic reporting of key statistics, but found that people weren’t really tuned in. We now send a specific statistic to a general audience. We will see what happens with that and can provide more follow up with those who respond.

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