The Generation 3 Social Media Era – How Big Data is Changing Digital Marketing: Interview with Pernille Bruun-Jensen

Glenn: Hi, everyone. I’m Glenn Gow, Founder & Advisor of Crimson Marketing. Welcome to Moneyball for Marketing where we talk about the incredible changes happening in marketing organizations around big data and marketing technology. We feature marketing technology insights from the top marketers in the world. The reference to Moneyball is from the story of how the Oakland A’s baseball team were able to win and win and win because they figured out how to use data and technology to their advantage. If you’d like to learn about how to use big data and marketing technology and marketing to help you win visit us at or email us at And now on to our podcast.
Today I’m very pleased to welcome Pernille Bruun-Jensen who is the CMO of NetBase. Now, NetBase describes themselves as a company that delivers a big data social media platform for global brands, retailers, and agencies. Pernille, it’s great to have you here.

Pernille: Great to speak to you today, Glenn. I’m very excited.

Glenn: We were talking earlier about the next generation of social platforms and how big data is changing digital marketing. Talk to us a little bit about what you see happening in this world of digital marketing and social.

Pernille: Yeah, I think what’s so exciting is, of course, the pace by which we are moving. If we look social and the new generation, generation three, of social platforms out there we are really looking at evolution across two axises, of course, driving business value for the companies that are using the tools and driving business action.
So, across the axises of business value and business action we’re really seeing a move from social gen one which was very single function focused, just the PR team, with monthly or quarterly reporting in terms of the action. Moving across a spectrum to the other end of gen three which is all about driving business impact from social in terms of the value across the entire business and going up into real-time action where literally we’re taking the action in the moment, reading the data right now.

Glenn: Great, great, great because I would love to hear more about the action associated with a social platform.
Pernille: Yeah, exactly. I think as we move to gen three the sort of action we’re looking at is businesses asking themselves, based on what I’m learning right now from social, what action can I take? And that can be in terms of changing the campaign I have, am I driving the penetration? That can be looking at, again, a launch. Is it taking off the way I wanted it to or should I divert my media, change my message because it wasn’t received well? Am I sitting on a crisis, i.e. am I now looking at images from social that I can see would escalate into a global crisis? And should I take PR action at this moment in time or even for that matter corporate action and get onto it? Or customer care, just to mention a few as I’m tracking and looking at how my customers are feeling about my brand right now, are they really upset? Can I deal with them in social before it becomes a really big burden on the company through the lines? And then I think look at just the number of the industries and the verticals we work with, of course, there’s a ton of other actions going on, for instance, to take one example…

Glenn: Oh, perfect. I’d love to hear a story.

Pernille: So, let’s take one example, Universal Music Group, Nashville have implemented the NetBase live pulses which really depicts real-time what’s going on in social with the various brands. Now, Universal Music Group, Nashville they, of course, their brands are country artists. That is, who they’re selling, that is who they’re tracking, that is who they want to take the right action with, and the sort of actions they will take based on literally looking at live data will be to first look at content. What is going on? What are are the trends? What is the conversation they should start with the fans, their customers right now?
Then they’ll look at the strategy, they will look at the artists as their brands and how they perform in real-time, and they will figure out what is going on and why is that going on right now? What might be the changes we should make? And then they look at two other things in relation to the real-time social analytics they are doing. They look at placement and media, and they look at competition.
And on placement and media they are basically looking at where are people going for their country artists? Where are they having those conversations? And who is the most important for them in terms of a brand? And they’re dealing with that real-time changing their content as they go and changing the media as they go figuring out what’s the best radio station to work with? Where’s the best downloading going on? And then finally, in terms of looking at their competition, they’re comparing themselves to other artists on the fly right now. How do they keep that competitive advantage? How can they be smarter about what they’re learning in the moment?

Glenn: So, I have a question, how do you track–you talked about radio, which is certainly an important media as it relates to these artists, how do you track that on social?

Pernille: Well, basically on social one of the things that I see a lot of our customers really loving is looking at those VIP influences. Influences can come in a number of different ways. Basically, for radio there would be a VIP influence, right? They are relying on the station to push out music, who are those great influences who could be on their side, you know, have a lot of followers, who have a lot of clout in the world of social? They can see that.

Glenn: Mm-hm. All right, good. Give us some other examples of what brands or agencies are doing to take advantage of data that’s now available to them.

Pernille: Yeah, I think another great one that I like, this is from a completely different industry so not from music and entertainment, but basically from [Inaudible 0:06:31], and the world of restaurants is Arby’s. Arby’s restaurants, it’s a dining chain and they wanted to bring social to the core of their business in order to make decision making faster, more effective, and basically strategize up front to be ready for that. So, working with us and, of course, a number of other vendors they built out and launched a command center that they basically established a set of screens that they have at the core of the company where they can track the brand, they could see how campaigns are performing, and they can understand and act on social in real time.
And what the did was not just stop there, they worked through New York, they pre-approved how the processes was run with legal, with PR, with communications, across marketing so that they could move fast once they got real-time data. And basically they were looking at increasing brand advocacy and getting strong marketing ROI through social. And I think the best example is how they really put that to action earlier this year where during the Grammys viewers were starting to talk about Pharrell William’s hat, a great Vivienne Westwood creation, and they started to compare the similarity of that hat to the Arby’s logo, the Arby’s hat. Arby’s picked that up in their command center and worked closely with the agency as well. They organized in that command center to quickly create and approve a real time Twitter campaign famous now, “Pharrell, please, can we have our hat back?” But the results of doing that and being able to act in that moment, being relevant, was amazing. They basically went back and they estimated what they got from being able to do real-time social interaction, the value they drove for that business was estimated at $30 million in PR and present value, literally, achieved with that real-time action.
Yeah, they got more than 80,000 retweets which was just crazy, more than 200 million impressions, and I think also what was really neat for Arby’s was they could measure a direct impact on their brand in terms of how people talked about their brand, about the brand being hilarious, having a sense of humor, and it kind of–if you want, it re-boosted feeling, emotions, and good things that people associate with the brand which was really, really effective. And also they saw an increased footage of people going through their stores which is, of course, what you really want to see at the end.

Glenn: Oh, that’s a great, great story and it leads me to a question about something we spoke about earlier about how data is not just numbers, but it’s the words. So, share with us a little bit about what you can do now by looking at the words as it relates to how I can measure what’s happening.

Pernille: Yeah, I mean, this is what’s so wonderfully intriguing about social, right? We are sharing words, we are sharing images, but at the net of it, deep down, those words and images depict emotions we have, depict feelings we have, who want to buy, who we recommend, and what are all those different brands we interact with and all those experiences we have in our life? All that is coming across in social. And what we can do now with a new gen three tool, for instance, that we are betaing right now, audience marketing. We can go to psychographics and we can really look at what are the life interests of people? What are the life focus that they have? What is it that you care about beyond, let’s say, the Arby’s brand we just talked about? What are all those other things that somebody who loves Arby’s also care about?
And then looking at the world that’s around of someone depicted across the world of social and what they’re sharing in terms of images and what they are expressing in terms of the text that is being shared through various posts, and it’s phenomenal, I mean, we can literally understand if an individual craves something, what they have been drinking in the last week, what they’ve been eating in the last week based on the conversation.

Glenn: So, what do we do then with that information if we’re Arby’s? Let’s say we were able to get a lot of people paying attention to our brand, we made a connection with them, they retweeted, how do I then take that to the next step and create a closer connection to those customers, or people who aren’t yet customers, so they eventually actually come in and start buying my product?

Pernille: Exactly. I mean, this is why I think you also heard me when I spoke about Universal Music Group, Nashville, they start with content. So, the moment you connect your knowledge, and you, let’s say, reset your audience. So, what is your audience now? So, marketeers and CMOs are used to having had through other means, other tools–they’ve always had segmentation, they’ve always had targets they would go after. Well, now in social with gen three we can literally [Inaudible 0:11:52] of the exact same segments, and get much, much detail and get it now, or we can literally look at one segment and go, “Well, actually, I would like to look at people who care for a frequent restaurant experience.” They want to spend up to X amount and ultimately they are into either organic food, Mexican food, or would really like a place to go that is known for an intimate atmosphere because they typically go on dates. We can get so much more in terms of a profile and with that then decide, “Well, this is a core target for me today, how can I go find more people that feel the same way that might not be interacting with my brand right now?”

Glenn: Right.

Pernille: See? So, we can literally expand the universe from a very detailed profile in social and go spot others that feel the same way or as a minimal starting point go try and expand through their friends based on the recommendations through social testimonial advertising of the people we already have as our ambassadors. So, there’s this insane microscale targeting that we can now do and really turn on campaigns on whatever granular level we are ready to do as marketeers. It’s just been down to our resources, how smart, how creative, how focused we want to be, but it’s doable right now.

Glenn: That’s great. Now let’s talk about a real-time campaign. Now the Arby’s one is a great story and that was a reaction. So they took advantage of their opportunity that they couldn’t see coming. So let’s assume though that another brand is running a campaign of some sort. How do they make those changes real-time? How do they make an assessment that, “This campaign isn’t working. We need to try something different”?

Pernille: Yeah.

Glenn: Do you have any stories around that?

Pernille: Yeah, I can’t share any specific brands with you on that that I’m allowed to talk to right now, but basically what I’ve seen smart brands do is–again, the same way Universal Music Group are looking at those live pulses right now they are knowing what is being talked about. It’s not sitting in the back. They literally have it on screens right in front of them and that means when you look at how you’re performing versus where you would expect to be literally you can see at a glance–the key is with big data also that you’re able to visualize that and see at a glance what action I should take, right? I mean, this is the challenge with big data. If we can’t turn it into something we can easily understand and move on then it really doesn’t matter. And this is where the visualization has effectively become important not just for us in social media and for analytics in action here, but for many other, let’s say, retail forecasting tools, retail tracking as well. Same thing, we are sitting on a ton of data. How can we turn that into action?
So what I’ve seen people do based on, for instance, the real-time, let’s say it’s like pulses I’ve seen and directly look at that whether it’s the image pulse or it’s literally the overarching pulse that looks at all dimensions, impressions, trends, what’s being shared lately where. For instance, in the U.S. it’s being shared. I see people combine those two, having the images as well so they can, at a glance, see, “Whoa, wait a minute. There’s something negative going on here. What is trending in terms of the action?” And then they can immediately huddle as a team to either go deep on that or take an action in that moment and use the content literally of the words that are popping.
Or, for instance, I’ve seen people looking at the images and worrying about, “We have a P.R. crisis potentially brewing. There’s a lot of sharing about this topic. Here’s the image they’re sharing. Should we be worried?” And then realizing, “Wait a minute, that image is not new. We’ve seen that before, it’s just re-trash of something old that was popping in the news,” and then they know not to worry as much. So there’s actually–as you set up with your team and you typically know what you campaign, what your launch should be hitting, the levels you want to see. You want to see a positive reaction. As a team you get very used to seeing that and taking the action just looking at the topline numbers, and then, of course, ideally having an analyst in the team that can immediately deep dive when you have a deeper question. I also see smart teams putting their competitor up next to them.

Glenn: Ah, that’s right.

Pernille: And I love seeing that because still in marketing today, unfortunately, most brands look at themselves first and foremost. I did a poll and I was literally asking marketing teams and CMOs, “What is the key thing you focus on?” And it’s still knowing what consumers say about my brand versus–at about 60 percent saying that, and in terms of looking at how I rank versus my competitor that’s only 27 percent. And I still think that’s a basic trick that many miss. Literally just compare yourself to your competitor and see how you do versus them.
Glenn: Where it was especially in real time, right? So, if I’m running a campaign I want to see how does it impact how I’m doing against my competitor, not just how am I doing against my own goals.

Pernille: Exactly, exactly, very easy to be comfortable with your own data and not realize my strong performance could be just a matter of my industry or my category growing, and in fact I’m not over-indexing against overall performance in that category.

Glenn: All right, excellent. Well, I have one other question for you, Pernille, tell us where you see the future going in the next year or so as it relates to what brands are going to be able to do with this ability to listen in a much more intelligent way.

Pernille: Yeah, I think it clearly starts with knowing as a minimum what your consumers are saying about you and ideally then knowing your category and your competitor. And I think what is happening is more and more brands, agencies, companies around the world are asking themselves and asking us, “How can you help me prove out the value of social so I can more on it? My gut tells me I should, but I need help in proving it out.” And I think the move is literally this gen three focus and ability to know prove out that there is immense value in social just like a few years ago we saw that in E-commerce. It’s exactly on that same scaling approach, you have the initial doubters, at the time, “Should I take E-commerce seriously? We’ve had the same in social, should I take social seriously? Should I spend? Should I organize? Should I focus on it? Should I have people take that seriously?”
So, the point we are now, we have the CEOs, we have the CMOs that realize it’s here to say and, boy, can I do a lot with it and, woo! I can actually now show the value because as I start to implement social across the company, across business function, and I drive for a single source of truth for my company, that’s exactly where I actually see the value being played in unlike any other medium I now have real time understanding of my marketplace, my consumers, my competitors, my industry, and my category by reading social because that’s the data I get the fastest, and that’s the data that I need to work with to inform me for the quickest reaction possible.

Glenn: You know, the other thing that strikes me listening to you, you did mention a CEO, is that now I can make social real for the CEO. It’s not about the number of likes or the number of followers, it’s about how we’re actually measuring the impact of what we’re doing and showing that impact, and showing how we’re doing it relative to our competitors. I could see how this is suddenly making social relevant at the CEO level.

Pernille: Gosh, yes, definitely, Glenn. For the CEO, or the smart CEO I should say, social is absolutely in the conversation right now. The smart CEO will for sure have the team track how the actions him or her take effect the company, smart CEOs do that. For instance, I was chatting to T-Mobile and one example they shared was when their CEO crashed the competitor’s party, went to a particular concept that their competitors was hosting, was caught in being there, and they clearly didn’t want him. He was thrown out of that party and there was a ton of conversation about that in social. That team was actively looking at how did that affect the T-Mobile brand that their CEO had been thrown out of the AT&T party and basically, because of how they behaved around it, how they talked about it in social as a company it was seen as a massive uptick positively and the CEO was actually kind of seen as cool by doing it. So you see that the CEO has an impact on the brand and they know that and that impact is being tracked in social.

Glenn: Well, I’m going to start looking for parties to crash then. It sounds like that’s the way to go. All right, Pernille, thank you so much. This was very, very enlightening and I appreciate your time.

Pernille: Oh, you’re so welcome, Glenn. Thanks for chatting.

Glenn: All right, talk to you soon.

Pernille: Take care. Bye-bye.

Glenn: If you like this podcast please subscribe and rate us on iTunes and tell your friends about us. You can also go to our website,, and sign up for our free monthly newsletter featuring the very best of our marketing insights, featured Moneyball for Marketing podcasts, and one of our favorite features called, “Bad Marketing,” or email me at Thanks for listening to Moneyball for Marketing from Crimson Marketing. Have a great week and let us know if we can help you in any way.