Richard May
Miranda Dobson

Behind the business with Spotter

Richard May is the national sales director for UK & Ireland at social media monitoring firm, Spotter. Bdaily went behind the business to find out more.

What key challenges has your company recently faced?

The greatest challenge we have faced has been the development of social media and the importance of combining this with traditional communication channels to provide full analytical tools to determine opinions and gain complete customer insights.

Social media provides such a wealth of consumer data, however a vast volume must be processed to extract valuable data and remove the background ‘noise’. As social media use continues to rise the importance of filtering high quality data will only become more significant and we have developed a technology capable of capturing and gathering data on a large scale which will enable us to continue to handle high volumes of information for many years to come.

Our system combines social and traditional media data with customer feedback from surveys and CRM systems to provide companies a full analytical tool looking at market trends and customer opinions to provide an in-depth competitor and customer insight. Initially, when we started combining social media and traditional channels it did create problems in textual and sentiment analysis because unlike traditional media, social media text is in short sentences which tend to be unstructured. We quickly managed to solve this issue by developing specific dictionaries capable of treating the speech that is used on social media (SMS language etc.). We also developed greater technical algorithms to ensure that businesses could accurately assess sentiments in social media (Facebook posts, tweets etc.), regardless of how badly written the messages are.

What is your biggest achievement over the past 12 months?

Winning large multinational clients including Orange, Canal Plus and Air France where we provide a tool which is tailored to each client’s differing needs and fine-tuned to deliver to the specification of different departments - marketing, communications, customer experience, strategy and risk.

We also won our first Middle Eastern clients with projects related to social CRM and global reputation which again shows our software and methodology are adaptable to the different markets.

What is your most important focus for the coming year, and what do you hope to achieve?

We have just launched in the UK so our aim is to establish ourselves as a leader in the UK market, by outperforming our rivals in providing cutting-edge monitoring of multiple channels and valuable analysis to ensure businesses are as well-informed on their market as possible.

What excites you most about your industry and business?

This is an industry that is exploding and in its infancy. Spotter is over 14 years old so we are extremely well positioned to use our vast experience to take advantage of this.

We are moving from e-reputation which is important to communications, but less important to a company as a whole, to consumer satisfaction scores - these are valuable indicators that all companies must include in their strategy and therefore the relevancy of our products and services increases, which is a very exciting development.

The industry is moving at a rapid rate with significant innovation, making it a great sector to work in.

What do you wish you’d known when starting out?

Above all the realisation that it is the combination of software and human intelligence that provides the most relevant results. This has been the key to our success.

If we had also known in the late 90s that social media was coming we could have done things differently too. However because we have been around for a long time we have worked a lot in media assessment and evaluation - we have huge experience in the processes of determining opinions which we have been able to develop to allow us to bring to the market a tool that can combine social media data and provide very relevant and automated scores for opinions, sentiment, reputation and risk. This is a big differentiator to other software technologies, giving us the ability to show our customers a complete snapshot of their industry.

What will be the “next big thing“ in your industry, and how do you plan to handle it?

Real time analysis to ensure businesses have immediate useable data which they can then use to outperform their rivals.

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