Asia social networks rise prompts multilingual analytics push

As more people in Asia communicate online in their native languages, companies will have to increasingly rely on multilingual analytics to understand and engage with customers in the region.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

Asia's increasingly influential social networks such as China's Sina Weibo and the growing sophistication of data analysis technology have created a tipping point for companies to invest in multilingual analytics to boost customer relationships.

Charlie Wood, area vice president of Salesforce Marketing Cloud Asia-Pacific, Japan and India at Salesforce.com, noted that social networks developed in Asia have grown in stature, so much so that platforms such as Sina Weibo are going global. This can be seen by the increasing number of registered users based outside China, he said in a phone interview Friday.

Together with the region's fast-growing economy, these factors make Asia an important market in terms of native language data processing and analytics. They also emphasize the power of analytics on customer service across multiple languages and geographies, Wood added.

"Global brands such as airlines and telcos need to understand the global voice of the customer, and the predominant languages spoken [by customers] in the various markets, " he said, which is why Salesforce.com is focusing heavily on multilingual analytics.

To this end, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendor announced today it is including 20 analytics service providers to its Marketing Cloud platform to augment the service. The features these partners bring range from native language analysis to social influence measurement, he said.

Last month, Susan St. Ledger, chief revenue officer for the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, said the company was positioning the new offering as the "world's only integrated social marketing platform". It promised to turn insights to actions and connections to customers because of the way that brands can engage with people.

Context key to analysis
So companies monitoring conversations conducted in Chinese on social networks, for example, can leverage Salesforce.com's partnership with Soshio to directly analyze the data in context without having to translate the content into English first, Wood explained.

Soshio specializes in analyzing Chinese social networks, and figuring out the true contextual value of these conversations is its value proposition, he said.

A telco, for instance, could subsequently benefit from the analysis as it now knows what its Chinese-speaking customers are saying, thus enabling it to handle complaints quicker or tailor marketing campaigns targeting influential users online, he added.

Customers can do this via a single platform and in real time, which provides ease, timeliness and speed as key differentiators compared to competing multilingual or native language analytics offerings, the executive said. Ultimately, having this ability will help companies "turn conversations into customers", he stated.

On its decision to partner with third party service providers, Wood said being accurate in its data analysis is not the sole factor for the collaboration. The driving force for the SaaS vendor is to develop an entire ecosystem that not only has analytics capabilities, but also consulting and managed services.

"[The aim is] a single platform to listen, monitor, measure, engage and create new experiences and content and amplifying them," he stated.

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