You’ve been sleeping under a rock if you haven’t realized yet that what’s being said on Twitter, Facebook, user forums, wikis, YouTube videos, and personal blogs has a big impact on what people think about a brand.
And there’s no shortage of companies developing technology to monitor this ever-changing buzz to paint a picture of consumer sentiment. But these software platforms are often targeted to those on the public relations and marketing side of a brand.
Buzzient, a tenant of the Cambridge Innovation Center in Kendall Square, is taking a different approach to social media analytics. The startup’s Web-based software is targeted directly at those in the company who make decisions about which products to offer consumers, and what features to offer within those products, says CEO and founder Timothy Jones. Buzzient also represents a growing trend of companies that aren’t taking outside money; the startup has been self-funded since its inception, and is “cash-flow positive” as of this year, Jones says.
Jones says he was first alerted to the massive amount of data available in the Internet cloud while he was an MIT Sloan fellow working at the school’s Center for Digital Business, where he analyzed and determined pricing for Google’s enterprise-level business apps. He started working on Buzzient in 2008, and in early 2009 the startup attracted its first customer: the multimedia-based financial services company Motley Fool.
“Coming out of the crash, they were interested in what people were saying about different asset classes,” he says. Buzzient’s software helped Fool, which publishes investing research online and sells in-depth reports, gain an understanding of what financial information consumers were looking for, Jones says.
Another customer is PerkinElmer (NYSE: PKI), the Waltham, MA-based provider of research and diagnostics technologies. Jones says the life sciences company uses the Buzzient software to monitor which diseases or medical conditions Internet users are talking about, in order to figure out where to focus its products. Seattle-based healthcare marketing firm Appature also develops technology for tracking and measuring customer input for companies in the pharmaceutical, medical devices, and wellness spaces.
The Buzzient software uses natural language processing to crawl the Internet for keywords relating to a brand, and track what’s … Next Page »
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