Sony is working with targeting data company Pursway to connect social behavior with purchases, helping the brand understand the likelihood that a consumer will make a purchase based on the number of other Sony owners around them. Pursway's technology pinpoints a brand's key influencers and identifies customers with an affinity to its products, along with those whom they might have influenced through a relationship. "One or two people that someone knows can influence the products someone else buys," said Jeremy Lyons, senior manager at Sony USA.
To find influencers, Sony had to give a copy of its customer database to Pursway. In turn, the company returned with a list of Sony's most influential customers, all scored based on their ability to influence others. "It helps us measure lift, and not just coincidence," Lyons said. "It's about building a better relationship with them, so they influence people more often. The fact they respond well is a bonus."
The technology matches consumer and prospect databases to create a social graph, mathematically identifying between 10 and 25 of the brand's closest contacts. It analyzes transactions in the social graph. Once the social graph has been revealed, Pursway overlays actual purchase data to pinpoint the 8% to 15% of consumers who influence buying decisions on specific topics, people most likely to motivate their friends and family to make a purchase.
Previously, Sony company executives thought a lot about how to monetize social media through tools like Facebook and Klout scores, but had few solid metrics to show the return on investments.
Despite Sony's push to find the influencers, there hasn't been a real push to develop new ones. "We've never really tried to tackle turning non-influencers into advocates, which could become quite another challenge," Lyons said.