At last, a tool to really understand Government audiences.

by / Tuesday, 23 August 2016 / Published in Digital, Government

As regular readers will know, I spend a fair bit of time working with Government departments across Australia helping them to really get to know their customers.

Customer research is for some parts of Government still a very new area. As indeed is the notion of customers. I’ve seen the users of Government services described as citizens, residents, stakeholders, “the public”, even “clients” as departments unused to delivering frontline services adjust to the reality of the connected digital world.

I’ve been behind the launch of portals for community consultation and developed guidelines and tools for managing those engagement projects. I’ve hosted and arranged focus groups and coached people in framing questions to create maximum impact and seen providers like Bang The Table develop and implement stylish online tools that project a modern and forward thinking department.

And yet, something is missing. Just like the various social media listening tools I’ve trialled, the results of even the cleverest online Government research nowadays rarely seem able to scratch the surface. Rather than provide insights, all the shiny new tools sold by software companies seem to do is either repeat the conversations of talk radio and the tabloids or reflect the vocal minorities that we see turn up at town hall meetings.

With the general public who still have land lines refusing to give up their valuable home time to talk to researchers and with the recent experience of the Census reflecting a growing concern about privacy, despite the advances of digital, I’m coming to the realisation that research on behalf of Government departments isn’t actually getting any easier.

After all, in the time poor, 24/7 world we live in, who in their right mind wants to set aside time for a casual chat with the Government?

In search of a solution for Government clients, I’ve been working with leading scientists and experts in the field of Artificial Intelligence. The tool we have developed tackles the “Government research problem” head on. Using a powerful Ai tool to monitor discussions, posts and comments in real time, across millions of forums, social media, blogs and other channels, our research findings are both real and totally anonymous.

The computing power of the tool, akin in layman’s terms to being way beyond the most powerful Google search imaginable, means that there is no need to choose target markets or demographics beforehand. Ask the machine to analyse mentions of the phrase “road safety” (and up to 80 variants of the phrase) and it will report every single mention, in context, regardless of age, sex or background.

The genius team behind the tool have calibrated a structured report that amongst other insights will tell you not only what’s being said, but also which media are driving opinion, where the conversations are happening and how attitudes are changing around it. It’s live and the most instantaneous insight into any market or customer group. And of course, it will allow our clients to dig deeper into issues of real interest to help understand people even better.

As a side product it’ll also tell you whether your communications tactics are working (and which aren’t) so you can tailor your media and content marketing to meet the real demand. In the crazy world of programmatic buying where your ads are appearing all over the place, it’ll pay for itself in a heartbeat.

The proof of course is in the proverbial. We’re demoing the tool with selected clients at the moment and happy to share with interested departments. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more.