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Data mining

Making use – let alone sense – of today’s deluge of User-Generated Content (I’ve capped it, having just heard the acronym UGC) is a huge business challenge. I’ve been pondering this as an editor and publisher – as, for example, we plan to produce a book from the submissions to Berkshire’s Love US or Hate US? website – but marketers make other use of UGC, as they try to understand customer needs, and peeves. From Sam Flemming’s blog:

At CIC, the core of our business is our data mining technology. Data mining has gained some awareness with the general public with an urban legend referring to “Beer and Diapers” (see here and here).

CIC uses a particular data mining technology – text mining – to discover the hidden and untold stories, like that of “Beers and Diapers,” within millions of online user generated messages. In contrast to data mining, text mining delves into unstructured data without columns, fields, or even a date. This unstructured data is then retrieved using a process called Information Retrieval, which involves either a Vector Space Model or Natural Language Processing. Afterwards, we can put structured records into the database and work with the data as needed.

The work Sam does is also related to brand impact, an interesting challenge as global companies develop their businesses in China.

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