Meet Your Match

Meet Your Match

 In Influencer Relations, PR Strategy, Research, Social Media

Whether looking for a life partner or an organization to partner with to reach key audiences, data is playing an increasing role.

So, can data help you find your match?

Yesterday’s New York Times Week in Review started with praise of leveraging data (News Analysis: The Age of Big Data) which focused on how insights are being derived from the mass volume of data we are each leaving behind.

The same Week in Review ended with a scientific critique of the use of data and algorithms in online dating (The Dubious Science of Online Dating) which  looked at the challenges of analyzing data that people provide as part of a service.

Clearly, leveraging “big data”  to measure actual behavior provides more insight then asking people what their behavior would be.

In the healthcare PR world, there is a significant amount of public data showing the relationship between thought leaders and the sources they pay attention to (i.e. – media outlets, advocate organizations, academics, and bloggers). When you analyze thousands of blogs and compare the linking patterns and mentions of thought-leaders, a clearer picture emerges.

For example, if you are trying to reach medical providers on a treatment issue, JPA’s recent research points to some specific bloggers.  If however you are trying to reach the providers that are more focused on public policy you might be better matched with a couple of the patient advocacy groups or trade press. There are also “unusual” suspects that emerge – for example why liberal bloggers are disproportionately speaking about cervical cancer.

While analyzing data provides a good starting point to find the right pool of people (or matches), in the end, it’s always real relationships that are built through personal connections that are the most powerful and predictable.