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In the heart of Midtown Manhattan lives a startup at the center of the social analytics and intelligence space that is doing some incredible work with some of the largest brands in the world.  Mashwork, founded in 2010 by Jared Feldman, has already grown to a team of 15 people, is profitable and has a roster of more than 70 clients.  The company hopes to lead the way in curation and insights by creating value from data — something many companies in the social analytics space are trying to do.  Of course, each company’s approach is different and many rely on numbers and tonality; an approach Mashwork feels is antiquated to say the least.

The Right Approach

The Mashwork approach is much different.  Instead of just reporting numbers, general tonality, and sentiment, Mashwork focuses on telling a story and presenting a narrative to help and empower clients to make better decisions.  Having thought about this for a while, it dawned on me that Mashwork’s approach is perfect for its particular industry. The advertising industry loves stories, mostly because they are in the business of telling them, so it only makes sense that they would love receiving information in the form of a narrative.  And with a client list including HBO, Starwood Hotels, Live Nation, Guess, and Chase the approach is clearly working.

mashwork-clientsWith thousands of Tweets every second, there is a huge signal to noise ratio.  When I sat down with Mr. Feldman he told me that, “What brands and agencies need is guidance — they need a number and context, so they can know what to do with it,” and they need it “in a way that is relatable and not scary,” he went onto say. We live in a world where there is so much data, it can easily become overwhelming when presented with it.  To remedy that problem, Mashwork focuses on tracking specific questions that are important to clients, as opposed to tracking everything under the sun.

Mr. Feldman realizes that Mashwork needs to stay on top of all the latest tools and that they cannot rely on just one set of social services and/or apps when analyzing data for a client.  “There should be a Tumblr strategy, Pinterest strategy, Instagram strategy, and maybe even a Vine strategy,” he said.  Obviously, the needs of every client are different so Mashwork tries to be helpful by focusing on a clients particular situation as opposed to what is currently the latest social app or service.

A Human Touch

It’s more than just having the right tools for the job though, the Mashwork approach means that brands are working with human analysts who pour over all the data to create those actionable insights.  A couple of months ago, a PR firm came to Mashwork during a moment of crisis, they needed to identify the most influential people who were bad mouthing a particular brand.  Based on the information Mashwork provided the PR firm, the firm was able to reach out to the top five influencers, of which three were willing to come in for a meeting, and were subsequently hired to be part of a blogger program. That’s real actionable intelligence.

mashwork-reportBut it doesn’t stop at just identifying influencers.  Mashwork can help TV networks track all sorts of things, from plot and episode conversation to which characters are over-indexing, so the network can cut their trailers differently.  The TV industry is becoming a huge market for social analytics. Mr. Feldman told me, “90 percent of all public conversation online about TV is happening on Twitter.”  He went onto say, “Experiencing the content and sharing it with friends is fascinating,” something many network executives would likely agree with as they push for more second screen experiences.

“We’re seeing the opportunity to work in ways that previously weren’t possible,” said Mr. Feldman.  As it stands right now, TV networks spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per quarter to see if people like a show.  Mashwork can tap into the world’s biggest focus group to see how and if real people actually like the show.  But the road doesn’t end with just the TV or entertainment industry.  According to Mr. Feldman, the fashion industry is starting to tap into social analytics and he expects more industries will follow suit soon. He did note however, “The more regulation in an industry, the longer it will take for the industry to hop in and leverage social data.”

A Billion Dollar Industry

The social analytics industry is still very young and there is much room for improvement when it comes to navigating social data.  That is why this year Mashwork is working on developing new products and building better tools to help its clients navigate through all the data in a more realtime fashion.  By moving towards a more realtime environment, clients can get information and insights delivered quicker, making them more efficient.

These new tools will help Mashwork stay ahead of the pack as the industry continues to grow.  Rattling off more interesting stats to me, Mr. Feldman said, “85 percent of corporations use some kind of monitoring tool, 77 percent are dissatisfied with them.” And that’s where Mashwork comes in.  “This will be a billion dollar industry in the next 2 to 3 years,” he said.

Right now the company is currently searching for talented developers and analysts to bring onboard, if you are interested be sure to reach out to them on their site or Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: I worked at Mashwork from April 2012 to September 2012.

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