Buyer Beware: What Text Analytics Providers Won’t Tell You.

Tom H. C. Anderson
October 26th, 2016

BOTH DEC 728X90

Text Analytics May Not Be For You

If you’re in market research and aren’t at least exploring text analysis software, you’re part of a shrinking minority. But you probably know this already, if only from the preponderance of conference presentations, blogs and trade articles on the topic. Yes, text analytics are all the rage these days.

You may feel under the gun to catch up, but if you’re late to the game, you may be comforted to know that for many people, text analytics aren’t living up to the hype.

Nearly every researcher I come in contact with at conferences and through my professional network is at least actively investigating text analysis if they haven’t already adopted a solution. And in either case, they’re frequently underwhelmed.

It’s my experience that there are two primary reasons for this:

  1. Despite the hype, text analytics are NOT for everyone

And

  1. Researchers too often buy technology when what they need is an insights solution
How Do I Know Before I Buy?

You heard me. Not everyone needs text analytics. And that’s because not all data merit or are even suited to text analysis, nor is every business question.

I see researchers buying buzzwords like “sentiment” or “artificial intelligence,” when what they need is to understand what drives customer satisfaction, what drives loyalty, what drives behavior or revenue…

The first things you should ask are: 1. Do I need text analytics to answer my business questions? and 2. Do I have the right data for it?

Most text analytics software providers will give you a resounding “Yes!” to both questions. (Shocking, I know.)

Then they’ll set up a dog-and-pony demo, possibly using data similar to yours, but it isn’t your data.

What they won’t do is take the time to honestly determine whether or not what they’re trying to sell you makes sense for you.

And they won’t confirm it by running your actual data before you buy.

Do a Demo with Your Own Data Before the Year is Out!

It’s Q4, which means that from now until the end the year, my colleagues and I are going to get a lot of calls from researchers who need to spend what’s left of their budgets and who are convinced that they need a text analysis tool.

But before we even discuss an OdinText demo, we will take the time to figure out for certain whether they actually need us.

And if it looks like a fit, we’ll arrange a demo using their actual data to be sure.

Whether you haven’t yet found a text analytics solution that works for you or you just feel pressured to adopt a tool before the year is out, I am telling you that text analytics may not be the right answer for you.

Find out for sure. Before you close the books on 2016, call us to arrange a phone consultation and take an OdinText demo with YOUR OWN DATA!

We won’t sell you what you don’t need.

@TomHCAnderson

tomtextanalyticstips

Tom H. C. Anderson

OdinText Inc.
www.odintext.com

888.891.3115 x 701

5 thoughts on “Buyer Beware: What Text Analytics Providers Won’t Tell You.”

  1. It seems to me that market researchers are rarely the ultimate users of text analysis and more marriage brokers for the true users. I have personal experience that Odin goes the extra mile, but also experience that software companies skip the “your own data” step in the selling process. They would much rather sell what they know.

  2. Agree with you RE text analytics vendors not knowing data, research or insights, and so strongly prefer to go off a canned data set with a script. Trying to sell tech buzz words vs true insights.

    Not sure about the users though, we have at least as many research users as non ‘marketing research’ users. But again, may be because OdinText is better suited for the consumer insights function than any other software out there, and so proportionately we do not push the ‘social media monitoring’ use case as much as everyone else does (which unfortunately is often sold as an ‘everyone needs to have it’ thing)…

  3. Totally agree with the idea of requesting demo on your own data, but I would also add two additional requirements. The demo should be done very quickly after the text analytics vendor received the data, ideally within an hour, but no more than a day after he received the data. The vendor should have enough time to do basic data preparation tasks, but not enough time to tweak his tool to fit the data. The second requirement is letting the user actually play with the software itself before any purchase. We did choose a text analytics solution, (it is a competing tool, so I won’t name it), but we got a demo on our own data (more than 30k comments) and we could also download a trial version good for 30 days. Maybe you should consider this also, or at least offer more information about the tools, its capabilities, the user guides and a lot of screenshots. I must say that I hate to be forced to take a live demo just to get basic information about what the software can do, what kind of output it will produce, but also what it looks like.

  4. Thanks for the comment! Great points! I (obviously) agree and feel strongly that a prospective user should always insist on a demo using their own data. It’s the only way to know if you can actually use the tool for the job you want to get done BEFORE you buy.
    You’re also right about not allowing too much time to pass between sending your data and the actual demo (to allow the vendor to potentially “tweak” the tool to fit the data). We usually require one day to look at what we’ve received because in 20% of cases the client sends inappropriate or incomplete data.
    As far as posting manuals with screenshots and so forth, bear in mind that OdinText is a complete text analytics platform, not some social media monitoring tool or Facebook app, so the kinds of information you’re talking about present a challenge. We’ve found demos are the quickest and easiest way to evaluate the platform. We also need to balance what we share on our website with the need to protect IP in a very competitive field. We’re quite transparent and happy to let prospective users look under the hood though!
    I also think it’s very important, as you suggest, to enable users to “play” with the tool. We’ve designed OdinText to be highly intuitive and still execute highly sophisticated types of analyses. Again, this is a complete text analytics platform, so it does require some training (about an hour to get going).
    I’m happy to speak with you further if you’d like to know more! Thanks!

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