The launch of the new Starcount Observatory – interview with Chris Nourse.

This week we are excited to announce the launch of the new Starcount Observatory, our pioneering data science platform.  

We caught up with Chris Nourse, Starcount’s Senior Product Manager, to give us an overview of the platform’s new features and why it is such a big hit with our clients:

Chris, could you tell us a bit about Starcount and your role at the company?

Starcount is a data science consultancy specialising on exploring consumer habits and motivations to enable brands to make decisions based on continual moving data, patterns of buying and social media activity. This level of insight helps our clients to better understand who their current and prospective customers are, to tailor their strategies and allow the delivery of more relevant communications.

In terms of my role in all of this; I am Starcount’s Senior Product Manager and I lead the team that focuses on the company’s product strategy, working closely with our developers and designers to prioritise the development of features and functionality based on client feedback, market needs and business priorities.

What makes Starcount unique and how does our proposition differ to other companies in the market?

Within Starcount, we have the unique ability to combine the data of the Observatory and its consumer panel of 1.3 billion people based on their social media and online behaviours with our client’s own transaction data and create a truly powerful view of the customer.

Additionally Starcount has a fantastic knowledge of the data sources that will solve our clients’ problems, as well as a unique mix of technical expertise in data science and product development.

This blend of ingredients has allowed us to build data pipelines and products around tailored solutions and scale them to enterprise level quicker than anyone else. In short, we excel at solving problems with data. Our competitive advantage is our consultancy expertise and developing cutting edge products.

Could you tell us more about the Observatory?

Observatory is Starcount’s pioneering data science customer segmentation tool, it is a powerful platform which uses a passion graph with social media data of 1.3 billion global consumers and reveals what motivates and influences them. Observatory holds a wealth of insights from the demographics of different consumer segments to their passions and mindsets and it can be applied to any business or vertical. The platform enables businesses, especially those that don’t see their customers often, to understand what interests their customers in order to market their products and services to them in a way that is relevant and effective.

How do we build an Observatory Audience?

There are a few ways to approach this. If you are a business with customer data, we are able to map this data to our own global consumer base and build a targeted segmentation. Another option is to build out an audience from various points of influence that resonates strongly with a target audience or build an audience organically by filtering our global base of 1.3 billion consumers using attributes related to a brand’s business, such as region of operation and a behavioural profile of its customers.

What is the feedback we receive from the clients?

We receive a great deal of positive feedback for the richness of our segmentation methodologies compared to attitudinal segmentations that our clients may have used before. The dynamism and actionability of the insights from our data is also a source of positive feedback. Our data sets are updated monthly which is unlike many of our competitors and this gives us the ability to show emerging trends and predict future buying behaviour.

On the constructive side, people are sometimes skeptical of social data and its age skew however the spectacular reach of social means that this doesn’t affect the significance of our results.

Who are the people who buy Observatory and what have they used it for?

It is a mix but it works best with those who use insight to drive their strategies and activation, such as Heads of CRM or Insight, Marketing Directors, Heads of Digital or Social and those involved in customer acquisition.

Observatory has been used for a number of reasons:

  • Understanding new markets for diversification strategy
  • Influencer & Customer Ambassador Strategy
  • Acquisition strategy – channels & opportunity
  • Digital Audience Recipes for Facebook and Google DC
  • Personalised CRM campaigns
  • Informing Creative for personalised messaging
  • New Product Development and Ranging

This week we are launching Observatory 3.0? What is different with the previous version of the product?

Yes! We’re just launching our biggest update of Observatory. We’ve added numerous exciting improvements everywhere, including slick new styling, more granular insights and a host of new features to make it much easier for our clients to extract insights from the platform and action them.

Some of the new features are:

Passion trends

  • The ability to see trends change over time per customer segment

Radial charts

  • Visualise and compare how stars (any social media account with significant following) resonate with each customer segment or against competitor brands
  • Favourites: Users can now save their favourite stars for repeated (or later) use
  • Export and Save: The export/save feature has been incrementally improved.
  • UI Overhaul: An array of improvements to how a user can filter views, move between charts and compare insights across various segments.

How can the new Observatory predict future buying behaviour of a brand’s customer base?

Observatory 3.0 builds on the current ability to show what drives customers, with insights that go deeper as well as a user interface that is far more flexible and actionable. I’m most excited about the trends feature, which will be a game changer for anything from creative development to new product development as it goes further than showing what drives consumers now; revealing the things that are becoming more important, those that are losing relevance and those that are set to be big.


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