PIGs (Process Interest Graphs)

Social Graphs connect people that know each other, like social networks. Interest Graphs connect people with what they are interested in. John Battelle’s been writing about them for years. If you can find out what people – retail customers, business customers or colleagues – are interested in then that is the first step to actually giving them what they want.

Interest Graphs and PIGs (Process Interest Graphs) help firms to figure out what each customer is interested in by using their past behaviour, e.g. past purchases, answers to current prompts, the things that people like them are interested in – their social network – and other bought-in data.

Its like when Amazon suggests a book that you really would like to read but you would never have thought of. PIGs are most powerful when they help firms to tell customers what they truly but they would never ever have thought of.

Process Interest Graphs (PIGs) model customers’ lives

But Interest Graphs are not that great at modelling what people need on a timeline, i.e. how their needs have changed and will change in the future. They are more like a stack of photos of one person which have been stapled together in a book. You can quickly flip through the stack of photos to make appear that the person is moving but any one photo is not naturally linked to any other. This makes it difficult to analyse customers’ behaviours based on ‘stream’ or ‘timeline’ data like Facebook are staring to collect with Facebook Timelines. Also, Interest Graphs are fundamentally static so they are not very good at modelling multiple stages of a customer journey – at different timescales of the customer conversion process or different aspects of the relationship with a brand.

The way to solve this problem is to use Process Interest Graphs (PIGs). PIGs model customer journeys by using stream or timeline data at any scale – from second-by-second to year-by-year or higher scales. PIGs can model what people are interested in at any and all timescales because they naturally link to what people are interested in moment by moment. They can also do this for machines, teams and whole organisations, i.e. they scale up for any level of organisational structure as well as for for any timescale.

This means that PIGs can also be used as an overall data architecture for integrating customer loyalty data, CRM data, social network data – any sort of internal or bought-in data. So PIGs are the ‘glue’ for linking fragmented databases, business processes or services.

From the firm’s perspective, they are a basis for multi-channel strategies. From the customer’s perspective they are a basis for a smart phone app that supports all aspects of each customer relationship – both during and between purchases. Here’s a couple of examples.

How do PIGs work?

The thing that makes PIGs different to normal Interest Graphs is that they make it much easier for data to be modelled in terms of ‘customer journeys’. They work on streams, processes and timelines as well as on networks, like social networks and organisations, that link people into static structures. Interest Graphs only work on static structures.

So you can use PIGs to:

  • improve customer journeys – in terms of speed, experience, usefulness and ease
  • create new services – by brainstorming new unmet needs
  • create social networks and communities – by joining customers and orchestrating how they interact
  • do life-stage segmentation – by personalised targeting based on peoples’ life stages or just the current stage of their day

PIGs make it much easier to manage customer experiences, and organisations, in terms of customer journeys – i.e. the daily, weekly and longer term lives of your customers, staff, projects, products or services. PIGs can be used to build personal guides for shoppers or they can be a ‘sat nav’ for the work lives of each of your staff.

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