We have had many interesting conversations about the “value” of social media and ROI of engagement lately, some more interesting than others. One most insightful was with Sid Banerjee, Chairman and CEO of text mining software company Clarabridge.

He pointed out that beyond the numbers, there’s a wider benefit which is that knowing what customers are doing in relation to your brand enables you to close the loop on customer marketing and customer experience. And once you’ve harnessed the data, you can use it to drive not just marketing activity, but product development, customer experiences, and more.

Sid put it powerfully thus: “We’ve often found our customers will say, ‘I made $10 million investment in something and I was able to feel more comfortable making that investment because I listened to my customers and I had the benefit of this valuable asset, which is my customers’ opinions, emotions, and recommendations’. And prior to tapping into that engagement data they didn’t have the same confidence.”

Would you like to be more comfortable next time you make a multimillion dollar decision? Maybe its time you let data set you free.

Check out Sid’s interviews with yBC here.