Synthesio is an example of a product business model. The company monitors social media to ‘sense’ public sentiments about a product or brand, allowing companies and marketing agencies to understand and connect with their customers. The jargon term to describe their work is an “Enterprise Listening Program”. Essentially, the value proposition is information, or the instant summarisation of information from complex and disparate sources. Synthesio trawls through various social networks like Facebook and Twitter – as well as more regional social networks like Orkut, Sina Weibo and Renren – and provides, at a glance, the information needed by brand owners and marketing agencies to plan their next actions.
Synthesio is a relatively young technology startup, founded in 2006 by Loic Mousand and Thibault Hanin. It has grown quickly – and taken on larger and larger investments, totalling $22.2 million since its founding, from Entrepreneur Venture, ESSEC, Idinvest Partners, and LIOR Investments. Synthesio now has 150 employees, and offices in New York, London, Paris, and Singapore. There are two other Enterprise Listening Platforms (platforms in the non-business model sense etc etc) in the “leadership” spot, namely Sprinklr and Visible Technologies. Both competitors offer very similar services to Synthesio.
CUSTOMERS – WHO THEY ARE:
Synthesio’s customers are brand owners and marketing agencies. Although social media users are an important part of Synthesio’s value creation, they are not part of Synthesio’s customers as they derive no value from Synthesio’s services and, in fact, may be entirely unaware of the company’s existence. Social media users are important to Synthesio only because they’re important to Synthesio’s customers – those users and their content are essentially the “suppliers” of the “raw materials” that the company processes.
ENGAGEMENT – VALUE CREATION PROPOSITION:
Synthesio follows a classic product-based model when dealing with its only category of customers. Its technology allows it to provide a standardised service for its customers at a large scale – a typical “bus” offering. There is a small degree of customisation – a “shared taxi”, if you will – in that Synthesio offers partnership programs with its larger customers, modifying the core value delivery slightly to better suit each partner’s needs. (e.g. by fine-tuning the reports to exclude blogs, if the partner’s inclinations lean that way.)
There is no connectivity between Synthesio’s customers, but Synthesio does offer to indirectly ‘facilitate’ connecting brand owners/marketing agencies with social media users, for example by telling their customers who’s the biggest influencer in the social media circles they’re most mentioned in.
DELIVERY – THE VALUE CHAIN:
Synthesio’s primary value delivery system is its web platform (platform in the technology sense, not the business model sense) which creates real-time reports and analytics for the consumption of the customers. Synthesio’s primary enabler is its social media “listening” technology which allows it to quickly process complex information at a large scale. The web platform is primarily maintained in-house and the nature of information means the delivery is near instantaneous. Synthesio is very much technology-driven in this sense.
MONETIZATION – VALUE CAPTURE:
Monetisation follows a subscription-based model. Customers pay Synthesio to access the web platform and the secondary social media collaboration system.
Synthesio website: www.synthesio.com
Written by Shaun Noordin and edited by James Knuckles under the direction of Prof Charles Baden-Fuller, Cass Business School. This case is designed to illustrate a business model category. It leverages public sources and is written to further management understanding, and it is not meant to suggest individuals made either correct or incorrect decisions. © 2016
Published 23 April 2016