Solving the problem of capturing and analyzing "dark data" is the business problem of the century, especially for CMOs who are increasingly accountable for generating revenue and improving business outcomes.

What is dark data? It's the unstructured data that's all over social networks, and it's full of valuable insights you can put to work to generate revenue and improve the way your business operates.

But it's highly likely you're not using it—yet.

According to IDC, 90% of the unstructured data is never analyzed. The practice of online reputation management (ORM) is changing that by helping companies collect and make sense of dark data on social media, to uncover trends and identify strengths and weaknesses in brand perception among target audiences.

In fact, accessing dark data on social media can open up opportunities for improving operations and optimizing customer experience. The challenge is knowing how to mine it and how to put it to work for your organization, by making operational improvements and optimizing the customer experience.

What Is Dark Data—and Why Does It Matter?

Dark data is the unstructured digital information that's lurking in the shadows. But it's not necessarily scary. In fact, it can provide you with early warning into problem areas that need attention.

Gartner describes dark data as "information assets that organizations collect, process and store in the course of their regular business activity, but generally fail to use for other purposes."

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image of Mark Lange

Mark Lange is CMO of He has held founding marketing, sales, and product leadership roles in successful information and enterprise SaaS ventures acquired at attractive multiples.

Twitter: @MarkLange

LinkedIn: Mark Lange