Facebook LikeIt seems everyone’s obsessed with Facebook’s IPO right now. And while CMOs are beginning to understand the possibilities of Facebook, and other social technologies, to connect and engage with customers, many CIOs remain unclear on the value of Facebook.

A question many business executives ask is this: “What’s the value of having someone like your page?”

On its own, maybe not much. But the true potential lies in the ability to collect insights about the people who like brands, products or services – be it your own or someone else’s.

For example, the chart below shows the percentage of consumers by age group who have “liked” Pepsi or Coca-Cola. These data suggest Coca-Cola is significantly more popular with 17-28 year olds than Pepsi, while Pepsi appears more popular with the 36-70 crowd. I pulled these data points directly from the Facebook likes of each of the brand pages using a free consumer tool from MicroStrategy called Wisdom. Using this tool I can even tell that Coca-Cola fans are likely to also enjoy the odd Oreo cookie and bag of Pringles.

“Wisdom” illustrates the potential for companies to leverage the massive amount of data embedded in Facebook to help target more refined advertising campaigns, build new product affinities and ultimately deliver greater value to their customers. New analytics tools from MicroStrategy and others designed to integrate with social networks will make this possible.

The opportunity for CIOs is to help lead the way toward integrating this stream of customer data into other sources of customer insight to provide a competitive advantage. MicroStrategy is clearly hoping their investment in data analytics will pay off by providing a bridge between enterprise data and Facebook for their clients. Delivering a free consumer app to create buzz around their product could be a stroke of marketing genius.

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