Thursday Tech Talk with J’son

Setting Up Excel Services in SharePoint 2010 for Testing

May 1, 2012
By J’son Cannelos, Partner/Principal ArchitectExcel Services

Microsoft SharePoint 2010 is here to stay. According to, 67% of companies participating in a recent survey reporting deploying SharePoint in an enterprise environment. Managing document workflows and attaching content to business processes were reported as the highest priorities were given as reasons for using SharePoint. At the same time, Microsoft Office Excel is the de-facto tool for data analysis and enablement. Everyone from the company CEO on down to the accountant uses Excel today for examining their present situation and forecasting the future. Could web enabling Excel via SharePoint be far behind?

Excel Services has been around since SharePoint 2007; however it’s made a big leap in SharePoint 2010. A good write up on Excel Services for SharePoint 2010 is located here (yep, you even get Slicers!):

The service allows Excel spreadsheets to be presented in a web browser using a slick Excel-like interface. External data connections, workbook calculations, user defined functions, and charts are supported out of the box for a true near desktop experience. Business stakeholders love and need Excel? Check. They need to access Excel workbooks and reports anytime, anywhere, even on a computer without Microsoft Office? Check!

Continue reading here.

Are you taking advantage of all the insights that data (big and otherwise) can provide?

Big DataAs the author points out in this article (below), there are numerous ways to leverage big data to your marketing advantage, but she has mainly focused this discussion on the potential advantages of using big data analytics to perform multi-channel digital marketing attribution.  Taking multi-channel marketing attribution beyond last click analysis can yield very powerful results; as it helps marketers better understand which channels their customers interact with, how they interact with them and how each channel best contributes to an actual sale….and isn’t this what we all want to know…  The appropriate attribution modeling can ultimately lead to a better understanding of your customers, a more personalized user experience and ultimately more revenue.

 Are you taking advantage of all the insights that data (big and otherwise) can provide?

Contact us for a roadmap to an integrated, intelligent Enteprise Marketing Platform.

Digital Marketing Attribution: Tapping the Data Disruption

Stephanie Miller | March 5, 2012

You’ve likely heard something about “Big Data,” and may be wondering what this is and if it has any impact on marketers and your world. There are lots of ways people use (and misuse) the term, but for purposes of this column, let’s say that big data is marketing data that is multi-structured (not linear or easily aligned to a structured database format) and sourced from multiple customer interactions. This might include clickstream (website visits), behavioral insights, email and SMS response data, social posts and tweets, and search keyword activity.

In essence, big data disrupts marketing. It upsets the normal “container” of marketing data, because the unstructured and multi-structured formats don’t match the kinds of one-to-one relationship of data element with database field (the way that structured data works). It upsets the CRM paradigm because it’s fluid, hard to sort and prioritize, and not always attributable to a specific person. It also disrupts the infrastructure capital expenditure budget – big data is just that: big.

Do not be afraid. Gartner has reported that competitive advantage goes to those who tap into t

his disruption of data. There are plenty of opportunities that involve harnessing big data and making sense of it. At one level, it’s important to just ask questions of the data. You can only make better decisions if you utilize the gems hidden in your vast data storehouses. Better, imagine what you could do if you could use all the data you have. And I mean: All. The. Data. That is pretty exciting. You’d be doing things like social community relationship analysis, persona-based segmentations, behavioral modeling, path to purchase analysis, real-time offer management, multi-touch attribution analysis, advertising and media analysis, and more.

Truthfully, it’s an incredible opportunity, but it can be a frustrating challenge to get your arms around.

One area where marketers are optimizing their investments in big data analysis is in the area of digital marketing attribution, which is itself the first step to digital marketing optimization. Most attribution today is last click, more for the complexity in managing data than from marketer choice. But now that we are tapping big data, attribution analysis can track behavioral insights an

d better understand and serve customers who are interacting across an expanding universe of multiple channels, touch points, and data sources – everything from email to search, digital advertising, websites, and social media.

The volume and complexity of new data sources require advanced analytics beyond “last-touch” or “last-click” attribution. To make accurate budgeting decisions, marketers need to take into account multi-channel, multi-touch purchasing cycles. Consider two examples of how attribution could work for you:

  • A major online and offline retailer leverages big data to derive consumer insights that are deployed across channels. Instead of relying on sampling, customer intelligence is created from big data analysis. Customers benefit from more personalized experiences.
  • An online-only retailer ties together clickstream information with email logs, ad viewing information, and operational information in order to identify customer preferences and behavior – and how to optimize marketing spend. This includes parsing of Twitter feeds and sentiment analysis.

Data-driven marketers must think differently. Our customers expect it, and our markets demand it. Consider these types of initiatives for your own organization, where digital marketing attribution can help:

  1. Gain visibility into marketing activity to optimize the use of new channels and deliver remarkable customer experience across conversation points.
  2. Automate marketing processes and simplify cross-channel measurements. Facilitate experimentation and iteration to optimize digital channels by using quantitative results as they happen.
  3. Empower yourself to think differently, in that the answer is already there – in the data.
  4. Take a complete look at the data, both digital and non-digital information, to get a more complete view of customers, their preferred channels, and interactive behavior.
  5. Procure the right big data analytics tools that will integrate with your marketing database, campaign management, CRM, and digital messaging solutions.

What is your story around attribution? Are you on a path to tap the disruption of data or are you sticking with last-click attribution models? Share with us your learnings below.

We Are All Marketers Now: The importance of data driven marketing

We Are All Marketers Now: Read a great article from McKinsey that notes the importance of data driven marketing.

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Data Driven CMO

Marketing Analytics
Marketing Analytics

Written almost a year ago, this article by Anoop Sahgal at Adobe still rings true.

Highlights include:

1) Marketers need to bring data and channels into a single, comprehensive, and integrated solution.

2) CMOs must build their own core skill sets around data and adapt, expand, and  train their teams. Marketing teams today must care about information, understand  metrics, and see how the data maps to overall key business objectives.

3) Data is the path toward optimizing the consumer  experience, and, in today’s world, customer loyalty is an important lynchpin for  business success.

4) The CMO is poised to become one of the most powerful positions within an  organization. But for that to happen, CMOs must adopt data-driven skill sets,  processes, and cultures, as well as smart technologies that harness data to keep  pace with marketing complexity and exceed business objectives.

eSage’s Intelligent Enteprise Marketing Platform services can help CMOs and their organizations harness and turn data into actionable insights!

Here is the article:

In today’s multichannel marketing world, characterized by the rapid and  consequential changes in digital and social marketing, the ability to measure  and optimize marketing initiatives is more challenging and important than  ever. Marketers need to bring data and channels into a single,  comprehensive, and integrated solution. The online marketing suite, according to  Forrester Research, is the key to improving marketing return on investment  (ROI), as well as enhancing the customer experience. Integrating multichannel  campaign execution, content management, and analytics into a single platform is  crucial for today’s online marketers. Also vital is a central hub incorporating  management, measurement, data, and integration points.

Demonstrating Value And Business Impact In this new  marketing environment, data is paramount and channels are proliferating. At the  same time, chief marketing officers (CMOs) and their teams are being asked to  demonstrate the value of marketing initiatives and campaigns and their overall  impact on the business. Today, decisions and marketing programs can and must be  formulated based on data—rather than intuition, past experiences, or  hunches.

“Intuition is no longer a marketing strategy,” said Josh Hanna, executive  vice president and general manager of, a global company that offers  customers the world’s largest online collection of family histories. “At, we evaluate everything, from attribution of our marketing spend  across channels to the customer experience and even the value of our content.  Using data from an online marketing suite, we can attribute traffic and  conversion spikes to specific TV spots—a marketing medium that has traditionally  been difficult to measure. Our team can even assess the impact of specific spots  across channels and creative executions.”

A New Set Of Best Practices  CMOs play a crucial  role in constantly updating the boardroom and CEO about the latest customer  preferences, and how well corporate resources are aligned to meet those evolving  customer needs. Among others, there are a trio of practices CMOs can employ to  become more successful in the new, data-driven marketing world:

1. Build a data-driven organization: Data-driven  marketing, as  blogger Brent Dykes has emphasized, requires new skill sets and places new  demands on organizations and their cultures. The data  requirements for success as a CMO now extend beyond counting advertising  impressions; instead, data must demonstrate solid ROI in the form of profitably  generated leads, conversions, and other metrics that the business has  established for success. The information must then be distilled and continually  analyzed to help drive the business forward. The upshot is that data and its  related pros and cons now fall into the hands of CMOs and their marketing  organizations. Today, CMOs must leverage data to not only solidify their  decisions and their campaigns, but also to become income earners and innovation  drivers within their organizations.

The influx of marketing data is a double-edged sword. CMOs now have a seat at  the revenue table, but they need the numbers and a solid understanding of what  the data means to back them up. With marketing at the center of a data  maelstrom, CMOs are flooded by feeds of information—Web analytics, transaction  histories, behavioral profiles, industry aggregates, social community feedback,  and more. This new trend is forcing organizational and cultural change on a  massive scale.

CMOs are under more pressure than ever to successfully convert customers and  drive higher revenues. Rather than simply bringing in analysts or Web analysts,  CMOs must build their own core skill sets around data and adapt, expand, and  train their teams. Marketing teams today must care about information, understand  metrics, and see how the data maps to overall key business objectives. The  digital world has not just brought about new mediums—it has ushered in an  entirely new type of marketing.

Several companies are transforming this challenge into a tangible competitive  advantage., the third largest and fastest growing online home  improvement retailer, has mastered the art of data-driven marketing,  incorporating information, testing, and ongoing analytics into the fabric of the  company. “We measure and optimize every facet of the online shopping experience,  from pay-per-click advertising to category product recommendations and even  providing pricing and other data from our competitors for comparison shoppers,” said Brandon Proctor, vice president of marketing for “We’ve seen  impressive results from taking a data-driven, integrated approach to online  marketing.”

2. Optimizing the consumer experience isn’t one thing; it’s the  only thing: Data is the path toward optimizing the consumer  experience, and, in today’s world, customer loyalty is an important lynchpin for  business success. Having a unified view of every consumer interaction across all  touch points, and then using that insight to influence every future exchange, is  the way forward for CMOs. It requires capturing, analyzing, and proactively  acting on data to optimize the consumer experience by delivering relevant and  engaging content. Success depends on profitably engaging consumers, optimizing  every interaction with them, and then knowing and proving which campaigns are  delivering ROI—and for those that aren’t, being able to rapidly adjust tactics  to maximize returns.

Companies need to focus on the relationship and interaction they have with  customers in all forms of media. It is not enough to just ensure that content is  search-engine optimized or enhanced for analytics. It’s also not enough that  site navigation is simple, or that social media pages or “like” buttons are  prominent on a site. Marketers must analyze and optimize the entire consumer  experience.

At, reliance on solid data versus intuition is integral to  developing the company’s solid marketing strategies—with more than 200 company  professionals across marketing, PR, product, finance, and IT using an integrated  online marketing suite. spends approximately half of its working  media budget on television. The use of an integrated marketing suite has enabled  closed-loop marketing across channels to enhance the consumer experience and  make marketing more effective overall. The company has learned that its  customers respond well to meaningful, targeted television ads, and then flock to  the site to try out the service and sign up for a subscription.

“We can immediately measure online registration counts on to  gauge TV network performance, cost per TV-visitor, relative creative  performance, revenue per spot, and even channel attribution,” EVP Hanna said. “The online marketing suite has brought us a level of visibility into the  effectiveness of our TV advertising activities like we’ve never had.”

The only way to continually improve the consumer experience is to capture and  synthesize information and then act on it. What is the consumer’s interaction  with your company? Where does the experience fall short? What are they looking  for? Do they have the same quality of interaction whether they are in a store or  online? Are their needs being catered to as individuals with unique  requirements, interests, and needs? These questions must be answered  successfully in order to optimize the consumer experience. CMOs must have  visibility and solid data to inform and transform consumer experiences in  stores, on mobile phones, through social networks—wherever consumers are. This  data, not intuition, must drive how the consumer experience can be improved to  meet key business objectives.

At, for instance, customers who decline to make a purchase—or those  who are repeat customers—are revisited with retargeted display ads pertinent to  their interests and coupons for relevant items based on browsing history. The  company even makes recommendations when the consumer reaches a “no results” search page on the site. The benefits for include  industry-leading boosts in conversions, average order values, and customer  loyalty.

“We’ve come full circle with marketing to optimize customer acquisition,  product recommendations, A/B testing for a better customer experience,  follow-through with emails, and analysis of customer behaviors. Then we start  all over again for continuous improvement,” marketing VP Proctor said. “This  continues to be a winning and profitable strategy for us.”

3. Marketing is the new R&D, and marketing executives need to  recognize and embrace their roles as innovators: Now that CMOs  have in-depth insights and actionable data about consumer reactions and  behaviors, they are taking a leadership role in driving innovation. The Internet  and social media, in particular, are having a huge impact on marketing research  and innovation in organizations. It’s no secret that many of the traditional  marketing research tools—focus groups, surveys, brainstorming, and phone  interviews—are woefully ineffective at uncovering the deep knowledge of  consumers that organizations need today.

Data-driven marketing organizations and channels, like the Internet and  social media, are changing the way companies innovate and react to consumers.  For example, company managers can know, within hours, if the red version of a  particular shoe is outselling the other colors, and they can act quickly to  restock more red shoes. A company can have an instant pulse on consumers by  watching reactions and comments on social media sites and change strategies  accordingly. Rather than just communicating to their target audiences, companies  are engaging in multidirectional interactions with consumers, and the  information captured from those interactions is more powerful than any focus  group interview.

In data-driven organizations, marketing executives have a lightning-fast read  on consumers and their preferences. Marketing executives’ contributions can take  the form of informed inventory replenishment, new product development, and more.  When CMOs understand consumer behaviors through actionable data, they can see  gaps in markets, improvements to upcoming product introductions, pathways toward  competitive differentiators, and better ways to express their brands.

Driving innovation might sound like a daunting responsibility, but if the  data is there, then the action can follow. Because CMOs have access to the  instant information that reflects conversations and interactions with consumers,  they can guide the business almost better than any other executive. CMOs have an  enviable position and big responsibility to help their organizations make more  informed decisions and meet key objectives to deliver better products or  services, communicate in new ways, or discover other unforeseen ways to improve  the business.

Transforming Challenge Into Opportunity The data-driven  world of marketing is challenging, but it is also replete with exciting, new  opportunities, especially with a solid foundation and the power of the online  marketing suite.

Today’s new data-driven CMOs are contributing to the bottom line and  increasing the value consumers receive. They are also revolutionizing marketing,  driving innovation, and earning unprecedented respect among their C-level  peers.

The CMO is poised to become one of the most powerful positions within an  organization. But for that to happen, CMOs must adopt data-driven skill sets,  processes, and cultures, as well as smart technologies that harness data to keep  pace with marketing complexity and exceed business objectives.

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