Get Marketing Insights Fast Without a Data Hostage Crisis

shutterstock_210349615The landscape for marketing analytics solutions is more cluttered than ever with multiple options and approaches for marketing departments to consider.  One option that we are seeing more and more of is a seductive offering that promises a simple, fast, nearly turnkey approach to getting analysis and insight from your growing stacks of data.  The offer is this: a vendor will import your data to their systems, do analysis on it with their in-house experts, and come back to you with insights that will help you run your business better.

No doubt, this is an attractive offer if you are like many marketing organizations, struggling to get internal resources to help consolidate data and do the analysis required to get you the insights you need.   Business Intelligence resources are hard to find in your company, the data holders in IT are backlogged and short staffed.  You need insights now to help engage and sell to your customers and are done waiting on internal resources so why not go this route?  While likely a quick, tactical solution that will get you answers in the near term, there are several major drawbacks to this solution as a longer term strategy.

Market leading organizations know that their data is a significant asset that, when used well, can help them better understand and engage their customers, anticipate customer needs, cross sell, upsell, and stay ahead of the competition. As part of making data a core competency, your organization has to do the hard work to intimately know its data, its strengths, its shortcomings, and understand what it can tell you about your business.  That intimate understanding of data only comes from digging in, “doing the homework,” investing in the infrastructure and skillsets to excel at business intelligence inside the organization.  Organizations that have this kind of understanding of their data are continually improving the quality of data in their organization and building the kind of sustainable internal BI capability that actually adds significantly to the value and sustainability of the company.  C-suite, take note!

If you outsource that knowledge, you may get the answers you seek fast, but you do not get the sustainable, growing capability in-house that becomes a core differentiator for your company and helps you lead the market. datahostagecalloutI’m amazed when I hear this but it is very common practice. What if your vendor company goes out of business, gets acquired, changes business models or you decide to change vendors?  Your vendor is holding your data hostage.  What are you left with then?  All the money you spent bought you yesterday’s insights but you have no investment or capability towards the future.   Your team has none of the knowledge or infrastructure to sustain and continue to grow that flow of business intelligence that is critical to serving your customers and staying ahead of your competition.   You are back to zero.

Fair enough you say, but damn it, I still need insights now and I can’t wait any longer.  Tactical and non-sustainable is better than nothing right?  Well consider that it doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” approach.  There is a way to get fast and sustainable.  You can start with a partner who gets you to the critical insights you need now, but is doing it on your systems, building out infrastructure you own (be it in the cloud on your behalf or on premises), and is helping mentor your team members along the way.  You may spend a little more along the way to do this, but in this approach you are investing, not just paying a monthly fee with no incremental addition of value to your company.  Very quickly you will be way ahead.

If the vendor you pick, in this case, goes out of business, moves on, or you decide to part ways, there may be some short term pain, but you own the assets, data, and business logic they built and you have team members who have been working directly with the technology and data, “doing the homework”, and can keep you moving forward.  Nobody has your data held hostage.

The right choice for a vendor should:

  • Have deep experience utilizing the cloud to get you up and running fast, with limited need for hardware purchase and support.  The cloud is great but make sure it is your, cloud, not someone else’s.
  • Work with you to understand your unique needs, data, internal team skills and challenges, and creates a roadmap to Business Intelligence ROI internally.
  • Provide all the senior BI talent you need now to get answers fast, but also help you grow that skill in house, with training, new employee interviewing and ongoing mentoring.  They need to have a demonstrated understanding that knowledge transition to your team is part of the deliverable and be committed to providing it.

Pick a partner who can help you avoid having your data taken hostage, while getting you the insights and ROI you need fast!

Written by Duane Bedard, eSage Group President and Co-Founder

 

 

A Year in Review – LA and Seattle MeetUps

It was quite a year for both the LA and Seattle Marketing Analytic MeetUps! We had terrific speakers share on current topics! In LA, we had Nevious Osborne of Beats by Dre talking effective dashboards, Peter Taylor of Belkin talking IoT analytics and Punnoose Isaac of Edmunds.com talking on how to build an analytics infrastructure, just to name a few!  Check out the full list here.

Not to be outdone, Seattle had Jeremy Boore of Expedia talk Storytelling and Analytics, Chris Proser of Adobe talk about going beyond A/B testing, Kyle Wieranga of Costco talk on moving from Predictive to Prescriptive Analytics, Shish Shirdar from Microsoft talk Machine Learning, and Ed Mabanglo from Nordstrom talk time-to-event analysis to measure customer tenure. Check out the full list here.

2016 is proving to be great with Tania Massad from Mattel presenting in LA and Brian Behuin from Alaska Air presenting in Seattle.

Make sure to become a member for the Seattle and/or LA Marketing Analytic MeetUps to receive notices of upcoming events!

 

 

 

Understanding and Influencing the Customer Journey

Last week in Downtown LA, eSage Group and Microsoft hosted an Executive Learning Lounge focused on understanding and influencing the customer journey.

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The concept is a complex one. I came across this great article in the November issue of Harvard Business Review.  I hope you find it as insightful as I did.

If you are in Seattle, we are having a Customer Journey panel at the DAA Seattle Symposium on November 12th.  Shish Shirdhar will once again get in the panelist chair along with Michael Lisin of Disney and Duane Bedard of eSage Group will moderate!

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Competing on the Customer Journey – HBR, November 2015 – Executive Summary

As digital technology has enabled shoppers to easily research and buy products online, sellers have been scrambling after them, trying to understand and satisfy their wants. Savvy companies, however, are using new tools, processes, and organizational structures to proactively lead digital customers from consideration to purchase and beyond. They are creating compelling customer journeys and managing them like any other product—and gaining a source of competitive advantage.

Building successful journeys requires four key capabilities: automation, to smoothly carry customers through each step of their online path; personalization, to create a customized experience for each individual; contextual interaction, to engage customers and appropriately sequence the steps they take; and journey innovation, to add improvements that enhance and extend the journey and foster customer loyalty.

In addition, the most successful companies have a particular organizational structure, with a chief experience officer overseeing a journey-focused strategist and a “journey product manager.” This latter role is critical—the journey product manager leads a team of designers, developers, data analysts, marketers, and others to create and sustain superior journeys, and he or she is accountable for the journey’s ROI and general business performance.

What is the Internet of Things? Why should marketers care? RSVP Now to find out!

Internet of ThingsPlease join us in this lively evening event sponsored and organized by eSage Group with co-sponsors Pointmarc and Cloudera. Hear a panel of industry experts from the areas of Wearables, Home Security/Automation, and Automotive:

Duane Bedard from eSage Group, a thought leader in the marketing analytics space, will moderate a discussion delving into the Internet of Things, where are we today, what the future holds and how marketers can best be prepared to take advantage of it to improve effectiveness of marketing campaigns and develop new revenue streams.

The Learning Lounge is presented with PSAMA and DAA.

Details:

When: May 15, 2014 Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Where: Club Sur 2109 First Avenue South SODO, just south of the Starbucks Center
Cost: $25 includes beverages (alcoholic and non) and appetizers Parking is free and readily available after 6pm on First and side streets.

RSVP Now IoT

 Check out the cool digs!

SUR Montage

DONT MISS IT!

 

Just announced! eSage Group’s Internet of Things Learning Lounge – May 15th

iot3A First-Hand Conversation on the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things will profoundly re-shape marketing. As objects in all corners of our lives become connected to the web what does it mean for brands and customers? To help provide insight, and a lively discussion, eSage Group and PSAMA has arranged a premium collection of senior-level thinkers from some of the area’s strongest brands, all together on one panel.

See first-hand how Alaska Airlines is evolving air travel, how Vivint is revolutionizing digital homes and how Nike continues to be an innovator in wearables all through understanding the opportunities from the Internet of Things.

Learning Lounge: An All-New Event Format

At the Learning Lounge, Seattle Marketing Analytics Group, PSAMA members, and non-members alike are invited to join together for an evening at SUR, one of Seattle’s most talked-about venues. Enjoy food and drink (ticket prices includes cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres) while learning from some of the Northwest’s most innovative brands how the Internet of Things is starting to re-shape marketing.

Expert Panel:

Details:

Date: May 15th, 21014

Location: Club SUR, SODO, 2901 1st Avenue S

Time: 6pm

Tickets are $25 for all Seattle Marketing Analytics Group members!

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Register here!

Special Thanks to our co-sponsors!

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The Learning Lounge is replacing the normal monthly MeetUp at Fado’s for the month of May. We will return to normal in June. 

If folks like it, The Learning Lounge will hopefully become a quarterly (or so) event.

The Shish List – Big Data at MarketMix

This article was posted by Shish Shirhar, Global Director of Big Data, Retail. He was one of our Making Big Data Smart Data panelists for last week’s PSAMA MarketMix.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/shishirs/archive/2014/03/27/bigdata-at-marketmix.aspx0312_MarketMix1_thumb_13BAE14D

Thanks to Duane Bedard & Tina Munro of eSageGroup, I participated in a panel discussion at MarketMix with the brilliant Data Scientists: Jason Gowans of Nordstrom and Jon Francis of Nike. Duane Bedard did an excellent job of moderating the conversation.  I love his skill of condensing everything we said to short soundbytes that were ready to go on twitter 🙂 , and they did with hashtag #MarketMix.

Jon Francis shared interesting insights on the work he does on the ecommerce business at Nike. Jason Gowans runs the Nordstrom Data Lab and shared his perspectives on what it takes to walk the thin line between providing great customer experience through personalization and becoming “creepy”. We discussed where Big Data has proven value and where it has disappointed; talked about how Marketers can benefit from Big Data Analytics and what kind of data is useful for enhancing insights.

I spoke with several people in the audience after the session and one of the questions that stood out was: “How can we start small, working with multiple data sources?” My recommendation is to have a look at a tool that you most likely already have: Excel. Excel 2013 has some interesting new capabilities with PowerBI. The democratization of data and the democratization of tools is empowering everyone to get started working with multiple datasets, combine them and create great visualizations to derive insights. Check out some of the examples from my previous blog posts:

  1. Analyzing Seattle 911 Data using PowerBI
  2. Using Power Map to Analyze Public Retailer Data
  3. Visualizing Wal-mart
  4. Lets visualize Beer because it’s 5 pm somewhere
  5. How To: Visualize Real Time Flight Data & Correlate with Local Airport Weather

This Just In….LA Marketing Analytics Group Teaches Attendees About Using Data Science to Inform Values Based Marketing Campaigns

Thank You!
…to everyone who joined us last Tuesday night for Ravi Iyer’s presentation on Using Data Science to Inform Values Based Marketing Campaigns. The slide deck from his presentation is now posted in our “Files” library at the LA Marketing Analytics Group home page: Group Homepage. Ravi Iyer is the Chief Data Scientist for Ranker and a consultant on Zenzi’s Social Values project.  He combines years of technical expertise with a PhD in psychology from the University of Southern California.  He publishes regularly in top scholarly journals and his research on moral psychology has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, the Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times, and at South by Southwest Interactive.

Here’s what Ravi covered on Tuesday night:
Many companies are seeking to align their brands with the values of their consumers.  However, values can mean many things to many people.  Successfully micro-targeting the right people with the right message is essential for forward thinking marketers in the age of “big data”.  In his talk, Ravi blended case studies, academic research, and techniques from data science to show practical ideas on how your next marketing campaign can leverage data to inform a more meaningful, value-based connection with customers. We explored concepts like “Why do people buy things?”, “Big Data applied to values”, and “Predicting things that matter.” Ravi’s presentation was a wonderful mix of psychology and marketing data analytics tenets, all of which he spoke about from real world experience using his psychology and data sciences background.

eSage Group and American Marketing Association Los Angeles are excited to bring you this monthly speaker series every first Tuesday of the month. We always enjoy an evening of light appetizers, beer and wine provided by eSage Group: a systems integration and analytics consultancy combining heavy lifting technical chops with front end analytics. We help organizations rapidly integrate and transform customer data across disparate sources and perform powerful cross-channel analytics to derive deeper insight and extract maximum value from marketing and sales data.

Thanks again to all who attended, and sorry we missed those of you who couldn’t make it.
We hope to see you all next month at our Making Big Data Smart Data: The Actionable Insight Journey panel discussion with panelists from Beats by Dre, PR Newswire, and Live Analytics.

Author: Rob Lawrence is Business Development Representative in Southern California for eSage Group, President Elect 2014-15 for The American Marketing Association and Organizer of the monthly first Tuesday LA Marketing and Analytics Group.

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