Key takeaways from the Customer Data & Analytics for Marketing Seminar

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Customer Data & Analytics for Marketing seminar hosted by Incite Group.

Upon arrival, it seemed like I was a fish out of water among the other attendees. Most were data analysts, all possessing a swagger that indicated a prolific understanding of Excel and spurned an internal desire to challenge them to an AP Style test.

The first presentation from a Sears Holdings user experience researcher at Sears Holdings described how she used her skills as a former taxonomist to help design and then test the new layout of the Sears website. Through her research, she discovered which organizational hierarchies confused shoppers and ultimately lead them to leave the site.

My favorite presentation came from Tegna VP of Data Science, Flo Castro. Flo explained how her team of analysts struggled to visualize the meaningful data they could pull on the performance of of various marketing efforts based on industry in order to justify their proposals to prospects. Their solution was to build what looks like a color wheel for their offerings. The inside ring is made of service categories, the middle ring gets more specific as to the actual services, and then the outside ring is the tried and true breakdown of what marketing products Tegna knows that business needs to be successful. While Tegna offers many of the same services as Walker Sands, they sell their offerings uniformly based on hard data, an interesting contrast to our approach often at least partially based on a gut feeling influenced by past client experience.

Stephen Scarr, CEO of eContext, gave us a demo of their platform which classifies all text on the web into 450,000 topics. Brands can see what their followers are talking about on social in great detail and understand what topics they discuss  with more frequency than the population at large.

Finally, I learned how Motorola’s social media manager Daniella Peting builds campaigns that older execs can get behind using data and periods of short testing. The seminar also allocated time to working group discussions based on our own experiences with data and a panel driven by questions from the audience.

While data and analytics does not inform every decision I make in my current role at Walker Sands, it did help to see how others in the industry supported their initiatives and celebrated their successes through analytics, both to their customers and their superiors.


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Friday Five: 11/23-11/27

Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s a roundup of this week’s industry news:

Google’s Star Wars Easter Egg is a Doozy – Wired


Amid all the fanfare surrounding the new Star Wars film, Google rolled out a promotional campaign earlier this week allowing users to decorate their Google apps with Star Wars-themed skins. In a cryptic tweet, Google also revealed an Easter egg for Star Wars fans: If you type in “a long time ago in a galaxy far far away,” you’ll be treated to a text crawl of the search results page to the film franchise’s signature opening sequence.

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Pages’ 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

Hello Holiday Shoppers!

Here at Walker Sands there’s a  group of us with a shared interest for reading and books. As a group, we’re called the Pages Kaizen (Japanese for continuous improvement). Having once been the third grader who read at recess for fun, I felt like I found my people when I joined Pages. This community of readers and constant learners is a great benefit of working at Walker Sands, where many of us come from English, communications, journalism and marketing backgrounds.

To help you out with your holiday shopping needs, Pages pulled together a list of our favorite books. From moms and dads to BFFs and significant others, there’s a great book here for everyone. Matilda Swartz, a senior content strategist, compiled our recommendations into this awesome holiday gift guide! The PDF has embedded links for each book as well, so hopefully you can use this guide as a stress-reliever for gift giving this year!

Happy Shopping!


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“Exclusives aren’t attractive” and other media relations tips from a tech journalist

Last week, Walker Sands sat in on a Skype call with CMSWire reporter, Dom Nicastro, who shared some valuable advice about media relations. Dom has a great relationship with Walker Sands and was especially kind and helpful. Although all reporters and publications differ, his insight is applicable to media relations as a practice. Here are a few of his tips that can be applied when pitching all types of news outlets:


  • Monday-Wednesday are ideal days to pitch timely news, and Thursday and Friday can be good for Thought Leadership pitches. Surprisingly, Dom doesn’t hate pitches sent on Thursday or Friday. Since he is often looking toward next week’s stories around that time, sending a pitch later in the week is a good time to catch him.
  • Early morning is better than afternoon to send pitches. By the afternoon, he and most other reporters are already writing stories and on deadline.
  • Late fall and early winter is a good time to get on reporters’ radar for stories like 2016 predictions and holiday pitches. Holiday pitching shouldn’t extend past the week after Thanksgiving.
  • An editorial calendar often mirrors the school calendar – reporters are busiest in the winter and fall. Summer is a slower time for publications, and as a result, is a good time for features.
  • Journalists generally write two stories a day, and stories usually take one to two weeks to publish.
Image Source: Spin Sucks

Image Source: Spin Sucks

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[VIDEO]: An Inside Look at Walker Sands

We’re pleased to showcase our latest collaboration with Chicago Creative Space. Our first video with CCS focused on showcasing our new Chicago Loop office, but now that we’re settled in, we thought we would team up again to show off the incredible people that fill the space and the core values we live by. In the last three years we’ve grown at 177%, brought in 22 new full time employees and built a new office space, and then expanded on it. However, while we are growing quickly, we still take the time to ensure all new team members embody our core values: Learn, Support, Do.  After all, what’s a creative space if it isn’t filled with thoughtful, innovative people?

Walker Sands Integrated PR for B2B & Technology Companies from Walker Sands on Vimeo.

Learn, support, do isn’t just for encouraging employees to excel in our friendly and inspiring culture.  We also use our core values to do all that we can for our clients. In fact, it’s telling our clients’ stories that gets each and every one of us excited to work every day.

We’ve learned that through integrating and unifying public relations and digital marketing we can maximize clients’ performance and growth, resulting in increased credibility and awareness. By doing all that we can to support our clients, we’ve been recognized by DM news, PRSA and Inc. 5000 as a top PR agency.  We like to think that Learn, Support and Do have something to do with this and credit our recognition to the employees who incorporate Walker Sands’ values into their work and beyond.

Learn more about joining the team here or learn more about working with us here.

Additionally, check out our other work with Chicago Creative Space here.

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Footprints Blog

Visit the Walker Sands website. We specialize in PR and marketing services for technology solution providers and B2B companies. Walker Sands Digital offers a wide array of digital marketing solutions and helps firms to get the most from their online presence.
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