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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.