How One Woman Hid Her Pregnancy From Big Data

Pregnant women are incredibly valuable to marketers. For example, if a woman decides between Huggies and Pampers diapers, that’s a valuable, long-term decision that establishes a consumption pattern. The average person’s marketing data is worth 10 cents; a pregnant woman’s data skyrockets to $1.50. And once targeted advertising finds a pregnant woman, it won’t let up.

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General Trends

A Lesson Learned In The Cola Wars

Sun Tzu was wise in saying, “know thyself, know thy enemy, and you need not fear the results of a thousand battles”. However, being fixated on a single competitor can blind you to other disruptive entrants and substitute alternatives. A powerful way to avoid this trap is by staying laser-focused on the customer versus the competition, and by defining your market and competitive alternatives more broadly.

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General Trends

How Social Data Changes Everything We Know About Marketing Strategies


The emergence of social media and the steady decline of mass media are the two biggest marketing stories of the decade. Both print circulation and TV viewership have been falling consistently since the turn of the century; TV viewership, for instance, is down almost 50% since 2002.

In contrast, social media has reported massive gains since the early days of MySpace, with social media usage among U.S. adults increasing by 800% over the past eight years.

For marketers, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. The rapid transition from mass to social media presents the opportunity to create impactful, relevant marketing messages. This data-powered personalized marketing approach is not only much more effective, but also more cost-efficient and scalable.

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Story-driven Data Analysis


Great analysts tell great stories based on the results of their analyses.  Stories, after all, make results user-friendly, more conducive to decision-making, and more persuasive.

But that is not the only reason to use stories.  Time and time again in our experience, stories have been more than an afterthought; they have actually enabled a more rigorous analysis of data in the first place.  Stories allow the analysts to construct a set of hypotheses and provide a map for investigating the data.

We recently worked with a department store retailer and a team of analysts looking for creative insights into customer loyalty.  Based on our work with a department store expert, we started out with a storyline, a narrative hypothesis, according to which a customer experiences different journeys through the department store over time and rewards the retailer with a certain level of loyalty.

How will these journeys unfold? Does the customer start in cosmetics and then move into clothing?  Does she go from the second floor to the first floor to buy a handbag to match a new outfit?  Does she have shopping days where she takes a lunch break in the restaurant before continuing her shopping?  Do less loyal customers make different journeys from more loyal ones?

In other words, we were interested not just in what customers were buying, but in the mechanics of how they make their purchases and how this may make them loyal.  After the analysis, the true story of a customer’s path to loyalty is in fact revealed.

Where do these stories come from?  In our experience, they can come either from the experience of an expert in the sector or brand, as was the case in the previous example, or from qualitative research using observation or in-depth interviews.

We recently advised a telco client in developing the “jobs to be done” for a range of new products and services.  We interviewed consumers and heard their own stories of how they go about using their mobile devices throughout the day.  The general narrative hypothesis we drew from listening to these stories is that consumers cobble together mobile solutions to suit their lifestyles.

One consumer revealed that he actually owns two SIM cards for the same smartphone and told us in what context he changes from one to the other.   Another customer told us about the parental control and other relevant apps and browsing that she has discovered and collected and which facilitate her lifestyle as a mother.

What we are seeing here is a multi-usage context (characterized by two SIM cards) and a “Mobile Mommy” context, each of which calls for a distinct analysis and possibly different products/services to be developed subsequently.  In other words, we found that the customers’ homemade solutions could be used by brand managers to identify what kind of data to gather and what kind of analysis to perform.

The analyses will in their turn enrich the initial stories and lead to deeper insights.  What is important here is that the storyline, told before the analyses, enables an authentic human element to surface that would be more difficult to extract from the data alone

In order for a story to truly enable analytics, the story development process needs to be rigorous.   We use the framework of Grounded Theory to ensure that the data and overarching storyline inform each other and are coherent with each other.  The idea is for the analyst to navigate back and forth between the data and the developing story to ensure a good balance between the creative narrative and the analytics that reveal the facts and details of the story.

The enabling storyline should not be too restrictive: it needs to support the development of the plot and characters as they emerge from the analysis, but without bias.  Conversely, the storyline can suggest specific questions to be asked of the data for a more in-depth analysis.

In a world that’s flooded with data it becomes harder to use the data; there’s too much of it to make sense of unless you come to the data with an insight or hypothesis to test. Building stories provides a good framework in which to do that.


Re-blogged from HBR


Judy Bayer is Director Strategic Analytics for Teradata International. Marie Taillard is a professor of marketing and Director of the Creativity Marketing Centre at ESCP Europe Business School in London, UK.


Nailing a Presentation in the First 60 Seconds


Whether you are making a presentation at your local library or to senior executives at your firm, the first 60 seconds set you up for success or failure.

Everything most precious to me in this world is the result of the first 60 seconds of a speech I gave on a cold day in Philadelphia. It was my turn to speak during a Wharton MBA Toastmasters program; I would be given a topic, and then would have to begin without advance preparation.

My topic: explain why MBAs aren’t all greedy jerks.

Terrified of boring the audience, I decided to flip the topic and embrace the dark side. My speech was a rant about how MBAs are all-powerful masters of the universe (note to readers: I was kidding.)

An attractive woman came up to me afterwards and said, “You are either utterly evil, or the most creative speaker I’ve seen. Which is it?”

I’ve now been married to that woman for 26 years.

The first 60 seconds you spend in front of an audience are pivotal. If you’re nervous or too excited, time can be a blur. But this is when the audience decides whether or not they like you, and it’s your best opportunity to get in a groove that will guide you through the rest of your presentation.

I’d like to make the following suggestions:

  • Plan your opening in advance. You should know exactly how you are going to open your speech. Just as people do when meeting a stranger, audiences will notice your body language, confidence level and demeanor. Don’t just focus on what you will say; practice your movements and tone. Look for ways to signal that you are a person with a valuable message to share.
  • If at all possible, prepare the room in advance to your liking. If you like to move around, give yourself room to move. If you feel more comfortable in one place, set up any aids (water, notes, clicker…) so they are easy to access. Make sure the lighting is right. The worst thing you can do is to step in front and start fumbling around.
  • Expect the unexpected. I’ve had 45 hung-over people show up for a “major keynote speech” (lesson: never be the first speaker of the morning in a casino) and 500 show up for a “casual little discussion.” At one event in an arena, all the lights went off while I was speaking, then back on again 30 seconds later. No matter what happens, your role is to remain calm and composed. If you do this, you will win over the room. I actually rehearse how I might react to unexpected occurrences.
  • Be immediately interesting. Even if you have housekeeping notes or details to go over with the audience, don’t start with these! First, build a rapport and demonstrate that you are both in control and worth their attention. Audiences are happy to support a speaker, once they recognize his or her talents.
  • If you are terrified, use that terror to your advantage. As part of your planned opening, say something that either acknowledges your anxiety or makes it seem like good acting. In the past, I’ve opened with stories that began, “If it seems like I’m nervous, it’s because _____” and then wove that into a joke, cautionary tale or vivid example of what we’d be focused on in my session.

Many years ago, my wife came home from a conference with a video of the keynote speaker, who I think was Captain Charlie Plumb. He had an opening like none I’ve ever seen before. On a bare stage, with a huge audience present, he didn’t say a word. Instead, he walked eight feet in one direction, turned and walked eight feet. He did this repeatedly. He took his time, and seemed unaware of the audience. When at last he looked up and spoke, he shared that as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, his cell was eight by eight feet long and that the lessons he learned inside it were relevant to what professionals experience in the business world.

In a simple but powerful way, he accomplished all the items I’ve shared with you today, and gained the audience’s rapt attention in the first 60 seconds.

The article was originally published here


13 Ethical Ways to Increase Your Site’s Search Traffic


A panel of 13 successful entrepreneurs share their best advice for generating high-quality, organic search traffic to their business websites.


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Data Visualisation

How to Make Visual Content for Social Media in 5 Minutes

Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest have increasingly adopted more visually oriented layouts and promote more visually appealing content when possible.

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