Who is afraid of analytics? I am not…anymore

I studied German at university for both my undergrad and graduate degrees.  Numbers and data were not exactly my strong suit.  In fact, I was a bit of a “numberphobe” or “arithmophobe” for many years.    arithmophobia1I am willing to bet many of my fellow marketeers are also not thrilled with having to become more of a scientist vs. artist when it comes to managing marketing activities.  Many marketers have never developed (and frankly never been asked to) develop the analytic skills required to be successful in today’s data driven marketing world.

Well guess what folks?  If you are a marketer and have not started developing analytic skills yet…you are behind the curve and may find yourself left in the dust. Now, with that said, if this German major can “get it”, I am pretty convinced anyone can!  Here is how:

  1. Get knowledgeable! Learn about the metrics and KPIs marketers should focus on and why they are important.  This is Spend time learning from those who have come before you vAnalytics Knowledgeersus inventing your own.  B2B demand marketers can turn to Sirius Decisions for a strong and simple cookbook to measure marketing effectiveness.  Their demand waterfall gives everything a demand marketer needs to know.   Additional ideas on the right measurements are laid out in The Performance Manager.   This is probably one of the most important areas I learned about:  Which metrics to choose and why.  As I did not have a background in marketing,  I spent the majority of my efforts here.
  2. Sell the metrics and KPIs to sales and marketing leaders:kpi I can not emphasize enough how important it is to gain agreement on the joint marketing and sales metrics.  Mark Emond, from Demand Spring emphasizes this in his blog posts and his engagement with customers. Defining the word “lead” and agreeing on how many marketing will deliver to sales is likely to be a huge challenge.  It is critical to select metrics which your actions can influence and will have measurable impact on business performance (e.g. # of net new leads, Average deal size, average sales cycle etc.)  These will be the easiest to sell to your execs.
  3. Put the spreadsheet down, back away slowly and no one gets injured:  Spreadsheets are nice and familiar to most people but they lead to conflict and ultimately waste more time than it is worth.  With agreed upon metrics and KPIs, it is time to explore a single version of the truth versus everyone’s OWN version of the truth.  Business Intelligencedata discoverypredictive analytics and visualization offerings have become easier and easier to use over the past several years.  Many offer the flexibility of spreadsheets (heck, some even offer a spreadsheet like interface!) while also providing one, single version of the truth.  (No more debating which version of the spreadsheet based report is “correct”).  The other thing to consider when selecting a tool to support your needs:  ensure that you select a tool that is intuitive and is not going to take a PhD to learn!  @Ventanaresearch describes the shortcomings of spreadsheets in this white paper.
  4. Invest in education and training:  Invest in yourself and/or your employees. Importantly learn how to bring analytics into your team with the maximum positive impact.  There are many educational resources out there for you and your team to get up to speed.   Connect and network with others who use analytics in their organization to learn about how they have had success.

Overall needed to become more analytical can be daunting, especially for those who may not have an analytics background.  With that said, there are many resources available to you.  If a German major can lead marketing analytics initiatives, can it really be that complicated or hard to do?

What Watson Analytics can do for YOU!

It has been a little over a year since IBM’s Watson Analytics was released.  Watson Analytics, a smart data discovery tool, continues to deliver easy analytics for everyone.  Some competitors are trying to catch and imitate what IBM has delivered but frankly, their latest news is more “snooze worthy” than newsworthy.

Because Watson Analytics is so easy to use and visually appealing, IBM has seen strong adoption (1 million plus users!).  Earlier this year, there have been some amazing additions to an already fantastic product (see Watson Analytics for Social Media).

Watson Analytics is so powerful and can address so many different uses cases.  I am frequently faced with the following query:  So, I get it!  I have a ton of data and I need a way to make sense of it.  But what exactly do I DO with it??

This really depends on what your role is.  In our work lives we each fit into some type of role:

  • sales guy
  • marketeer
  • finance professional 
  • operations director
  • supply chain manager
  • head of strategy

So, as you read this and think about what YOU can do with Watson Analytics, think about the data you need to better visualize.  Think about what finding patterns within your data could do for you.  Finally, think about how adding social media data to your analyses can make you analyses event more effective.

But most importantly let’s put this in context of some of the major roles and use cases that will matter to you:

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 9.52.01 PM.png

Over the next several weeks, I will be sharing the details behind some of these specific use cases and providing a “how to do this yourself” approach.  Check back to hear more about how #watsonanalytics can help address many of these use cases.

How to plan the BEST office party!

So, it is that time of year again….the holiday season from Thanksgiving (in the US), to Chanukah, Christmas, Festivus and New Years.  It is during this season when many companies decide to throw an office party.  If you are tasked with finding the “perfect” location to host your party, you know you have your hands full in pleasing everyone…

There is a way you can hedge your bets and find the “perfect” location which will please most people. How about using social media and your social network to understand peoples opinions and sentiment about certain locations.

Check out the steps below to get started!!!

Click here to register for a free trial of Watson Analytics for Social Media.

office-party

 

So what the heck do you do with Watson Analytics?

It has been a little over a year since IBM’s Watson Analytics was released.  Watson Analytics, a smart data discovery tool, continues to deliver easy analytics for everyone.  Some competitors are trying to catch and imitate what IBM has delivered but frankly, their latest news is more “snooze worthy” than newsworthy.

Because Watson Analytics is so easy to use and visually appealing, IBM has seen strong adoption (1 million plus users!).  Over the past couple of months there have been some amazing additions to an already fantastic product (see Watson Analytics for Social Media).

Watson Analytics is so powerful and can address so many different uses cases.  I am frequently faced with the following query:  So, I get it!  I have a ton of data and I need a way to make sense of it.  But what exactly do I DO with it??

This really depends on what your role is.  In our work lives we each fit into some type of role:

  • sales guy
  • marketeer
  • finance professional 
  • operations director
  • supply chain manager
  • head of strategy

So, as you read this and think about what YOU can do with Watson Analytics, think about the data you need to better visualize.  Think about what finding patterns within your data could do for you.  Finally, think about how adding social media data to your analyses can make you analyses event more effective.

But most importantly let’s put this in context of some of the major roles and use cases that will matter to you:

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 9.52.01 PM.png

Over the next several weeks, I will be sharing the details behind some of these specific use cases and providing a “how to do this yourself” approach.  Check back to hear more about how #watsonanalytics can help address many of these use cases.

 

 

4 reasons why I am the perfect audience for analytics

I recently joined a small company after spending 8 years at IBM. While there I was fortunate enough to be exposed to some of the world’s best analytics offerings. I also had the opportunity to work with some really strong thought leaders like: Marcus Hearne, Erick Brethenoux, Olivier Jouve, Oliver Oursin and many others. Now that I have moved out of IBM I am feeling the pain many of my former clients feel.

I have become the target audience for many of the analytics vendors out there. IBM, Qlik, Tableau and others all have a shot at my business.  So why is that?  What is it that makes my company so typical and in such need for easy to use, fast, intuitive analytics that deliver a single version of the truth?

  • What business questions to I need to answer? – This is a fundamental issue.  Helping to identify the key business drivers has proven much more challenging then I would have thought.  Many in the business do not even know what they are trying to understand.  This obviously comes with experience and time.  But it is really something organizations must do a better job with unless they want to constantly be behind.
  • Metrics for the sake of metrics: We measure EVERYTHING and I mean literally everything in our sales organization.  On the one had, I am happy from a sales performance management perspective that we have some base metrics.  But on the other hand, we have an inability to influence or take action on the metrics.  We suffer from “so-what-itis”.  I cannot tell you how many times I have looked at some of the KPIs and metrics and asked “So what?”.
  • Data:  How do i put this politely?  Our core marketing and sales date is CRAP!  We suffer from duplication,a poor data capture approach and a lack of completeness and correctness.  When  asked: Who is responsible for the data quality?  The silence was deafening.  Data is the foundation for any organization.  Currently my foundation is made of wet, clay bricks.
  • Excel!  We are excel junkies.  All analysis is done in excel…literally everything. And guess what?  The visualizations are frickin awful.  There is no one, single, governed version of the results (quarter end was particularly enjoyable with finance.  They gave one version of the numbers and sales ops provided another.)  I personally want to answer: what WILL happen? Think Excel can do that?  Yep, you are right.  No way!

So what do we need to do to become more analytically driven?  For me it is not a question of whether or not an analytics tool will help me.  It is a question of how to best approach moving forward…

Come back next week to learn about the plan to address these areas…(Oh, and if you are IBM, Qlik or Tableau…I would send a sales rep!!!) Let’s see which vendor calls me first!