Tag Archives: Analytics

7 Themes for the 7 Days Until the Big Game

With the Super Bowl right around the corner, I figured now would be a great time to use Watson Analytics for Social Media to analyze what the conversation has been about.  There are always many story lines surrounding the game, and this year is no different.
  • Will Matt Ryan get his first ring?
  • Will the Super Bowl commercials live up to the expectation?
  • How inflated are the footballs?
  • Who is just there for the half time show?

These are all questions we can explore!

I used seven themes to scrape the social web. I chose Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, and Roger Goodell to understand what people are saying about those three. It sure would be interesting if Roger Goodell had to hand Tom Brady the Lombardi trophy, I don’t think they play golf together in the offseason. As the Super Bowl has turned into quite a social event, for my other themes I looked at if people are going to parties or bars, and what the conversation is around commercials and the halftime show feature Lady Gaga.
Looking at the geospatial map, we can see that more people are talking about the game in Georgia than any other state. Falcons fans are excited to be back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1998.map
Next we can analyze how these themes have evolved over the week.  We can see that Tom Brady was the hot topic on Monday, but as the week progressed, more people started discussing the commercials.trend
We can see here about 34% of the conversation is about the commercials and the halftime show, and more people are talking about going to parties rather than out to a bar.pie
Finally, we can look at what the sentiment is around these topics. The overall sentiment looks to be quite positive, alluding to many people being excited for the game.sentiment
Stay tuned as we will be monitoring the conversation and providing updates. Next week is media week at the Super Bowl and there are always a few interesting topics that pop up to shift the conversation. It will be interesting to see how the analysis evolves as the game gets closer.
To see how you can do the same type of analysis, try Watson Analytics for Social Media for FREE!

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:

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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!

Analytics for everyone? For free? Get out!

Making analytics accessible to all users has been a challenge for years.  Companies like Tableau and Qlik have done a decent job of reaching finicky business users by providing visualizations and data discovery capabilities.  They are largely one trick ponies in each of their areas of strength.  That is just not going to work for me. I am an only child with some strong Veruca Salt tendencies (Think, I want it all and I want it NOW!).  So I am particularly happy to talk about  the Watson Analytics announcement today.

Here is what the market is saying:

As a former marketing operations leader, I am thrilled to see these types of capabilities being offered directly to marketing, sales, human resources, and finance professionals.  For the first time these business users can have all of the analytics capabilities they need in one location without ANY technical knowledge required.  From snazzy visualizations to predictive analytics Watson Analytics offers the analytics you need all in one single location to answer questions like:

  • How can I make sure I target the hottest leads?
  • How can I increase the value of the customers I already have?
  • How can I create more successful campaigns?
  • How can we attract and retain the right employees with the right skills?
  • How can we create and keep top performers?

I have neither the time nor the patience to play around with analytics tools.  I need to get the answers to these from my data and make decisions NOW.  Watson Analytics gives me what I need and it is cloud based….so I don’t need to download and install anything!  Woohoo!

Watson Analytics is starting with a beta program.  I am looking forward to getting my grubby little mitts on it over the next several weeks.  You too can get an early glimpse by registering for the beta here!

10 steps to better B2B marketing – an analytics view

I am a marketer by trade.  I am feeling the tidal wave of change happening to our profession – Data, Cloud, and New ways of engaging with customer and companies are presenting us marketers with tremendous challenges but also tremendous opportunities.

The timeless responsibilities of marketers are changing.  For the longest time, we have been held to account for:

  • Know your customers:  Which segments are the most attractive?
  • Define what and how to market it:  Which products will penetrate a given segment leading to the highest amount of revenue?
  • Protect the brand promise:  How is your brand perceived in the market?

These responsibilities are morphing into a a set of new imperatives for marketers:

  • Understand your customers:  Even in B2B organizations,  marketers need to engage potential customers with individualized messaging and offers.   This is about understanding customer behaviors – what they do, have done and are likely to do.
  • Create a system of engagement:  No more “random acts of marketing”.  Establish a consistent process for engaging customers at every interaction point  – web, email, social, live event, communities.  The way you engage should be driven by analytics – what is working?  What is not?  What channels and offers should I be using?  How does my target audience like to interact with me?
  • Design your brand and culture so they are one:  Establish internal cultural norms that further your brand.  Culture will win out over brand every time. Ensure your brand is carried in a positive way in the market.

While these responsibilities and imperatives are important and need to be considered, they are not the end all be all.  In the end, marketers still need to find answers.  They need to be able to read customers expressions or body language in a world that has become increasingly digitized.

Here are some tips about how to go about this:

  • Capture all customer interactions:  Data collection is critical to meeting the demands of he segment of one.  Ask your customers for information which will uniquely identify them – e.g. email address;  BUT, offer them something in return – a white paper, a demo, attendance at webinar or event.  Ultimately you need to engage customers in a dialog across all channels.  Every interaction should be treated equally – events, web, email, social – all opportunities to capture a piece of customer info.
  • Categorize the different types of customer data:  Marketers need to understand the different type of customer data:  Descriptive:  Self identified industry, title etc; Attitudinal: Customer opinions, feelings and sentiment. Behavioral: Buying history, event attendance etc.. Interactions:  Website visits,  sales calls, email, social media etc..
  • Analyze all customer data in context: With  the data from point 3, look at all of these together to develop a “digital thumb print” of your contacts – the pattern that makes the contact unique.
  • Use various types of analytics:This is where a “one size fits all” approach does not work.  You need to apply the right type of analytics to the task:  data collection, social media analysis, social network analysis and sentiment analytics for attitudinal information; reporting, statistical analysis, data mining and  advanced visualization for descriptive, behavioral and transactional information
  • Predict client behavior:  Do not wait until something bad happens…predict what your clients are likely to do next.  Will you get it right all the time?  Nope, but you can be sure that the odds are in your favor to get it right if you are following steps 1 -5.
  • Create a closed loop and global view of the customer:  Steps 1- 6 must feed a cycle of marketing.  This is similar to the instructions on your shampoo bottle: Apply, rinse and repeat.
  • Make analytics available to all:  Access to information to make critical decisions cannot be given to the select few if you truly want to drive better outcomes via your marketing activities.  Insights must be available to every marketer when they need it and how they need it – via standardized reports, dashboards, analysis etc..
  • Gain “right time” intelligence:   So much is made of “real time”.  As a B2B marketer I laugh at this….I do not need real time analytics.  (Yes, I said it!).  Would I like it?  Of course I would, but I do not need it.  What I really need is insight at the “right time” – when the buyer is ready to act.  Understanding your buyers’ “thumb print” will allow you to identify that “right time” to put an offer in front of them.
  • Discover new business models:  With all of the data available to you and analytics to help interpret it, you may be sitting on a gold mine without even knowing it.

Truly understanding customers and what they will do next is not rocket science.  It require some critical thought and intestinal fortitude to let go of long held beliefs and believe the data.

3 critical attributes for analytics solutions

I recently had the chance to attend the Gartner BI Summit in Las Vegas.  If you are in the analytics space and have not attended this event, you really need to check it out.  My colleague Marcus Hearne shares his experiences at the event in his blog post. The event is Gartner‘s opportunity to share their point of view but also for analytics vendors of all sizes to share their points of view.

So what did I take away from this event?  Put quite simply, analytics vendors must design solutions and capabilities that are fast, easy and smart.  For too long, analytics have been relegated to the to the wizards, witches, sorcerers and sorceresses in their lair.    It does not need to be that way.  As Gartner analyst Rita Sallam pointed out in the keynote, mere mortals can demystify the magic and understand the “tricks” behind the magic.

As I sat through the various vendor sessions I picked up on the key themes of fast, easy and smart.  Let’s talk a little bit about what that means:

Fast:  Each of the sessions I sat through demonstrated the speed of the analytics offerings.  This should just be an expectation period, no discussion.  You need answers and you need them fast.   We expect to get answers quickly in our personal lives…why should we have a different expectation at work?  It was more than just raw speed.  It is also about getting up and running quickly.  This can be done by adopting cloud based analytic solutions.

Easy:  Analytics solutions must be dead simple to use – I am talking as easy as a telephone, microwave or a garden hose.  If analytics require a PhD or reading a long manual…there will be no broad adoption.    But it is much more that just easy to use. The information must be easy to understand.  This can be accomplished through powerful visualizations.  Remember: A Picture is worth a thousand words.

Smart:  Many of the latest and greatest innovations feature industry specific or use case specific solutions, such as Predictive Maintenance and Quality.  Analytic solutions must be specific to the users’ role and address specific pain points.  More and more offerings will include some form of intelligence to make the analytics all the more powerful.

To hear more about analytics I recommend visiting a Business Analytics Summit in a city near you.


Analytics is not a thing you “do”…it’s a way of life.

I recently attended conference in Singapore

A beautiful view of Singapore at night.
A beautiful view of Singapore at night.

where I had the chance to listen to thought leaders discuss the need for analytics to address what Gartner refers to as the “nexus of forces” – CloudSocialMobile and Information.   Mychelle Mollot took a deeper dive on the “information”  force in the Big Data and Analytics keynote.

As a marketer I grapple with explaining these nexus of forces and the need for Big Data and Analytics everyday.  Everyone seems to have an opinion on exactly what Big Data is and why it is so important.   It was in fact several customers and partners  who reminded me of several things: Continue reading Analytics is not a thing you “do”…it’s a way of life.