Marketing has three personalities.
(1) The Check Writer asks how much does it cost. (2) The Gambler bets that if it worked last time, it will work now. (3) The Investor focuses on what is my return.
I spent last week at a conference focused on customer research. There were +1,000 researchers in attendance, mostly from Fortune 1000 companies. They were brilliant — discovering insights that could lead to better products, more satisfied customers, and higher profits.
The problem is that their customer research isn’t able to produce results. Disappointed, I started to think about how researchers could make more of an impact on the organization.
My first thought was that researchers are not senior executives. Perhaps researchers should give senior executives the responsibility, training, and tools to conduct their own customer research? It’s an interesting idea — a lot of vendors are promoting self-service business intelligence — but how feasible is it? If you give executives the power to do research without proper and extensive training, you are going to have an organization led by misinformation.
My second thought was that customer research teams are too small. For example, customer research at E*Trade is carried out by a team of 7 employees — with no help from contractors. At first I was shocked, but I found that this is pretty common. Most Fortune 1000 companies have between 5 and 15 researchers focused on helping the corporation understand their customers, and they are pretty confident in using technology and outside vendors to keep up with the organizations needs — so size doesn’t seem to be the problem.
As the CEO of Contemporary Analysis, I have a lot of big insights about the future of CAN, predictive analytics, and business — and I know how fun those insights can be! But, I have learned that there are appropriate ways to convey them.
If BIG INSIGHTS are delivered all at once, everyone runs! Even good changes need to be introduced slowly. Researchers need to do the following to make their customer research more impactful:
Creativity and innovation are the key for companies and countries to remain competitive. Technology has flattened access to resources and geography. Access to capital, equipment, and raw materials are no longer a competitive advantage. Geography offers few protections. The only true competitive advantage is in people—their connections and creativity.
The future of Nebraska’s economy is dependent on the future of Nebraska’s workforce. Given the importance, Contemporary Analysis decided to create an analytical dashboard of Nebraska’s workforce. Learn more: download our Dashboard eBook. The dashboard allows you to explore Nebraska’s Workforce from 1999 to 2012 by race, education and job types. It shows the distribution and trends for education and job types, and the correlation between job type and education.
If asked a question: Statisticians will provide an answer, and Data Scientists will search for a better question and answer that question. Data Scientist understand the importance of asking the right question, not just providing answers.
A recent survey by SAS, the provider of business analytics and business intelligence software, shows the number one reason organizations are not planning on implementing Big Data is their lack of understanding of how Big Data applies to their business. The solution is predictive analytics. Predictive analytics is the application of Big Data.
It is easy to marvel at the amount of data that is currently being collected and organized. The total data supply in 2012 was 2.8 zettabytes (ZB) or 2.8 trillion gigabytes (GB). However, the volume of data available isn’t nearly as important as applying data to improve and automate existing business processes. Here are CAN’s Do’s and Don’ts for successfully applying Big Data using Predictive Analytics:
I was recently reminded of the importance of data driven decision making. I spent 6 days kayaking and backpacking in the wilderness on the US and Canada border. After living as a hyper connected technologist, disappearing into the backcountry was amazing and it lead to an unexpected realization. Read more…
Eventually, we will digitize our bodies, information and objects; creating a network of everything in the world. All of the information in the world is digitized, the next step is to digitize our objects to create the Internet of Things. The concept of the Internet of Things was popularized by RFID’s helping manage Inventory flows, but that is just the surface of a far more fascinating application of technology.
Objects can now connect themselves to the Internet. Cisco Software estimates that as of July 29th, 2013 there are 8.7 billion connected objects, or 0.6% of all objects in the world. Embedded sensors and actuators allow them to sense, communicate and adjust to the environment. Objects are able to register and report pain, communicate and respond to humans and other objects.
The following are some examples of how these connected objects, the Internet of Things, will impact our world. Read more…
Once again it’s that time of the year when kids and parents prepare to hit the streets of Omaha in their ghoulish best looking for the most candy they can find.
For a kid, Halloween is one of the most (if not the most) exciting times of the year. They get to dress up, act like their favorite characters, and eat lots of candy. What could be better?
For a parent, Halloween can be a stressful event. Having to travel up and down several blocks to find enough candy while managing hyped up kids, and on top of that cold weather, can make for an awful mix on Halloween night. But what if you had a way to scout out the best neighborhoods around you to find candy before hand?
This year for Halloween, the data scientists at CAN took on this challenge to help parents and kids find neighborhoods with the most and best candy.
Using Block demographic and spatial data from the 2010 Census and Halloween spending data from the 2012 National Retail Federation, CAN’s data scientists developed a predictive analytics dashboard that allows parents to get a high level view of the expected spend on candy in their neighborhood as well as surrounding neighborhoods. Alongside spending, an index of household density is also included to show which neighborhoods may hand out the most candy on Halloween night.
“Last year we realized we could use the data we were gathering on household demographics and combine it with estimated spending data on Halloween candy for each neighborhood,” Tadd, COO and head of data scientist says. “I worked with another data scientist, Matt Dickinson, who built the concept of the dashboard last year for the Greater Omaha Tableau Users Group, to publish this fun dashboard and give parents the upper hand when planning their Halloween night.”
The tool is interactive and lets the user choose which part of town they are in or which neighborhoods they want to compare. “This is very similar to some of the visualizations we develop for companies to understand their customers and help guide strategies for developing better marketing campaigns,” continues Tadd. “I am happy we get to use our expertise to showcase some fun analytics as well.”
So if you want to take a proactive approach to getting your little ghouls’ bags filled with candy, use this predictive analytics dashboard to make your Halloween night boo-untiful!
At CAN we explore new frontiers with data science. Most of us think of our world as having already been explored. After all, the days of Magellan and Columbus are literally history, and today we can pull up Google Maps to view satellite and street-level images of every square mile of our planet within seconds. The generations before us sailed new seas, crossed continents and mapped lands that were completely foreign to them. Future generations will be exploring the cosmos and travelling to distant planets. And so it seems as if there aren’t any bold new frontiers for the explorers of our time, but that’s not true.
We live in the digital age, discovering new frontiers using computers, data and the Internet. This world is growing in complexity and we are venturing out to map it and settle it. According to Google’s Eric Schmidt, we now create as much new data in 2 days, as we did from the dawn of civilization up to 2003. We produce 5 exabytes of data every 2 days. (1 exabyte = 1000 petabytes = 1,000,000 terabytes)
This new landscape of data science can be as foreign and complex to many of us as the Great Plains were to the early settlers. Where do we begin? Where are we going and how do we get there? What resources do we have to gain from this bold, new world? Read more…
Suppose you have a bad feeling. Perhaps there is an aching somewhere in your body telling you that something just isn’t right. Or maybe you’ve grown accustomed to being energetic and suddenly that feeling has been replaced with a sense of fatigue. Your body is trying to tell you something, and even though you don’t know what it is you do know that something’s wrong.
And so you decide go to the Doctor. Your trusted medical professional starts by asking you a few simple questions. Together, you both start to get a clearer picture of what is bothering you based on the symptoms your body is demonstrating.
Quite often, you’ll hear a basic diagnosis and be given some healthy advice. However, there are times when the situation is more complicated. You might proceed to a physical examination. More often, blood samples are taken so that tests can be done. Unless they have all of the necessary information a doctor simply cannot make an accurate diagnosis or provide you with an accurate treatment plan.
In the business culture, our companies and work environments can also get that feeling when something isn’t right. Unhealthy attitudes or poor performance can be indicators of unbalance within your company. After all, large organizations often function as one entity and when the “body” of your company isn’t performing at a healthy level, it is only logical to seek out the cause.
At Contemporary Analysis you will find experts in Business Medicine. We like to ask questions about how your company is performing. How does your market feel? Is your sales team selling up to their potential? Are your clients changing their behavior? Are you experiencing a lack of clarity about your businesses direction? What type of treatments have you tried already? What do you think is driving people to buy your product? Why would any of your employees want to leave the company?
Together, we can create a long list of variables which might be aspects (symptoms) of the problem, or perhaps they are causes for some of the larger problems. Then, through process of elimination we’ll provide you with the most likely diagnosis. We can eliminate the side effects of having poor sales performance by addressing the issues that are affecting your employees. We can generate healthier client relations by helping you to find a more attractive target audience. You will be able to increase your employee retention by acting on our “Doctor’s Orders” in order to keep your most valuable assets feeling strong and happy within their work environment.
We will evaluate your business’s problems quickly and efficiently, then tell you what you can do to address them. Our approach is serious, but we don’t get hung up on formality and convention. When you bring your business to CAN you can rely on us exceeding your expectations, no matter how high you set them.