A Fun Day of Data & Analytics with MITX

Amidst the vibrant cacophony of car horns and college kids stands the Microsoft Technology Building on the corner of Main Street in Cambridge, Mass. There, on the auspicious day of November the 13th, a meeting of the minds took place. An event immersed in measuring success, its almost-secretive and persuasive culture drew hundreds of the brightest minds in marketing, analytics, and data-driven metrics.  Up the elevator and through the corridors to another set of elevators, attendees negotiated the maze of the Technology Building in the pursuit of this significant event – the MITX Data & Analytics Summit.

Welcoming remarks opened a little before 9am introducing the day’s organizational breakdown and hopes for the outcomes of the day’s sessions. Aaron Fetters, Director of the Insights and Analytics Solution Center for the Kellogg Company, started his keynote by telling the crowd a little about himself and a little about a cereal company. He explored the buzzwords of today’s marketing world and outlined a recipe for success: Measure what matters, always keep learning, take action, and build strong partnerships.

After Aaron’s keynote, he and several other top producers of the marketing sphere sat for a panel-style discussion on how to build a data-driven marketing organization.  They shared their experiences and ideas to fit the pieces together for others to follow in hopes of avoiding the same mistakes. Their discussion centered around the best way to create an effective marketing team; is it better to have a separation between marketers and techies or is having a blended department with tech savvy marketers and marketing savvy techies the way to go?

Next up was a presentation geared toward multi-device and cross-device tracking. Jennifer Wise opened with a striking news story about a woman falling off of a pier in Australia. When the woman was asked what happened, she replied, “I was checking my facebook” – which captured the audience, left quite the impression and made a compelling point – mobile is a vital part of the sales and tracking process. Different devices may be used at different points in the funnel and post sales processes. So, how do you tie all these together to give a clear picture of the path to conversion? At this point, there is no silver bullet to solve the challenge though some are trying approaches such as linking login data, householding, probabilistic methods and data links.

The fireside chat had Alan Osetek of Resolution Media and Tom Hubbard of Kaspersky Labs discussing attribution model analysis. Tom, the Global Digital Marketing VP, helped the audience to appreciate that older, more traditional attribution models such as last-click might not be painting the real picture thus leading to bad decisions. He talked about the need to identify and create an attribution model that will help your organization identify channels that lead to customers with a high lifetime value.

Chris Penn, VP of Marketing Technology for SHIFT Communications, gave a talk on social media analysis. It was a workshop presentation where Chris walked participants through a Facebook segment in their respective Google Analytics accounts, showing marketers the correlation between the metrics in front of you and what they actually mean to your organization.

A little later on in the afternoon found Jim Barrett, VP of Marketing at Rue La La, talking about the need to leverage first party data in your CRM to increase conversions and brand loyalty. According to Jim, every customer touch point has a strength and a weakness and a power and a cost. So, how can you make the most out of those touch points? Track and use past sales and website browsing data, allow customers to self select email marketing preferences and frequency, and then create customer segments to have more impactful outbound marketing campaigns.

The last session of the day was Ben Grossman from Jack Morton Worldwide mediating discussions between Erin Bonsang of Hasbro and Joost Zimmerman of SUBWAY. This panel-talk touched in depth on targeting consumers through an abundance of criteria based on behavior, transactions, location, and demographics. Erin was passionate when telling the audience to make the consumer a part of the brand story. Hasbro has long been engaged in nostalgic culture from My Easy Bake Oven to Monopoly. Make sure to connect with the customer and appeal to their emotional side. Joost said SUBWAY uses social data to find which sandwiches people like best, and use simple metrics when determining personalization.

People filtered out of the presentation room and into the networking room for one final sendoff. Drinks and finger foods fueled the on-going discussions and debates. Buzzwords like attribution analysis, personalization infrastructure, and analytics maturity were floating around the room like clouds dispersing above the heads of attendees as people got more and more comfortable with their realizations of these processes. It was a wonderful meeting and molding of the minds at the 2014 MITX Data & Analytics Summit.