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How to Transform Marketing with the Membership Economy and Advanced Analytics

Posted by John Mack and Sarah Anderson on Wed, Nov 30, 2016

Everyone wants to belong. But how can that basic human need coexist with the commercial needs of a business so that both the customer and the business find the relationship beneficial? Big Data analytics makes it possible while also opening new possibilities.

History is replete with examples of human beings finding ways to connect with one another. We form tribes, congregations, clubs, and entire societies. We develop communications channels and pass specialized content through those channels. Even efforts to divide these groups and disrupt these channels simply engender new ones and actually help strengthen our identity as individuals. This pattern has continued to evolve with the advent of the digital age and extends to peoples’ relationships with products and services. Are you loyal to Mac or PC? Do you use Facebook or Instagram? Are you enrolled in Amazon Prime? Are you a Netflix subscriber? This need to identify one’s self with a larger group is a primal human instinct no matter how contemporary the group.

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Topics: Big Data, Analytics, Marketing

The Relentless Progress of Big Data and Machine Learning Technology

Posted by Anatoli Olkhovets on Tue, Oct 04, 2016

“Didn’t you just go to a similar Big Data conference recently?” my wife asked me. “How much could have changed in a few months?” I was hesitating about attending another conference in a short time span. My wife is right about most things, but in this case, I am glad I didn’t listen and went anyway. I learned about many new advances in both commercial and open source tools and across the whole technology stack: new hardware, in-memory databases, and new-and-improved tools.

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Topics: Big Data, Data Science, Machine Learning, Hadoop, Signal Hubs, Spark

CLV and Clumpy Customers: Why Clumpy Behavior Is Changing the Customer Lifetime Value Equation

Posted by Michael Turon on Fri, Sep 23, 2016

Calculating customer lifetime value has been a critical part of the marketing process for years, but new technologies are changing consumer behavior, and marketing professionals need to catch up.

Ever have a weekend where you just can’t stop spending money? Maybe you’re using some free time to stock up, or you’re decorating a room or planning a party. Or maybe you’re not spending more but just consuming more — a good television or movie series or, for example, plowing through a good book on your Kindle. This kind of behavior is called “clumpiness.” And while it’s not necessarily new, new technologies — particularly in the world of digital content — have shed light on this type of behavior for all industries. The problem is that it hasn’t been included in the formula marketers have been using for decades.

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Topics: Signal Hub Technologies, Analytics, Marketing

Data Science for Business Users — An Overview of Popular Techniques

Posted by Anatoli Olkhovets on Thu, Aug 04, 2016

Everybody seems to be talking about machine learning these days, and a quick check of Google returns 21.2 million search results for the term. Clearly, this is a popular topic. Yet the term “machine learning” can have many different meanings, depending on the context in which it is being discussed. It is also associated with an equally lengthy list of data science techniques and technologies. Business leaders often feel overwhelmed by this rather bewildering array of terms, analytical approaches, and technology solutions. There are hundreds of algorithms, with new variants seemingly appearing every day. Researching them online does not seem to clarify the choices or point to an obviously superior decision, as most articles target deep experts and revolve around nuances of a particular model or open source package. As a result, business leaders can be reluctant to adopt something they don’t fully understand, resulting in missed opportunities.

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Topics: Data Science, Machine Learning, Analytics

How to Nurture Existing Customer Relationships to Drive Revenue Growth

Posted by John Mack on Tue, Jul 26, 2016

PART 4 of 4: Grow Revenue from Your Existing Customers: How Big Data Analytics Can Help

This post is the fourth in a four-part series. The third installment, “Existing Customers vs. New Customers — Exploring the Road Less Traveled,” discussed aspirational value and Big Data analytics’ role in attaining it. Here, we’ll discuss how all the elements described in this series fit together to drive revenue growth.

Businesses that overemphasize or exclusively focus on new business development to drive revenue growth are missing a substantial opportunity: their existing customers. Information about a business’ existing customers already resides in multiple areas of the overall corporate database, not just on a business development list. These customers’ profile information, consisting of demographic and psychographic details, preferences, and behaviors is there, offering a data picture that is far richer than the picture associated with prospective customers.

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Topics: Big Data, Signal Hub Technologies, Marketing

Flipping the Model: Successful Retailers Tailor Campaigns to Each Customer's Needs

Posted by John Mack on Tue, Jul 19, 2016

With 2016 already halfway over, retail marketers are deep into their 2016 campaigns, which are intended to acquire and retain customers, drive sales, and improve overall customer loyalty. But what are marketers doing differently to make 2016 better than 2015? Last year, the Commerce Department recorded only a 2.1% increase in retail sales (excluding automotive) over 2014 — marking the worst such performance since 20091 and a far cry from the 4.1% increase that the NRF projected2. If retailers haven’t changed the way they approach marketing, are we in for more of the same?

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Topics: Big Data, Marketing

Existing Customers vs. New Customers — Exploring the Road Less Traveled

Posted by John Mack on Tue, Jul 12, 2016

Part 3 of 4: Grow Revenue from Your Existing Customers: How Big Data Analytics Can Help

This post is the third in a four-part series. The second installment, “Big Data Analytics: Necessary but Not Sufficient,” discussed three new ways companies can use Big Data analytics to improve a business’ ability to consistently improve revenue growth from existing customers. Here, we’ll discuss aspirational value and Big Data analytics’ role in attaining it.

People sometimes fail to notice opportunities that later seem obvious. Even when we do identify such opportunities, we may neglect to pursue them, or we may take an ineffective approach to pursuing them. One example of this phenomenon is how businesses think about driving revenue growth.

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Topics: Big Data, Signal Hub Technologies, Marketing

Making Big Data Smarter: How to Move from Raw Data to Real Value at Scale

Posted by Anatoli Olkhovets on Wed, Jul 06, 2016

In a previous post, “5 Obstacles to Achieving Scalable Data Science, and How to Overcome Them,” we talked about perspectives distilled from hundreds of conversations with our customers and partners and the challenges they face in trying to achieve a scalable data science capability. All of these customers have an extensive backlog of ideas, but they struggle to convert these ideas into actual use cases, or mini-applications, that can run in a production environment and generate real business value. These businesses universally encounter the following key obstacles:

(1) They have too many tools and technologies to manage effectively.

(2) Data is everywhere, but deriving value from it is extremely difficult.

(3) The traditional “artisan” approach to use cases severely limits the number of business problems they can solve.

(4) Operationalizing data science, with hundreds of models in production, is extremely difficult.

(5) Companies are willing to experiment but are afraid to make the long-term commitment necessary to foster widespread adoption.

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Topics: Big Data, Signal Hub Technologies

Big Data Analytics: Necessary but Not Sufficient

Posted by John Mack on Thu, Jun 30, 2016

Part 2 of 4: Grow Revenue from Your Existing Customers: How Big Data Analytics Can Help

This post is the second in a four-part series. The first installment, “Go Beyond the Symptoms: How to Overcome Revenue Growth Challenges,” discussed the key signs of slowing growth and the first steps organizations can take to turn it around. Here, we’ll discuss three new ways in which companies can use Big Data analytics to improve a business’ ability to consistently improve revenue growth from their existing customers.

Big Data analytics in 2016 occupies roughly the same spot in the corporate consciousness as did the concept of cloud computing in 2008. By now, every world-class company that generates vast quantities of data has recognized that this data has exceptionally high value as an asset. These companies have made technology investments accordingly, procuring software solutions to organize, analyze, and manage the data, storage solutions (cloud or on-premise) to facilitate access to and distribution of the data, and often also professional services to enable and operate this infrastructure.

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Topics: Big Data, Signal Hub Technologies, Analytics

5 Obstacles to Achieving Scalable Data Science, and How to Overcome Them

Posted by Anatoli Olkhovets on Wed, Jun 22, 2016

The struggle is real — and it’s becoming increasingly apparent to companies that have dipped their toes into popular data science tools. As enterprises test the limits of their new tools, old technology, and data scientists’ time, their infrastructure is starting to show its cracks. Read on to see how these issues are revealing themselves — and more importantly — gather some ideas on what to do about it.

Over the past year, I have been averaging 2–3 customer meetings per week, resulting in over 100 customer and partner conversations around Big Data, analytics, and data science for the enterprise. From these conversations, I have found one key recurring theme: scale. Large enterprises no longer want to build one model quickly or implement just one use case in production. They all struggle with a large backlog of ideas. They need a way to rapidly turn these many ideas into real use cases that deliver tangible business value.

However, many companies simply can’t find a pathway to make this happen. Across my numerous conversations, I noticed very similar patterns and identified 5 common obstacles that can prevent companies from achieving scale for data science.

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Topics: Big Data, Data Science, Signal Hub Technologies, Machine Learning, Hadoop, Analytics, Spark