Not too nerdy Tag

07 Jun Are you sure you know what you think you know?

illusion cube-1293954_960_720When you’re in charge of the Library of Congress, there are probably all kinds of pressing practical concerns. Daniel J. Boorstin, twelfth Librarian of Congress, appears to have made time to consider the big picture as well. He is credited with this assertion: "the biggest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance -- it is the illusion of knowledge." Consider what this could mean for your analytics data and your business. If your analytics relies on legacy spreadsheets developed over the years in various departments, if the uploading of tracking codes and classification tables into your analytics tool is done by hand, if you find that your reports aren’t always capturing the data you want due to corruptions or mis-classifications of your campaign codes, then instead of knowledge about your business, you’re likely laboring under the illusion of knowledge. That’s why you have the sense that your reports aren’t giving you the whole story. That’s why you don’t feel you can trust them.
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01 Jun Is your marketing attribution machine choking on bad data?

lawn-mowerThis past weekend, my 15-year-old was mowing the grass in our yard -- a Memorial Day tradition for generations of American teenagers. About half way through the job, the lawn mower died. It turns out he had used the wrong fuel for the engine. Though it was taken from a can that was sitting in the garage next to the mower, it was fuel that was intended for use in a chainsaw. Not only did using the wrong fuel cut short that day’s mowing -- it appears to have burned the motor out, permanently.  The experience reminded me of the much-discussed challenge in marketing analytics of “garbage in, garbage out.” We are at a stage in the marketing automation revolution where we have a multitude of sophisticated tools. They can handle audience segmenting, attribution tracking, re-targeting and micro-targeting, allowing us to use consumers’ past behavior and preferences to predict their behavior to the finest level of detail and market to them just when they are at the point of considering a purchase. 
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25 May More than one leg to stand on

pi-1327145_960_720I recently came across an idea that interested me in The Way to Design, by Steve Vassallo, award-winning designer and entrepreneur. He elaborated on a concept familiar to many engineers (and one that’s increasingly been adopted in the marketing world), that of “T-shaped” people, those who know a certain field very well and have enough understanding of adjacent disciplines to allow them to develop and launch products successfully. But Vassallo says that more is needed. In his words, “if you want to build enduring companies and really earn your seat at the table, I think you need to be π-shaped. That is, you need to have depth in both the creative and the analytical. Left- and right-brained. Empathetic and data-driven” (The Way to Design, Chapter 4).  There may be certain people for whom developing strengths in more than one discipline comes easily: not just T-shaped, or even π-shaped -- picture a three-legged stool of talents. But for every person who finds this a breeze, there are probably many more people for whom one area of expertise is plenty. Given the value that such breadth can bring, Is there something that we can do in our organizations to help people get to the place where they have more than one leg to stand on?
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17 May Tracking First Newsletter: May 17, 2017

Take a look here, to see what we’re reading and talking about. Some of the headlines:   --Marketing Technology May Never Consolidate (But That's a Good Thing) Marketing technology has consolidated to the point where it looks like a pyramid: a few billion-dollar giants on top, dozens of $100 million firms at the next level, and thousands of companies with less revenue below that -- with that number increasing steadily. By revenue distribution, the industry is consolidating. But by number of firms, it's expanding: a common market structure in the digital age known as a "long tail." The result could be a market that is consolidated at the platform level, with diverse specialized products available to plug into those platforms. Ad Age  (4/17/17)  
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20 Apr Tracking First: Company Update

Tracking First is hitting a growth spurt. Since the new year we’ve renewed six annual contracts and brought on three Global 500 clients, two financial services companies and one leisure and hospitality provider.  We are actively seeking agency channel partners to help us develop a white label partnership model that will allow us to work seamlessly with other analytics consultants.
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05 Apr Signs that this Job may not be for You

No EntryA friend of mine recently shared a post about what it’s like to work for one of the Super-Innovator companies: Google, Apple, etc.  It’s a great read (you should check it out), but one paragraph in particular jumped out at me “At Netflix...there is no expense policy. The only policy is, ‘Act in the best interest of Netflix.’...They tell employees to assume their best judgment, and they can be more productive if they’re not held back.”   Think about that for a minute. What would it be like to work for an organization that truly prioritizes innovation over cost controls? It means the company trusts and values their employees enough to empower them to act on their unique insights. Kinda makes me want to cry. Maybe you’re lucky enough to work for such an organization. In reality most companies, for one reason or another, can’t follow this model fully. Tracking First for example, is a lean, boot-strap startup. I hope we get to the point where innovation is our most advantageous use of funds. I expect it to be a while. If you’re not one of the lucky few who ends up working in a super-innovator culture, there are still guidelines you can use, to evaluate if the culture is a fit for you. Here’s what I watch out for:
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30 Mar Improve your team communication–Improve your bottom line

handshake-2009183_960_720How would you describe your competence at using data to improve your decision-making? How about your organization’s competence? Using information to do something more effectively is something we think and talk a lot about at Tracking First. I’m all about leveraging information so you have a single version of truth within your team.  When I owned a tech company in the 90s, people began to approach me for help with job search and business advice. Before long I had a little side hobby, helping friends and family to get jobs, and get their businesses launched. Eventually I decided to compile the things I was telling people in a book.
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02 Mar Get to know the team — Jenny Peel

JennyWe are proud of our team at Tracking First — collectively we have decades of experience in digital media and technology. TF Marketer Alyssa Edwards recently sat down with our Director of Channel Partnerships, Jenny Peel, to learn about what led her to Tracking First. Q- Tell me a little bit about your career, where you come from, your background: I’m new to this industry, but I’ve been involved with tech startups for quite a while now. I’ve always been really intrigued by creative ideas, people developing some new product that solves a problem. I come from a creative background; for 8 years I was an interior designer and had my own firm. When I was running my business it was so challenging to be everything, to wear all the hats. I started thinking about how I could scale my business, and how to use ideas I had for doing interior design electronically. So I decided to get an MBA and really explore how to create scalable businesses.
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23 Feb Test-driven Development in Analytics

checklist-1622517_960_720In the 2017 world of IT and systems engineering, Test-driven development (TDD) is quickly becoming the new mantra. No one writes a line of code these days without the intent to have that code check/test itself. If there is bug in that code, it gets caught and fixed before it goes live, reducing any risk of breakage. This kind of system has never been deployed on the analytics side. By convention, analytics work has relied on hacks; quick and dirty patches that frequently go awry, and are just as likely to backfire and cut down the analyst, as to cut down her obstacles. If the analyst is winging it, to fill in a little gap in the proverbial data wall, he can unwittingly create a huge chasm with a single stroke. Bringing a TDD approach to analytics would go some way in changing that. It would require that whenever you make any change to your analytics, you make sure the change is fully tested before it’s deployed. This method takes more time -- and may frustrate management -- but will result in better quality control.
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