Bullseye: How Big Data has helped Marketing hit the target every time


At its core, marketing is about effective communication. How to deliver the message about a product or service through the need assessment, past the decision-making process and into the hands of the consumer. Seems simple enough, right? Wrong. The mediums by which the message is moved through the communication channels have been fragmented by the internet and mobile devices. It is much harder to reach the intended target when they are constantly on the move.

The rules of engagement for marketing are the same: The right person with the right message at the right time in the right place. The challenge now is finding the right place. Television has always been the key medium to deliver high quality images and sound to a captive audience. And for the most part, television still is. However, the way people watch television has drastically changed. More and more people are using television on-demand to watch programming whenever they want and not during prime broadcasting time slots. Adding in the fact, a growing majority of people are not gathering around their televisions but watching it on their laptops or mobile devices. This has created more static than a strong signal to the channel.

With all of this fragmentation of time and place, what is a marketer to do?

The answer is data. Big Data is the collection of all the tiny fragments brought back together to create a very clear big picture. Here is how the same old rules are used in the new game of marketing:

The right person: Social media has opened many doors for marketers to walk through and into the audiences’ homes. No longer is the target audience a female, age 30-55, living in North America with 2.3 kids with an annual income of $69,000 to $75,000. She is Jennifer who lives in Calgary with her husband, son, and daughter and drives a Toyota Sienna. Social media has helped brands create the deep personal connections with their audience. Relationships that used to take years to establish with traditional advertising alone. Now, brands can see the faces of the people they serve and engage with them on a more personal level.

The right message: Have you ever looked up a new song on the internet and then all the advertisements on your sidebar for the next week are for the album that song appears on. That nifty occurrence is Google’s AdWords and predictive analytics at work. No longer do you have to struggle to find the message that will appease to your needs. The message will find you.

The right time: One of the things that makes the Super Bowl the best sports event of the year are the commercials. For one night a year you can see the best, longest, and most dramatic commercials that are on-par with sitcom episodes. In a perfect world, marketers would want it to be the Super Bowl every day with an undistracted viewership. The reality is, life is busy and full for distraction. Especially, if most households have multiple televisions, computers, and Smartphones. The audience is no longer at the mercy of the advertiser’s or mediums schedule. With the use of data in social media trends, Nielsen rating reports, and growing number of Smartphone ownership, marketers are better able to time the likelihood that their message will be seen, be the most effective, and actionable.

The right place: As it was mentioned before, the mediums are drastically changing. This leaves marketers scrambling to keep the audience they have and attract new ones. “Spray and pray” is a term marketers used to describe the costly uncertainty that comes with blindly leading a marketing plan and execution.

Mobile devices and application are probably the best thing to happen to marketers since the television. With the use of geo-targeted advertising through location tracking and brand’s offering fun and engaging mobile applications. Today marketing is so precise and in real time that when a customer enters a shop they can receive promotions on their phone and increase the chances of action.

Although, there are many choices as to what medium to use to deliver the message, the use of data in marketing has taken the guessing out and made execution more effective. Marketing messages are no longer being shot in every direction at random targets. With today’s data information refining the process of the right message to right the person at the right time in the right place, marketers can hit the bullseye every time


5 Easy Steps to Building Your Professional Brand and Getting the Job You Want


You: The Brand

The definition of a brand according to the American Marketing Association is:

“A name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods and services of one seller/group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competition[1]

In this case, for all intents and purposes, the brand is you. You are the image, symbol and design you set forth in life and in career to differentiate you from all others. So, whether you are just starting out in your career or considering a re-branding, here are five easy steps to building a successful professional brand.

1) LinkedIn All Star? Nah, be a Rock Star:

When filling out your LinkedIn profile, make sure you fill out all relevant education, awards, and employment information with easy-to-read (no acronyms or buzz words) and factual information (just because you were a judge in a chili cook-off does not give you previous judicial employment experience). Be sure to update your LinkedIn profile often and not just when you are looking for work. This can be as simple as updating your profile picture (only professional headshots here. LinkedIn is professional, Facebook/Instagram is social) or adding new skills that your connections can endorse for you.

LinkedIn is a great way to build your professional tribe. When connecting with people on LinkedIn, think strategically and ethically. Ask yourself what field of work you could see yourself in and reach out to people that are already established in that field. First, send a message to your desired connection and explain who you are and why you wish to connect with them. If you are looking for a mentor in a particular field, ask if they would be interested in meeting for coffee (on you) or just answering a few questions about their job (Think: labour questionnaire). If their response is positive, send the connection request and follow-up about coffee or send your questions via email. Never send or accept a connection request without doing your homework first. People can see if you were looking at their page, so view only with intent.

2) You Better (Net) Work:

Networking is a big step in making your employment dreams a reality but it doesn’t come naturally for most people. The first step to networking is doing an environmental scan of your industry’s associations and social functions. If only there were a place to find these types of events…oh, yeah, there is: Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. It is up to you to show some initiative and research your industry. After you locate them, join all associations and memberships in your field. Be sure to stay up-to-date on all events, and put them in your calendar. This is the quickest way to becoming an insider as opposed to an outsider.

Before you attend a networking function, you need to prepare your pitch/elevator pitch/introduction and bring your business cards. Your pitch is basically who you are and what you bring to the table as far as education, experience, and future career goals. It’s not bragging just a brief, pleasant, and impassioned way to let everyone know you are worth getting to know.

Next, you need business cards. Business cards are an investment because they will end up in the hands of people who will open doors of opportunity for you. Vista print (www.vistaprint.com) or Moo Cards (www.moo.com) are user-friendly and have great templates. If you are really on your game, design your own original business card.

Once you are at a networking function, be brave yet relaxed, and speak to people. The trick here is to ask guests questions about themselves. Find out who they are, what they do, and really listen. Listen to how they got their job, why they like their job, what education they have, and what piece of advice they would share with someone just starting out or starting over.

3) Oh, My Blog!

Start a blog about something you are passionate about. Failing that, start a book review blog. Why are blogs so important? It gets your voice out there, showcases your communication skills, and gives valuable experience with social media and content creation. Blogging is a valued skill set in today’s business world, as is social media management. The great news is, young people are very savvy with new technology and quicker to adapt to new forms of communication. So, get out there, teach yourself how to blog, and explore all forms of social media.

4) Keep it Real on Social Media

Everyone is online and so are their issues. Pro Tip: Leave the drama for your mama and never post it on social media. We all have bad days, drunk days, and FML days. It’s important to remember it’s not so much what you say but how you say it. The reasoning here is that employers will creep you on social media to see what kind of person you are and if you will fit their organizational culture. This reality might sting a little, but it helps employers find the right employees. At the end of the day, there are no bad jobs, just bad fit for jobs. It’s okay to find yourself a bad fit for a job, too. It will save you and employers a lot of time and heartaches.

5) Work on Your Skillz

We live in an age where if you don’t know everything about everything, you can Google it and in 0.0003 of a second you will know everything about everything. So, use it! In fields like marketing, there is a big state of flux. There are so many opportunities to learn high-level overviews of all aspects and then go deep with one you are passionate about. Marketing has far broader of a scope with the integration of analytics and social media. It’s true that you can get degrees and diplomas in various segments of marketing, but you can also homeschool yourself on Google Analytics, Google Ad-Sense, web development, and social media tools. Find out what aspects of your desired profession interests you and get to work. Read the latest book on it, research job market trends, and ask questions. Ultimately, success is finding how to get paid for doing something you enjoy doing.

Always remember brands, like people, are designed to leave strong, favorable, and unique impressions that are enduring. Be sure to always be your unique self, be strong, and leave favorable impressions with everyone who crosses your path because only the best brands stand the test of time.

[1] https://www.ama.org

A Social Media Anthropologist goes Data Mining


As a child, I was known as “Snoopy”, the kid who always found the gifts before Christmas. I loved uncovering the truth and being in everyone’s business. So, when Facebook arrived on the scene in 2004-2005, you better believe it was like finding the mother-load of poorly hidden gifts in my mom’s closet. All the snooping and spying I ever wanted. It was all in one place and all at my finger tips. I spent days checking in on high school friends whereabouts, discovering who got fabulous or famous, and whether ex-boyfriends actually died or went bald.

It would appear as though my love of snooping..or..”researching” is now a highly regarded measure of productivity, better known as Big Data. Big Data is a way to better understand human nature through numbers, frequency, patterns, and relationships. Every time you log on to the web, you are being tracked and calculated. Right now, you are regretting viewing that last video you watched, fearing that a Google-nerd is judging you in an office somewhere in silicone valley or worse, reporting you to the FBI. Depending on what you are in to, this could be true. But my guess is that the Google-nerd is checking what keywords you typed in the search engine and finding more videos related to what you just watched to keep you coming back for more.

Marketing is in such a state of flux, right now.We have moved from “look at me and what I’m offering” marketing attention tactics to “look at you and what I can do for you” marketing strategic dialogues. More and more businesses are spending less and less on large-scale, poorly aimed, and flashy advertising campaigns. Yes, frequency and reach are still important but there needs to be a highly defined and grow-able target audience to engage with.

Between TV, internet, print, radio, out-of-home and mobile marketing, there is a lot of clutter to cut through. Analytics are helping figure out where your audience is spending their time, money, how to find them, and get them to act. The action of  getting an action is the sweet spot that analytics offers. All social media platforms have some sort of “insight” or analytic function. These tools help the user know when their audience is at their highest available reach-ability, how many “Likes”, “Shares” or “Follows” were received hourly or daily, and what was the most acted upon post.

I love analytics but I feel that they fail to capture emotion. I like to take a span of time on a social media page and track what made people react (see top of page for example). What is it about a certain post or image that caused a response or interaction. Once you spot the relationship between the post, comments, likes, and follows you will be able to better target your message and content to deepen the engagement with your audience.

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