Last week, I attended Online Marketing and Media Association's (OMMA) two-day Metrics &Research and Data events. The conversations around data and metrics were extremely high level, which is counter-thetical to the typical rhetoric at big conferences. Often, speakers and panels dance the platitude shuffle and never say anything really controversial. This particular set of conferences was completely different.
The first day consisted of the Metrics and Research portion of OMMA's content. Among the most important messages of the day, was the need for analytics, and how researchers can specifically utilize scale to their advantage. In other words, fragmentation is overrated in digital and the top sizes and formats represent the lion's share of the data, making statistical significance easier to achieve than once thought. One of the challenges has been in recognizing that one way media measurement is the old paradigm. Instead, metrics are now users' actions and content. This makes data more qualitative and gives greater quantitative volume.
Surprisingly, in the research day, there was quite a bit of talk about big data as well. The consensus was that we should not be worried about big data so much as answering big questions, utilizing the right data to answer those questions. I couldn't agree more, and believe that management of that data is key to this business function.
To be fair, all of the presentations were excellent. There was one that particularly caught my attention. It was given by Joel Rubinson (@joelrubinson) of Joel Rubinson Partners Inc, entitled What is a Researcher Like Me Doing in a Place Like This? Among other things, he spoke about the law-like characteristics of loyalty behavior and how to grow loyalty segments; how game theory statistics could potentially assist attribution modeling and conjoint designs (often called multivariate testing in the marketing world).
Lastly, my favorite moment/recurring theme of the day came from a couple of panelists arguing with each other over the value of measuring clicks. Overwhelmingly the room was "over" the click but there was a small but noisy contingent (probably clicks measurement companies) that still believed in (and fought for) their beloved click. As a rule, I say click metrics are usually misleading without the benefit of supporting data.
On the second day, the data portion kicked off in grand fashion, with Jeff Liebl (@jeffliebl) noting that big data spending will grow to $53B by 2017. Wow. There was also more talk about big data answering questions and that more focus needs to be on the questions. I see a trend!
Then, we got into the world of regulation. It was particularly interesting to hear the conference consensus around the shock about the seeming ambivalence of the public about data collection and targeting. Most of the issues brought up came from high profile government officials or media outlets attempting to use their platform to move the privacy debate in a direction they saw fit. However, it was not necessarily brought on by a fervor from the masses. I'm skeptical here, and think that most people don't truly understand what is going on, which is why we have such lackadaisical attitudes. However, I suspect once the cat is out of the bag that there will be many that don't care, but those that do will resemble tin-hat wearers in their suspicions of "big brother."
My other favorite theme of the day was around how brand people could learn to love big data, as eloquently discussed by Tom Morton (@tommorton) of Euro RSCGNY in his presentation titled, Poets and Quants: How Brand People can Learn to Love Big Data. He mentioned that market and technology factors are the two most important things affecting your organization today. Then, he went about sytematically discussing how to use this to your advantage by bringing poets (creatives) and quants (data & tech people) together to more accurately assess how market dynamics should shape the campaign creative, channel mix and technological needs to be successful.
I also have to say, it was excellent having conversations and debates with my fellow digital data and research brethren. Maybe we solved the world's problems, but one will never know. You can't trust researchers measuring themselves, can you? Probably not..
What do you think about the future of data and research in marketing?
Posted by Therran Oliphant, Product Marketing Manager, Polk (02.28.2012)