Posts Tagged ‘my perspective’

 

There are so many data providers and they’re examined and chosen by files, size of company providing, white papers not segments and results this is a big problem and just one of many.

When I started in the data business we made the mistake of using licensed data from all 3 credit bureaus, 4 county record providers, at least 4 demo files, 5 transactional files and even more…What we learned after much testing is all the providers had value but in certain elements not the entire files. We paid for so much redundant data to find the right elements to build our data products.

These problems created an entire business unit, we were very lucky to be serving the financial markets which paid top dollar for modeled data products and allowed us to still turn profits after paying all the license fees but after years of building our own products from these files we found in each file components of what we needed and cut out the rest of the files.

The process was intense and needed a lot staff heavily educated and experienced in modeling and data science to build products to test and then cut the necessary elements and coverage. The amount of variables were insane from geographical coverage, criteria validity, hygiene, data freshness, audience reach and match rates. We also needed to include the sales team to ensure we were building something based upon real client feedback and demand.

The next step was my partner and I renegotiating terms with our data providers from full licensing agreements to partial segment agreements…only paying fees for the data segments needed to create our unique products. We had to prove there was more financial upside to on demand and segment licenses versus full file installs. Not an easy sell considering the ease and profit of dropping off a full file every week, month or quarter and having us do all the hygiene and dedupping. We learned omitting data was just as important if not more than allowing data.

We negotiated based upon update cycles, batches of elements, higher prices for more utilized data sets and selects, and even longer term agreements if we had to, we knew this was risky but we saw the reward and huge unique selling proposition for our company. Some vendors laughed, some played ball, some took advantage (or so they thought) with higher pricing…our key to the pitch was our training of our sales reps to sell data the same way we needed to buy it and would build it was going to make us all more money. We were going to productize data in a way never done before.

utilization

There is so much more data now traditional, cookies, ip, set top box, survey, network and social but I see no difference in how it is needed to be purchased and sold. However the difference I see is now it’s my job to get third party companies to follow a business and sales model we created versus my own employees. I need their trust that it will work and their clients will see better performance.

I look at the adtech and martech space and still see these remnant buys with some audience data packaged but not enough lift in pricing and audiences that are still way too large to serve too…so too much data and not enough emphasis on a sales team that understands and can pitch the value in data elements being muti-compiled to create smaller audiences to create higher returns for the providers, the servers and the end user all simultaneously and this is possible…it’s being done but not enough.

Why?

The data providers are not offering the two key services needed to make this harmonious success theory a reality…training and support. Constant training and support.

Here is an example of the inability for me to buy data from a third party:

I logged into a native ads platform I know pretty well to launch a B2B campaign for a client of mine, simple steps went smooth, loaded the advertorial, pictures, URL etc. Below was the select audience data immediately I selected a source I am very familiar with I have worked with their data for years. So I began with 3 selects and pressed NEXT, the spinner started and just kept spinning until it crashed…OK mistakes happen so I started it all again and it crashed again. I ended my attempts to run the campaign the third party and the source lost utilization from me.

The data was not installed properly, the match process was not reaching out and grabbing right and the MVC was not stable so no sales and no campaign for my client…everyone loses.

The best examples to this training model I can give are Oracle and Salesforce, two companies that created products that created huge value for them and their clients by having powerful consulting businesses constantly providing training on use of the products and the data the products provided.

So now these two giants are buying the data companies and slowly attempting integration into their existing software products while also creating separate data sales business. The wall they are hitting is lack of utilization and ability to sell premium data products. The data is being utilized by companies trying to increase performance but not the price for that performance. This makes 0 sense to me, quite simply you buy a Porsche Carrera at one price and a Turbo at a much higher price…the turbo performs better and offers more…and it’s evident.

Building better performing data products and audiences if done right should be evident right down to the bottom line of both the provider and the end user, which means both parties should increase price for value.

So how do we change what needs to be changed to make this happen? Same way Oracle and Salesforce became multi billion dollar companies, provide the product and train the end user on how to best utilize it and sell it. Sales training by the vendor an old software model that needs to be packaged and delivered properly for data.

I remember years ago at Red Clay when the reverse mortgage business started booming and we were crushing direct mail response rates for a solid year, then those response rates started declining fast. We needed to change the audience. So we took in a ton of campaign data the positive data and the new negative data and looked at the changes…the ah ha moment came when we needed consumers with more debt management issues. So we had to use one of our vendors that had more late payment coverage. We immediately switched the late payment criteria from one bureau to another and instead of 60 day lates we went with 90 to 120 day lates…BOOM response rates went back up in tests.

Now we had built a new and improved data product for reverse mortgage that would double our competition’s response rates, next was a series of sales meetings that included all staff involved with product creation to create new pitches that documented how we built the file and the new and higher price we had to demand for it because with these response rates clients would double their profits.

This example is so agnostic to any data product/service, any audience, any use of data from traditional to digital to research and planning utilization. But it takes this holistic approach of all the teams working together, collaborating and being intimately involved from problem to solution to really embrace, trust, get excited about and sell the product. This requires training!

 

 

 

DataBlogImage2

I am data. You are data. We are all data…and that’s why we have to zone in on our processes of data analytics and science as people because that is what the data is, people.

I am not alone here. I have had conversations with many of my peers and competitors who are all fully aware of how we must take an emotional approach to our work. This is because there are emotions and at times, very important life events that we are affecting through enablement and change, hopefully with the best of intentions.

What college should I attend and why?
Predicting intent to move, the changing of home caretakers, purchasing expensive items that will have a big impact budgets, choosing your next job – all these decisions affect so much more than a click or a day of someone’s life. We are mapping the flow of this traffic, its direction and the related content. Our research data, when brought to action, becomes the behavioral data about the people who make these types of decisions.

I feel the pressure of the people, not the CPM! 

Marketing, advertising and research through audience science, development, management and optimization, are all very important. However, without an emotional understanding of the people and the goals, we can easily fail.

Even understanding and creating the right content might not be enough to accomplish goals focused on the people – not just a CPM or CPC. The IP models get loaded into the DSPs for programmatic media buys and we can often forget they are actually people. We can no longer run those buys the same way we have watched display advertising become a commoditized market of price and reach, not quality and relevancy. We need to bring favorable and tolerable marketing for the people!

But here is why advertising has the opportunity to really harness the power of the people – by really listening to the that data, analyzing it, finding stages in the buyer’s journey and making it speak to us. However, if you don’t engage with the proper content that says “I hear what you want and we are giving it to you through incentives that increase our life time value through a data/people relationship”, then we are not committed to a greater outcome and relationship.

We can bring the horse to the water from audience analytics but will they have a drink?

We need to emphasize:

  • Creative solutions
  • Relevant content
  • Offers and meaningful CTAs
  • Lead and prospect nurturing through real-world CRM solutions

The ‘Relationship’

It must be a fair relationship between your data partners, ad agencies and company processes. This how we get to a win-win situation, for both the business side and the consumer satisfaction side. This is also why it never matters who the smartest guy in the room is it’s the contribution of each individual – their skills and experience independently based upon the goals we are all there together to achieve. The lions need to form Voltron.

As for us data, audience, people profiling folks – we can help by doing our part. However, it’s rare to be able to have an audience scientist who is skilled in UI, UX, design and content. This is an illusive mash up and usually is only found in the old school direct marketers that have evolved with data for over 15 years plus of experience. This is because back then, it had to be done this way. The creative in DM/DR was responsible for processing the data and then communicating the meaning of these analytics back to the creative – much more than A/B testing.

Insights are only relevant in advertising and marketing if action can be tied to them. Data can be extrapolated from most of the insights, especially from research data and not old survey panels. Keep in mind, I don’t just mean for media planning and buying. This applies to making actionable decisions based on locations, banners, landing page optimization, customer programs, sales times, seasonality, AdWords, competitive analysis, consumer experience and much more.

Intent, from cookies to IP addresses, started and has been evolving since about 2012.

Nowadays, the cookie is basically irrelevant in intent modeling and audience development for so many reasons, mobile being of course the big one. There are no cookies in this terrain and all around the cookie…well it’s just not clean data in! So now, we need to uncover real predictive intent and this comes from research analytics and modeling that can be tied to indexing page consumption at the UA/Device level. Actions can then be taken from all aspects of communications and engagement, creating many important triggers.

Data is becoming more and more useful for practices such as Venture/Private Equity, PR, Product Development, Market Analysis (sizing, opportunity, competition, etc.). I cannot stress enough how we can no longer just load IP addresses into a DSP and start programmatic buying with old methods. While this is an important use, it needs proper recency and frequency models attached to it for optimal performance, in brand as well as direct. Many are busy in their labs as we feel, with so much data these days, there is limitless work to be done.

The bottom line

While it’s really fun to see what comes out of an audience profile in the early part of the build and then, how many segmentation and utilization doors get opened, I often find that it’s very easy to get lost in the data.

So how do we maintain a clear focus?

First off, if we are tasked with a project that has a defined end result, this helps a great deal. Additionally, being focused on improving campaigns, strategies and ideas all of which are based on the who, the what, the where and the when, provides you with a clear road map to follow.

With so much research and work being done to avoid digital ads all together for consumers, it’s clear we’re not performing optimally.

As Marketers, we have the power to do better! And therefore…we must accept the responsibility.

I say and hear this from my fellow entrepreneurs and committed workaholics quite often and we all believe it’s true even better we believe it’s true right in the midst of a cold or flu…no matter how bad the symptoms are.

BUT last week wow I was and am still a bit sick and it sucks and why did it happen, what caused these stages of symptoms to run through my body and basically kick my ass for the past 5 days?

I mean really kick my ass it was like food poisoning X 10 I pulled muscles in my throat and entire upper body just from puking so much for 4 days. I had a client dinner one night with my favorite as well as largest client so I pulled it together for the dinner came home and just continued puking but for those 3 hours of dinner I had to go into Superhero mode and wanted to (a lot of people would have cancelled, that’s a luxury that doesn’t come with this job).

Even some real Superheroes that were sick and couldn’t go out to save the world came back after healing to win:

1. Superman

2. Batman

3. Spiderman

One of my all time favorite examples of an entrepreneur being sick and still fighting on is Pete Sampras at the US Open in 1996 when he was throwing up his intestines in the middle of match against Alex Corretja in the 5th set and they were going to disqualify him…he pulled it together and HE WON!

1996 Sampras Video Clip 

(Yes I do believe athletes are entrepreneurs as well, we can talk about that in another post)

He used mind over matter and the passion of his moment he was in to switch into Superhero mode. At the end of the Open the entire world was cheering but Pete he probably didn’t even realize nor did he care what he just accomplished HE WAS SICK! He just wanted to go home and puke more and sleep and when that was over he would be able to sit back and realize what a champion he became that day.

Since I started being an entrepreneur at 19 I believed and still do sometimes it is mind over matter and I can mentally beat whatever illness I have, get my work done, make that dinner appointment and all is normal. Of course not considering the people everywhere I go that I am possibly infecting with a deadly virus (well it can feel deadly) and then they are infecting others and even worse their wife/husband and kids.

Way to go Brian you are so considerate you just possibly killed a small percentage of the population of NYC or wherever it is I am traveling to. Oops sorry…I NEVER get sick!

I remember around 2001 (I am horrible with tracking time) I was sick in a few ways, I was also scared really scared of the real world so I took a 3 month break from work, I had been going nonstop for 6 years to build the company…I was tired. I decided I would travel the world a bit, I would start dating again, and I was going to work on my foundation more. You know what I did, I stayed in my house for about 95% of the time and thought about everything in my life too much that I felt I screwed up in some way or just could have handled differently…total waste of time.

What pulled me out of this? Well for years I would tell people I didn’t have a choice I was called in for a meeting with one of the biggest record label owners in the world that I was trying to get as a client and I had to be at the meeting in 2 days…2 days I thought oh no I look like I a mess I need a month but well his ego was not hearing that so I had NO choice.

I realize now I could have said NO, you always have a choice and he didn’t pay his bills anyway so I actually lost money working with him, but I was back and ready to work. I went to my office, sat at my desk, read some reports and called a full staff meeting I was ready again and I wasn’t scared. After all what was there to be afraid of, to this day I have no idea except stuff I would make up or just think the worst possible outcome for. I was exhausted and making myself sick.

There are major diseases I will not consider/include in this but when it comes to a cold, flu, exhaustion or depression it’s a message from our mind and body to take it easy, what does it mean to take it easy:

-Get some sleep (try for 8 hours a night)

-Surrender to your body and rest, it is telling you it needs it, take a day off!

-Put an Auto-Responder on – I AM SICK! As the subject line

-Take a lot of deep breaths throughout the a day

-If you’re like me call your Mom : ) always makes me feel better

– Don’t drink alcohol or drink as little of it as possible

– Drink lots of tea and water

I have learned 99% of what I do now to stay healthy in mind, body and spirit from the help of my friend James Altucher and his creation of “The Daily Practice,” I have made additions and iterations to it for myself, you can do the same but do follow the key recommendations and concepts for optimal performance of self.

The Daily Practice By James Altucher

So I will leave you with this advice that you will not take from me so…LISTEN to your body and mind when they come together to send a message to you. I know you will take their advice because they know what is best for you.

We all get sick and tired and need a break and we get stronger from it, it’s not a sign of weakness and you will not be less of a Superhero by resting a few days you will be a better and stronger one for it!

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My company, Gocella, moved offices this week. The elevator wasn’t working. The deliveries did not show up. The internet didn’t work. When Internet doesn’t work you feel like you might never connect to anyone or anything ever again.

I felt lonely. I missed the old office. And I hate change and the fact that I had to move because no clients want to come to New Jersey.

Then I received a call from that someone special, asking me to take a break and meet for a bit outside, “wanna take a walk?” If this were about 12 months ago I would have said I can’t too busy and anxious about getting this move right.

HOWEVER, I VOWED TO MYSELF and her priorities have changed and my personal life and her come first.

Since I made this change, guess what? I have made more success in my life.

I have really been able to embrace the good stuff and enjoy moments I used to let slip by.

So I excused myself from the team and headed out to meet her, we walked a bit and then found a park to just sit in the grass and talk about our day, our weekend plans and just smile at each other.

That sounds like corny BS. But I vowed to myself to be corny…it’s honest.

On a tough day, an entrepreneur needs breaks. The more busy you think you are, the more breaks you need. At least for me this is true.

Gocella is not my first start up but it is the most important company I have ever started…I designed product with a great team that will enhance and innovate the future of direct marketing across mobile and social. The experience of the team behind Gocella is pretty crazy, so crazy I can’t believe the team we have from dev, to tech, to sales, to corporate. I am really blessed.

After a day of my brain being electrocuted, I met my friend Bugsy for a beer and he invited me to the Eminem concert for Gshock. Effin Eminem!

I turned it down and headed home.

Just having a beer with  Bugsy  was a bonus we have been friends for about 19 years. Eminem would’ve lasted one night. Bugsy is my friend for life.

This was truly one of those days to be grateful. You having zero doubts who real friends are. You know when someone really cares, you got to be productive…you stayed inspired and dedicated. If I can have that every day that’s worth a gazillion dollars.

On the drive home there was an accident. Ambulances and police and lights flashing everywhere. My usual 25 minutes was 90 minutes. I switched from Jay Z to classical and some Andrea Bocelli. Wall to wall traffic.

I felt like I was never going to move again.

What a great day.

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“Just let me be great, let me be great.” – Jay Z F.U.T.W

Last week like many days in my business life something didn’t go exactly how I wanted it to and I got truly upset. It was early in the day but I needed to just go home and hide and take in what happened and yes do a bit of sulking.

I have been an entrepreneur since 20 years old when I started my first company a call center that pivoted to a data list broker and multi compiler. Business has been my college, my personal life and my source of great energy. Up until my most recent start up Gocella all of my companies were funded by myself and business partner Sev, also my best friend since I was 17 and we are still at it together.

Even Gocella was 1.5 years funded by us until we were introduced to Ryan Moore at Atlas venture who decided to lead a round that we didn’t even have planned…real boot-strappers. Smart guy : ) Thanks Ryan and Atlas and all our investors, rest assured we are building and working from the brain and the heart.

So yes I take it all personally I don’t know how not to because I feel that is what drives my passion to create successful companies and happy clients. I want everything I do to be great and that takes more than a brain and innovation…it takes heart. Well things involving our hearts are very personal.

I do know this makes things at times more difficult, overwhelming and quite exhausting. However it’s my formula and I refuse to change it, no matter how much sleep I lose sometimes, or tears I shed, or worries I create and amplify. It’s who I am and it is the way I am outside of work as well.

I want to not only make my clients happy but my friends, family and the special person in my life. All the same side effects though come with being so personal and unfiltered in my personal life just like I mention in business.

What if I didn’t take it all personally? I would feel like I wasn’t giving my all and if I didn’t have my heart in something and also I would feel like I was lying to myself, to people, prospects, investors, clients, friends and loved ones. This I will not do. My principles on lying are pretty crazy…yes I get the whole white lie thing but I just hope if I stick to this code, this formula, well it will come back to me from others.

Taking things personally means caring, appreciating, being grateful and trying my hardest to do great work, be a good person and you know what just being great. Let’s be great!

I try more now to at least not amplify the little things that happen to all of us, I try to let go so I can move on and make something else work out versus focusing on the negative or unexpected “let down”

But no matter what it’s all personal, it’s my life and it all affects me. Unfortunately I need to remind myself more often that I am not the only one going through these types of emotions and giving my all at any risk necessary…I am getting a little better at this from the help of great friends.

So the way I see it is, take it personally and people will know you really care, you really want to  be happy and make others happy and I don’t know how that can be done without putting your heart into your work and wearing your heart on your sleeve.

So for those that feel the same way, live the same way and struggle because of it…I say keep up with the struggle, confide in great friends and trusted advisers because in my opinion nothing will ever be great without someone’s heart being on the line and involved.

Take it personal, it’s your life we are talking about here it’s how you want people to view you and trust you.

Trust is what it’s all about!

So again let’s be great!