The Maturation of Data Intelligence

With all of the latest advances in digital media, we are still in the infancy stage when it comes to data intelligence and informative decision making. Consider what is currently happening in the display advertising space. Data and media are continuing to diverge as two separate commodities. On one hand there are data exchanges making cookie files or user information available for purchase. On the other hand, there are media exchanges that make media available for purchase letting businesses use primary or secondary cookie files from other sources to make the ad decision.

This new divergence between data and media, coupled with the notion that bigger is better when it comes to data, makes for an interesting dynamic in today’s industry. Companies are looking to build their own, large cookie pools. In some cases, these are companies with no real technology or mathematical expertise. The natural assumption is that by having large data sets, it would allow for informative ad decision making and that assumption is absolutely warranted. But again, we are only in the infancy stage when it comes to data intelligence and information decision making so it is important to understand all layers involved while pursuing the “data” path.

There is an entire meta-layer between data and media, and that layer is around delivery and optimization. It’s the ability to marry delivery, performance, and backend metrics with data collection and custom audiences. Without this connection, data is meaningless. Imagine for a second you spent $5,000 on the latest and greatest Flat Screen High Definition TV, $600 on the latest Blue Ray DVD drive, but decided to use old audio/video composite cables instead of investing the extra $150 on some good HDMI cables. Your investments in the television and the Blue Ray drive aren’t even close to maximized unless an additional investment is made in the “connection.”

This is unquestionably one of the most important, yet most overlooked aspects of today’s ecosystem. Data is only as valuable as the intelligence or “connection” behind it. In the coming months, the companies that are positioned to efficiently collect and segment data and, more importantly, are able to tie that data in a meaningful way to media through enhanced delivery and optimization techniques, will see an increase in sales, margins, and ROI. By valuing audiences and media separately, there is also a new arbitrage opportunity available to those that truly understand the three aspects of data, media, and delivery.

At the end of the day, companies will need to make smart investments on technology vendors and third party solutions in order to help achieve their goals. As the economy continues to shake out, as costs and expenses continue to be cut, and as resources continue to be reallocated, it is all that more critical for companies to make sound investments that contribute to increased efficiency and productivity. In order to do this, companies will continue to turn towards “data” in order to make informative decisions, to both business and literal ad serving.

(Disclosure: The post can also be found at Lotame Learnings. Lotame is my current employer)

Loosing Your Virginity – Getting Your First Piece of…Business

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First contracted event

During my sophomore year of college my fraternity was shut down. As a result, all of our events were canceled and to make matters worse we couldn’t even participate in other organized events within the Greek system.

This sucked. It was a huge problem especially for my group of friends who enjoyed going out and doing the social thing.

But where there was a problem, there was also a solution.

At this point in time, my friend and I decided to build a college marketing company that would encompass three themes: (i) host events in a safe and secure environment (ii) be honest and upfront with our partners and vendors (iii) create recognizable and memorable marketing events that would promote the company brand in a positive and unique light.

In the short aftermath of my fraternity’s suspension, we hosted our first event. The first was all it took. It gave us some confidence, experience, and most importantly, momentum. From that point on we were able to grow the business, form new partnerships, hire more help, and keep the ball moving forward.

We were beginning to be featured in the local newspapers and magazines and were starting to become a focal point of the local community’s social scene:

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“Yet another alternative to Freakfest is Runaway Productions Halloween 2006, the first event of its kind to be held at Madison Avenue. Runaway Productions, a company run by UW students, organized this 18-and-up event with Sony/BMG Music Records and CO-ED Magazine to provide an alternative environment for those in search of a riot-free good time. According to Managing Partner Daniel Reich, the Halloween 2006 event was created as a “legitimate venue so people can party in a safe, controlled environment.” Instead of wandering around aimlessly amid the drunken antics of State Street, students will have the opportunity to dance to their favorite artists at the dance club on University Avenue.

Runaway Productions intends to appeal to all sorts of listeners with a variety of musical acts. Hip-hop, reggae and rock fill the bill with artists including Golden, Collie Buddz, Fahrenheit and Displace. Also performing is special guest Sa-Ra from Kanye West’s record label GOOD. The event runs tonight and tomorrow, and attendees can purchase tickets from ExchangeHut.com.”

-The Badger Herald, State Street not only show in town this Halloween

(Disclosure: Sa-Ra never came and the headliner was Collie Buddz. It was his first live US show. One of his songs here)

At the end of the day, “the first” was all it took. Although we did many events and functions thereafter, “the first” is what really put us over the top. It is probably the hardest thing to do when starting a business or doing sales, but once one is knocked down, the rest just kind of fall into place.

Sidenote: It’s been three years since we parted with Runaway Productions and three years later it is still going strong.

(Posters from other events below)

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(Pictures from other events below: Collie Buddz and Golden performing)

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