Making data work for you

Zack Pike is Callahan’s VP of data strategy and marketing analytics. He provides innovative marketing strategy and analytics leadership to seasoned B2C and B2B executives on a global scale and heads up our data strategy team.

What if I told you that most marketing organizations are still (even today) way behind the 8-ball with regards to data? Some of you may be surprised when considering how much data is floating around out there, how many new machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies claim to drive better marketing, and how many different services there are to actually capture that data. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s true.

Compare marketing’s use of data to other organizations like operations, science or finance… It’s easy to see the disparity. The amount of data isn’t the issue, it’s the lack of real insight that’s the problem.

The reason for this lack of insight? It actually starts with the data itself, and its deficiencies in organization, consistency and definition. Data is spread all over the place, it’s rare that two data sources actually talk to each other and, many times, data is used without the stakeholders actually understanding what it truly means (or if it’s even accurate!). This is a problem.

A lot of this comes down to stewardship and transparency. At Callahan, we solve this problem with a collection of technologies that we leverage for varying needs… Here’s a sampling of the technologies we use within our analytics platform:

Google Cloud Platform
This is the Lamborghini of cloud data environments. We use it for complex business analysis, quick-turn decisions that require nimbleness and speed in the data we’re using and it serves as our key environment for longer-term machine learning and predictive analytics that require a lot of processing horsepower.

ChannelMix & Amazon Redshift
This is our workhorse that solves issues of organization and consistency in marketing data, in a super-efficient manner. It allows us to pull data from almost any source, programmatically, which really helps solve the organization and consistency issues mentioned earlier, and nearly eliminates the people-time associated with data transfer. A
ton of diagnostic business analysis takes place within this environment, and it serves as the backbone of our reporting platform. It’s this setup that allows us to put 10s of millions of rows of data at the fingertips of our clients and internal execution teams.

Tableau Softwarecallahan-intellience-platform-dashboard
You’ve likely heard this name. It’s the number one solution for data visualization and business intelligence. We use Tableau to empower stakeholders with insightful visualizations, interactive dashboards and efficient report generation so issues can be evaluated and decisions can be made quickly, rather than waiting for the next status presentation. It ensures transparency and accessibility, while letting us build pretty visualizations that actually mean something, which drives decision making.

Will these technologies evolve and change as time goes on? Absolutely. We’re always thinking a few years out and evaluating what we’re going to be need to ensure our clients get the most insight out of their data. We’re having a lot of fun with geospatial analytics tools and data sources these days, and our clients will reap big benefits as a result. Imagine the ability to define a drive-time trade radius around each of your locations or retail distributors, and then understand attributes of the people within that radius… It gets really cool, really fast.

If this type of stuff is exciting to you, or you think you could benefit from it, we should chat.


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