News from the US Direct Marketing Association Event DMA 2014: Opening day, opening thoughts

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The US DMA 2014 pre-conference kicked off today with eight streams of pre-conference intensives, and a lunchtime keynote from Facebook’s Head of Partner Development, Khurrum Malik (www.linkedin.com/in/malik). We won’t dwell on the latter as it skewed toward being an ad for Facebook Customer Audiences, albeit with a captive DMA audience.

We attended the Analytics, Digital Intelligence & Experience Management hosted by the guys from SAS. The content ranged far and wide – from various analytical attribution techniques to a meticulous look at key characteristics the modern data scientist (or team of!) must possess. Suneel Grover (@suneelgrover)  particularly bridged an otherwise daunting gap between the highly technical (at times touching on the inner workings of a regression model), to real world business applications.

Our key takeaways for the day’s intensive included:

  • Digital functions and data science have grown up separately, yet need to start dating in order to evolve the world of digital analytics
  • The questions being asked of analytics are getting better, which should always be the driver of better answers
  • Simple modelling should not be a lengthy, costly, or technical process – save resources for optimisation and tuning
  • Gartner’s Transit Map sums up the complexity and challenge upon all marketers searching for data-driven excellence:

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Finally, probably the most practical advice given under the SAS banner today was with regards to a suggested analytics development lifecycle:

  1. Descriptive analytics – what happened? (web and social analytics has been living here)
  2. Diagnostic analytics – why did it happen?
  3. Predictive analytics – what will happen?
  4. Prescriptive analytics – how can we make it happen?

Who else attended today, and what was your key memory or takeaway?