Monday, October 21, 2013

The Top Way to Find a Job Today: Follow the Data

Big Data Provides Big Opportunity for Today's Grads

Mark Ailsworth from +MaxPoint Interactive spoke on Big Data and the trends in marketing analytics and what it means for today's graduates in terms of employment possibilities last Friday at the +Aurora University first-ever AMA Collegiate Event last Friday, October 18th.  Thanks to all who organized the event for a great day for our students and those of the  13 other regional Universities that attended.  Ailsworth's keynote started the day.

big data, analhytics
Mark Ailsworth of Max Point speaking on Big Data at Aurora University

What is Big Data?

Ailsworth said that technically Big Data is large, structured and unstructured data sets that can only be processed using unconventional methods of analysis and cloud computing.  However,  we have only figured out about 1 percent of what we can do with data in terms of improving marketing programs.  Companies like MaxPoint, who have technologies that combines various aspect of customer and industry data can help target customers interested in buying a particular product. Big data has created a number of jobs for today's students, from database design to marketing and sales.

For example, +Pillsbury, a General Mills company, uses, over 3,000 social media sites to interact with its customers to creates new ideas for product development.  Blending caramel and bacon flavors, for example, came from the analysis of social interactions.  Kimberly Clark's +Huggies brand uses customer data to interact with its customers in real time on the web site, delivering messages that are relevant to the particular consumer.  +Ford Motors is a company that also looks at what the user has done and what stage of the buying process they are in to serve up relevant content.  

The Spending Gap

The opportunity for future marketers lies in the fact that there is a gap between current ad spend and where consumers spend their time. For example, 12% of users' time is spent on mobile, which is only 4% of ad spend.  Creating interactions on the new media where consumers are spending their time is a tremendous opportunity for those entering the field of Marketing.  The Digital Marketing Minor at +Aurora University , which will launch next fall and our current Interactive Marketing concentration, provides courses that discuss building the customer database, analytics and other skills necessary to get entry level jobs in this area,

By Debra Zahay-Blatz.
You can find Debra on  and Twitter as well as LinkedIn.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

What Malcolm Gladwell Left Out of His Latest Book

Malcolm Gladwell Keynoted at ACR 2013

I heard author +Malcolm Gladwell   speak at ACR North America~ 2013 on October 4th. in Chicago  Gladwell provided the keynote address to the conference of consumer researchers that has attracted over 1300 attendees this year. The speech was the second stop on Gladwell’s book tour for his new book David and Goliath.  The book is about asymmetrical conflicts where the smaller party has more power.  For example in the David and Goliath story, Goliath appears to have more power, but a closer reading of the Bible story indicates that Goliath may have had a form of Gigantism that actually left him at a significant disadvantage to the seemingly powerless shepherd boy, David. 

Malcolm Gladwell, ACR 2013, David and Goliath

How Majority Groups Maintain Control

Gladwell’s specialty is looking at contradictions in our world view.  His talk on Friday was about minorities and tokenism and what he called “illicit strategies that the majority groups use to maintain control.”  He examined situations where the smaller party appears to have power but actually does not.  Gladwell cited research on female salespersons, for example, where they did better and were perceived better if there were more of them. It seems that fifteen percent is the minimum number of ‘newcomers’ to achieve a number to get beyond the token effect.

The Difficult of Breaking the “Token” Barrier

Gladwell is nothing if not a good storyteller (and a self-styled skinny Canadian). His stories reach the mind and touch the heart.   He used dramatic accounts of the first female painter to have a painting exhibited by the Royal Academy in England, Elizabeth Thompson, as well as that of the recent female Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to indicate that one person is a token and does not break a barrier.  He predicted that if Hillary Clinton or another female were to be elected President they would probably be the last female President for a long time.  In spite of apparent strides in gender equality, to this day only 7% of neurosurgeons and about 5% of the art displayed in American art museums is by women.  These fields have not progressed beyond tokenism to acceptance.

As usual, Gladwell’s insights were thought-provoking and left more questions than answers.  I have read several of his books and use the book Outliers when I teach database marketing.  The way Gladwell approaches problems and digs through data to find anomalies and contradictions makes him a good role model for the developing data analyst.  We got a copy of David and Goliath for attending the conference and can’t wait to read it for its insights and to see if it is applicable to the classroom situation. Many thanks to the conference organizers for getting such a wonderful keynote speaker.

By Debra Zahay-Blatz.
You can find Debra on  and Twitter as well as LinkedIn.