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Adobe Summit: Jumping from Operational Analyst to Data Leader

While Adobe Summit has a wide range of focuses, data seems to be a pretty big emphasis, especially with the the data co-0p and key predictive capabilities.  Hence another analytics session.  This particular one focused on best practices and getting past the basics.
He started out with a couple polls, most of the attendees basically love the intellectual stimulation so obviously there were a bunch of data geeks involved.
What’s the end goal?
In ascending order

  1. Data exploration
  2. Data visualization
  3. Insights
  4. Action (there is a key chasm between insights and action)
  5. Automated action
  6. Results

Some of the questions to ask: what, who, why and then so what.
Quote: What got you here won’t get you where you want to go
Quote: Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication (Leanardo DaVinci)  You have to keep your data explanations  as simple as possible.
Key best practice: Communicate visually. A picture is worth a thousand words.  Use them to better relay key concepts. He showed several examples including some bar charts of pencils.  But the key is to tell a story with the data and visuals.
The same goes for infographics.  You can use various stock photography libraries to make your own infographics.
Best practice: Tell me what to think.  Don’t just throw data at it.  Add a little color to highlight things people should see.

  • Good things are green and bad are red btw.
  • Label the outliers.  you see a peak or a dip, highlight that it was “Memorial Day”
  • Show benchmarks for context.
  • Avoid the mistake of now showing bad results
  • Include goals in charts.  Show what you want to achieve vs what you achieved
  • Show a trended view, not just a point in time.
    • Can also show a trend vs target

Best Practice: Align to your corporate objectives.  Then measure yourself in those terms.
Best Practice: Use composite metrics.  Composite metrics is a combination or index of things with an average.  Nasdaq composite, Dow Jones Index, Quarterback ratings, etc.

Chris George, VP Product Marketing at Pop Sugar

Pop Sugar is a media and technology company that caters to 18-35 year old women. and  Mobile is hitting them in a big way.  Over 70% of visits come from a mobile device.  It’s really hard to create ads for mobile.   That means they are putting a lot of investment in content marketing (easier on mobile) vs display advertising (banner).
Problem: Marketers are not content creators.
Pop Sugar is focused on using data to identify places to focus on content.   To that end, they’ve tried very hard to define key content metrics like social sharing.  They created a composite metric: the POPSUGAR engagement score: composits of vists, time spent, social score.  They then plot the composite score over time.   You can then use that data to define what content will have the most relevance to a brand or company.
End result: Data helps you focus on what content will have the most impact.

Questions for evaluating your game:


  1. Are you good at recognizing patterns and breaks in patterns?
  2. Are you better known for the insights you discover or for your ideas or for acting on them?
  3. Are you good at advocating for your ideas?
  4. When someone asks the wrong question, do you answer the question they should have asked?
  5. Do you tend to look for the story in the data of for the data to support your story?

Note: this is less about your technical skills and more about just getting the right answers and acting on them.

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Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

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