Demystifying predictive analytics: train and drive adoption

Saken Kulkarni, Slalom Consulting

Saken Kulkarni

By now your retail organization has analyzed the status quo, evaluated its infrastructure, designed its analysis, and visualized its data. Congratulations! You’ve gleaned rich insights using governed data that will truly drive your organization forward. But your insights will remain idling at the starting line unless you can spread the customer analytics gospel. Welcome to the final step in your predictive analytics journey toward customer centricity: train your users and drive adoption across the enterprise.


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How does your organization manage lead generation?

Brian Ladyman

Brian Ladyman

Do sales and marketing teams in your organization agree on the definition of a “lead”? Does your organization have clearly defined processes and handoffs between sales and marketing through your lead pipeline? Or has your organization solved these issues, no longer leaving money on the table? Read more of this post

Demystifying predictive analytics: design your analysis

This is part 3 in a series designed to show your organization how to create a customer-centric organization with predictive analytics. Get started by analyzing the status quo and evaluating your infrastructure.

Saken Kulkarni

Saken Kulkarni

Before entering into a career in Big Data and analytics, I was interested in becoming a Foreign Service Officer. I was fascinated by ancient history, international development, and War Games. As a college student, I remember that the most interesting classes in the course registrar required some less-than-intriguing prerequisite courses. I tried to get around taking these classes, to no avail. But looking back, it’s a good thing that my university enforced these prerequisite courses. Developing a well-rounded knowledge base enables you to think contextually and critically to drive new ideas forward. Read more of this post

Thoughts on Public Speaking

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin is an accomplished Microsoft systems developer and integrator, experienced in developing and deploying SharePoint and CRM solutions, integrating line of business applications, and leveraging existing infrastructure investments.

Every encounter in life can be measured easily by the application of one or more quotes from my favorite show, The West Wing. There’s an episode in Season 2 (Episode 34 in case you were wondering) called The Drop In where Sam is working very hard on an upcoming speech the President will give. While working with his colleagues before the speech, he pontificates the following:

“The difference between a good speech and a great speech is the energy with which the audience comes to their feet at the end. Is it polite? Is it a chore? Are they standing up because their boss is standing up? No, we want it to come from their socks.”

I’ve been fortunate to have given literally thousands of speeches. Starting all the way back to my 8th grade year, I was involved in organizations where I was constantly presenting, doing speaking engagements, interviews, dialogues, etc. It was an odd childhood I admit, but the skills I learned while young and in the spotlight have served me well into my adulthood as a consultant. Several colleagues have asked me where I got this talent. It is a cool talent to be sure, not at all unlike juggling (another West Wing quotable reference), but there are many cooler talents that other folks have and I lack. But one thing is for certain–one thing that I have learned in all of those presentations and speeches–if you have the audience and they are captive, you have to be able to present yourself in a way that holds their attention for as long as you’ve been asked to speak. Whatever it takes, whatever the style, your sole job in life while on stage or in front of a crowd is to capture their attention. How does one do that? Let’s start by examining what you don’t do: Read more of this post

Marketing Pros Can’t Hide Behind Their Desks Anymore

or, What One Marketer Pondered at the IBM Unica MIS 2011 Conference

Slalom Marketing Solutions Architect Michele Grant

Michele Grant is a Marketing Solutions Architect with Slaloms Atlanta office. She is passionate about creating integrated, multi-channel marketing strategies that take advantage of the latest in marketing automation and resource management technologies.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
- Peter Drucker

We want what we want, when we want it, where we want it. This is the reality of today’s customer. The empowered customer.

But most of the time, we don’t get it, do we? We always have some critique of our customer experience, we always want something a little more, a little different.

As marketers we struggle to understand how to address these needs, even as we, in our customer guise, get it. We’re bound by fences on every side: limits in time, technology, resources, a focus on the tactical rather than the strategic, common misunderstandings over purpose and vision, and an inability to translate between what was, what is, and what is to come.

Sitting in the first general session at the IBM Unica MIS 2011 Conference, I was struck by how much the conference themes seemed to shine a light on these issues. Words like customer-centricity, smarter commerce, and social business bring into focus a need for a change in how we as marketers do what we do. The customer has the advantage over the marketer through Read more of this post

Those DAM CMS, MRM, and other asset management acronyms

…or: “Hey Marketer, save yourself some headaches with an asset management tool”

Slalom Marketing Solutions Architect Michele Grant

Michele Grant is a Marketing Solutions Architect with Slaloms Atlanta office. She is passionate about creating integrated, multi-channel marketing strategies that take advantage of the latest in marketing automation and resource management technologies.

We start with a common problem, one that everyone in marketing has encountered, whether you’re an interactive marketer, brand manager, VP of Marketing, social media intern, or creative director: someone’s upset about collateral.

Maybe it’s an in-store piece with inconsistent product messaging. Maybe it’s an email with an incorrect discount percentage. Or field sales using brochures from two years ago (because they like them better). Or packaging that’s gone off the reservation in terms of adhering to brand standards. Whatever it is, guaranteed someone is upset about it. As well they should be! This marketing and branding stuff is serious business!

So what do you do? You probably have some tools that you use, like branding and style guides, agency onboarding kits, some type of asset repository, and maybe even product or program approved copy decks. And you most likely have some processes. You know who needs to see what, who has approval power, how to kick off a new request for collateral, etc. But you’re still having issues; important people aren’t reviewing messaging before it’s in market, copy, images, colors are inconsistent, deadlines are being pushed and you’re drowning in endless rounds of revisions.

When faced with these challenges, the ensuing discussions invariably bring up the following terms: Digital Read more of this post

Social Media and The End of Everything

Slalom Marketing Solutions Architect Michele Grant

Michele Grant is a Marketing Solutions Architect with Slalom's Atlanta office. She is passionate about creating integrated, multi-channel marketing strategies that take advantage of the latest in marketing automation and resource management technologies.

Email is dead. Direct mail is dead. Texting is dead. TV is dead. Everything but Social Media (and Google) is dead.

That’s the message we’ve been hearing, right? Now that Social Media is an integral part of our lives…and in some cases, the total sum of certain peoples’ lives…nothing else matters.

The argument that Social Media trumps everything, that Social Media eliminates all other channels, all other players, is complete crap.

Take SMS or texting as an example. In December of 2006, ZDNet prognosticated that by 2010, 2.3 trillion text messages per year would be sent worldwide[1].  According to the ITU (International Telecommunications Union), 6.1 trillion text messages were sent in 2010[2]. That’s more than double the 2006 ZDNet prediction. And if that stat isn’t enough to prove that Social Media hasn’t killed texting, try this one: At the close of the 2010 Japan versus Denmark World Cup soccer game, Twitter users were posting 3,283 tweets per second[3]. During that same second, there were approximately 200,000 text messages being sent. Obviously, texting isn’t dead, but holding its own rather well.

And what about that old standby, television advertising? 2011 Super Bowl ad sales, considered one of the biggest indicators of ad spending for the year, were Read more of this post

Your Reputation is at Risk 24/7

Slalom Consultant Jeff Northcutt

Slalom Consultant Jeff Northcutt is an accomplished marketing consultant with over 10 years of consulting experience focused on marketing related programs and delivering on marketing strategies and campaigns for enterprise clients.

Yesterday I was following a fascinating social media story which I think is worth sharing. In a nutshell: just after midnight Wednesday night Samsung was accused of installing “keylogging” software on its products that can secretly track passwords and other sensitive information by recording keystrokes as they are typed. Over the course of 12 hours (majority overnight, no less) the story was shared nearly 5000 times via various social media outlets.

Relatively small impact, but the timing, series of events, and the way it was shared (or not) is what I found  most interesting.  Samsung was cleared of any wrong-doing, and the anti-virus company responsible for the false positive made a formal apology for the mistake before noon the same day, still it raises a few interesting questions, which you’ll find at the end of my post. But let’s start at the beginning….

During my morning scan of Facebook, I saw a link posted by a friend of mine that caught my attention: Read more of this post

Finding the Right Contact Frequency for Your Email Program

Slalom Marketing Solutions Architect Michele Grant

Michele Grant is a Marketing Solutions Architect with Slalom's Atlanta office. She is passionate about creating integrated, multi-channel marketing strategies that take advantage of the latest in marketing automation and resource management technologies.

You’re doing your quarterly email review presentation, and inevitably, someone asks, “So, don’t you think we’re mailing too much?”, or, “You said we didn’t have room in the email calendar for my mailing, but I see we didn’t send any email on the third Tuesday of the month; why didn’t you send my email then?”

Contact frequency. It’s a complex issue, and everyone has an opinion. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to a contact frequency policy. Every business is different, with different consumers and different goals, but there is one guiding principle that can help you determine what your contact frequency policy should look like.


Balance the goals and objectives of your business, your email program, and even the individual email message, with the needs, desires, and expectations of your recipients.

And don’t limit yourself by creating a global, master, one-policy-to-rule-them-all approach. What’s to say that your contact frequency won’t legitimately vary by program or type of message? Doesn’t most of this messaging–user action triggered, behaviorally targeted, automated messaging–live outside of the current thinking about Read more of this post

Forecasting the 2011 Employment Market

Slalom Consultant Denis Farmer

Slalom Client Service Partner Denis Farmer helps clients in the financial services industry win on their most strategic initiatives.

We had a couple of requests for topics from our readers that we will cover with our next two posts.  Thanks for the feedback, and keep the ideas coming!

One of the requests was to address the issue of whether current unemployment is primarily cyclical or structural, which we will examine in this post. The other was to address inflation, which we will examine in our next post.

Cyclical vs. Structural Unemployment

Is the economy’s inability to generate enough new jobs to lower the unemployment rate a structural or cyclical issue?  This is the kind of question we love to work on!

First, the basics.  The structural camp proposes that some underlying factors of the market have shifted, and Read more of this post


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