In anticipation of his presentation at eMetrics Summit in Chicago, June 20-23, 2016, we asked Tom Miller, Analytics Practice Lead at Digital Surgeons, a few questions about digital marketing analytics. Check out Tom Miller’s interview in relation to his eMetrics Summit presentation entitled, Delivering “Agile” Analytics.
Q: Where does digital analytics sit in your organization and how does it interface with your business units?
Tom: I run the analytics practice at Digital Surgeons, a full-service creative agency focused on marketing innovation located in New Haven, Connecticut. My team works with our clients to maximize their positive outcomes from their investment in digital/customer analytics.
Q: What’s the most important goal/trend for digital analysts to keep in mind for 2016?
Tom: There is a group of emerging “enablement technologies”, particularly with regard to data collection and aggregation, that are creating an environment where the scope of customer data available for analysis and dissemination is available at much lower platform and implementation costs than even a couple of years ago. I think that 2016-2017 will turn out to be a year of increased investment by the SMB sector in data warehouse/BI technology due to these lower costs. These companies will need support in developing these systems and leveraging them for insight.
Q: What’s the latest analytics method/process/tool set that you have implemented and what advice would you give others?
Tom: I’ve been doing a lot more work with R over the past couple of years for data analysis and reporting. I call it the “Dark Souls” of analytics tools because it has a steep learning curve, but once you learn it you are part of user base that has a nearly cult-like devotion to it. My advice to anyone wishing to learn R is to take a course. I’ve taken “Statistics and R for the Life Sciences”, a class offered online from Harvard, which taught the fundamentals in a somewhat-relevant context. Once you get the basic syntax and operations down, you can use built-in datasets to learn how to perform analysis and build out reports. I’m convinced that five years from now, a large group of companies will use R to internally collaborate on analysis and perform as a back-end system for generating reports.
Q: What do you wish you could tell your five-years-ago self about this industry?
Tom: None of your seemingly intractable problems are unique. The digital analytics community is accessible, either directly or through their publications, and can help you to frame and eliminate your technical and organizational challenges in analytics management.
Q: Sneak preview: Please tell us a take-away that you will provide during your talk at the eMetrics Summit.
Tom: As an in-house digital analytics manager, you take on a disproportionate amount of risk when you bring on external help or when you hire new team members. My talk will provide some practical advice for mitigating this risk.