Throwback Thursday: Big Data & Analytics Edition

Earlier this week, I read an article in a technology publication about several University of Washington professors who are launching a new course designed to overcome what they call “bulls**t in the age of big data.” The 160 seat seminar starts in late March and filled up in the first minute of online registration. The course covers the rush to apply machine learning algorithms to big data that is oftentimes corrupt and yielding less than accurate results. Beware of the overhyped big data and its potential for revolution, warned one of the professors.

Yesterday I posted a recent interview I did with a business development consultant, John Sydnor, who warned about the emerging challenge of ‘fake data.’

The throwback article for today I wrote on March 11, 2014 and in it I warn about questionable data (i.e. fake) and the failure by many Fortune 500 companies to exploit big data for competitive advantage (i.e. hype). I also give some advice for how to upgrade your big data inputs to get more strategic outputs and go from big data to knowledge.

CLICK HERE to read “Going Beyond Big Data To Knowledge.”

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Gary Drenik is CEO of Prosper Insights & Analytics, a company that prides itself on turning data into evidence-based solutions for the C-Suite. www.ProsperDiscovery.com

Confidence and Spending Intentions Looking Good Heading Into 2017

From Forbes.com on February 3, 2017…

Consumer confidence cooled a bit in January, but stayed well above the 13 month average. What does it mean for spending? Deborah Weinswig, Managing Director of Fung Global Retail & Technology, weighs in, plus she takes a special look this month at how consumers feel overall about their personal financial security. Continue reading…

More Than 75% Of Macy’s Shoppers Visited Amazon For The Holidays

From Forbes on January 24, 2017:

With Macy’s wrapping up the 2016 holiday season with yet another sub-par performance, it seems the beleaguered department store can sum up its shopper sentiment with one statement: to Amazon we shall go!  According to Prosper Insights’ January 2017 survey of more than 7,500 U.S. adults, more than three-quarters (76.7%) of Macy’s core shoppers headed to Amazon.com during the fourth quarter of 2016 (October, November, and December), up marginally from the same period one year ago (76.2%) and several points higher than the overall average for shoppers in general (73.4%). [Core shoppers are defined as consumers who shop “most often” at a retailer for any one of the 14 major merchandise categories that Prosper tracks monthly – unaided, write-in questions.] Continue reading

Will 2017 Be The Year Retailers Finally Get Real?

From Forbes.com on January 17, 2017…

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” – Plato

While struggling with the topic and content of this column, the trickle of underwhelming Brick & Mortar sales results from many retailers’ holiday season began to hit the press. Many of these retailers have only now seriously begun thinking about creating a sustainable business model for the future. For some the ship may have sailed. All of which got me thinking about an article I wrote for this column three years ago. It is just as relevant today as it was in 2014. So rather than beating my head against the wall trying to reinvent the wheel, here is the article from 2014, its warnings, and even prescriptions for a new retail marketplace. Continue reading…

Overt Signs Of Growing Optimism In December’s Leading Indicators

From Forbes.com on January 10, 2017…

In 2016, many retailers found themselves at the low end of estimates. Had they had the right predictive analytics, they could have understood the market better and managed accordingly. Deborah Weinswig, Managing Director of Fung Global Retail & Technology, weighs in on some of Prosper’s key predictive analytics and provides much needed knowledge for retailers. Continue reading…

CMO or SCHMO? Clinging To Old Marketing Models May Be Hurting Rather Than Helping Drive Growth

From Forbes.com on December 20, 2016…

Perhaps it’s the simple job description of the CMO that is outdated or maybe the complexities of today’s marketplace are too much for any one person to deal with.  Whatever it may be, it seems like the CMO position may be at a crossroad whereby it either needs to be redefined or eliminated.

The CMO description is simple enough: “The CMO is responsible for overseeing the planning, development and execution of an organization’s marketing and advertising initiatives.  CMO’s ensure the organization’s message is distributed across channels to targeted audiences in order to meet sales goals.”  Some call the CMO a C-Mo, which is not to be confused with a schmo, which Webster Merriam defines as an ordinary person, not unusual in any way.  Today’s CMO is anything but ordinary.  Continue reading…

Amazon Is Shoppers’ Top Destination For Holiday Gifts, Increasing Lead Over Walmart

From Forbes on December 15, 2016:

With the holiday shopping season entering the home stretch, it seems that Amazon.com will be the Grinch who stole Christmas from competing retailers this year. According to the Prosper Insights & Analytics December survey of nearly 7,000 U.S. adults, more than one in four holiday shoppers (26.2%) indicate they have purchased most of their gifts from the online giant this year, increasing 10% from last year.* Walmart ranks second place with holiday shoppers this year at 14.5%, lagging Jeff Bezos & Co. by almost 50%. Target, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Best Buy, JC Penney, Toys R Us, eBay.com, and Costco follow, respectively, with single digit percentage shares. [*Results are tallied from an unaided, write-in question posed to consumers. Figures include digital as well as brick and mortar locations, where applicable.] Continue reading