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Raja Rajamannar of MasterCard to Keynote FutureM 2014 Conference on September 17th

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Online registration for FutureM closes SUNDAY the 14th. Registration will be available on-site and passes will be $650. See everyone next week!

FutureM, the annual event showcasing the future of marketing, today announced that Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing Officer of MasterCard, will deliver a keynote address at this year’s conference. Co-located with the HubSpot INBOUND conference, FutureM will take place at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center from September 16-18, 2014. Register today at


All That Data: Is It Enough and What Does It All Really Mean?

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I know August is over but we had to squeeze in one more data and analytics post for you. Ali Hyatt, Co-Founder and Head of Marketing & Product at Upward Labs takes a look at how the quantity and quality of data can impact insights. 

Ali is the cofounder and head of marketing & product for Upward Labs, which creates software for brands to build and manage their own ambassador programs to drive consumer engagement and increase reach and revenue.  Ali was previously a brand strategist at Interbrand and Desgrippes Gobe, launching brands for Hulu, Victoria’s Secret, Kmart, Moet Chandon and American Express, and the digital strategy manager for Avery Office Products.  Ali was also a past MITX Future Leaders Group member.  Follow her @UpwardLabs or @arrobbins.

As a marketer, have you said to yourself recently:

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How to Measure Engagement Without Optimized Analytics

Brendon Attebury

Another data and analytics post for the month! In this post Brendon Attebury, User Experience Designer at Boston Interactive dives into some creative ways to measure website engagement. Interested in guest blogging? Email taylor[at]mitx[dot]org.

As a User Experience Designer at Boston Interactive, Brendon Attebury understands how optimizing user experience can turn good website design into great website design that can help companies achieve digital marketing objectives. Brendon also operates the state of the art eye-tracking lab at Boston Interactive which plays a key role in quality assurance of their website design. The eye tracking system is a technology that provides visual analysis into how someone engages with your website by tracking gaze and pupil data. Follow Boston Interactive on Twitter @bstninteractive

Let’s face it. As user experience designers, we often deal with sites that are not optimized for analytics tracking. Understanding, let alone measuring, engagement of your website can be tricky especially if helpful tracking tools, like content grouping, have not been setup from launch. If this is the case for you, there is still the non-automated option of doing things manually.

In my experience with analytics, there seems to be no silver bullet for measuring engagement. Only looking at the audience engagement rate is simply not enough. You still want to understand metrics in relation to the visual design. Which means looking beyond a simple bar graph. Viewing engagement analytics is not an exact science and there are weaknesses, but let’s not worry about outbound linking, tabbed navigation or any other inherent flaws with time on page (e.g., a user walking away from a page and coming back later).

For our purposes we are focusing on timely deliverables and need a simple snapshot of what users are doing. If we can use time on page as a semi-reliable indicator of engagement, then breaking down time on page per URL is one way to get a quick understanding about what users are doing on your site. However, I should preface this by saying you need to look at several key metrics to get a more holistic picture and remember to always keep in mind the site’s goals.
Successful design often surfaces important information in the navigational hierarchy to the front. For example, navigation should go left to right, with most importation sections to the left and least important to the right. When you look at time on page per section, you should then see it drop as you move from left to right on the navigation. A navigation that works well will have the highest time on page attributed to the left-most section, as it should be the most important section in achieving website goals. Total sessions per section is another metric that can be considered alongside time per page to determine engagement.

Another quick metric to consider in unison with time on page is pages per session. If users are coming to the site and only staying on one page then that would not meet our goals. We want users to peruse pages and engage on as many levels as possible. We also should be aware of looking at pages per session and bounce rate to see which pages have a low bounce rate with a higher number of pages per session. This is not a guarantee, but it is a good indicator of engagement.

These are just a few of the ways we can measure site engagement without optimized analytics. Always keep in mind that in measuring engagement you are looking for connections between the visual design and site metrics in relation to the goals of your site.

The Big Data and Social Media Crossroad

Alex Silberman

We have a few more fantastic guest blogs for you this month before we wrap up our data and analytics theme for the month. Alex Silberman, Digital Strategist at Arnold Worldwide takes a look at the intersection of data and social media and how important it is to maintain to human element throughout. 

Alex Silberman’s role at Arnold Worldwide is to be obsessed with digital performance. From creative to media and all of the little gaps in between, his digital performance group looks for appropriate ways to measure and manage advertising campaigns to drive results for clients. Prior to Arnold, Alex honed his skills in media, product, CRM, and ad operations for multiple agencies, vendors, and one failed startup! 

The convergence of “big data” and social media is ongoing and unstoppable. As digital marketers, we’ve been trained (since birth it feels) to measure and optimize everything, and to replace human decisions with algorithms whenever we can, all for the sake of efficiency. And, I think as a philosophy, this is the correct approach to take. I really do.

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Putting Big Data Into Context

Rusty Warner

Bringing you another insightful blog for our data & analytics theme this month. Rusty Warner, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research discusses how to look at big data in the context of your company and individual strategy.

Rusty Warner is a Principal Analyst at Forrester Research serving Customer Insights Professionals. Learn more about his research here, and find him on Twitter @RustyWarner.

If you want to understand the challenges that big data poses to marketers, use yourself as a benchmark. How many times have you interacted – or transacted – digitally in the last 24 hours? How many emails have you sent or received, personally or professionally? How many web searches have you executed? How many websites or social media sites have you visited? Have you made a purchase, reserved a table or made travel plans on-line? Assuming you did at least some of these things, how many different devices did you use in the course of your day? Did you embody multiple personas as you transitioned from task to task?

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MassMutual’s Amit Phansalkar to Host FutureM 2014 Data Track

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Featuring Experts from Wayfair, SHIFT and Search Engine Land/Marketing Land

FutureM, the annual event showcasing the future of marketing, today announced that Amit Phansalkar, Chief Data Officer of MassMutual, will host the data track at this year’s event. Co-located with the HubSpot INBOUND conference, FutureM will take place at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, September 16-18. To register for the event, visit


Combating Digital Ad Fraud

Bob Deininger NorBella

Another guest blog to share with you! Here is a post by Bob Deininger, Media Director of Norbella that takes a look at fighting digital ad fraud and how best to educate and protect your clients. Interested in guest blogging? E-mail taylor [at] mitx [dot] org.

Bob’s twenty years of marketing and media experience includes positions at D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in New York, Arnold Worldwide, Hill Holliday and as a principal at Fulgent Media Group, where he was part of the team that profitably grew the company for a sale to Alloy Media + Marketing in 2008. Bob has worked with notable clients that include American Express, Gillette, Procter and Gamble, Genzyme and Harvard Business School. Current NorBella clients include Bertucci’s, Lahey Health, Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Private Bank.

When The Wall Street Journal publishes multiple articles* on digital ad fraud, the industry and your clients take notice. Digital ad fraud is a serious problem, a $6 billion dollar problem in the US in 2013, as estimated by White Ops, a company that tracks online criminal behavior**.

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The Collaborative Advantage: Why Active Consumer Collaboration Is an Essential Partner to Big Data

WittesSchlack J Communispace

Our next guest blog for the Data & Analytics theme is written by Julie Wittes Schlack, SVP of Product Innovation at Communispace. Julie provides insight into the collaborative advantage strategy and its role in big data. Interested in guest blogging this month? E-mail taylor[at]mitx[dot]org.

Julie is one of the founding members of Communispace Corporation. By day, she leads an innovation team whose mission is to discover, develop, and test new techniques and technologies for engaging people in online and mobile collaboration and insight generation. By night, she is a published author of fiction and narrative nonfiction. And 24 hours a day, she is a devoted fan of storytelling and meaning-making in all of its myriad forms. 

What’s the difference between Big Data analytics and consumer collaboration? And can these two very disparate approaches to consumer insight and innovation play well together?

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Ask Your Data the Right Questions and Peer into the Future

Beth Cohen King

Since it is officially August we are kicking off our new guest blog theme, data & analytics. To start off the theme we have a fantastic post by Beth Cohen King, Director of Marketing at Ve Interactive. Beth gives insight into how we use data to help mimic the personal relationship we get in the brick and mortar environment.

Beth Cohen King is the Director of Marketing at Ve Interactive, a multi-award winning global technology company, driving online performance to maximize conversions. She drives lead generation programs and communications for North America. Prior to Ve Interactive, Beth held various sales and marketing positions at iLantern and Stylesight. Beth has a MFA in Interrelated Media from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and a BFA from University of Nevada, Reno. She is active in her community, being on the Alumni board at Middlesex School, and The Board of Advocates for the Connors Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She is a competitive tennis player who lives outside of Boston with her husband, daughter, and rescue dog, Magnolia. Follow Ve Interactive on Twitter, Follow Beth on Linkedin. Follow Beth on Twitter @bethcohenking

Big retailer, Target, tells father that young teenage girl is pregnant before she had a chance to do it herself.

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Modern Marketing Means Humans First, Last and Always

Brian Babineau

We have had such a great month of guest blogs that we had to fit one more in for you! We are excited to wrap up this month with a post by Brian Babineau, SVP of Social Content Solutions at Arnold Worldwide. Brian provides insight into the importance of maintaining the human side of social media and marketing. 

Brian Babineau is the SVP of Social Content Solutions at Arnold Worldwide.  His team at Arnold focuses on translating brands into stories that can be brought to life through content and social media to drive business results for clients such as Carnival Cruise Lines, Jack Daniel's, New Balance, Progressive and Tyson Foods.  Prior to Arnold, he spent 4 years at Digital Influence Group and 10 years at Digitas, focused on digital media, content marketing and social media activation.

There is a constant stream of discussion, digital and otherwise, about how brands and agencies are organizing to address a new digital, social and mobile reality in marketing. These discussions all take place under the umbrella of a variety of titles which all read like the magnetic poetry of familiar watchwords: big data, integrated marketing, integrated digital, integrated social, retargeting, data targeting, contextual targeting. And these are all important topics, but sometimes I fear that we, as marketers, fall into a very dangerous trap. We forget that consumers, the very people we are trying to connect our clients, our products and our brands to, don’t care at all about any of those words, topics or watchwords.

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