A Look Back at the MITX Data Summit

Posted by Lauren Cohen on Fri, Jun 23, 2017

GUEST BLOG: Written by Allie DeBaere, Account Manager, Isobar US

On June 14, 2017 industry professionals gathered for the MITX Data Summit at Google’s Cambridge offices to discuss the many impacts data has on how we run businesses, service clients and deliver premium experiences to customers. The diverse range of topics covered included, data visualization, data and insights centers of excellence, the role of data in sports, data privacy, personalization, data connectivity, reaching Gen Z, data-driven design processes, and choice modeling.

Many of the speakers and panelists touched upon how to reframe our thinking to put the emphasis on the customer (whether that be the customers we sell to, or important stakeholders within our own organizations). A common theme across the sessions was the importance of turning data into insights and consequently using those insights to promote decision-making and action. Data is useless unless you are able to identify the question you are trying to answer, or the problem you’re trying to solve. From there, you need to anchor to those key questions/problems, which allows you to stay the course and avoid getting lost in the endless quantities of data available. Many insightful discussions took place throughout the day, but two topics stood out as particularly interesting: the role of data in sports and the evolution of personalization.



The Role of Data in Sports

In the sports realm, data is being leveraged in really exciting ways, and while many are in their infancy, we will soon see major impacts on athlete performance and how coaches manage their teams. Advances in wearable technology allow athletes to capture biometric data that can inform how much strain they should be putting on their bodies on any given day. Sensors (which are worn strapped to the body or even integrated into equipment) capture data that reflects how sleep, diet, and exercise impact the athlete’s recovery.

Professional sports teams can use this data to generate insights on their players that can be leveraged to make important decisions that impact the team’s success. The insights that are being generated through these new biometric technologies will soon enable the evolution of training approaches. Coaches and trainers can begin to adapt and personalize practice plans based on each player’s level of recovery and performance. Coaches will then be armed with more information to make critical decisions on optimizing their rosters and deciding when to rest key players, decisions that have historically been made via educated guesses or gut feelings.

These biometric tools have use beyond athletes. Surgeons, professional musicians, and even CEOs are also all looking to be more in-tune with how their bodies are reacting to the stresses of life. It is exciting to see how the data generated from these new technologies will impact how people make real-time decisions to optimize their performance.


Effective Personalization

Personalization is certainly not a new concept, but is becoming increasingly expected by customers. Brands need to ask themselves what the customer is interested in and help customers achieve what they want, as opposed to focusing solely on what the brand wants. Digital channels enable access to endless choice and speaker Gene Cornfield (Accenture) noted that the endless aisle isn’t necessarily a good thing when you have to walk it. As interactions between customers and brands have shifted from in-person to digital, a lot more data is generated through these interactions. The key for brands is to ensure that they are not getting lost in the data.

Customer expectations are no longer limited to best-in-class for a brand’s industry. Beyond traditional direct competitors, brands like Google, Apple and Nordstrom have set experiential expectations across industries. Likewise, the likes of Amazon, Netflix and Uber have perceptually changed customers’ expectations.

Brands should look not just to give customers more for their money, but should focus on giving them more for their time. Make the customer’s life easier by enabling an efficient decision-making process and delivering a seamless experience across devices and physical interactions. It is key to understand why customers are making certain decisions. By identifying what motivates your customers, you are able to uncover patterns across purchase behavior and actions. Work to understand what data can signal the why, and set out to capture it and turn it into important customer insights.

There are three key success factors to providing personalized experiences for customers. First, be transparent about what data you are capturing about them, and explain why it delivers value. Second, give the customers control and allow them to edit their “profile” to best suit their needs. Finally, provide service – it’s not just about giving easy access to choice, it’s about providing a point of view that helps them get the product or experience that matches their individual personality and needs.


You can learn more about the 2017 MITX Data Summit at www.mitxdata.org

Join us at Fidelity for next year's Data Summit on June 15, 2018!


About the Author:


Allie DeBaere, Account Manager, Isobar US

Allie is passionate about partnering with clients to transform and grow their businesses by truly understanding their customers’ needs. Allie has over 8 years of experience helping clients reach and speak to their customers in unique and effective ways. She has partnered with a wide range of brands on digital activation campaigns, websites, social experiences, and branded content. Her clients at Isobar have included LEGO, Reebok, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Mackenzie Investments, Hilton, Harman, Philips, The Boston Bruins, The Boston Celtics, Disney, and Nokia. Allie has an MBA with a concentration in Business Analytics from Babson College, and a BA in Psychology and English from Williams College. In her spare time you can find her playing golf or hockey, and cheering on her hometown Chicago Blackhawks.