I have been a practitioner in marketing analytics for a couple of decades. In the course of my work, I have conducted consulting assignments, implemented systems, marketed my products, and studied a number of market leaders. My current job provides me a great opportunity to travel worldwide and conduct workshops with a number of companies. In many situations, I worked with a series of very knowledgeable experts who took years to perfect many substantive issues, such as customer privacy. A vast majority of the data presented in this book is based on these interactions using detailed working sessions from the Americas, Europe, the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, and South America. My experience has been mostly with telecom providers (landline and wireless)7, cable operators, media content owners, information services, retailers, and utilities companies. I am greatly indebted to the market leaders, who have shared ideas and experiments. To protect confidential information, I have only used publicly available material from these marketers, as well as generic industry practices, which have been prevalent with many market leaders in a specific industry.
The second set of data source is my personal experience as a consumer. I am still a teen at heart and have been a guinea pig for new experimentation. Facebook with its academic roots only allowed members with an .edu email address in the first couple of years. Luckily, my alma mater offered an email address, and it gave me the privilege of joining Facebook in the early days. In this initial period, the only friends I had on Facebook were my kids, nephews, nieces, and their friends. I guess it gave me a running start over most people, and gave me a chance to start using Facebook as a way to share information with the next generation. In doing so, I tried emulating my two kids and their friends, who are far better than I am in their use of social media. It started as fun sessions with my son’s friends, who are all aspiring big data gurus, as we tried making my hula-hooping video viral on YouTube.8
The third set of data sources is from my esteemed colleagues at IBM, or business partners, who have been working hard at big data analytics. A number of my examples are based on work others have shared with me. At the time of writing, big data is still in its infancy, and it is fortunate that IBM has given so much emphasis to big data and has invested a fair amount of resources to understand the impact on processes, businesses, and IT technologies. The book carries a fair amount of publicly stated visionary statements from IBM or business partners. It has been my fortunate experience to meet and work with a large number of visionaries who have directed and shaped the technologies underlying marketing analytics.
Last but not least, this is a good time to search for material on marketing analytics. There are a large number of white papers, research findings, and blogs available from a variety of sources. For example, LinkedIn offers many special groups with a vast number of blogs on related topics. By participating in these blogs and reading comments from experts around the globe, I gathered priceless insight. This source is truly crowdsourced and is the largest gift to me from the world of big data.