We sat down with some of our analytics experts and leaders here at Cardinal Path to ask them about their favorite moments of 2016 as we wrap up the year and prepare for 2017. Here is what they had to say:

John Hossack: CEO:
Becoming part of Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) definitely tops my list for 2016. We are proud to be working with one of the most forward-thinking and innovative holding companies in our industry. Clients across the network can rest assured that they’re working with a vast bench of talent sharing a single operating model and Profit & Loss, which eliminates needless complexity and leaves us all squarely focused on delivering competitive advantage on every account.

Dave Booth: Senior Partner, Sales & Marketing:
This was a big year at Cardinal Path, and of course the big news was our joining the Dentsu Aegis Network. In the years leading up to this one, it has been an absolute and continuous pleasure to build a company in an industry filled with some of the smartest and most forward-looking people around.  And those people, whether they were colleagues, customers, technology partners, or even competitors, were really what made it such a great space to work in. By joining Dentsu Aegis, that group of incredible people that we get to work with every day has been quickly expanded, and the resulting momentum, innovation, and excitement for the work we all feel privileged to do is nothing short of invigorating.  I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings!

Mary Andrews: Director, Digital Intelligence:
My favorite part of 2016 was our annual director’s meeting retreat, when we were all able to get together in one room to talk about our goals, how we can move the business forward as a team, and enjoy some face-to-face time for brainstorming and team building. Despite the increasingly digital world we live in, this to me re-enforced the importance of getting together in person.  For me, it solidified the great framework that we put in place together over the year through meetings which often happen over the phone.

Joe Nunziante: Group Director, Client Services:
This felt like the first year where analytics was given not just a seat at the table, but we got to eat first. I saw it happen in a variety of ways:

  • Analytics expertise was in-demand as the focus on hiring top talent was strong;
  • Tech acquisitions focused on data and analytics companies;
  • In client conversations, we were given top billing;
  • I saw marketing managers who were proud of the work we’d accomplished together…and CMOs who recognized how important that work actually was.

It was a year to be proud of.

Alex Clemmons: Associate Director, Analysis & Insights:
I think my favorite part of 2016 has been watching our Insights and Analysis practice grow and lead our clients like never before. We made significant investments to our team this year; not only by bringing on top talent, but also by putting processes and best practices in place to allow our teams to execute. This has allowed us to focus more of our energy on work that has the capability to truly transform the way our clients do business. The result has been very rewarding to see – and I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve been able to do this year and can’t wait to see what the team will accomplish in 2017.

Dan Crane: Group Director, Implementation:
As someone who is heavily focused on the foundational marketing analytics implementation process, I saw the promise of full data integration activation take a big leap forward in 2016.  There was an increase in companies incorporating their analytic platform updates and rebuilds into a larger, bottom-to-top strategic effort. In addition, the work is not strictly focused on their technology; these efforts are embedded within plans to feed data-driven insights into their marketing communications.

The Cardinal Path implementation process underwent a significant review and update effort in 2016 as well.  We focused on continued process improvement, updated “best practice” standards, refreshed staff training material, and accelerated speed to delivery.  We have also refreshed and added to our standard code libraries for core tracking, retail, and e-commerce tracking. In 2017, we expect to expand our code library across other common site models such as content / publications, account management, and lead generation.  

Nick Iyengar: Director, Digital Intelligence:
For an industry which often places a heavy focus on technology and tools, 2016 felt like a breath of fresh air in that, for once, people seemed to be at the center of the progress we made. The organizations we work with are increasingly seeing the value that a human analyst can generate. Indeed, a good analyst helps organizations unlock the potential value contained in their mountains of data. (On top of that, an analyst doesn’t take a year to implement, and isn’t obsolete by the time you start using them!).

I’m hoping that in 2017, this trend will continue. While the idea of having talented, qualified analysts working on your data may seem quite basic — and hardly exciting fodder for conversation in professional circles — the return on investment is much higher than it is on another year spent implementing (and re-implementing) tools that are unlikely ever to be used to their full potential. At Cardinal Path, we’ll continue to focus on the fundamentals of rigorous data analysis, on storytelling with data, and, in doing so, on turning our clients’ data into their competitive advantage.

Charlotte Bourne: Manager, Digital Intelligence:
It was a great year for data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence – both in the industry in general and at Cardinal Path. Google beat Go, chatbots went mainstream (and totally rogue, in the case of Microsoft’s Tay), facial recognition apps because more pervasive, and the possibilities of IoT and edge computing continue to be explored. Most importantly, we saw both industry and government continued to make serious investments and movements showing they expect further growth in these fields.

On the Cardinal Path side, we spent much of 2016 developing data science approaches to answer our client’s web and marketing analytics problems – some of those being particularly novel angles of attack. We’re just about to release the findings from a multi-month, cross-departmental data science project for one of our largest clients next week and I can’t wait to see the feedback. And we’re already talking to our clients about what we can tackle for them on the data science front for next year. While we thought 2016 was exciting, 2017 is setting up to be even more so.

Laura Dollisson: Director, Client Services:
The theme of the year was around strengthening and increasing capability and capacity. People, talent, and the scarcity of both was cacophonous in the industry in 2016. We saw more outsourcing than horizontal integration occur over the year with a strong demand for people who are empowered and can effectively communicate  data.

Looking inwards, I always appreciate the incredible team we have at Cardinal Path. I was overjoyed at the calibre of new folks that joined us in late 2015 and in 2016 who are contributing and continuing to drive us, and our clients, forward. In 12 short months we have seen substantial growth in our talent pool, and as a team, we’ve been able to collaboratively look at the most technical business challenges facing fortune 500 companies today and enthusiastically develop approaches to tackle them. Bring on 2017!