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The challenges in unleashing the power of data

If you weren’t able to make it to our Internet Week New York “Unleashing the Power of Data” Summit, you missed out on a riveting conversation between some of the top minds in digital analytics, including Stephen Yap, head of Emerging Products and Markets at Google Inc., Andrew Swinand, the CEO of Cardinal Path, Tony Branda, head of Consumer & Small Business Decision Management at Citibank North America and Sheryl Pattek, VP and principal analyst serving CMO segment at Forrester Research.

There were too many high points and unique perspectives to include here but I wanted to highlight three key areas that really struck me during the wide-ranging discussion as a preview of topics I’ll be writing about here on The Path in the coming weeks:

Talent Search:

So we all know that our organizations need to strategize with a data-driven approach, but where do you find the people who have the experience, industry-insight and the profile to lead this evolution?

What’s the new profile that you need, from a marketing perspective, to not only make sense of data, but then translate it into actionable business intelligence? Where do you find these people — are the traditional places for looking for marketing talent going to provide that pipeline of people or do we need to get creative in our searches?

Organizational Buy-in:

The question of the hour was one you’ve probably asked yourself over and over again: How do you get organization-wide and C-level buy-in for using analytics to bring a data strategy to life?

Judging from the questions and comments during our discussion, there is clearly a pent-up level of frustration because many marketers are just not sure management “gets” it.

And there’s a sense that marketers spend so many hours capturing, collating, validating and cleaning data that it leaves very little time to do analysis and develop useable insights to share with the organization.

How to develop management support for and the commitment to transitioning to data-driven strategies will definitely be the subject of a future “The Path” post, stay tuned.

Privacy Concerns:

Everyone is anxious about issues surrounding data transparency, privacy and how it can complicate marketers’ relationships with consumers.

As Cardinal Path CEO Andrew Swinand told the crowd, “As consumers more closely guard their privacy, it becomes more incumbent on marketers to create the value exchange that will make customers want to opt-in to share their data…it changes the marketing experience to move away from messages to experiences.”

More to come on each of these important topics, but in the meantime, take a look at our Twitter Storify “Internet Week New York ‘Unleashing the Power of Data’ Summit” for a full Twitter timeline of reactions / comments on the event — there’s even a short Vine video to watch. Enjoy!

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