Indy AMA
Indianapolis Chapter of the American Marketing Association


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Big Data Takeaways from the AMA's Analytics with a Purpose Conference

Written by Tracie Mrakich

In early March, I attended the AMA’s Analytics with Purpose Conference at the beautiful and historic Del Coronado Hotel. The location was incredible and I’m glad I tacked on an extra day before the conference and the Marketing Insights Council meeting to explore Coronado Island and get my fill of great Mexican food!

The theme of the conference: Behavioral Insight to Advantage, led the conference organizers to search for speakers that could share their stories about how they are using data to understand behavior and how that understanding can be turned into business advantage.  The speakers (as did the attendees) came from diverse backgrounds – client companies and agencies, academia and not-for-profits. They were from small companies and large corporations across industries that included manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, retail, CPG, etc. It was two solid days of learning from and engaging with both speakers and attendees throughout the conference.

The Marketing Insights Council was charged with putting together a list of Top Ten Takeaways from the conference that we could share with attendees and our local chapter members. Since the Indy AMA presented Big Data Marketing: Engage your Customers More Effectively and Drive Value; featuring Lisa Arthur, Chief Marketing Officer, Applications Division of Teradata, at this past December’s meeting, I have chosen to focus on the Big Data takeaways from the Top Ten list:

  • Big data alone won’t save your company. It’s what you do with said data that matters. The data that you collect will never be perfect, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Don’t get so preoccupied with Big Data that you end up ignoring the small data that could truly save your company.
  • Data is useless without a story. Context is everything, and you cannot make up for the lack of a story with more data. Dig deep to tell your brand’s story by making sure that you understand it before you disseminate it. It is not enough to be a good data analyst. You need to have a research staff with the skills to take the research, formulate the insights and be able to tell the story simply.
  • Data points don’t just turn into actionable insights like magic. You need to have the right data and ask the right questions. Focus on building hypotheses, clarifying business questions, and having the right people and processes in place. Real impact often comes from simple processes without massive investment.
  • Make it a priority to break down your company’s silos and share data with all decision-makers. Be the one who empowers your colleagues to help make your organization as relevant, effective and innovative as possible.

To add on to the last bullet point on breaking down silos, Lisa Arthur, in her excellent book, Big Data Marketing, discusses tearing down silos in Step Two of The Five Steps to Data-Driven Marketing and Big Data Insights. Lisa writes  “the most important silo-busting imperative of them all: Marketing must join forces with IT.”  CMO meet your new best friend, CIO! If you missed the December Indy AMA meeting and don’t have a copy of Big Data Marketing, Lisa explains why it is critical for Marketing and IT to be aligned more than ever today. Hint – it‘s tied to customer experience!

To embrace Takeaway #8 – Avoid TL:DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read), Indy AMA has linked the Top 10 Takeaways from the Analytics with Purpose Conference to this blog!

The AMA offers many excellent conferences, workshops and tutorials. I encourage you to visit to check out the upcoming events.


Tracie Mrakich is Director of Strategy and Business Development at the Loyalty Research Center. She is a past president of the Indy AMA and currently serves on the AMA’s Marketing Insights Council. The 12 member council serves an advisory role to the AMA, helping the AMA better assess needs and trends in the research/insights industry to ensure the AMA provides content and programming that meets the needs of marketers throughout their professional careers.

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