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Number crunching with Guy Marson from marketing data science company Profusion

Tim Gibbon (Social Media Portal (SMP)) - 29 November 2016

The challenges of measuring content and social media with Guy Marson from Profusion

Profusion logoSocial Media Portal (SMP): What is your name and what do you do there for Profusion?

Guy Marson (GM): I?m Guy Marson, managing director and founder of Profusion.

SMP: Briefly, tell us about Profusion

GM: Profusion is a data science and intelligence marketing company. Our goal is to make marketing more intelligent by using sophisticated analytical techniques to make sense of complex data.

That involves anything from making a digital marketing campaign more effective, determining consumer sentiment through Tweets, Facebook mentions and contact centre data, through to finding the next big trend using blogs, social media and search data.

SMP: Who are your target audience and why?

GM: We target any marketer or business leader who wants to understand how they can use their data more effectively or who has a business problem that they wish to solve through data.

SMP: When was the company formed, how is it funded and how many people work there?

Profusion is a private company formed in 2009 and we have approximately 50 members of staff spread across our offices in London and Dubai.

Photograph of Guy Marson managing director and founder of Profusion

SMP: What are the challenges that you?ve encountered and how are you overcoming them in what you have been doing so far at Profusion?

GM: I think that a lot of people still don?t fully understand what data science can do, or how to use data effectively, and educating clients and prospects on what data science can do for them has been a challenge. Breaking the perception that data analysis is something the IT team should deal with and not the marketing team has also been a challenge.

SMP: What are the high moments of what you have been doing so far?

GM: Opening the Profusion Dubai office was a particular highlight for us as it increased our global footprint. Every day brings new challenges and new highlights for myself. It could be a particularly difficult business problem that we managed to solve, getting a new client or an employee completing a course they?ve worked on for a long time.

SMP: Why are there so many issues with measurement, in particular with content and social (what challenges does real-time data present)?

The main issue is that most marketers don?t really understand how to use data properly. If you don?t understand the basic fundamentals of how your data can be used, or even how to collect and store it properly, effective measurement is impossible.

Profusion webpage

SMP: How can brands measure offline (and traditional) and digital marketing using data?

This is an exciting prospect for retailers and marketers and one that will grow as the Internet of Things and smart cities break into the mainstream. Data from a digital marketing campaign can be combined with data from beacons place in-store or on billboards to help link the online and offline world.

SMP: What do you think is going to be the most interesting aspect regarding data and marketing for the next 12 to 18-months and why?

GM: Large tech companies including Apple, Amazon and Google have moved into the smart home market and tapping into the data these connected devices will collect on users. Overlaying it with marketing data, could be an interesting play for marketers. It will be fascinating to see how the smart home market matures with these big players now involved and whether the killer app for smart homes finally comes to market within the next 18 months.

SMP: What are your top five predictions for data and marketing for the next 12 to 18-months and why?

GM replies with:

  • Marketers will wake up to the fact the industry needs more data skills. Without this, the industry cannot begin to use data effectively.

  • Artificial intelligence will become increasingly mainstream and begin to automate the more mundane aspects of marketers? roles and campaigns.

  • Marketers will begin to experiment with connected devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home. They will also begin to consider how the data from these devices can be used to create more targeted and personalised marketing campaigns.

  • Marketers will face increasingly fragmented and confusing data protection legislation that may very well overwhelm them. From the EU?s GDPR to the new Privacy Shield, marketers will have to get more informed about what rules they have to adhere to across different borders.

  • Because of the incoming GDPR, marketers will be forced to take a hard look at their data governance and infrastructure. Many marketers will find their data governance falls well below the requirements of GDPR and we?ll see a scramble to get up to speed and panic as the legislation comes into force.

SMP: What are your top overall five data and marketing tips and why?

GM replies with:

  • No knowledge can be extracted from data without the proper infrastructure in place. Ensure your data is clean, in the proper format and ideally stored in a data lake so it can be used for many different purposes time and time again.

  • Get clued up on how your data can be used and some of the techniques data scientists use to extract meaning from data. Data skills will become essential to every marketer in the next few years.

  • Ensure your data is stored correctly and always detail who has access to it.

  • Tell consumers how their data will be used, who can access it and how it is stored.

  • If you don?t know where to begin with cleaning or analysing your data, hire a professional to help you instead of muddling through it alone.

SMP: Is there anything else we should know, or is there anything that you?d like to share?

GM: The marketing industry is on the cusp of something truly revolutionising. Marketers need to smart up on data now before they find themselves behind the times.

SMP: Best way to contact you and Profusion?

GM: You can tweet us at @prfsn, or myself directly at @guymarson. We?re also on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Now some questions for fun

SMP: What did you have for breakfast / lunch?

GM: A hot Pret meal on the run to a meeting in Waterloo station.

SMP: What?s the last good thing that you did for someone?

GM: I bought my wife a juicer.

SMP: If you weren?t working at Profusion what would you be doing?

GM: I?d probably be skiing.

SMP: When / where did you go on your last holiday and why?

GM: A campervan in Devon to spend quality time surfing with my wife and kids.

SMP: What?s the first thing you do when you get into the office in the morning?

GM: I make an effort to walk around the office to say hello to everyone and have a chat before I get stuck into work and distractions of my computer screen.

SMP: If you had a superpower what would it be and why?

GM: I would love to be able to be in more than one place at once. I could be in client meetings, talking with everyone at Profusion, enjoying some family time and spending time on my farm all at once.

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