Article | December 23, 2020
Nowadays, everyone with some technical expertise and a data science bootcamp under their belt calls themselves a data scientist. Also, most managers don't know enough about the field to distinguish an actual data scientist from a make-believe one someone who calls themselves a data science professional today but may work as a cab driver next year. As data science is a very responsible field dealing with complex problems that require serious attention and work, the data scientist role has never been more significant. So, perhaps instead of arguing about which programming language or which all-in-one solution is the best one, we should focus on something more fundamental. More specifically, the thinking process of a data scientist.
The challenges of the Data Science professional
Any data science professional, regardless of his specialization, faces certain challenges in his day-to-day work. The most important of these involves decisions regarding how he goes about his work. He may have planned to use a particular model for his predictions or that model may not yield adequate performance (e.g., not high enough accuracy or too high computational cost, among other issues). What should he do then? Also, it could be that the data doesn't have a strong enough signal, and last time I checked, there wasn't a fool-proof method on any data science programming library that provided a clear-cut view on this matter. These are calls that the data scientist has to make and shoulder all the responsibility that goes with them.
Why Data Science automation often fails
Then there is the matter of automation of data science tasks. Although the idea sounds promising, it's probably the most challenging task in a data science pipeline. It's not unfeasible, but it takes a lot of work and a lot of expertise that's usually impossible to find in a single data scientist. Often, you need to combine the work of data engineers, software developers, data scientists, and even data modelers. Since most organizations don't have all that expertise or don't know how to manage it effectively, automation doesn't happen as they envision, resulting in a large part of the data science pipeline needing to be done manually.
The Data Science mindset overall
The data science mindset is the thinking process of the data scientist, the operating system of her mind. Without it, she can't do her work properly, in the large variety of circumstances she may find herself in. It's her mindset that organizes her know-how and helps her find solutions to the complex problems she encounters, whether it is wrangling data, building and testing a model or deploying the model on the cloud. This mindset is her strategy potential, the think tank within, which enables her to make the tough calls she often needs to make for the data science projects to move forward.
Specific aspects of the Data Science mindset
Of course, the data science mindset is more than a general thing. It involves specific components, such as specialized know-how, tools that are compatible with each other and relevant to the task at hand, a deep understanding of the methodologies used in data science work, problem-solving skills, and most importantly, communication abilities. The latter involves both the data scientist expressing himself clearly and also him understanding what the stakeholders need and expect of him. Naturally, the data science mindset also includes organizational skills (project management), the ability to work well with other professionals (even those not directly related to data science), and the ability to come up with creative approaches to the problem at hand.
The Data Science process
The data science process/pipeline is a distillation of data science work in a comprehensible manner. It's particularly useful for understanding the various stages of a data science project and help plan accordingly. You can view one version of it in Fig. 1 below. If the data science mindset is one's ability to navigate the data science landscape, the data science process is a map of that landscape. It's not 100% accurate but good enough to help you gain perspective if you feel overwhelmed or need to get a better grip on the bigger picture.
Learning more about the topic
Naturally, it's impossible to exhaust this topic in a single article (or even a series of articles). The material I've gathered on it can fill a book! If you are interested in such a book, feel free to check out the one I put together a few years back; it's called Data Science Mindset, Methodologies, and Misconceptions and it's geared both towards data scientist, data science learners, and people involved in data science work in some way (e.g. project leaders or data analysts). Check it out when you have a moment. Cheers!
Article | July 13, 2021
When it comes to marketing today, big data analytics has become a powerful being. The raw material marketers need to make sense of the information they are presented with so they can do their jobs with accuracy and excellence. Big data is what empowers marketers to understand their customers based on any online action they take.
Thanks to the boom of big data, marketers have learned more about new marketing trends and preferences, and behaviors of the consumer. For example, marketers know what their customers are streaming to what groceries they are ordering, thanks to big data.
Data is readily available in abundance due to digital technology. Data is created through mobile phones, social media, digital ads, weblogs, electronic devices, and sensors attached through the internet of things (IoT).
Data analytics helps organizations discover newer markets, learn how new customers interact with online ads, and draw conclusions and effects of new strategies. Newer sophisticated marketing analytics software and analytics tools are now being used to determine consumers’ buying patterns and key influencers in decision-making and validate data marketing approaches that yield the best results.
With the integration of product management with data science, real-time data capture, and analytics, big data analytics is helping companies increase sales and improve the customer experience.
In this article, we will examine how big data analytics are transforming the marketing industry.
Personalized Marketing has taken an essential place in direct marketing to the consumers. Greeting consumers with their first name whenever they visit the website, sending them promotional emails of their favorite products, or notifying them with personalized recipes based on their grocery shopping are some of the examples of data-driven marketing.
When marketers collect critical data marketing pieces about customers at different marketing touchpoints such as their interests, their name, what they like to listen to, what they order most, what they’d like to hear about, and who they want to hear from, this enables marketers to plan their campaigns strategically.
Marketers aim for churn prevention and onboarding new customers. With customer’s marketing touchpoints, these insights can be used to improve acquisition rates, drive brand loyalty, increase revenue per customer, and improve the effectiveness of products and services.
With these data marketing touchpoints, marketers can build an ideal customer profile. Furthermore, these customer profiles can help them strategize and execute personalized campaigns accordingly.
Customer behavior can be traced by historical data, which is the best way to predict how customers would behave in the future. It allows companies to correctly predict which customers are interested in their products at the right time and place. Predictive analytics applies data mining, statistical techniques, machine learning, and artificial intelligence for data analysis and predict the customer’s future behavior and activities.
Take an example of an online grocery store. If a customer tends to buy healthy and sugar-free snacks from the store now, they will keep buying it in the future too.
This predictable behavior from the customer makes it easy for brands to capitalize on that and has been made easy by analytics tools. They can automate their sales and target the said customer. What they would be doing gives the customer chances to make “repeat purchases” based on their predictive behavior. Marketers can also suggest customers purchase products related to those repeat purchases to get them on board with new products.
Customer segmentation means dividing your customers into strata to identify a specific pattern. For example, customers from a particular city may buy your products more than others, or customers from a certain age demographic prefer some products more than other age demographics.
Specific marketing analytics software can help you segment your audience. For example, you can gather data like specific interests, how many times they have visited a place, unique preferences, and demographics such as age, gender, work, and home location.
These insights are a golden opportunity for marketers to create bold campaigns optimizing their return on investment. They can cluster customers into specific groups and target these segments with highly relevant data marketing campaigns.
The main goal of customer segmentation is to identify any interesting information that can help them increase revenue and meet their goals. Effective customer segmentation can help marketers with:
• Identifying most profitable and least profitable customers
• Building loyal relationships
• Predicting customer patterns
• Pricing products accordingly
• Developing products based on their interests
Businesses continue to invest in collecting high-quality data for perfect customer segmentation, which results in successful efforts.
Optimized Ad Campaigns
Customers’ social media data like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter makes it easier for marketers to create customized ad campaigns on a larger scale. This means that they can create specific ad campaigns for particular groups and successfully execute an ad campaign.
Big data also makes it easier for marketers to run ‘remarketing’ campaigns. Remarketing campaigns ads follow your customers online, wherever they browse, once they have visited your website.
Execution of an online ad campaign makes all the difference in its success. Chasing customers with paid ads can work as an effective strategy if executed well. According to the rule 7, prospective customers need to be exposed to an ad minimum of seven times before they make any move on it.
When creating online ad campaigns, do keep one thing in mind. Your customers should not feel as if they are being stalked when you make any remarketing campaigns. Space out your ads and their exposure, so they appear naturally rather than coming on as pushy.
Search engines and social media data enhance this. This data can be used to analyze their behavior patterns and market to them accordingly.
The information gained from search engines and social media can be used to influence consumers into staying loyal and help their businesses benefit from the same.
These implications can be frightening, like seeing personalized ads crop up on their Facebook page or search engine. However, when consumer data is so openly available to marketers, they need to use it wisely and safeguard it from falling into the wrong hands.
Fortunately, businesses are taking note and making sure that this information remains secure.
The future of marketing because of big data and analytics seems bright and optimistic. Businesses are collecting high-quality data in real-time and analyzing it with the help of machine learning and AI; the marketing world seems to be up for massive changes. Analytics are transforming marketing industry to a different level. And with sophisticated marketers behind the wheel, the sky is the only limit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is marketing analytics so important these days?
Marketing analytics helps us see how everything plays off each other, and decide how we might want to invest moving forward. Re-prioritizing how you spend your time, how you build out your team, and the resources you invest in channels and efforts are critical steps to achieving marketing team success.
What is the use of marketing analytics?
Marketing analytics is used to measure how well your marketing efforts are performing and to determine what can be done differently to get better results across marketing channels.
Which companies use marketing analytics?
Marketing analytics enables you to improve your overall marketing program performance by identifying channel deficiencies, adjusting strategies and tactics as needed, optimizing processes, etc. Companies like Netflix, Sephora, EasyJet, and Spotify use marketing analytics to improve their markeitng performance as well.
"name": "Why is marketing analytics so important these days?",
"text": "Marketing analytics helps us see how everything plays off each other, and decide how we might want to invest moving forward. Re-prioritizing how you spend your time, how you build out your team and the resources you invest in channels and efforts are critical steps to achieving marketing team success"
"name": "What is the use of marketing analytics?",
"text": "Marketing analytics is used to measure how well your marketing efforts are performing and to determine what can be done differently to get better results across marketing channels."
"name": "Which companies use marketing analytics?",
"text": "Marketing analytics enables you to improve your overall marketing program performance by identifying channel deficiencies, adjusting strategies and tactics as needed, optimizing processes, etc. Companies like Netflix, Sephora, EasyJet, and Spotify use marketing analytics to improve their markeitng performance as well."
Article | April 9, 2020
Across the world, governments and health authorities are now exploring distinct ways to contain the spread of Covid-19 as the virus has already dispersed across 196 countries in a short time. According to a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at George Washington University and SAS analytics manager for infectious diseases epidemiology and biostatistics, data, analytics, AI and other technology can play a significant role in helping identify, understand and assist in predicting disease spread and progression.In its response to the virus, China, where the first case of coronavirus reported in late December 2019, started utilizing its sturdy tech sector. The country has specifically deployed AI, data science, and automation technology to track, monitor and defeat the pandemic. Also, tech players in China, such as Alibaba, Baidu, Huawei, among others expedited their company’s healthcare initiatives in their contribution to combat Covid-19.
Article | April 29, 2021
We live in a world convulsed by new technologies and we are witnessing how more and more processes are automated in order to be executed with the same skill or even with better results than if they were carried out by a human, all this in order to be more efficient and effective.
In this context the world of work is becoming increasingly competitive, because to remain employable we need to learn to manage or find a way to adapt our knowledge and skills to new technologies.
With the spread of e-learning platforms and the tutorials that we can find available on the internet, acquiring new knowledge is within everyone's reach. For this reason, it is necessary to differentiate ourselves in order to stand out from other professionals, who have the hard skills similar to ours and this is precisely where Soft Skills play a very important role.
What are Soft Skills?
Soft skills are actually a combination of individual social skills, communication skills, personality traits, attitudes, social intelligence and emotional intelligence. Which facilitate relationships with others, making us more effective when interacting with other people.
We could say that Soft Skills are the human interface that allow us to adapt to different working environments and industries. They are powerful tools for personal and professional growth.
Why are Soft Skills key in our professional growth?
Nowadays, standing out in the world of work is getting increasingly difficult, regardless of whether you are part of a corporation or work independently, due to the great competition within the labor market. That is why we must develop certain skills and attitudes that help us to function properly and successfully meet professional demands.
Soft Skills are the point of differentiation that allows us to be selected for a position. The reason is very simple, we could be applying for a position and competing with people that are equal or even more qualified than us at a technical level, but to achieve the collaborative objectives of the company, more is required than just the technical and rational part. Also the way of communicating, values, ethics, as well as personality traits are highly valued factors since they help to drive organizations through high-performance teams, guaranteeing the achievement of their objectives.
The background of the Soft Skills that we have trained throughout our lives make us unique, because it is unlikely that two people have the same combination of Soft Skills and been trained in a similar way, and that makes us more competitive against certain job opportunities where perhaps many will have the same Hard Skills, but where our Soft Skills will be the ones that will make us stand out to continue advancing in our professional career.
How to sharpen our Soft Skills?
To perform in any job we necessarily need to interact with other people, even if we work independently or remotely, so we must have the necessary skills that allow us to connect successfully with our teammates and stakeholders.
Starting from the fact that Soft Skills are human skills, we can say that we have them pre-installed and the way to start using them (installing them) is through the experiences we undergo every day.
Imagine being able to communicate assertively in your work environment and in your personal life. Master the use of tools installed in you to improve your interpersonal relationships within your work teams and reduce conflict. This would allow you to foster a healthy working environment and be able to lead any team in any environment in a strategic and effective way.
Think of Soft Skills as a set of Apps that are ready to be used (like a toolbox) and that according to the experiences that are presented in our personal and / or professional lives, we are going to choose to use these applications to achieve our goals. Every time we access one of these applications, we are giving it the opportunity to collect data that will allow it to personalize its insights according to our needs and to fine-tune its effectiveness each time we use it.
One of the best ways to train our Soft Skills is by leaving our comfort zone, because that will allow us to 'install' more and more Soft Skills.
Another way to refine our Soft Skills is by participating in activities that involve people we do not know and even better if we involve people from other cultures, because we will achieve a beneficial exchange of experiences and knowledge for both parties that will enrich and make the training of our Soft Skills even more valuable.
Some examples of activities that will enhance your Soft Skills:
• Participate in competitions (e.g. Hackathons)
• Found or be a lead of a community that shares your interests, and organizes small or large projects.
• Organize a study group aimed at carrying out a technical or business project in order to confront professionals from various fields or industries.
• Find resources and experts to help you. There are Soft Skills trainers who know useful techniques and tips to develop/sharpen your skills.
• Participate in volunteer activities. You will meet new people with whom to put your Soft Skills in action.
These activities will train/sharpen your leadership skills, teamwork, delegation, interpersonal communication, persuasion, etc. These are skills that we do not have as much facility to train while we are students or when we have just started working after finishing our studies, and that are required in the labor market to continue climbing in our professional career.
Why do Soft Skills matter in the Data Science universe?
A consequence of the use of Artificial Intelligence and Data Science is that many of the jobs that we know today will be automated and this is a matter of concern for many professionals who see their careers are in danger, but the good news is that in the future many new jobs the Soft Skills will be the main protagonists, this is what John Thompson explains us in his book "Building Analytics Teams"
In other words, it is precisely our human skills that will allow us to be more employable in the future, and they will be highly requested skills because according to what the experts envision which is, that the machines will not be able to match us in this field, and that is why training our Soft Skills becomes a priority because they will allow us to be the key players of the future.
On the other hand, Data Science is an interdisciplinary field where Soft Skills such as cooperation and communication are essential to achieve the goals set. Denis Rothman, author of the book "Transformers for Natural Language Processing" in an interview that I conducted, mentioned that The Human Quality is the most important thing for him when choosing the members of his work team.
These are some considerations to take into account to generate a culture of cooperation:
• People work harder and need less supervision, when they themselves control their work and have more freedom to choose how to do it. When they work as a team, they show greater motivation, their sense of pride increases and productivity reaches higher levels.
• Solid teams that seek quality and excellence correct themselves; that is, they identify problems and correct them very quickly. Thus, they gain work experience and increase their performance.
• Forming a solid and efficient work team requires patience. You need to give them time to see your results. They will have to establish procedures to complete tasks, handle administrative functions and work together efficiently, they will even have to adapt to their own decisions and accept their consequences.
• A manager or team leader must recognize the team building process without expecting immediate results. The group will have to go through a learning process and this will take longer in some groups than in others.
Another key component to achieving high levels of cooperation is fluid communication among team members and stakeholders. For instance defining the communication channels and the contact points in the different teams involved, guarantees the constant flow of communication during the life cycle of a Data Science project.
One of the most critical moments is the presentation of the results to the stakeholders. In some cases the results of a project are not taken into consideration not so much because the expected results are not achieved, but because the way in which these results are presented are not meaningful for the stakeholders, and this, in most cases, it is due to the existence of communication barriers that is a consequence of the use of a language (terminologies) used in the technical world but not in the business world.
After taking a tour of the world of Soft Skills, we can conclude by saying that Soft Skills are like superpowers that are waiting for the opportunity to be put into action, to make you a superhero or superheroine.
Keep climbing positions in your professional career depends on you, on how much you use these superpowers but above all on your skills to refine them and make them available to the work team of which you are part. Don't wait any longer and start discovering your potential, start training your Soft Skills!
If you want to know more about Soft Skills, I invite you to visit The Soft Skills Show