Shining Light into the Black Box of Advanced Marketing Analytics
Leadership Interview with David Dixon and Sebastian Shapiro of Truesight and Peter Cain of Marketscience
Describe the new partnership between Truesight Consulting and Marketscience Consulting and why this collaboration is important? Also, why now?
David: We’ve collaborated with Pete on select projects for a few years. We share a common view on the importance of a rigorous and fully transparent modeling approach to marketing analytics – one that includes long term dynamics. This is a particularly important consideration for clients who want a full, unimpeded view into model development, and who are investing in brand building and customer experience. Those types of marketing generate shifts in long-term sales, versus the inevitable short-term spikes from promotions and response marketing. Transparency is the number one issue in marketing today. But, so is having a fully articulated, defensible approach to modeling. The partnership between Truesight and Marketscience is founded upon on this dual edge.
In simple terms, what does the collaboration/partnership do?
Sebastian: This partnership allows us to focus on our core capabilities while simultaneously benefiting from economies of scale provided by specializing with a common approach. Marketscience will focus on R&D, product development and training. Truesight will focus on commercialization, consulting, implementation and scaling the teams to support projects – building on the modeling core with additional data management skills. Truesight will also contribute to R&D efforts with its highly trained, innovative and engaged talent pool. In short, the partnership provides a complete, analytically-led Demand Management Process.
What is the primary problem(s) the partnership is addressing, and for whom? How is it solving that problem? Why is it important to them?
Pete: We’re lifting the lid on these advanced techniques and delivering platforms and processes that will help those teams operationalize this type of advanced modeling. This kind of collaboration facilitates trust, greater effectiveness and ultimately increased adoption of the analytically-led insight for clients. We’ve developed rigorous training programs, have software programs ready to distribute, and an active beta client base that is happy with the results and, in many cases, becoming highly effective themselves in deployment of these Demand Management techniques. In reality, we’re delivering an industry “first”: a fully transparent, open book, actively vetted analytics capability that clients can learn, adopt and, if they desire, run themselves within their organizations. This is a distinct way of engaging with analytics clients and marketing organizations.
What are the benefits to clients, and who are ideal/target clients?
Pete: Our target client is the analytically-driven, engaged, informed internal analytics team or marketing leadership – the “desiring to know more” constituency. Having a thorough understanding of this enables them to have a stronger, more effective defense of modeling insights, which in turn means a higher chance of adoption in the organization. At the same time, our comprehensive Demand Management Process provides a complete support to validating and extending insights through test-and-learn and, ultimately, implement.
Will there be any actual products resulting from this collaboration? What and approximately when?
David: Yes, we have a suite of software tools that support the advanced modeling and associated decomposition and optimization routines. We will unveil these in the next few months but have already been testing and deploying them with a number of our current clients, with good success. In addition, we are fine tuning the training and support model to give clients maximum lift-off when starting out with us. Additionally, we do have a full development agenda laid out for the next 3 years which will continue to build on this core platform and support ever wider integrations and applications. And there’s more to come!
Why this, why now?
Sebastian: To use an economics analogy, it’s the perfect alchemy of supply and demand. We see an increasing need in the marketplace for this kind of fully transparent, independent delivery given the challenges on the client-side of data security, and the challenges on the marketing vendor and consultancy-side of more heightened conflicts of interest and lack of transparency. At the same time, our partnership has been growing. With the recent launch of Truesight, a fully independent consultancy, we are now able to collectively approach this market with an approach we both are vested in and are prepared to share completely.
What is the impetus for the partnership, and other factors? What’s in it for each firm? How does this complement each firm?
David: Given we’ve been working together opportunistically for a while now, at a minimum, we know we can put up with each other! Kidding aside, we see eye-to-eye on much of this, so the partnership is a natural evolution and an obvious next step. From a commercial perspective, there’s tremendous value in unlocking the potential of collaborating in order to put scale around this rigorous academically-driven approach.
Pete: We’re not trying to be “the best,” or say we have the only true technique, but we are saying we have one that we’re prepared to share, and we’ve developed it with strong academic input and from rich, diversified experience in real world client applications. Our approach is not driven by scale for profitability, but from being thorough, fully representative and easily validated. While we’ve made this as efficient as possible, that’s secondary. Our first requirement is to get as right and complete an answer we believe the available data can provide.
What are your goals, on both sides, for the partnership?
David: We are simply looking to provide what we believe is a much-needed product to an industry that has suffered recently from missed expectations and frankly a lot of hard knocks, some justified, some less so. We are all economists at heart (and by training), and we believe in these models and approaches. We’re happy to see them get implemented and used. That said, we are realistic of their inherent shortcomings, in some cases, and are open about that too. This is not a magic answer machine, but done well, it can be a very useful tool to support decision making and give good feedback and insights to the marketing and demand side organization.
Expand on the partnership with regard to academia partnerships?
Pete: Historically, both firms have worked closely with academia and developed relationships with leading practitioners for product development and QC on real-world projects. Given that we ourselves all have doctorates or advanced degrees, it’s a comfortable process for us and one that we know provides reassurance to our clients. And, we’re in the process of evolving a full academic review board, the details of which we’ll communicate shortly.
In reality, is this actually a merger, an acquisition, or something more in that direction?
Sebastian: It’s a collaboration at this stage, but it’s an exclusive one. We are now acting as one company with a unified management and talent team. Of course, we’re focusing on our respective areas of strength, but now we’re also bringing more options to the table, either in terms of scale or more advanced techniques and capabilities. For prospects who have previously considered us as separate firms, the partnership offers a new menu of complementary services that might have ruled us out before when we were alone. This brings the scale of an enterprise-ready modeling and consulting team from TSC together with the fully tested, advanced science and training programs of MSC.