Consumer Intelligence

Take-aways from the Marketing Analytics & Data Science East Conference

Mobilewalla was excited to be a sponsor of this week’s Marketing Analytics and Data Science (MADS) East event in New York City. This event uniquely brings together the people who rely on data the most to get their jobs done – marketers and data scientists. 

Day one of the event got off to a great start with a keynote from Everybody Lies author Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. A former data scientist, Seth has been focused on understanding people based on their internet behavior, heavily leveraging the data available through Google Trends. In one of the many funny moments of his presentation, Seth described the Google search box as “digital truth serum” and Instagram and Facebook as “digital brag to my friends about how good my life is serum” (yep, sounds about right).  His fundamental premise is that people lie to surveys and answer with what they think is right as opposed to how they really are or feel.

Some other interesting takeaways from his session included:

  • The value of a data set is not size but “newness”. By new he didn’t mean recency but was more referring to alternative data; finding something that nobody else had, or thought of using.
  • Winners in the world of data are entrepreneurial.  They will work to design or measure something new or different, not follow the prescribed path.
  • Winners in the world of data fail a lot.  While there is pressure to give answers that make people happy it is more important to try the weird and crazy ideas and see if they pan out; you need to experiment to build a better model and dominate the competition.

The rest of the agenda for day 1 focused on tactics with separate tracks for 1) leveraging data to drive successful campaigns and more growth for your business and 2) infusing a data-driven mentality into every part of your organization.  Needless to say, two important topic areas that every organization needs to be focused on if they truly want to see their business grow. 

As much as I enjoyed listening to other people talk, I had a presentation to do myself!  Varun Chugh, Mobilewalla’s Senior Director of Product, and I had the opportunity to deliver a session focused on driving more value out of your AI investment.  Specifically, we focused on whether the enriched data you train your models with, or the algorithm you build your models with, has a greater impact on artificial intelligence predictivity and results. Spoiler alert:  the winner is the data you train your models with.  You can see the case study and read more about it in our whitepaper:  How to Increase the Value of AI with Data. 

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Day two began with another strong keynote, this one from Elisha Heaps, Principal Data Scientist at Staples. Elisha really dug in on personalizing the ecommerce experience and how to make an online visit have the personalized feel of a store visit. Her key point was that the online experience, or your ability to personalize that experience, is only as good as the data that fuels it.

Related Reading: How Customer Data Enrichment Drives Better Engagement

Elisha emphasized the importance of clean data and that you don’t have to (or even want to) store everything, it was more about focusing on understanding consumer behavior and actions that help you serve the customer better. In a nod to upcoming privacy legislation she stressed the importance of focusing on the behaviors not the personal details. While Elisha pointed out that you can’t test the universe she did talk about “extreme feature engineering” and starting with the things that are driving the most variation. Lots of great insight and not just for the retailers in the audience.

The rest of day 2 was focused on measurement with separate tracks for 1) Marketing mix measurement and 2) Driving value in your organization.  You can have all the consumer data in the world, but if you can’t derive value from it, it’s essentially worthless.  Another day where I needed to clone myself to be able to attend all the great sessions they had to offer. 

Related Reading: Metrics and Accountability in Mobile Marketing

All in all, this was a fantastic event that gave me a great opportunity to hear how other organizations are using data to solve problems and to network with the smart people who are solving those problems.  Look forward to doing it all again at the MADS West event in San Francisco this coming April 2020!


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Mobilewalla is a global leader in consumer intelligence solutions, leveraging the industry’s most robust consumer data set and deep artificial intelligence expertise. Our refined consumer insights provide enterprises with unparalleled access to the digital and offline behavior patterns of customers, prospects, and competition.

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