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Dollar Tree chops value of Family Dollar brand, to shut 390 stores

Dollar Tree chops value of Family Dollar brand, to shut 390 stores

(Reuters) – Dollar Tree Inc announced plans to close hundreds more Family Dollar stores on Wednesday as it wrote off $2.7 billion, or nearly a third of the value of the struggling discount chain it bought for $9 billion four years ago.

FILE PHOTO: A customer walks out of a Dollar Tree discount store in Austin, Texas, U.S., February 27, 2017. Picture taken February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Mohammad Khursheed

Shares of the company rose 2 percent as it reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter same-store sales, along with the results of its full strategic assessment of the Family Dollar business.

Hedge fund investor Starboard Value LP in January urged Dollar Tree to explore all alternatives for its Family Dollar business, including a sale, after years of weakness that has hurt the company’s overall profitability.

Though Family Dollar has remodeled some stores and expanded its product range, same-store sales growth has been nearly flat on average in the past two years, pushing down the parent company’s shares 7 percent in the last 12 months.

Same-store sales rose 1.4 percent at the smaller chain in the fourth quarter, the strongest in a year and pushing overall numbers up 2.4 percent, above an average analyst estimate of 1.5 percent rise, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company said it would shut 390 Family Dollar stores, besides planned remodeling of 1,000 stores this year to add $1-only items. Dollar Tree had already closed 122 Family Dollar stores in the fiscal year ending Feb. 2.

The Chesapeake, Virginia-based company, which took a $2.73 billion one-time charge for the decline in the chain’s value in the fourth quarter, also said it would explore pricing some goods above the $1-mark, as Starboard has demanded.

“We are confident we are taking the appropriate steps to reposition our Family Dollar brand for increasing profitability as business initiatives gain traction in the back half of fiscal 2019,” Chief Executive Officer Gary Philbin said in Wednesday’s statement.

The restructuring will weigh on operating income in the first half of 2019 fiscal year, it said, but lead to material improvement in the second half.

The company forecast first quarter earnings of $1.05-$1.15 per share, below analysts’ expectation of $1.29 per share. It said its forecast takes into account a possible rise in U.S. tariff on Chinese products to 25 percent in 2019.

Reporting by Soundarya J in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel

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B2B Thought-Leadership Content Ideas and Opportunities

B2B Thought-Leadership Content Ideas and Opportunities

B2B vendors that create thought-leadership content tend to underestimate the impact of these pieces and overestimate their quality, according to recent research from Edelman and LinkedIn.

The report was based on data from a survey of 1,201 businesspeople in the United States who work for firms in a wide rage of industries.

Some 89% of buyers (respondents who are responsible for purchase decisions) say thought-leadership content increases their awareness of sellers, 45% say it has led them to invite an organization to bid on a project when not previously considering that vendor, 58% say it has led them to award business to an organization, 58% say it has enabled an organization to command a premium price, and 59% say it has led to the purchase of additional products or services.

On the other hand, 59% of sellers say thought-leadership content increases awareness, 17% say it increases consideration, 26% say it drives purchases, 14% say it enables premium pricing, and 29% say it makes cross-selling easier.

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Year in review: Our top 9 experimentation articles and news of 2018

Year in review: Our top 9 experimentation articles and news of 2018

2018 was a year of rapid change for many organizations.

That’s because experimentation is becoming an essential business practice.

Over the course of the year, we witnessed organizations go from stage one to stage three on our experimentation maturity scale in just a few short months.

Once they had buy-in from the top and a will to galvanize support across departments, they were able to introduce experimentation to multiple departments.

But even if you just got started with experimentation this year, surpassing the inertia and running your first few experiments has already transformed your business.

And because we are in the business of experimentation, because testing is our livelihood, we’ve also had an incredible year.

Looking back over the past twelve months, I’ve compiled our top nine experimentation articles and news:

1. Matt Wright’s “How Thick Data Helps You Build Emotional Connections With Customers” on CMSWire

This past June, Matt authored the CMSWire article, “How Thick Data Helps You Build Emotional Connections with Customers,” to dive into the process of generating thick data about what makes your customers tick.

WiderFunnel experimentation articles thick data
Matt Wright, Head of UX Research, dove into how to leverage your thick data to create emotional connections with your customers.

In today’s data-driven world, marketers amass immense amounts of customer information through numerous sources such as analytics, CRMs and loyalty programs — all of which provide plenty of quantitative data about customers. This type of data offers the when, where, what and how of your customers’ interactions with your experiences. But critically, it does not provide the why.

Matt Wright

Head of UX Research

Matt’s thought leadership in this article provides a glimpse into his work on WiderFunnel’s MotivationLab, the deep-dive research that provides insights about customers’ emotional needs and states for more impactful experimentation programs.

But what’s more, he shows you the secret to creating delightful customer experiences that increase wallet share and loyalty for years to come.

2. Experimentation in product development: How to maximize the customer experience

Innovative marketers have been doing website optimization for years. So what’s next?

Product experimentation is top-of-mind when it comes to scaling an experimentation program internally. That’s because there are more opportunities to maximize the customer experience.

I talked to several champions of product experimentation about their programs:

  • Hila Qu, Vice President of Growth at Acorns;
  • Meg Watson, Product Manager at Stitch Fix;
  • Martijn Scheijbeler, Vice President of Marketing at RVShare;
  • And Giannis Psaroudakis, Director, Product at Optimizely.

And the resulting post, “Experimentation in product development: How to maximize the customer experience” provides real-world success stories and examples of potential opportunities that can inspire you to get started.

3. Techvibes’ Spotlight article “Data & Design: How WiderFunnel Cracked the Code”

WiderFunnel Office Design Techvibes Matt odynski
Techvibes’ Matt Odynski came by in January to do a tour and photo shoot of our new office design.

In January, Matt Odynski of TechVibes stopped by our office for a photo shoot and tour of our new space in downtown Vancouver.

The resulting Spotlight article, “Data & Design: How WiderFunnel Cracked the Code,” written by Max Greenwood, provided an insightful overview of WiderFunnel’s services, culture, and people.

WiderFunnel Office Design Techvibes Matt Odynski
A shot of the Burrard Inlet from our downtown Vancouver office windows. Credit: Matt Odynski

WiderFunnel works with some of the world’s biggest brands—such as Mark’s, SportChek, IBM, Square, and H&R Block—to help them gain unique insights into their customers. WiderFunnel can then validate those insights through experimentation in the real world, perfectly mixing both the creative side of a typical advertising agency while also embracing the data and scientific elements needed to deeply innovate the industry.

Max Greenwood

Staff Writer at Techvibes

WiderFunnel Office Design Techvibes Matt Odynski
A shot of the Townhall area, a place for team gathering. Credit: Matt Odynski

3. The 5 pillars of digital transformation strategy at Mark’s: An interview with changemaker, Johnny Russo

Mark’s (formerly Mark’s Workwear House) is a retailer under the Canadian Tire umbrella that has risen to the top in recent years. Not only do their marketing teams receive nomination after nomination for their e-commerce experience, but the company is also leading the charge when it comes to digital transformation.

WiderFunnel Digital Transformation Strategy Mark's
Mark’s is undergoing a digital transformation, empowering every level of business to make data-driven decisions.

In this interview with Johnny Russo, Associate Vice President of Digital Marketing and E-commerce, we get an in-depth look at the five pillars of their digital transformation strategy that has fuelled their growth over the past few years: People, Partners, Culture, Education, and Change Management.

Johnny Russo is a true changemaker. He is passionate about digital transformation strategy and he is a definite thought leader in the e-commerce and retail space.

Having partnered with Mark’s for numerous years, Johnny also outlines how experimentation has underpinned their whole strategy. Testing is now how the team at Mark’s make decisions.

As marketers, we think we know it all. But testing actually confirms that we don’t. If we have an A/B test, one of them might be wrong. And we’re actually telling our senior executives, by doing this, we don’t know which one will win. We think we know, but at the end of the day, it’s based on data and customer experience and what customers want. It supersedes what our thought process is.

Johnny Russo

AVP of Digital Marketing and E-commerce at Mark’s

Read the full post, “The 5 pillars of digital transformation strategy at Mark’s: An interview with changemaker, Johnny Russo.”

4. Winning Optimizely’s “Innovation Partner of the Year” award at Opticon

While in Las Vegas for Optimizely’s annual experimentation conference, Opticon, we were awarded their prestigious Innovation Partner of the Year award and we were ecstatic.

WiderFunnel Experimentation Articles Optimizely's Innovation Partner of the Year
The WiderFunnel team was jazzed about winning the Innovation Partner of the Year for our thought leadership and technical talent.

We were especially honored to be chosen by our colleagues at Optimizely for this award because of our early adoption of FullStack, their server-side experimentation platform.

They also praised our thought leadership in the world of experimentation, including our content, case studies, best practices, and of course, our “State of Experimentation Maturity 2018” original research report, that we co-created.

5. The “State of Experimentation Maturity 2018” original research report

With Optimizely, we surveyed marketers, product managers, and growth strategists at some of North America’s leading brands like Nike, United Airlines, Showtime, American Express,, MailChimp and many more to create the “State of Experimentation Maturity 2018″ original research report.

We also interviewed dozens of Optimization Champions throughout our research to understand their opportunities, their pain points, and their efforts to scale their programs cross-organizationally.

WiderFunnel Experimentation Maturity Research Report
Our State of Experimentation Maturity 2018 was one of our top highlights of the year. That’s because it was all about the work you are doing!

We wanted to know what the most successful organizations were doing right, how they were scaling their experimentation program, and how they were integrating experimentation into their overarching business strategy.

We highlighted the most illuminating findings in our post, “6 Key Insights from the “State of Experimentation Maturity 2018” original research report. And we even got interest from some press:

If your marketing experimentation program consists of A/B testing email subject lines or landing pages, you have a long way to go. But here’s some good news: you aren’t the only one just getting started.

Natasha Wahid, Marketing Lead at WiderFunnel, who spearheaded the research project, also conducted a GrowthHackers AMA in June, diving into the research process and data analysis.

WiderFunnel GrowthHackers AMA with Natasha Wahid
Natasha Wahid, Marketing Lead, hosted a GrowthHackers AMA, which was a must-read in their weekly round-up email.

And our conversations and insights fuelled our content for months afterward. Posts like…

6. Evangelizing experimentation: A strategy for scaling your organization’s test and learn culture

After our research report, one topic that invigorated our marketing team was how to evangelize experimentation at an organization.

After talking to numerous Optimization Champions, we realized that most companies wanted to strategically communicate the value of their experimentation programs internally to incite organizational buy-in from other departments and the Executive team.

It was an interesting take on building a culture of experimentation, a topic that has quickly accelerated over the year.

For this post, we gained insights from leaders in the field including:

  • Alex Birkett, then Growth Marketing Manager and recently promoted to Senior Growth Marketing Manager, User Acquisition at Hubspot
  • Andrew Capland, then Director of Growth and now Director of Marketing at Wistia;
  • Ralph Chochlac, Former Director of Product Management at Student Brands;
  • and Lauren Schuman, Director of Growth at MailChimp.

This comprehensive guide to strategic communications for your experimentation program provides best practices and tactics for scaling your test-and-learn culture.

Read the full post, “Evangelizing experimentation: A strategy for scaling your organization’s test and learn culture.”

7. A tactical guide to creating emotional connections with your customers

We talked a lot about emotional marketing in the last couple of years, but we still saw ambiguity in what creates an emotional connection with customers, especially within a digital experience.

So, we set out to break it down for our readers. We took a real-world example (the WealthSimple website) and analyzed everything from color choices to messaging, from storytelling to animations.

And we also talked to emotional marketing experts, like:

  • Roger Dooley, author and podcast host of Brainfluence;
  • Nick Kolenda, expert and author of numerous specialized guides in psychology and marketing;
  • And Nathalie Nahai, web psychologist, speaker and author of Webs of Influence: The Secret Strategies That Make Us Click.

And it’s one of our most read and shared posts of the year.

Read “A tactical guide to creating emotional connections with your customers.”

8. BCBusiness’ “Office Space: WiderFunnel Embraces Team Spirit”

In July, the WiderFunnel were excited to get the print and web editions of BCBusiness, featuring our new office space. We moved in August 2017 and this year we’ve been featured in numerous publications, including the Vancouver Sun.

Editor Felicity Stone came to do a tour of our space with intern Aleena Deandra and the resulting article showcased exactly what makes the WiderFunnel office so special.

WiderFunnel BC Business Culture
Office Space: WiderFunnel embraces team spirit, via BC Business.

The Vancouver-based company leased a space with spectacular views of downtown and Burrard Inlet, then surveyed staff about what they needed to be productive and creative. The result is a workplace that accommodates various working styles, thanks to wireless technology, so team members can change locations throughout the day. Since employees moved in last August, their happiness scores have increased by 51 percent.

Aleena Deandra and Felicity Stone


Especially interesting to note is that we recently expanded our office by an additional 1600 square feet this past fall!

9. Reaching #21 on Business in Vancouver’s Fastest Growing Companies in BC

At WiderFunnel, 2018 was a year of growth. We nearly doubled our employee count. We expanded our office space. And we worked with more and more Optimization Champions to scale their experimentations programs across their entire organizations.

And it’s probably a big reason why we reached #21 on Business in Vancouver’s list of the Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies in British Columbia.

WiderFunnel Business in Vancouver Fastest Growing Companies in BC
Last year, we were #43 on Business in Vancouver’s list of the 100 Fastest Growing Companies in BC. This year, we were #21!

For context, we were delighted by our #43 standing in 2017, so when we saw our 2018 results we were astonished.

But we’re not done yet. Stay tuned in 2019 for more exciting developments in the world of experimentation.

Get ready for 2019.

The world of business is changing quickly.

Instead of backtracking on failed strategies and tactics, organizations can pave their way to success, proving they are on the right path through experimentation.

We touched upon the upcoming advancements in “The future of digital customer experience: 6 Experimentation trends for disruptive businesses in 2019” and “6 Marketing trends set to take off in 2019.”

As business leaders, we are the cusp of even more transformation in 2019. Because those organizations, that are able to gather insights and spread those insights throughout their organization will change at a pace far greater than they have in the past.

Get ready.

What do business leaders need to consider as they plan for 2019? We’d love to hear your perspective!


Lindsay Kwan

Marketing Communications Specialist

Benchmark your experimentation maturity with our new 7-minute maturity assessment and get proven strategies to develop an insight-driving growth machine.

Get started

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JPMorgan backs away from private prison finance

JPMorgan backs away from private prison finance

NEW YORK (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co has decided to stop financing private operators of prisons and detention centers, which have become targets of protests over Trump administration immigration policies.

FILE PHOTO: A view of the exterior of the JP Morgan Chase & Co. corporate headquarters in New York City May 20, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar

“We will no longer bank the private prison industry,” a company spokesman told Reuters. The decision is a result of bank’s ongoing evaluations of the costs and benefits of serving different industries, he said.

JPMorgan is one of several banks that have underwritten bonds or syndicated loans for CoreCivic Inc and Geo Group Inc, the two major private prison operators in the United States. In 2018, banks, including Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co raised roughly $1.8 billion in debt over three deals for CoreCivic and GEO Group, according to Refinitiv data.

Wells Fargo said in January that it is reducing its relationship with the prison industry as part of its “environmental and social risk management” process.

“Our credit exposure to private prison companies has significantly decreased and is expected to continue to decline, and we are not actively marketing to that sector,” Wells Fargo said in its “Business Standards Report” for 2018.

Prison finance is small business for JPMorgan, the biggest bank in the U.S. by assets. JPMorgan was a leader in 1,153 loan deals worth $354 billion across all industries, according to Refinitiv data.

Prison companies account for about 10 percent of federal and state prison beds, according to Moody’s Investors Service. But about two-thirds of people held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are in private detention centers, S&P Global Ratings estimated last year.

Moody’s and S&P Global have speculative grade, or junk, credit ratings on CoreCivic and GEO Group partly because their revenues are at risk to changes in government policy and public scrutiny of companies profiting from detention. []

After the Obama administration in August 2016 directed the Bureau of Prisons to phase out federal use of private prisons, shares of both companies plunged more than 40 percent. One month after Donald Trump became president, the order was rescinded and the stocks rebounded.

Activism against the financing of private prisons heated up after revelations that undocumented minors were being separated from their adult parents or guardians and being held in detention centers.


The Trump administration reversed its separation policy after a public outcry and many children were released from detention centers and reunited with their parents. Others were sent to foster homes or to live with relatives in the United States.

CoreCivic issued a statement in June saying none of its facilities housed children without the supervision of a parent.

Pablo Paez, Geo Group’s executive vice-president of corporate relations, wrote in a June 2018 email to Reuters that neither have they housed unaccompanied children .

CoreCivic changed its name from Corrections Corporation of America in October 2016. It said the rebranding was to highlight its strategy to transform its business “from largely corrections and detentions centers to a wider range of government services.”

In 2018 prisons and detention centers still accounted for 87 percent of CoreCivic’s net operating income, according to a recent presentation from the company to investors. It had 72,833 beds in prisons and detention centers.

JPMorgan’s move away from the industry comes after activists have challenged Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon at bank’s last two annual meetings over its financing of prison companies.

Protest groups have also appeared regularly outside of Dimon’s Manhattan apartment. On Valentine’s Day, a group appeared with a mariachi band and signs that begged the executive to “break up with prisons.”

At the May 2017 annual meeting, Dimon promised to look into prison finance. In June, Dimon and the Business Roundtable, a group of CEOs that he chairs, issued public statements calling for immigration reform and an end to the Trump administration policy of separating minors from their parents.

JPMorgan’s move could prove mostly symbolic if other lenders or investors in prison companies do not take similar steps. Activists learned that lesson last year after they pressured financiers of gunmakers in the wake of a shooting at a Florida high school.

Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc and BlackRock Inc, the world’s largest asset manager, last year said they were limiting business with gunmakers in various ways. But others, including Wells Fargo, declined to follow suit and filings show firearms companies retain access to a wide range of financing options. []

(This story corrects company affiliation of Pablo Paez in the 12th paragraph)

Reporting by David Henry and Imani Moise in New York. Additional reporting by Ross Kerber in Boston; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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Confirm the integrity of your data

Confirm the integrity of your data

Never before has there been a greater need for a reliable, holistic marketing measurement tool. In a world of fractured media and consumer interest, intense competitive pressure, and lightening-speed product innovation, the sheer volume of data that must be analyzed and the decisions that must be made demand a more evolved approach to attribution and decision making. This need for speed has brought into bright focus a mandate for reliable, consistent and valid data, and the potential for challenges when there are errors.

The attribution category has been evolving quickly over the past decade, and there are myriad options from which marketers can choose. Recent research conducted by Forrester suggests that leading marketers are adopting the newest and most advanced approach: Unified Measurement or Total Marketing Measurement models. This analysis combines the attributes of person-level measurement with the ability to measure traditional channels such as TV. Marketers who upgrade to and invest in novel solutions – financially and organizationally – can find a competitive advantage from smarter attribution.

The greatest of these instruments answer problems such as the optimal frequency and reach in and between channels and determine which messages and creative are best for which audiences. New advances in these products are providing even more granular insights concerning message sequencing, and next-best message decisioning based on specific audiences and multiple stages of their buying processes. The best of these solutions incorporate external and environmental circumstances such as weather, travel patterns and more. Furthermore, capabilities of today’s solutions produce insights in such a timely fashion that agile marketers can include those insights into active campaigns to drive massive performance gains, rather than waiting for weeks or months to see returns.

However while these attribution models have evolved a long way in recent years, there is one challenge that all must tackle: the need for reliable, consistent and valid data. Even the most advanced and powerful of these systems are dependent on the quality of the information they ingest. Incorrect or sub-par input will always produce the wrong outputs. Data quality and reliability have become a primary focus of marketing teams and the forward-thinking CMOs who lead them.

If the data are not accurate, it doesn’t matter what statistical methods or algorithms we apply, nor how much experience we have in interpreting data. If we start with imperfect data, we’ll end up with erroneous results. Basing decisions on a conclusion derived from flawed data can have costly consequences for marketers and their companies. Inaccurate data may inflate or give undue credit to a specific tactic. For example, a model may indicate that based on a media buy a television advertisement –usually one of the most expensive of our marketing efforts – was responsible for driving an increase in visitors to our website. But, if this ad failed to air, and there is inaccurate data in a media log, the team may wrongly reallocate budget to their television buy. This would be a costly mistake.

In fact, inaccurate data may be one of the leading causes of waste in advertising. These inaccuracies have become an epidemic that negatively impacts both advertisers and the consumers they are trying to reach. Google recently found that, due in large part to bad data, more than 56 percent of ad impressions never actually reach consumers, and Proxima estimates $37 billion of worldwide marketing budgets go to waste on poor digital performance. And that’s just digital. The loss for major players who market online and offline can be extensive, and it’s calling for a revolutionary new approach to data quality and reliability.

So, how accurate is your data? Do you know if there are gaps? Are there inconsistencies that may queer your results? Many of us put a great deal of trust in our data systems leaving us forgetting to ask these critical questions. You can’t just assume you have accurate data – now more than ever you must know you do. That may require some work up front, but the time you invest in ensuring accurate data will pay off in better decisions and other significant improvements. Putting in place, from the start and early in the process, steps and checks to ensure the timely and accurate reporting of data is key to avoiding costly mistakes down the road. Solving these problems early in your attribution efforts helps build confidence in the optimization decisions you’re making to drive higher return on investment and, perhaps more importantly, will help teams avoid taking costly missteps.

When it comes to attribution, it is especially critical to make sure the system you are relying on has a process for analyzing and ensuring that the data coming in is accurate.

Below are four key considerations, when working with your internal analytics staff, agencies, marketing team and attribution vendor, you can use to unlock more positive data input and validation to ensure accurate conclusions.

1. Develop a data delivery timetable

The entire team should have a clear understanding of when data will be available and, more importantly, by what date and or time every data set will arrive. Missing or unreported data may be the single most significant threat to drawing accurate conclusions. Like an assembly line, if data fails to show up on time, it will stop production for the entire factory. Fortunately, this may also be one of the easiest of the challenges to overcome. Step one is to conduct an audit of all the information you are currently using to make decisions. Map the agreed upon or expected delivery date for every source. If you receive a weekly feed of website visitors, on what day does it typically arrive? If your media agency sends a monthly reconciliation of ad spend and impressions, what is the deadline for its delivery?

Share these sources of information and the schedule of delivery with your attribution vendor. The vendor, in turn, should develop a dashboard and tiered system of response for data flow and reporting. For example, if data is flowing as expected, the dashboard may include a green light to indicate all is well. If the information is a little late, even just past the scheduled date but within a predefined window of time, the system should generate a reminder to the data provider or member of the team who is responsible for the data letting them know that there may be a problem. However, if data is still missing past a certain point, threatening the system’s ability to generate optimizations, for example, an alert should be sent to let the team know that action is needed.

2. Create standard templates for routinely reported data

You, members of your team, and your attribution partner need a clear understanding of what specific data is included in which report and in what formats. It would be a shame to go through the hard work of making sure your information is arriving on time only to find out that the data is incomplete or reported inconsistently. To use the assembly line analogy again, what good is it to make sure a part arrives on time if it’s the wrong part that’s delivered?

Like quality control or a modern-day retinal scan, the system should check to see if the report matches expected parameters. Do the record counts match the number of records you expected to receive? If data from May was expected, do the dates make sense? And, is all the information that should be in the report included? Are there missing data?

With this system in place, a well-configured attribution solution or analytics tool should be able to test incoming data for both its completeness and compliance with expected norms. If there are significant gaps in the data or if data deviates overmuch from an acceptable standard, the system can again automatically alert the team that there may be a problem.

3. Use previous data from the source to confirm new data

Your attribution provider should be able to use data previously reported from a source to help identify any errors or gaps in the system. For example, you can include in your data feed multiple weeks or months of previously reported data. This feed will produce one new set of data and three previous sets of overlapping data. If overlapping data does not match that will trigger an alert.

Now you’ll want to determine if the data makes sense. You want to see if new data is rational and consistent with that which was previously reported. This check is a crucial step in using previously published data to confirm the logic of more recent data reported.

Here, too, you can check for trends over time to see if data is consistent or if there are outliers. Depending on the specific types of media or performance being measured a set of particular logic tests should be developed. For example, is the price of media purchased within the range of what is typically paid? Is the reach and frequency per dollar of the media what was expected?

Leading providers of marketing attribution solutions are continually performing these checks to ensure data accuracy and consistent decision making. With these checks in place, the marketing attribution partner can diagnose any problems, and the team can act together to fix it. This technique has the added benefit of continuously updating information to make sure errors, or suspicious data, don’t linger to confound ultimate conclusions.

One note here that should be taken into account: outliers are not necessarily pieces of bad data. Consider outliers as pieces of information that have not yet been confirmed or refuted. It is a best practice to investigate outliers to understand their source, or hold them in your system to see if they’re not the beginnings of a new trend.

4. The benefit of getting information from multiple sources

Finally, there are tangible benefits to confirming data from multiple data sets. For example, does the information about a customer contained in your CRM conform with the information you may be getting from a source like Experian? Does data you’re receiving about media buys and air dates match the information you may be receiving from Sigma encoded monitoring?

Even companies that are analytics early adopters find themselves challenged to ensure the data upon which they rely is consistent, reliable and accurate. Marketers understand that they have to be gurus of data-driven decision making, but they can’t just blindly accept the data they are given.

Remember, as we have mentioned, despite the potential benefits of a modern attribution solution, erroneous data ensures their undoing. To be certain your process is working precisely, create a clear understanding of the data and work with a partner who can build an early warning system for any issues that arise. Ultimately, this upfront work ensures more accurate analysis and will help achieve the goal of improving your company’s marketing ROI.

As a very first step, since data may come from multiple departments inside the company and various agencies that support the team, develop a cross-functional steering committee consisting of representatives from analytics, marketing, finance, as well as digital and traditional media agencies; the steering committee should have a member of the team responsible for overall quality and flow. As a team, work together to set benchmarks for quality and meet regularly to discuss areas for improvement.

In this atmosphere of fragmented media and consumer (in)attentiveness, those who rely on data-driven decision-making will gain a real competitive advantage in the marketplace. Capacities of today’s solutions produce insights in such a timely fashion that the nimblest marketers can incorporate those insights into active campaigns to drive massive performance improvements, rather than waiting for weeks or months to see results. But the Achilles heel of any measurement system is the data upon which it relies on generating insight. All other things being equal, the better the data going in, the better the optimization recommendations coming out.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Rex Briggs is Founder and CEO of Marketing Evolution and has more than 20 years of experience in research and analytics. Rex focuses on omni-channel personal level marketing attribution and optimization. He served on the review board of JAR, and serves on Research World’s editorial board. He is the best-selling author of two books, “What Sticks, Why Advertising Fails and How to Guarantee Yours Succeeds” (2006) and “SIRFs Up, The Story of How Algorithms And Software Are Changing Marketing.”

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Time’s running out! Book your SMX Advanced pass now!

Time’s running out! Book your SMX Advanced pass now!

Last week, we shared with you 10 great reasons why you should attend SMX® Advanced, June 3-5 in Seattle — and I could sling another ten at you today. But instead, I’m going to let some of your peers do the talking…

So there you have it. If you want expert-led discussions on the SEO and SEM topics that matter most to your company, advanced techniques that will help drive awareness and conversions, and a chance to connect with the best and brightest search marketers on the planet, come to SMX Advanced.

Don’t wait. Super Early Bird rates (up to $900 off on-site prices) expire March 16. Register now!

PsstAttend with your team for an unforgettable team-building opportunity and even more savings! Sorry, promo code cannot be combined with team rates.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Search Engine Land is a daily publication and information site covering search engine industry news, plus SEO, PPC and search engine marketing tips, tactics and strategies. Special content features, site announcements, notices about our SMX events, and occasional sponsor messages are posted by Search Engine Land.

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Southwest to begin Hawaii service from California on March 17

Southwest to begin Hawaii service from California on March 17

FILE PHOTO: Southwest Airlines planes are seen in front of the Las Vegas strip, Nevada, United States April 23, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

(Reuters) – Southwest Airlines said on Monday it will begin flying to the Hawaiian capital of Honolulu from Oakland, California on March 17 with special launch fares as low as $49 through mid-June.

The new service, part of the budget-friendly carrier’s push to boost leisure travel from the West Coast, also includes inner-island flights for as low as $29 in direct competition to Hawaiian Airlines HA.O.

Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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