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Original Thought's CEO Bob Lieber on data analytics

Published on November 29, 2010

Bob Lieber, CEO of Original Thought sits down with Cary Sherburne to discuss data analytics, why it's important to have data analytics capabilities and how it can affect your ROI (return on investment) and even offers a few solutions.

Cary Sherburne:  Hi, I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com, and I’m here with Bob Lieber, who is CEO of Original Thought, LLC, one of the great thought leaders in our industry. 

Bob Lieber:  Thank you. 

Cary Sherburne:  And you know, we talk a lot about, in the industry about how print service providers need to make this transition to marketing service providers and one of the things that typically they have to add because they haven’t had to have it before is a whole area of data, and particularly data analytics.  First, could you maybe talk about a little bit about why it’s important to have data analytics capabilities? 

Bob Lieber:  Sure.  Maybe 10, 15 years ago, the whole subject of measuring the results of communications was almost impossible for people to get their arms around.  Everybody talked about ROI, but very few people actually had a good way to do it.  With the advent of social media and email marketing and things like constant contact, all of a sudden all of this data is available that never was before.  So the ability to show the value of any kind of communications that you do it’s never been greater. 

So now the question is, how do you actually get that capability or get that expertise to do it, and the fact of the matter is that if you could just find people with expertise in statistics, they can parse the data; they can make it basically presentable in any way that you would need it.  So it isn’t even a matter anymore of getting the d data, It’s not a matter of packaging the data in a way that actually demonstrates to a client or a customer that they’re communications is really working. 

Cary Sherburne:  And there are toolsets available, so if a printer said, “Well, hey, I want to do this, maybe I’ll have to hire a more statistically oriented kind of person.  I want to do this internally,” here are tool sets available to help them do that. 

Bob Lieber:  Sure, there’s no question that there are tool sets available and what I would say is, even within programs like Excel, there is really simple kinds of templates for doing graphs and bar charts and maps, so again, it’s almost a matter of like taking the data, taking platforms that are available, finding somebody who is good at making it meaningful and making that into a presentation. 

Cary Sherburne:  And then the other piece is that if they choose not to do it in-house there are plenty of companies out there that can do that and it seems to me, and you tell me if I’m right, but it seems to me that that element might be an easier part to outsource than some other parts of the business. 

Bob Lieber:  Yeah, I would say, you know, looking out at the show floor today, there’s lots of analytical capabilities, but again, you can go onto websites like eLance.com, which you know is a place to find any kind of freelancer that you’d want and for literally $50 an hour, $60 an hour, you can hire them for a $200 project.  You send them the data they send back to you a way that you need to present it and it turns out to be a fabulous value to customers. 

Cary Sherburne:  So you don’t even really have to go get into a contractual relationship.  You can just find a freelancer out there. 

Bob Lieber:  That’s how I would approach it if I were in the business because it’s kind of a toe in the water approach.  You know, once you do a couple and you show your customers what the value is, they start to get excited about it and then you can expand from there and you can find analytical companies or smaller boutiques that actually do this work and then you can form your partnerships once you know that customers are accepting of it and it’s helping you build your business. 

Cary Sherburne:  That’s great.  And I hope that information is really helpful to our listeners you know, because they really are struggling with how do I –- you know, this part intimidates me and how do I do it.  And you make it sound like it’s a lot easier than they think it might be. 

Bob Lieber:  And even you know, if you’ve fooled around with Facebook, the demographics that are available on visitors to Facebook is pretty amazing.  I mean you get age breakdowns and geographic breakdowns and it’s funny, most of the customers are clients out there.  They don’t actually take the time to go pull that stuff up, so because it’s generally available, any printer or any printer that’s looking to get more into marketing services can go do that and really impress their customers. 

Cary Sherburne:  That’s great.  Thank you. 

Bob Lieber:  Sure. 

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