Sports Analytics Continues to Create Opportunities

Haynes Henrickson, president of Turnkey Intelligence, provides three reasons why sports analytics creates opportunities for people who want to work in athletics. The money list:

  • The opportunity for advancement is now a reality, and ISN’T confined to database/technology-specific positions.
  • The growing presence of third-party companies in the sports analytics space
  • Sports business education’s increased emphasis on the importance of analytics

He concludes by noting that sports analytics has become the growth area for the industry.

When He Is Not That in to You

We have all been there. The relationship starts with all kind of promises of things to come. Filled with hope and these promises, we rush out to tell the world about our new relational partner. Then, nothing. The new relational partner never mentions us to friends. We are left wondering if we misheard all those promises and felt foolish for having hope. We all know this experience. Welcome to the group, Google.

Google brought a lot to the table. It spent years getting itself into dating shape by developing an autonomous vehicle. It cleared various regulatory hurdles, technological glitches, and many nay-sayers. The market offering actually seems viable.

Enter Ford, who wooed Google with promises of production facility in far-away North Carolina. On paper, the match between Detroit muscle and Silicon Valley brains seemed headed for a happily ever-after ending. Alas, relationships do not exist on paper; rather, in life. And, in life, Ford does not seem that into Google.

When it came time to the world the new-found partnership at the Consumer Electronic Show, Ford never mentioned Google. So, much for that announcement.

Google now claims they were never exclusive with Ford, who says that they talk up a variety of relational partners. Perhaps when Ford can afford that place in the Carolinas that it and Google talked dreamily about, these two crazy companies will commit to each other. Until then, Google will probably nurse its wounded pride by chatting with Nissan and Mercedes-Benz while Ford will continue to see Apple and Microsoft. All the while, they give furtive looks at each other from across the room

Google, Ford still listening to possible partners.

Intersection of Sports, Analytics Moves From Field to Front Office

Analytics in sports has tended to focus on players and roster management. This thought remains rooted in the Moneyball-supported view of sports. Yet, sports extends beyond players and roster management. Analytics is moving from the field to the front office as these job openings show.

A person looking to break into this field needs to know cluster analysis and multidimensional scaling. To set his or her resume apart, this person should know factor analysis and conjoint analysis.

Additionally, this person would need to know how to communicate results to different audience with communication including both written and oral forms. A demonstrated ability to link analysis to tactical recommendations is essential.

Finally, this candidate should have experience with creating, collecting, and analyzing data from surveys.

Through Otterbein marketing major, we offer the opportunity to acquire these experiences and skills through our degree program.

Boom in Marketing Technology

From 2014 to 2015, marketing-related technology firms increased by 98% from 947 to 1,876. Scott Brinker at Chief Marketing Technologist points to four-possible reasons:

  1. Marketing has unquestionably become a technology-powered discipline.
  2. The quantity of (marketing technology) ventures is a barometer of how much marketing is evolving.
  3. The marketing technology field is heterogenous, with a very broad range of products.
  4. To thrive in this environment, marketing should steadily develop its technical talent.

These reasons illustrate the extant that marketing has become tethered to technology. In turn, this tethering supports the argument that marketing owns data.

In looking at this many firms, how many will remain on this chart when Brinker updates it for 2016.

So much technology. So few customers.

Samsung Ignores HP's Misfortunes, Mistakes, Missteps

Given Samsung's current competitive disadvantage in the smart device market, the South Korean company learned nothing from Dell or Hewlett-Packard. The two former high-flying PC assemblers ultimately achieved inferior financial performance as customers kept moving toward lower price PCs. The lessons from Dell and H-P seem lost to Samsung's management. As Katie Benner discusses, Samsung wants to double down on HP's mistakes. The money management misstep:

Samsung has reportedly been in talks to buy BlackBerry, apparently because it's enthralled with the mobile operator's patents and a secure network that manages e-mail traffic for the U.S. government, military agencies, and, of course, major corporate customers.

The BlackBerry offer stands at $7.5 billion, and should increase as other companies such as Google, Motorola, etc. start to kick the tires. The parallel is not perfect. As the saying goes, history does not repeat itself; it merely rhymes.

In this case, the rhyme stems from HP's ill-fated purchase of the Palm OS for $1.2 billion in 2010.

In the smart device market, Hewlett-Packard found itself struggling to extend its brand from the PC market to the smart device market. The company needed the extension to improve it financial performance as HP's PC sales volume continued to slide and its PC operating profits shrunk.

Hewlett-Packard tried selling handsets with the Microsoft CE operating system and licensed the iPod for resale. The Palm purchase marked the American company's effort at changing its competitive advantage.

The company acquired information and legal resources through the Palm purchase in the guise of the OS and patents. However, HP could not better allocate its organizational resource as the company could not develop a handset that met the needs of a market segment. Currently, HP is licensing webOS (nee Palm OS) to any firm willing to pay the fee including Samsung.

At one point, Samsung held the most market share among smart device manufacturers similar to how HP and Dell held top spots among PC manufacturers. HP and Dell like Samsung did not control the OS that powered its devices. All three companies watched customers buy cheaper, competing products that offered similar designs and the same OS.

The bigger threat for Samsung appears from the Internet of Things, and not from Google or Apple.The Internet of Things is about chips, operating systems, and networks. Three market offerings that Samsung lacks in its product portfolio. Given how hardware companies have struggled to reverse their fortunes (see Commodore, Dell, HP, IBM, Motorola, Nokia, etc.), Samsung's $63 billion cash will only buy it time.

Samsung goes on an acquisition spree.

Retailers Should Kill Their Apps

Aaron Strout argues for retailers to develop optimized websites and against creating apps. His argument centers on two issues. One, a retailing app does not clear the warranted reasons list. Two, app usage appears more hedonic in nature than utilitarian.

In the first issue, Strout outlines three hurdles for an app to clear, including:

  1. Urgency. When you think of apps that address urgency, consider real-time traffic or location data, stock information, banking information or other similar data...
  2. Repetitiveness. ...This might also be the case for an app that helps pay for parking meters, checks weather, or even your e-mail client...
  3. Boredom. This obviously plays more into the “game” or “entertainment” space.

Few if any retailer's app clears those three hurdles. Hence, most retailers should stop supporting or developing an app.

In the second issue, Strout concludes that people use apps for entertainment purpose. Shopping, here, though is not a form of entertainment. Instead, entertainment revolves around social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, or games.

Strout's post corresponds to an analysis that Dr. David Taylor and I performed, which was recently published as well as shared at an analytics forum (see slide deck below). In this research, we found that how recently a consumer had been to the store would amplify the relationship between intention to use a retailer's app and completing a purchase from that retailer as well as share information. We conclude that app develop and support make little sense for most retailers.


Fries' Guide to Analytics Implementation

In a previous blog post, Dish's research director Patti Fries discussed the satellite provider's cultural and behavioral shifts related to market intelligence. Fries also discussed how she influenced this change. Annie Pettit, who lived blogged the presentation, provides the money list:

  • Individually, Fries completed 72 project in the first seven months at Dish. The results justified her requested 100% budget increase.
  • Dish followed an undifferentiated segmentation approach. Through research, Dish lowered subscriber acquisition  and retention expenses through the development, and implementation of segmenting models.
  • Fries stress to her team that less is more. Instead of providing every last number, her department issues one to two pages of action items instead of 400-pages of tables, and charts.

Based on these comments, it is easy to deduce that Fries was opportunistic, started simple, scored inexpensive victories, and developed a program. It is not clear whether she started with the end in mind (but probably did). Fries' tale underscores the general lesson of how a person could start an analytics program or department at his or her company. This lesson could be the real value of Fries' presentation.

Dish Learns to Listen to the Consumer

Recently, Dish's research director Patti Fries discussed the satellite provider's cultural and behavioral shifts related to market intelligence. Annie Pettit, who lived blogged the presentation, provides the money list:

  • Dish launched its first satellite in 1995 but did not launched its research division in 2012, or 17 years later.
  • Initially, Dish focused on sales, building a subscriber base. Spending on research was limited because the value of research was considered limited.
  • More recently, greater emphasis on research as content distribution has become a commodity service.

The organizational cultural change reflects Dish's emphasis on customer orientation instead of selling orientation. Managers now make decisions with the thought of how will this action (a) make current customers' happy, (b) attract customers from competitors, and/or (c) reinforce our brand identity. In this sense, Dish has adopted market orientation from an organizational culture view.

The organizational behavioral change occurs as Dish improves its competence to generate, disseminate, and respond to market intelligence. Where data collection was random with results kept within departments, Dish now actively and constantly generates market intelligence that is shared across the organization. In this sense, Dish has taken market orientation from an organizational behavioral view.

While Dish remains the number two provider of satellite content providers, its per subscriber financial metrics appear solid. That is, this adopted market orientation posture has improved the company's positional advantage in the market.

Calling More Bullshit on Gamification

Gamification existed before Foursquare. The location-aware software did popularize it. Other companies rushed to add some form of gamification. The concept has become so rooted in mobile technology that conferences now exist to preach the gospel to the true believers, and nonbelievers alike. Ian Bogost calls bullshit on the concept because the action does not approximate a game. The bullshit quote:

Gamification is easy. It offers simple, repeatable approaches in which benefit, honor, and aesthetics are less important than facility. For the consultants and the startups, that means selling the same bullshit in book, workshop, platform, or API form over and over again, at limited incremental cost. It ticks a box. Social media strategy? Check. Games strategy? Check.

Bogost does not quite far enough. Gamification serves as a form of extrinsic motivation. It exists because the user does not care enough about the program. No one would use Foursquare if were not for the badges. Gamification masks that the core service provides zero value to the user. Without value, monetization remains so far in the horizon as to appear more mirage than real. Hence, the real bullshit is not just gamification but the service that nominally rewards user for performing a specific behavior.

Badges that offer meaning, and value.

Target's Data Breach Remains the Gift that Keeps on Giving

In November 2013, Target announced its payment system had been broken into. Roughly 40 million credit card numbers were stolen. My financial institution cancelled my debit card and sent a new card. A year later, thanks to annual billing, I still receive reminders of Target's security lapse.

Skype briefly shut off my service because I could not change the old card number (now cancelled thanks to Target's data breach) to the new card number. The billing page lacked convenient links such as "pay your account now" or "add new billing card" as found on most e-tailers' website. Instead, every two hours, Skype sent email messages that stated service would be cancelled unless payment was received.

Bill collectors distribute similar messages as Skype's emails. Loan sharks are probably more direct in their collection effort. Perhaps, some day, the Microsoft-owned Skype could develop a bill collection system that matches the service quality of a loan shark. Some day, Skype could even offer a chat with Skype customer service agent too.

Until a handset maker offers the phone I want, I will stick with Skype - bad service and all.

Skype's collections department