Women Leaders in the Consumer & Market Intelligence Space
Carol Feigenbaum |
 03/08/21 |
13 min read

women leaders in consumer and market intelligence space

To honor International Women’s Day, we’re showcasing some of the remarkable women leaders we work with in the consumer and market intelligence space. We wondered what set them on the data analytics career path; how they explain this complicated profession to outsiders; and recommendations for those new to the industry – so we asked and packaged it up for you to read below!

Before digging in, we thought it would be interesting to note that the social media conversation around this day was given a solid surge when Meghan Markle, the (former) Duchess of York, sent mentions spiking with a “compassion challenge:”

The world is waking up to International Women’s Day and the leaders that follow (below) could tell you more about it – very precisely, with their social analytics skills.

The Questions:

We asked each interviewee, the following questions:

  • When telling people what you do, is there a consumer/market intelligence ‘go to’ story you share? What is that? If not, what’s your elevator pitch to describe it?
  • Can you share a moment in your career that set you on the data intelligence path? How did you end up where you are today?
  • And if there was just one NetBase Quid feature you’d recommend women new to the field master – one that would really show brands what they know – what it would be, and why?

Anna Zaikina, Head of Social Media Insights at DMS

DMSThe ‘go to’ story or elevator pitch to describe her work:

Since I work in the entertainment industry, it is actually relatively easy to explain the nature and value of the social media analysis. I normally find a relatable example of a recent movie or an actor that has received controversy that everybody knows of, and then go on to tell how the perception of the topic can vary greatly from country to country; from one audience to another. This tends to be a powerful tool to emphasise the importance of what we do.

Data intelligence career path:

There was no particular moment, but rather a sequence of career and education decisions I had made that over the course of a couple of years lead me onto this path. While I would like to say that it was a fully thought-through trajectory, I do consider it more as a combination of overall determination and luck.

One social listening capability she’d recommend – and why:

This capability would be being able to manipulate large datasets that contain unsolicited opinions of brands’ past, current and potential clientele and gathering insight into their product and overall life experiences.

Nicki Zink, Digital Intelligence Lead at Purple Strategies

purple-strategiesThe ‘go to’ story or elevator pitch to describe her work:

The stakeholders you care about are constantly discussing information that can be powerful to your brand. At Purple, we utilize digital intelligence to find where the people you care about are talking, dissect what they’re saying and translate it into insights and strategies that can help you meet your goals.

Data intelligence career path:

I started my career as a journalist and originally saw social and digital media as another platform to reach and curate a loyal audience. When I was working at ABC News and under pressure to deliver growth in social media followers and digital video views, I started digging deeper into our owned channels’ analytics and how our audience was responding to content we produced, and further discussing topics we reported on. From there, I was able to use digital intelligence to create a content strategy that increased our Twitter following by 109% and our video views, across platforms, by 145%. From that moment I knew there was so much power that could be harnessed by simply listening to audiences, so I decided to pivot from journalism to digital intelligence and insights.

One social listening capability she’d recommend – and why:

Mastering Boolean search writing. It’s the foundation for any social or traditional media listening analysis. If you start with a junk search, the insights you uncover will also be junk. Spending time to ensure you have a clean search that delivers on your objective will make certain you can also deliver the best findings to your colleagues and/or clients.

Savanna Wood, Manager of Digital Marketing at Jacksonville Jaguars

jaguarsThe ‘go to’ story or elevator pitch to describe her work:

Working with the Jaguars for several seasons now, I have had an opportunity to do a lot of different things. My ultimate goal – that our team is continuing to work toward achieving – is full marketing automation. We have a very robust CRM (customer relationship management) system here in Jacksonville. The goal of that system is to track a user from the time that they enter our website, opt into email communications, become a season ticket member, enter our stadium, and purchase a drink at concession stand two on the lower level.

In order to start the process of achieving this, we work very closely with our analytics team to deliver and score new leads that enter our database via sweepstakes, social media, etc. Those leads are scored based on their likelihood to become a season ticket member, and the process continues from there.

It is important to note that customer intelligence took on a new scope when mobile tickets became more of the norm. Digital tickets allowed us to get data on those that transferred tickets and use them for leads that turn into revenue and allowed for much better tracking of not only entry into a game but also behavior within the stadium.

Data intelligence career path:

I noticed early on in my career that data was the one thing that was most difficult to argue with, and I honestly think that I have always been wired with a data-driven approach from the start. Data takes your suggested direction from subjective to objective. I vividly remember having a conversation with my peers regarding sponsored content performance on digital and social media. The question quickly became “I know it doesn’t look that great, but how do you know that the performance is worse?” I thought to myself, I guess I really don’t know for certain. A few months later, we turned around a large project that leaned into the “WHY” and started leveraging that data to adjust placement and ultimate inclusion of sponsors across all of our content to make it as natural and organic as possible.

That is a small example that ultimately became a standardized part of our post-season process. You have to examine the performance of emails, text messages, push notifications, social posts, etc. OFTEN. You have to look at the data to make sure that the effort you are putting in a content series is fruitful via impressions and engagement. You need to A/B test your copy and paid advertising tactics and examine that data based on what achieves the highest click-through. Data examination needs to be a weekly part of your process.

One social listening capability she’d recommend – and why:

I wish I would have known about the benefits of social listening a few years ago. The reason I say that is because it goes back to be point of objective vs. subjective. It’s really easy for us to say that we are seeing a trend on social, but it is another to be able to put a scaled data point behind it. As a real example, we have had several coaching changes over the last few years in Jacksonville. We have also had some challenging seasons. We have made the term “sentiment analysis” a regular part of our reporting. What is the sentiment of the Jaguars before the coaching change? What is it after? Is it positive or negative? Which players should we be using in a marketing campaign? Which players have the highest amount of chatter/engagement? Should we be using them in our latest piece of creative?

All of these questions are ones that we couldn’t answer with data before social listening. In fact, we are even leveraging the sentiment analysis scores to drive our selection of coaches for season ticket renewal videos. When we are asked “why this coach?” … we can objectively point to the WHY. As an organization, we will continue to leverage social listening capabilities to drive our overall strategy and better enlighten the leaders of our company on brand sentiment.

Ashley McHugh, Research Director at Memphis Tourism

ashleyThe ‘go to’ story or elevator pitch to describe her work:

Basically, it’s my job to find out what really motivates people to travel to Memphis and Shelby County, and how we can amplify those travel motivators in our marketing to encourage more people to visit – to uplift our local economy through tourism by supporting the multitude of one-of-a-kind hotelsdiverse attractions and activitiesunexpected amenities and soulful culinary experiences that make our thriving destination unique.

Certainly, there are some pillars of the Memphis experience that appeal to the vast majority of visitors – like the nightlife on Beale Street and our world-famous barbeque, for example. But what we’ve found is that there’s not one singular experience that motivates every visitor equally. Consumer intelligence allows us to strategically expand our marketing messages to spark interest among our targeted niche audiences. This empowers Memphis Tourism to successfully promote the true diversity of the visitor experience in Memphis and Shelby County – motivating even more travel, further expanding the impact of the visitor economy on our community, and sharing the love more effectively.

Put simply, consumer intelligence allows us to grow our audience in new and meaningful ways, without diminishing the fundamental power of the core pillars of our visitor experience.

Data intelligence career path:

Probably my first revelation about the critical importance of data-driven marketing came early in my tenure at a boutique marketing agency in Memphis, RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy. I was designing the annual marketing plan for a new client, a small practice of medical specialists who relied on patient referrals to grow their business.

Our working assumption was that expanding brand awareness in their referral network was our main priority. However, after diving into the data, it became clear that, while there were hundreds of medical professionals who had referred patients to this practice over the years, there was a small cadre of doctors – maybe a dozen – responsible for referring over half of all patients seen at this specialty clinic, essentially “super-referrers.” What was more important was that this cadre was static; our client hadn’t lost any super-referrers over time, which was good, but they also hadn’t recruited new ones.

Just like that, what started out as a high-funnel plan to spark awareness became a mid-funnel plan to build loyalty. Needless to say, it fundamentally underscored the importance of leveraging data to understand your audience – and I never looked back.

One social listening capability she’d recommend – and why:

So often in social media analytics, we only hear what we’re actively listening for. If you only read the comments and replies to your owned social channels, you’ll get a snapshot of what your loyal fans think of your brand, sure – but you aren’t getting the complete picture. If you want to innovate, you have to be able to hear what people are saying about your brand – and the contextual landscape that surrounds your brand – even when you aren’t in the room. In fact, it might be even more important to know what’s being said when your brand isn’t being mentioned directly. My recommendation to a new user of a social media analytics tool would be to start with a blank slate and an open mind, then follow the data and narrow your scope from there. For me, that’s often when the real insights begin to take shape.

Sydney Perotti, Analyst, Consumer Relations & Digital Innovation at PepsiCo

pepsicoThe ‘go to’ story or elevator pitch to describe her work:

As an Analyst on the Consumer Relations team it’s my job to inform various other teams across PepsiCo on what consumers are telling us about our recipes, marketing campaigns, new product innovations, and much more. Therefore, the data I typically work with to identify common consumer questions, praises, complaints, and suggestions associated with specific brands and, at times, specific products, is purely natural language text in the form of social posts, emails, etc.

For example, when the majority of our consumers reach out to one of our brands with a specific question about a product asking, “How do I read the best before/expiration code on the package?” it can inform code printing changes to make the expiration codes more legible and clear, FAQ creation on brand websites explaining specific types of codes, and additional education on pack. With consumer data like this we can carefully and intelligently make changes to our products that are informed by the consumer directly.

Data intelligence career path:

At Northwestern University I majored in History and Sociology because of how interested I am in the way society continues to evolve and adapt to our ever-changing world.  Upon looking for opportunities after graduation I found that I had a deep curiosity about consumer behavior which led me to my first job as a Business Analyst at an ad agency working on The Clorox Company account for brands like Glad, Liquid Plumr, Clorox, and PineSol.

I realized during those several crucial years that I loved working with data in the CPG space that a consumer narrative and could further explain shopping behaviors both digitally and at brick and mortar locations.

Now, in my current position at PepsiCo on the Consumer Relations team I have the pleasure of working with direct consumer contact and social listening data that gives me a clear view into what consumers are telling our brands about their experiences with our products and how they use social media to express other concerns, praises, questions, and suggestions. Continuing to explore this curiosity I have in the consumer journey fuels my desire to continue working with rich data that provides essential color to any brand’s narrative.

One social listening capability she’d recommend – and why:

Quid’s custom data upload tool is absolutely essential to our team as we primarily work with natural language data.  The tool’s ability to code for sentiment, pull out keywords and phrases, and group data together quickly and intelligently saves me hours of time compared to doing the heavy lifting manually by reading through and organizing every tweet, email, post, and comment, a consumer shares.

Tkeyah Lake, Digital Director at Betty & Smith

betty-and-smithThe ‘go to’ story or elevator pitch to describe her work:

My elevator pitch for describing what I do to people is: I help organizations to understand and activate their key audiences through data-driven digital campaigns in order to elicit action.

Data intelligence career path:

One of my first campaigns, an advocacy effort aimed at shifting sentiment among farmers and farm workers, helped propel me down the data intelligence path. It opened my eyes to the importance of data intelligence in helping to reach and engage key audiences, particularly vulnerable communities.

My curiosity and thirst for learning more helped me to get to where I am today. Once I learn a new concept or skill, I find ways to incorporate what I have learned into an active campaign. Not being afraid to try something new has helped me in my career.

One social listening capability she’d recommend – and why:

A capability I would recommend to a person new in the field is being able to synthesize data (and create a data-driven report that tells a story). If you are able to understand, analyze and communicate data/analytics/metrics to others with ease, you have the power to impart change. Data is the key, and it requires a special person to know how to use it to unlock the right door.

Shelina Taki, Director of Strategic Planning & Consumer Insights at PMG

pmgThe ‘go to’ story or elevator pitch to describe her work:

When people ask me what I do I tell them that the short answer is that my job is to help brands find their way into not just the lives, but also the hearts and minds of the people they want to reach. The longer answer is that on a daily basis I’m working through various forms of research and analysis including data-driven insights, cultural context, macro global trends, and micro human truths to help establish the best possible relationship between brands and their target audiences.

Data intelligence career path:

During the Great Recession of 2008/2009 I saw firsthand how important it was to use data and numbers not just to report sales, earnings, and funnel metrics, but also to understand the emotions and overarching trends behind those numbers. At the time I was working on a large automotive client, and I quickly saw how macro-economic trends like gas prices and housing starts were tied back to individual human behavior – why people were hesitant to buy or make certain decisions, why behavior changed even for those who were relatively secure during the recession, and which brands were able to withstand the economic turmoil of a recession.

The connectivity behind all of those forces was so fascinating to me, and prompted me to spend the rest of my career to date studying not just data-driven insights, but also cultural shifts and human behavior, and the driving forces behind both. One thing that I always remind myself of is that statistics don’t drive people – people drive statistics, and we have to be cognizant of that in the work we do as marketers.

One social listening capability she’d recommend – and why:

One of my favorite features in NetBase is the Net Sentiment measurement. I often use that measure and filter my conversation against different verticals, interests, and even brands that I may be examining within the context of a topic. It helps me gauge how the audience for a particular topic is feeling/speaking about various interests. I can approach potential initiatives with that information, and it has been very helpful in a lot of the work I’ve done as a marketer and researcher.

America Lyle, MarComm Analytics Manager at ICF Next

icf-nextThe ‘go to’ story or elevator pitch to describe her work:

My job is to use data to make informed recommendations to my clients about internal and external communication activities. Where the data is coming from and what it directly (or indirectly) informs is the most interesting part about my job. My day can go from analyzing performance of paid ads to conducting an influencer network analysis to visualizing responses from employee pulse surveys… and much, much more!

Data intelligence career path:

I certainly began my career as a communications generalist but quickly fell into a role within communication analytics.

My introduction to communications data began with social listening projects – those were intriguing from the get-go. Since then, I have naturally pivoted into more complex and various type of data analysis. Additionally, as a young professional, I see data as a way to make myself heard in a room full of senior executives. Data not only informs my perspectives and recommendations but helps me confidently defend them.

One social listening capability she’d recommend – and why:

All brands should conduct an organic conversation theme analysis. Understanding what people are saying about your brand without being directly prompted (ad, owned social post, etc.) lets you know whether brand initiatives are working. Are people talking about your brand? What are they saying? How do they feel about it? Do they care?

Additionally, a theme analysis often leads to the discovery of interesting pockets of consumer conversation your brand may be able to directly engage with – further strengthening the relationship with your audience.

Luz Bickert, Sr Manager, Social Media at Chili’s

chilisThe ‘go to’ story or elevator pitch to describe her work:

Yes! When telling people what I do and how I do it beyond posting superficially on social media, I lean on the Audience 3D exercise Chili’s did in partnership with NetBase in order to understand what our audience on social are particularly interested in. That way, the brand isn’t having a close-ended conversation but rather talking to our audience about what they want to talk about, and relating that to the brand.

Data intelligence career path:

When I first started my career on social, I had not even scrapped the surface with data intelligence. I was intimidated by it but later learned that social data is the best tool to drive a brand’s social strategy forward. Without it, the social approach is in vain.

One social listening capability she’d recommend – and why:

I recommend NetBase Enterprise in order to understand what is being said about your brand. We often have perceptions of our brand social conversation solely on what’s being posted on owned channels and this doesn’t even begin to tell the full brand story. To fully understand social listening on your brand, you must look outside and understand emerging topics and trends to guide your social approach.

And that’s all of them! Wonderful insight offered and we’re honored to serve as a trusted social and market intelligence tool for each. To learn more pro tips about social media analytics or ways to capture consumer and market intelligence, reach out for a demo!

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