MAD Perspectives Blog

Data Lessons Learned From Sports Broadcasting

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I attended the Sports Video Group Summit with a client this week. SVG as indicated by its name, focuses on the business and technology of creating and distributing sports content. Everyone is a sports fan at some level. That doesn't mean you participate in fantasy leagues or count down the moment until the next SportsCenter broadcast, but it does mean you might have kids participating in soccer, swimming, gymnastics or even fencing and archery. 

Sports is all about the statistics. Sure, you thought it was about athleticism. But think about it - avid sports fans can reel off volumes of statistics in the form of batting averages, rushing yards, split times, win/loss records, etc. Those stats are data. Sports is flooded with data and those fans who participate in fantasy leagues, live for the data. However, what about those fans who just want to enjoy a game on TV? Do they love the stats? Do they love seeing their screen covered with mounds of data?

This was part of the conversation at this week's SVG Summit. As live sports producers consider the technology available to them (e.g., 4K cameras that allow them to show you the sweat on the lineman's brow) graphics is a big part of how  sports broadcasting has evolved. Graphics highlight boundaries, player movements, optimal trajectories, and they are the tool to portray data (aka statistics) on air.

It's no wonder that large screen TVs are popular, you need a large screen just to incorporate all that data! The question is - does all that data enhance the fan experience? Is the data complementary or intrusive? Producers have to make decisions about how the event is portrayed. Directors make decisions about camera angles. Producers own the look, feel and context. Yep, context.

Sports broadcasting is storytelling in a, usually, fast paced environment.  Decisions are made about how to add data that provides context to a given moment. This is contextual data. In the retail space this is data about where you might be as a consumer about to make a purchase. In sports productions, this is data that illuminates the viewers understanding of what just happened (or is about to happen) on the field of play. 

The challenge is to avoid crossing the line where the data becomes intrusive and no longer enhances the experience. This is a lesson we can all learn from, data is fantastic when we have a well-defined reason for collecting and analyzing it. Data for the sake of data is overwhelming, and perhaps a bit boring. When there is intention and context, data becomes insightful, helpful and hopefully - actionable.

What's your perspective?

Trends Proving True in 2014

Peggy Dau - Monday, July 14, 2014

I love this info graphic as it was created earlier this year and uses data to support its definition of the trends I've seen in 2014. I've been writing about them and their application for the media & entertainment and telco industries. It's a nice mid-year reminder that the trends are also the realities for clients as they invest to improve their storytelling capabilities.

What's your perspective?

Finding the Story in the Data

Peggy Dau - Monday, June 09, 2014

Batting averages. Market share. Global warming. Presidential front-runner. What do all of these statements have in common? They are statements based on data. They are the beginning of a story. Whether it is a journalist reporting or an analyst writing or a brand positioning, the basis of the story is in the data. It's little wonder that big data analytics has become the catchphrase for every marketer (myself included!).

We've always been data driven. The only difference now, is that we have MORE data. It has always been able to find the data to support any type of debate. However, now individuals are voluntarily sharing their thoughts and opinions on the internet and social networks. It is the power of this unstructured data, especially when combined with existing structured data from existing systems, that is attractive to brands. They have the opportunity to tailor a story to meet specific, self-defined customer needs. But the challenge lies in how to sift through all that data.

Enter - big data analytics. Analytics is now big business. Every IT company has jumped on the bandwagon. IBM and its Watson supercomputer are positioned to provide personalized advice to doctors, financial analysts or online shippers. While HP Vertica is sifting subscriber data at telecommunications companies around the globe and analyzing social data feeds for NASCAR.  Not to be outdone, Teradata is providing greater customer insight to the hospitality industry and food suppliers.  Each of these vendors is providing the 'secret sauce' to help their customers connect with their customers by telling the most relevant story. And, it all comes from the data.

A report from Columbia's TOW Center for Digital Journalism, speaks to data-driven journalism. But, hasn't journalism always been data driven? Yes, but instead of having staff researchers manually scour files and reports, or spend hours online searching for the right data, there are an increasing number of tools to help them uncover the data to create or support the story.  They are not alone. The term data scientist has gained great cache in the past few years. Whether it is for advertising firms or for financial services, the value of data has never been higher. 

One only needs to look at the history of US presidential elections.  Remember the predictions Dewey defeating Truman in the 1948 US Presidential election? Newspapers had determined that they had their story and went to print with "Dewey Defeats Truman" on the front page. Perhaps access to more data would have prevented that now famous error.  Today's pollsters have many more tools available to them today as proven by Nate Silver's eerily accurate predictions in the 2012 US Presidential race.

Brands are learning how to tell their stories with a deeper understanding of their customer base. Dove has hit home runs with their ads reflecting real women rather than models. Telecommunications vendors are modifying their marketing outreach to reflect the knowledge they have about subscriber consumption. Advertising conglomerates, perhaps the kings of storytelling, have invested in analytics to improve ROI for their clients. Big Data Analytics is not a passing fad, it is a logical step on the journey for meaningful, measurable communication between individuals and businesses. Have you found your story in the data?

What's your perspective?

Seek Actionable Data Within Big Data

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Before anyone pursues a marketing, sales or product strategy, they collect data. It is data about the market and its trends or needs. It's data about the prospective customer - who are they, where are they, what are their needs? It's data about competitors, their products, their go-to-market strategy, their offer. We collect all this data, and more, to validate our goals and align our strategies.  We desire sales leads, web traffic, sales. We want to understand our position relative to the market, customers and competition.

We've been collecting data for ages. We have gigabytes and petabytes of data, but often we don't know what to do with it. We know we should be utilizing it to support marketing plans and product roadmaps. We collect even more data by deploying social media monitoring solutions, but we can't prioritize actions. We are buried in data - yet Big Data is the Big Buzzword across every industry. The IT industry loves it as it provides them with new solutions for their customers. The promote storage, business intelligence and analytics. Manufacturing, financial services, media, consumer goods and hospitality businesses are interested in any opportunity to better understand their customers and sell more products or services.

So, now we have all this data. What are we going to do with it. Is it even the right data? Can we analyze the data to prioritize customer requirements and then adapt product, marketing and sales strategies to meet those requirements? If we're trying to sell widgets, do we understand how our customers are using those widgets? Have we collected the data that will tell us how our customers want to sell them widgets? This is the potential power of Big Data.

The who, what, where, why and when is the holy grail of Big Data. Understanding the context of that data is the challenge that must be overcome. Sifting through the mounds of data to eliminate that data which is irrelevant is critical. Using human skills to assess the meaning behind a Facebook post or Tweet and then correlating that to other comments can reveal the actionable data (note, not Big Data) needed to develop the right programs to influence customer behavior.

Data has hidden narratives that with the right analysis reveal the story that will compel customers to take action. We can capture and map the data, but we don't always see the underlying story. There is great value in data driven content creation. Social media provides even more customer touch points. It provides marketers with the ability to intelligently segment their customers based on contextual and cultural insight. Don't just settle for a Big Data solution. Consider what data you really need to drive tangible results. Take a step back and consider what kind of data can really impact your strategy.

What's your perspective?

Let's Talk Video

Peggy Dau - Monday, April 02, 2012

It's April and that means its time to talk video.  For the next few weeks, my blogs will focus on video.  We are bombarded by moving images every day.  We share these images, we create content and we tell stories. Broadcasters incorporate YouTube videos into their newscasts.  We create videos for our personal and professional lives.  Businesses use video to explain, educate and inform their customers.  But, secretly, every content creator wants to create the viral video that rages like wildfire across the internet.

I was talking to Glenn Zimmerman of Mad Bear Productions (yes, we "mad" companies must stick together!) about every advertisers dream of creating the Old Spice Guy type commercial.  I asked him for tips on how to make a viral video.  His initial response was what is "viral"?  Is it about getting millions of hits or is it about five hundred views by the right people who are ready to take action?  His second comment referenced three attributes which may cause a video to go viral.  They are:  fuzzy animals, a baby or doing something completely insane on camera.  If your video includes any of these three, it has a slightly greater chance of becoming viral.

However, do any of these three elements support your overall strategy for creating the video in the first place? Video is not and should not be pursued in isolation from your marketing strategy.  It should reinforce and align with your goals.  If you have concerns about your brand and what it means, don't jump into creating a video. The video should reinforce your brand, represent your voice and tell a story that your audience wants to hear.  

When creating the video, pay attention to what outcome you are seeking.  What action do you want your customers to take? Do you want them to simply talk about your brand? Or, do you want them buy something, attend a conference or webinar or schedule a meeting? Be clear in your communication and make it easy of your customers to take action. At the same time, have fun in relaying your content.  Video is about a creative process.  

In the coming weeks, I'll share further tips from Mad Bear Productions, provide thoughts on what "social video" means, and reflect on what the professionals are talking about at this year's NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) conference.  Video is now an intrinsic part of our lives thanks firstly to TV, but also the internet and increasingly smartphones and tablets. Video is memorable storytelling.  How will you tell your story?

What's your perspective?

The Social Media Kaleidoscope

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, March 07, 2012

All it takes is a little twist to shift the picture in a kaleidoscope. Your digital media strategy is like a kaleidoscope with a variety of targets, participants, content and platforms. The challenge is in how to adapt to the shifts. Sharon Salzberg said "Life is like an ever shifting kaleidoscope. A slight change and all patterns alter." Social media is influencing the shape of new patterns everywhere.

Think about a kaleidoscope. If one crystal shifts, the whole pattern changes.  Each pattern is beautiful in its own way, yet we prefer some of them more than others. But, we can never get back to that one special pattern. Social media has the same impact. Each statement we make, each comment we receive shifts market perception. Sometimes these shifts are minor while other times these shifts are dramatic!  Fear of a changing pattern has inhibited many companies from embracing social media in a meaningful way. I would argue that a different perspective, is not necessarily a bad perspective. We can learn from our customers, takes lessons from disappointments and adapt to new perspectives.

The plethora of established (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) and emerging (Pinterest) social platforms can create confusion as to which networks can best help businesses achieve their goals. As always, it's about alignment of objectives. Shifting markets, expectations and technologies force a shift in the use of content and technology. However, the constant is in defining a strategy that is reviewed on a regular basis. Any strategy can be tweaked based on its success or failure. This tweaking can be considered the twisting of the kaleidoscope.  

Your aim is to find the right mix of traditional communication tools, online video, social media or other solutions to share your valuable content. My kaleidoscope shifts a little bit every day as I try different communication methods, learn from my clients, listen to their customers and adapt their stories to achieve results. I have followed new tweets, unlinked contacts, liked and unliked Facebook pages and adapted my blog to bring insight and value. I still work with clients developing traditional content such as data sheets, powerpoint and white papers. Their audiences demand it. What does your customers need from you? How does your kaleidoscope shift?

What's your perspective?

Social Media Storytelling 201

Peggy Dau - Thursday, January 05, 2012

Every company has a story to tell.  There is the story about its creation and growth.  There are stories about its products and solutions.  There are insights about its impact on society, markets and individuals.  These stories are told through a wide variety of communication platforms. Social Media 101 would recommend defining a plan aligned with your strategy, then using the most popular social media platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogging) to fulfill that plan. As we enter 2012, lets look at some additional tools that will expand the audience for your business stories!

1. Slideshare - As the name indicates, share your presentations.  Not only can companies post presentations and whitepapers, they can create audio to complement the information in the presentations. Slideshare is great outlet for establishing your position in the market, sharing insights in a visual manner, promoting new products, providing "how to" content, and more.  Tell stories through graphics, pictures and key highlights.

2. LinkedIn Groups - Every LinkedIn pundit promotes the benefits of a good profile, increasing connections and gathering recommendations. They also encourage involvement in groups, yet many of the individuals that I talk to don't realize the value of groups. There is a group for just about any industry, technology, profession or interest.  Your company can create groups specific to product categories or market needs. It provides an alternative channel to promote your company's value. Groups allow members to ask and answer questions between themselves or the group moderator. Stories evolve through these interactions.

3. HootSuite or TweetDeck - Simplify your monitoring and posting of social commentary. Each platform allows users to establish multiple accounts (i.e., on behalf of clients), receive notifications, schedule updates and view multiple columns of content on a single screen. These tools provide a single destination for managing your posts on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, WordPress, Ping and others. They provide you with instant access to content to keep your story relevant.

4.  Apps - 2011 saw the rise of the app as a means of sharing content on mobile devices.  Given the restrictions of these devices, apps streamline user access and interaction. Without apps, smartphones and tablets would not be enjoying such high levels of success. The challenge for B2B companies is identifying and developing apps to address employee and customer needs. Apple launched its B2B App Store in late 2011, acknowledging the unique needs of this market segment.  Apps simplify how employees or customers can engage with your company while on the go.  Some broad ideas for relevant apps could be customer service FAQs, order management, product highlights and demos, need feeds incorporating corporate, industry and social content.  Apps help you interact in a new way and share your targeted elements of your story.

Coordinating cross channel communication efforts will be the 2012 challenge for sales, marketing and customer support. Creating and adapting content for use across multiple platforms takes time and talent. Companies will face resource challenges to manage content development and distribution. In parallel, social platforms continue to emerge and there are several technologies that all marketing strategists should be addressing. They include the use of mobile devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets), adoption of monitoring and analytics platforms and the importance of location based services.  

Be aware of how any platform can benefit your company's goals as well as increasing awareness and interaction. Use the same methodology you've been using to align and integrate your communications strategy. Define your audiences, the content they need and the best communication channels. Take your strategy to the next level -  testing and analyzing platforms relevant for your business and your customers.

What's your perspective?

What Does Your LinkedIn Profile Say About You?

Peggy Dau - Thursday, August 11, 2011

i'm currently helping a business consulting business complete a 360º view of their consultants.  Given that their consultants are their key assets, my goal is to make sure that clients understand the value these consultants provide.  We are doing this using LinkedIn. 

As is the case with many happily employed individuals, they probably have a LinkedIn account and profile.  However, they have not taken the time to develop a robust, meaningful view of their capabilities.  Many users of LinkedIn see it simply as a platform for storing contact details or job hunting.  In fact, it is much more.

LinkedIn is your opportunity to share your value with prospective clients, colleagues and employers.  There are few meetings that occur these days where the participants have not checked each other out on LinkedIn.  In fact, a colleague shared a story about his high school age son who is caddying at the local golf course this summer.  His son is checking out the individuals for whom is caddying before he heads out to the course.  This gives him some insight which allows him to introduce conversation of interest to the golfers.  Guess what the end result is?  Bigger tips!

As I work with clients on their profiles, we are seeking ways to amplify their value.  This can be done through development of an interesting summary, calling out key traits and behaviors that differentiate the individual.  In addition, profiles include the ability to reflect links to key pages within corporate websites, online videos, blogs or publications.  Of course, one of the best ways to validate your capabilities is through recommendations.  The best example I've seen is a colleague who invited many of his connections to provide recommendations.  He was shocked by the overwhelming response.  He was able to win recommendations from teammates, managers, colleagues in different organizations, business partners, and most impressively, competitors!  This says a lot about his style of doing business!

In addition, LinkedIn enables you to join groups which show your areas of interest, list specialties or outside interests, which help those searching for key capabilities.  Or, select from a group of apps such as Tripit, or Amazon to share other aspects of your professional life.  You decide what represents your value.  You decide how to organize it on your profile page.  This is your profile. 

Business is about relationships.  People want to business with people they know and trust.  How about using LinkedIn to speed up the process of getting to know each other?  Share your interests, value and capabitilities.  It is your opportunity to shine!

What's your perspective?

Broadcast Industry Lessons for Telling Your Corporate Stories

Peggy Dau - Monday, September 27, 2010

I’ve been thinking a lot about the broadcast industry since my return from IBC2010 in Amsterdam, two weeks ago.  As I talk to companies about their use of online vide, social media and other digital media solutions there are many topics which heavily leverage the experience of the largest content owners, broadcasters.  Broadcasters are in the business of creating, managing and distributing content.  They are telling stories to inform, educate and entertain.

Corporations also have stories to tell and they have an increasing number of channels via which they can tell their stories.  The days of static brochures and websites are gone, or at the very least, rapidly disappearing.  Broadcasters have been forced to adopt ‘new media’ solutions to remain relevant.  These new media solutions include:

-          video-on-demand via their branded websites plus social sites such as YouTube

-          blogging to share another perspective on a story or to invite ongoing discussion

-          tweeting on Twitter and posting on Facebook to increase demographic, geographic or socio-graphic reach

-          distributing content via Internet, 3G/4G networks and Wi-Fi to devices of all types

These communication channels allow broadcasters to reach their customers in a new way, in a more interactive, personal and some would say, authentic, manner.  Do corporations in the manufacturing, financial services, healthcare or high tech industries, for example, need to be sharing content in the same way?  The answer is, YES!   Corporations have many stories to tell.  In addition to information about their products, they have insights on their industry and customers.  They can discuss company vision, history, philanthropy or culture, business challenges. They can train their customers, business partners or employees.  Companies have many stories to tell and many channels through which they can reach their customers.

What can they learn from broadcasters?  They can leverage an understanding of:

-          Who is your target customer or audience?  What kind of content do they want to see or read? Product information, customer support issues, competitive analysis, industry benchmarks are all possible topics.   Understanding the stories that need to be told can help you develop a content strategy addressing the needs of your customers.


-          What format does your content need to be in?  Various types of content such as audio, video, pictures or text will tell the story in different ways.  Often video is the most memorable, but it can also be the most expensive.   Text provides a way to analyze a situation from multiple perspectives and easily distributed and saved.  It is important to consider the content that format that will make the best impact for the target customer.


-          How and where will you distribute your content?    Where are you customers when you tell your story?  Will you need to re-purpose content for different uses?  For example, should an executive video be prepared for distribution to both and mobile?  Is it effective if consumed on a mobile phone?  Or, how about a product training video?  Is it useful for it to be posted on YouTube as well as your corporate website?


-          How will you manage your content?  How and where will you store it and find it when you need to access it?  There are metadata (the information about the content) and taxonomy (the hierarchical classification of content) issues to address early on.  Will you need access to the content on a regular basis or is it possible to store it remotely?


These are just a few questions that broadcasters address every day.  They seek to maximize impact while streamlining and managing costs related to the production and management of their content.  Content IS their business.  As your company considers its use of digital media solutions to communicate, consider the relevance of each channel for reaching your desired audience.   You also want to maximize your impact and differentiate your market offer.  Think like a broadcaster when telling your story and incorporating different types of media.  You’ll soon have a multi-channel strategy that expands your reach and improves interaction with your customers.  How do you tell your corporate story?

What’s your perspective?

Tips for Incorporating Online Video into Your Communications Strategy

Peggy Dau - Monday, July 19, 2010

I recently read an IDC Whitepaper about the 360º Approach to Video.  I've written about companies using a 360º approach to define marketing strategies  and was definitely interested in IDC's opinion on video.  I consider video one of many tools that any company can use to connect and communicate with customers, partner or employees.  Video is memorable and is used for executive communications, customer education, employee training, product demos, customer testimonials and more.  Video is personal and can be consumed live or on-demand in the form of streaming media, webinar or teleconference.

The IDC whitepaper, which is sponsored by Online Video Platfrom vendor Kyte, primarily highlight features of privately funded Kyte.  However, it also touches on some relevants shifts in the market place:

1. Websites have become more interactive.  The days of one-way communication are gone and customers or consumers have an expecation for enticing, visually appealing, interactive sites.

2.  Video is everywhere.  This means video is on your website, on YouTube or Vimeo channels, on Facebook,on mobile devices and many other locations or devices.

3.  Content comes from many sources.  While companies produce a lot of their own content (i.e., executive communications, product training, ads, customer testimonials, etc.), they also invite customers to submit their own user-generated content

If you are thinking about how to incorporate video into your communications strategy.  Consider the following tips:

1.  PurposeWhat are you communicating with the video?  Are you educating, informing, inviting, or sharing?  These are all different types of stories and each story may be best told using different styles.  For example, if your video is to share your quarterly financial status, this is likely a professionally produced event with a well structured script.  However, if your are sharing information about an upcoming event or new product, you might decide that authenticity and personality are more important.  While you still have a script the style of the video may be more casual.  Alternatively, you may invite customers to share their experiences at an event or training.  They thoughts could be capture live and in person or via video uploads to a defined site.  If you define your goals for using video, it will make it easier to make decisions about what kind of content to create. Tip:  Align purpose and video style.

2.  CustomerWhere and how will your customers consume your video?  Are they in an office, at home or on the go?  Will they access content using their PC or a mobile device?  What operating system, browser, video player or video codecs will these devices use?  Is there an expection for live or social network interaction?  Understanding the answers to these questions, will help define the requirements for any online video solutions that you consider.  Tip:  Undertanding your target audience and their communication needs will drive business and technical requirements.

2. InfrastructureHow will you handle video content?  Will you produce and manage your video assets on an in-house system or will you leverage an online service?  In either case, consider its features and functionalities (i.e., codecs supported, bitrates, end user interface, ease of use, server requirements, metadata model, social/community features, digital rights management, analytics and reporting, etc.) related to your goals.  In addition, consider how it will integrate with other enterprise applications, impact on corporate network, level of expertise required and support models.  Tip:  Align infrastructure requirements to your goals to identify the relevant solution.

Content is valuable.  Video is memorable.  Create a valuable and memorable online video strategy thinking about who your customers are, where they are and how will you need to be able to share video content with them.  For a list of leading online video platform vendors check out:, ir

How are you using video to communicate your story? 

What's your perspective?