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So What? Third party data to inform your marketing

So What? Marketing Analytics and Insights Live

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In this week’s episode of So What? we focus on third party data to inform your marketing. We walk through publicly available data sources, the process to follow, and what to do with the information. Catch the replay here:

So What? Third party data to inform your marketing

In this episode you’ll learn: 

  • What third party data sources are statistically valid and reliable
  • What metrics to pay attention to
  • Ways to make use of the data including Google Data Studio

Upcoming Episodes:

  • How to spot trends in marketing data

Have a question or topic you’d like to see us cover? Reach out here:

AI-Generated Transcript:

Katie Robbert 0:27

Well, Hey, everyone, Happy Thursday.

Welcome to another episode of so what the marketing analytics, analytics and insights live show which is easy for me to say, I am joined by Chris, I am joined by John.

And today we’re talking about third party data to inform your marketing.

You know, we often talk a lot about what you can do with your own data and making sure that the data that you’re collecting is impactful.

But we wanted to take a little bit of a turn, because we recognize that there may be other data sources that already exists that have already been collected, that you can use to supplement your data or you can use to inform your marketing plans.

And so Chris is going to walk through what some of those data sets are, that you should be paying attention to, and that might actually inform some upcoming trends within your own marketing, depending on industry.

So Chris, blow us away.

Christopher Penn 1:18

No blowing way just yet, let’s let’s do this.

Because obviously can just start jumping right in, but want to take a few minutes to talk about how to think about this kind of thing, because a lot of the time and I’m like the number one most guilty person, oh, there’s just kind of rush right and say, let’s play with stuff, you know, like a kid.

And, and there really isn’t a point and you can end up wasting a lot of time.

So I’m gonna go ahead and just bring up this diagram.

Anytime we’re talking about any kind of reporting or analytics and things, there’s this four things we need in order, we need to have some kind of goal, right? What are we trying to prove? That’s kind of like if you’re baking a cake, right? Maybe like your recipe, like, what’s the cake supposed to look like? what’s what’s supposed to taste like? things? It’s, it’s a cave, you would call requirements gathering, right?

Katie Robbert 2:06

I would.

Christopher Penn 2:08

Second thing would be the ingredients, which for us in this kind of thing is gonna be the data itself.

What do you have, right? What do you have to work with? And part of the reason we’re talking about third party data, and we should be clear, we’re talking about third party publicly available data, not the third party in terms like cookies and stuff.

That’s a totally different show, which was two weeks ago.

This is like, what data do you have? And what quality is it and part of the discussion today is going to be around? What data is out there? And should you trust it or not? The third is the skills.

What What do you know how to do again, if we’re talking about baking a cake, and you’ve never once turned on the oven? It might not go so well.

It could actually go really badly? And the fourth, of course, are all the tools.

What are the things that we need to do? And the biggest mistake that we see people making all the time is they start at the tools like oh, what tool? Should I be using this? Like? No, it’s like, I have a really great waffle iron, right? But if I’m making soup, it doesn’t matter how good the wallflower it is, it’s going to be the wrong choice.

So when we’re talking about third party data, we have to go through these steps in order to make sure that we know what it is that we’re trying to do.

So Katie, yeah, what do we want to cook today? What kind of what kind of thing that would? Would you find interesting, as an executive of a consulting company?

Katie Robbert 3:37

As the executive, I would probably want to know, if marketing budgets are going to start opening up again, because we are marketing consultants, and therefore I want to know, are companies starting to do better? Are they recovering post pandemic? We’re not full post, but you know what, I mean, like people are getting vaccinated, things are opening up.

And so I want to know, will budgets be opening up? Will they be bringing on consultants like us again?

Christopher Penn 4:07

Okay, is a great recipe.

That’s, you know, we know what kind of cake we want, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s going to be? I don’t know, I have no

Katie Robbert 4:15

cake layered with $100 bills.

Christopher Penn 4:18

Okay, that works.

So that’s the recipe, we got that down.

Next thing is, what do we have for ingredients? What’s out there? One of the great things about the internet and in digital government stuff is that many, many, many different data sources exists that are credible data sources, that you can go and get third party data from.

I’ll show you just a few of these.

So this one is Fred, which is the Federal Reserve economic database, which is operated by the United States Federal Reserve Bank of St.

Louis, which is part of the overall Federal Reserve System, tons of economic data, if it’s about money, or things that affect money.

It’s in here, and there’s 793,000 different data points, which is a phenomenal catalog.

And this kind of thing exists in many, many different places.

So the United States government operates, where you can go in and find almost anything under the sun literally under the sun, you can, there’s actually a data series from the Department of Energy, that tells you the sunlight per square foot of the entire continental United States.

So like, it’s, it’s how much sunlight things get.

And thankfully, we’re not the only ones who do this, if you are in the European Union data that Europa EU, again, 10s of 1000s of data sets from around the the EU on everything you could possibly imagine in languages that I can’t see, can’t read.

But they’re in there.

With some great data sources, if you’re in the United Kingdom,, for example, I get lots and lots of data sets of all sorts of things you can plan.

even smaller governments, like New Zealand has its own data portal.

So if you want to learn more about what’s going on in New Zealand.

So the nice thing is that for the most part, major nations have done a really good job of publishing data.

And when you use their data, they tell you where it came from the provenance of it, the lineage, which is all very important, where you can start getting into trouble as we start going off, outside of, I guess, official government set.

So one of the most popular.

Katie Robbert 6:30

Good, I have a question once you get past this,

Christopher Penn 6:35

one of those popular sites out there if that people love is Kaggle.


Kaggle allows users and companies and stuff to publish data, you know, survival patterns, or cancer and stuff like that Marvel Comics characters and sets.

The challenge with some of this stuff is again, lineage, which means where did it come from? How was it put together, who put it together, a lot of the time, these datasets are put together by people.

So there may be some issues with credibility.

The other place that is relatively new that a lot of folks like is Google datasets.

So go just type in Google data set search.

And this takes us to a dataset

So again, let’s put in, let’s actually do management consulting.

Here, you know, Google has all these different datasets of things, it’s found online, that you could get.

This is a case where again, you got to be careful, some of these are credible data sources.

Some of these not as much as some of these are even repackaged, like anything by statistics is data that they took from somebody else, and is highly suspect.

I would not use statistics, especially because they also charge money to access publicly available data.

So avoid them when you can.

So Katie, what is your question?

Katie Robbert 7:56

So one of the challenges that I used to run into so when I worked on the healthcare side of the world, I would often try to supplement my data with publicly available data.

And so the sources that I had access to were things like samsa, enesta, Ted’s and set, Dawn.

The problem with those data sets is that even if they’re published a month ago, they’re only good through the end of 2019.

And so if I’m trying to make decisions, or I’m trying to understand what’s happening right now, I can’t because the data has a one or two or even three year lag.

It’s not real time data.

So my question is, Chris, so you’re showing us like, Fred, you’re showing us all of these other data cups, how up to date, are they and how current? Are they enough that I can make decisions with it as of right now?

Christopher Penn 8:55

It depends.

But the tears, and I’ll show you how you make that determination, it’s pretty management consulting here.

And with all these different portals, you get a sense of things like frequencies, how many and you can choose, do I want to do this monthly, quarterly annually, things like that.

What are the sources, the releases, things like that was the geography.

So a big part is you can tell, and Fred even dates it in here.

These are the times you know, this is when the last, the last interval this thing was, was run.

And so you can get a lot of that freshness measure in here.

If you need something that is faster, like say daily data, you’re going to have to get really fancy.

And by really fancy, I mean, you’re going to take your existing data that you do have it has a time, a significant time lag.

And run correlation analysis to data that you have is fashio say like, you know, if you go to and get Google Trends for certain terms, and see Is there a strong enough correlation with the fresh day data and your existing back data to be able to say like, yes, we can use this as a predictive tool, we can use this as a, a, a fresher source of data until we get the bank data, and you’re constantly going back and back testing and things like that, that would be the way to handle that more complicated one.

So let’s look at here.

So we have a 215 data series about management consulting, let’s look at, I’m gonna go with producer price index by industry for management consulting services.

So for those who are unfamiliar, the producer price index is what companies charge what kind of money they charge for their services, right.

So in this case, management consulting services, it was really, you know, coming along, this is, by the way, this is a scaled index, where 100 is June 2006.

So it’s basically a almost like a percentage change in pricing over the years, how much over that 2006 benchmark is this.

And we see here things are kind of feel going a little bit down and down in the pandemic hit.

And then suddenly, in January, everybody’s like, Hey, we need consulting help.

To understand like what to do now, like the pandemic, the vaccines are rolling out in some locations and stuff.

So what do we do? And so you have this massive spike in what consulting firms are able to charge.

I see this, I say, hey, Katie, we should probably raise our price.

Katie Robbert 11:27

I would agree.

Christopher Penn 11:31

So now the question is, what do we do with this? How do we get this information, because it’s good to have this bookmarked.

And this alone tells you a lot.

But it would be nice to be able to have it someplace more consolidated.

So there’s a whole bunch of different ways you can do this.

For the easy version.

Like if you want this in a in a nice dashboard, you can just download the data, in this case mode download as a CSV file, and then go over to utility of some kind like Google Sheets, for example, the pop into Google Sheets here.

And yeah, this is the no coding, very low tech approach.

I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to import the thing I just downloaded.

Anytime today, Google,

John Wall 12:19

let’s say this is live without a net here.

Christopher Penn 12:21

This is Yeah, this is live with with nothing.

All right, do and my thing that I just downloaded was go drag that CSV file in and import my data.

And now we can see our series.

There’s our date.

And then there’s our series name.

Let’s call this consulting.

And now if I want to make this into a dashboard, I’ve got my Google Sheet and save, I can go over to something Google Data Studio.

But I just do.

There we go.

And connect Mike to a Google Sheet.

I should see.

John Wall 13:20

Maybe Mountain View, you can do it.

Christopher Penn 13:29

While you’re having the big manage Marketing Show tonight.


Okay, so now I’ve got my table here.

And I can change my metric.

And now start turning this into, say like a nice line chart.

And now we’ve got essentially, what was in that Fred interface.

In a Data Studio dashboard.

This is one of many things I could put in, you know, multiple pages in my Google Sheets.

Now, this is a very manual way of doing this.

This is good for like an ad hoc analysis of something that you have to, you know, present once like if you go into into Google Data Studio now you can actually switch over to view mode here.

You can say I want to present this like a slideshow almost.

And it’ll you can step through your dashboards and stuff, which is kind of fun.

Katie Robbert 14:24

So Chris, the question for you.


What’s the purpose of doing this? If you have the Fred data, couldn’t you just screenshot the front data into your presentation?

Christopher Penn 14:33

You absolutely could.

However, if I want to bring in more than one series, or want to bring in, say some data from like my Google Analytics instance.

So if I wanted to bring in other data sources, Data Studio, let me put it all in one place, which would be better than you know, 20 different slides, you absolutely can just take a screenshot.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

As long as it communicates the information intelligently.

The other thing you may want to do is you may want to do some kind of manipulation on the data that isn’t necessarily available.

In just afraid data.

So for example, with this here, if I on my just on my styling alone, let’s say I want to toss in a trendline, let’s do a polynomial trendline.

And let’s make it a little easier to see and make it red.

So I couldn’t, I can’t, it’s not much of a trend because it’s relatively flat, but you can, you can see, I can start to do a little bit of data analysis with this not a ton, because it is still a visualization tool, first and foremost.

But this would be the basic way of getting at this data and, and putting it into some kind of system.

Now, if you want to get fancy, and be more technical, Fred, and many of these other services allow you to connect them via API’s, right? So and they have a whole list of all the data you can pull, and even different programming tools that will help you in the language of your choice to automatically pull the state in.

So one of the things that I do is I have a script that I wrote in the our programming language using this library.

And for about 40, or 50 different economic indicators.

I pulled them in, and I analyzed them.

So that would be one, I think, really good way of using a lot of this data.

And again, all these different services have API’s, you can sign up for them, they’re all free, while I mean, your tax dollars pay for them.

And then you can turn that into into useful information on your dashboards,

John Wall 16:34

do they not even care about the calls? Or is it one of those deals, if you started hitting it 10,000 times a day somebody would come looking for you.

Christopher Penn 16:41

There are limits, there are limits that that you can have.

Sometimes, though, you get data, that is just you’ve got to manually do something with them.

And there’s no getting around that it just requires a little bit of, you know, mostly copying and pasting.

So let me show you an example of this, that is a really good opening metric, but is not in a user friendly format.

This is the TSA, you’ve got a This is their checklist of traffic travel, through TSA checkpoints, and they have you know, by day for the last two years, this is terrific.

This is really useful information.

Because unlike things that are speculative, like the stock market, or cryptocurrencies or whatever, you can’t fake the number of people walking through a TSA checkpoint, you can’t you know, just just make that up, you actually have to buy an airplane ticket and you know, take your shoes off and all that stuff.

So one of the things that we would like to be able to do is how do we get at this data? Well, the ugly answer is there is no clean way to get at it, what you have to do is you have to fire up the spreadsheet software of your choice.

And as painful as it is, copy and paste it into that software, and then you’ll maintain it somehow.

So I’m going to go ahead, and I have my last entry here was the 17th.

So let’s make a little bit of room.

What’s today Today is 2747.

Ah, alright.

So we have data, I think for the 26th.


And now ugly as it is, and as low tech as it is.

And as painful as it is, we now have this data into in into a format that can now be processed.

Katie Robbert 18:40

I like how you’re calling it ugly, even though it looks exactly the same as the other spreadsheet that you just put together.

And in terms of painful that maybe took you 30 seconds to do.

John Wall 18:50

But it’s not automated, that’s not automated.

There’s a human there, that’s ugly.

Christopher Penn 18:56


There’s an ugly human pushing the keys.

And we don’t like that.

Because again, these are things that I would have to set myself a reminder, like, hey, make sure that you go and do this kind of thing.

Now, what do we do with this information? Well, again, this is a case where we could upload to Google sheets or or, you know, the software choice, I’m gonna actually have a, run it through our because I have an R script that can process that.

And now we zoom into this, we can see our plot our trend line of our travel data.

And now what we’re seeing here is two years and change of the number of passengers going through TSA checkpoints.

You can see pretty clearly when the pandemic really ramped up.

And more importantly, the blue line that blue trend line really now starting to get to the point where you know, it was prior to the pandemic so travel has really started to open up and this is all travel this is business this is leisure This is you name it is a walk through a TSA checkpoint.

You’re counted in this So the idea, or the ideal would be to bring this data into Google Data Studio as well.

In fact, let’s go ahead and do that.

Now open up a second tab here and go take my TSA travel data, it’s gonna do a straight up, copy paste for now.

Maybe, there we go, go into Data Studio and go to add in a resource.

Add in the second page of this sheet.

That’s not refreshed as it.

Okay, refresh that.

Katie Robbert 21:03

What I like about these publicly available data sources is that it’s a good way to validate your assumptions.

And so the assumption as people are getting vaccine is that they would start traveling again.

And now instead of just making a statement, and having people say, Well, how do you know you actually have the data to back up what you assume is happening so that you can make those decisions around your marketing around your different efforts to reach out to your audience?

Christopher Penn 21:35


So let’s go ahead and choose our sheet two here.

There’s our date.

That’s not sheet two, that’s sheet one.

There we go.

We have our date, we have our 2021.


John Wall 21:58

She tried to connect to this.


Katie Robbert 22:03

this is what my charts usually look like is the configuration.

Christopher Penn 22:08

The point being, having those two data series side by side now would allow me to see Okay, I see that things are opening up.

Right, which we saw from our our chart, and that prices management consulting firms are charging has gone up as well.

So we know that demand is up.

Based on the travel data, we know that supply is restricted because prices have gone up right as supply was plentiful prices tend to go down when there’s more supply than there is demand.

And so from a strategy perspective, now the question for us would be well, how much more could we charge? How much more demand is there? How much faster? Should we be ramping up our our sales and marketing? And one of the products? A really good proxy for that particular question would be things like, let’s go back to management consulting.

And we’re gonna look here now at labor data.

Right? So this is going to be labor data.

And let’s just look at the last year.


So the number of employees, you know, there was a, obviously a big drop, let’s actually switch to fiber here.

There was a big drop.

And now suddenly, not only are we back did that, well, those people get rehired.

But now there’s even more.

So there’s a lot of demand here for, you know, the companies are hiring that many more people to deal with the demand.

Right? So we we’ve seen the increase on the pricing side, we’re seeing the increase here on this, this side as well.

Let’s look at things.

Let’s see, professional and business services.

That’s a good data series to look at, again, five years.

Look how many more job openings there are now in professional business services.

So the pandemic happened, right, February 2020, we got back to where we were around November ish.

And now we’re substantially up in terms of the number of openings.

So not only are prices going up, we have not only the number of people employed in the field going up, but the hiring is even higher, right.

So we saw from the earlier trend is a 30% increase in demand.

we’re now seeing a point where there’s a squeeze.

So there’s just not enough people to fill these these particular jobs.

So from a strategy perspective, Katie, you’ve got a strong demand.

Yeah, there’s insufficient supply in the market and prices are going up.

This is a pretty good situation for a consulting company to be in.

Katie Robbert 24:38

It is interesting, and I think that having some sort of understanding of what the data is telling you is helpful too, because you can look at all state and go, I don’t know what to do with it.

So there’s more jobs.

So what or so there’s more people traveling, how does that apply to me and really being able to think through sort of that, I guess, Journey of how, okay, if travel is opening up, but I have nothing to do with travel? Does that impact me at all?

Christopher Penn 25:07


So one of the things that, you know, for example, it’s good to know, sort of the indicators in your space and to know the indicators in your client space, like we have clients that are in travel so that, you know, the TSA thing is obviously very, very relevant for them.

We have clients who are in the broadband space.

So understanding broadband usage data would be really helpful.

So let’s take a look here.

There’s no nothing in Fred for broadband.

So let’s try 603 data sets and broadband summary, API availability by municipality, National Broadband map providers, there’s a ton of data.

So for that particular client, we could probably find some data that’ll be very useful for them to forecast as well.

But there’s even data series that for us, because we’re a B2B company, tells you about the overall health of the B2B sector.

Let’s look at the AI effects data.

So this is really looking for what’s called the Baltic Dry exchange, the Baltic Dry exchange is the price it costs to ship a container cargo container.

Let’s go ahead and bring this up here.

This is not speculative, in order for a this index to go up, the somebody has to buy a container space on our cargo ship.

And it’s not something you do for fun, right, this is something that you’ve got to move goods from point A to point B, and you have you got to do it, you know, in a cost effective manner as possible.

So this is an indexing, what’s going on with shipping? You know, there is 2020, you actually saw pretty substantial increases.

In the early months of the pandemic, no surprise, the world locked down inside is huge demand for everything held masks from at wherever they’re made.

We saw some supply chain disruptions.

And now in 2021, we see that this index has gotten really high, it’s higher than it’s been in five years.

So we know from a B2B perspective, this tells us that B2B is doing really well.

Because you’re shipping stuff, you’re moving stuff around.

So logistics companies are in strong demand.

Now, again, this is yet another indicator that we would want to take into account as a consulting firm to say like, yeah, there’s really strong B2B demand right now.

So we need to spend some time looking at the different markets and see what’s happening.

Now, how would you know this, if you didn’t spend a lot of time in your macroeconomics? You wouldn’t.

Which is why it’s really important to talk to clients, to talk to customers to say, like, what, what’s happening in your business.

A really good example of this would be if you were talking to a client, so like, you know, four weeks you have a shit about our business is really screwed right now.

Because we’ve got, you know, 440 tons of, you know, of, or on a ship that’s stuck in the Suez Canal.

It’s like a, what do we what do we do? And that would tell you, oh, my client is affected by shipping.

Now I know.

Okay, well, what shipping indicators are there? If we were to look at say, one of our clients is based in the city of Minneapolis? Great, what are some that tells us, you know, Minneapolis, in Minnesota, and that state has things that are happening economically? Are there indicators like hiring, like the tightness of the job market would tell us hints about that client? If we look at one of our clients is a med tech company.

Well, how many more medical claims are being submitted? Now? How are people going back to the doctor? Are they doing your treatment at home? That would be data that we would then know to go with search and all these tools to do Okay, can we find data that matches those things?

Katie Robbert 28:50

Well, I think that you’re illustrating the point of why business requirements are so important to do and not skip from, I think it was what recipe to tools, because you’re describing a lot of things that feel like I have to have an economics degree in order to even think to make the leap from you know, I’m a B2B consulting firm to let me see what the cost of a shipping container is.

But really, you’re just playing a logical game of Okay, what is it that I want to know and then you’re really challenging the people that you’re working with to like really, in detail explain how you get from point A to point B.

So it’s almost like trying to dissect the whole process.

So you know, as an example, let’s say, um, you know, at the beginning of the pandemic, there was a shortage in flour because everybody was at home baking bread.

And so you might say, Okay, well, it’s because of the grocery store.

Well, is it because the grocery stores take it a step back? Is it because of the their ability to get it? Is that the prices is it the supply is that the actual wheat crop? Those kinds of things.

And so really starting to walk it backwards step by step, and checking in on all of those different data points.

And so Chris, you know, you’re able to pull up, you know, flour per pound in the city average, it’s more than just cost, it’s obviously demand.

And so if more people are buying something that wasn’t ready for that kind of a demand, then obviously, there’s going to be that gap.

Christopher Penn 30:25


It’s funny, if you look at this chart, April of 2020, is missing.

Why it was there wasn’t.

Right, so even something like that you’re like, Huh, well, what the points are this?

Katie Robbert 30:42

Yeah, the point being that if you’re not sure, like how, in a publicly available data set applies to you then start to walk it backwards and think through all of those different scenarios of, well, I’m in a B2B space, and I get a lot of my business from, you know, being on stage and speaking, okay, it’s travel opening up in those kind of like, starting to think through how it really does affect your business from every angle, and then you can start to look at those different data sets, well, travel is opening up, therefore, Chris is likely to get back on the road again, therefore, he’s likely to have more events coming his way.

Therefore, we’re likely to have more leads in the pipeline, therefore, John’s going to be really busy soon.

Christopher Penn 31:24


At the end of the day, what we’re actually really talking about is supply chain analytics, we are talking about understanding and decomposing the supply chain to understand is that what’s happening upstream from your business? You know, so you sort of went downstream with that, Katie, right, you know, his travels doing this.

So this will happen.

So this happens.

So we can go the other direction to travel is opening up.

So what’s the impact on our clients? What’s the impact on their clients, you know, if a conference is in a place where they’re saying, okay, all of our speakers and 70% of our audience is vaccinated, great, we can open up, you know, and then you start to take what they say, Okay, well, why? Well, because insurance agencies don’t want to insure something that’s known to be dangerous, right? Their job is to take your money and never give it back to you for any reason.

So that the next logical step they would be okay.

Well, what insurance prices look like in the entertainment industry, you know, as you start to trend, no, in a different direction, and then take a step further.

So again, it’s all supply chain and demand analytics to figure out up and down the scope what’s happening.

Good, isn’t question your ship was asking if you speak to the challenge of analyzing data in turbulent times trying to see the difference between a blip and a trend that comes down to math.

Specifically, it comes down to understanding change, change and change of change.

So when you have a blip, when you have something unusual, you typically have a very rapid change.

And then it reverts to the mean, back very quickly.

It was a big spike and goes back to normal.

You see this a lot, a ton in things like your Google Analytics account where like, Hey, you get a big traffic spike one day, and you’re back to having five people visit your website every day.

Right? That’s what that’s an anomaly.

A breakout, which is a trend is when you have a change, and it sticks, right? So yeah, that something happens and that and it sticks.

So if we go back to this management consulting, one,

head producer price index, to get a five year spectrum here.

If January 2021 had been 127, and then reverted down here, we’re like, yeah, that was a blip.

That was an anomaly.


But in February, and March, and April, it’s kind of stuck.

Right, so that that price change has happened.

And it’s it is starting to decline.

But it’s not reverting back to, you know, the 10105 or 110 level where historically has been, even before the pandemic, you know, it was it was around 110.

For a good year, we’re at 130, almost 130.

Now, so that is an example of something where this is a breakout towards a trend, as opposed to an anomaly.

And generally speaking, you know, when something is trend, when you’ve got some sustained momentum over a certain period of time, what that period of time depends on the time series and and your measurement window.

For your website.

You might be like, yeah, seven days is important to us.

Because we’re an e commerce company.

We sell stuff all the time.

For us, you know, as a B2B consulting firm, 90 days might be the minimum time where we start to say, yeah, it’s a trend because if you know, sales cycles are longer, etc.

So you have to you have to use some judgment to what your window is, and then use anomaly detection or breakout detection.

You know, how fast is the change reverting, as you determine that, is it an anomaly or is it a breakout?

Katie Robbert 34:50

I feel like we could cover trend spotting in a whole different episode because what occurs to me as you’re describing this is it’s very easy to Get behind in terms of what’s trending.

Because to your point, Chris, you need to see if it sticks.

And so are you constantly chasing those anomalies? Are you tracing chasing true trends? And I think that that’s something that we should dig into on a different episode in terms of setting up your data so that you can spot those things a little bit more easily.

But it’s interesting, because it does look like it was more of a trend than an anomaly, because even though it is declining, Chris, to your point, it didn’t decline immediately.

Christopher Penn 35:31

Exactly right.

And, you know, we know also from industry knowledge that consulting firms are really busy right now, because people want to know what to do.

Right? So there’s there is, there is a logical demand to it, too.

So one of the things that we, as a next step want to do, maybe send out a client survey or a prospect survey to our customer base and say, Hey, are you facing any new challenges other than the usual ones that you haven’t faced before? If so, how can we help? You know, we were just watching two hours ago, the keynote to the Google Marketing Platform talk where they said, Hey, here’s all the cool new things that are coming in Google Analytics.

And of course, they’re showing it only in Google Analytics for a while going, well, it’s pretty clear which direction we need to be going.

But this like, the new imputation of lost data, and their new forecasting tools, like Oh, that’s so cool.

Oh, it’s only Google Analytics more.

Which means that for us as a marketing analytics company, we should be looking at that and going well, tide have to put the turn the ads back on on our Google Analytics for Migration Service.

Katie Robbert 36:38


Yeah, that I mean, that’s a whole other conversation that we can have.

Again, I feel like it’s very easy once we start to get into these episodes, to start to digress down the other rows of things that play into understanding the so what of the episode that we’re in.

Christopher Penn 36:58


So in this case, our key takeaways of this one, you’ve got to follow the process, right? Know what the outcome is, you’re after, know what data you have to work with.

And if you don’t know, take some time to explore it, get to know your industry, get to know your customers get to know what they care about, you know, something as simple as calling up, you know, the decision maker at your your best clients and saying, Hey, what do you read every day? Like, you know, how do you get your business news and things? Just something as simple as that can can at least give you a hint of, Oh, these are the things I paying attention to? What skills do you have? And how well can you process the data, we looked at a couple examples today of real simple, do it in a spreadsheet all the way up to run some code to process the information, and then make a decision about the tools and how you’re going to visualize these things.

And when it comes to the data sources, again, your tax dollars have paid for an awful lot of this information.

And other citizens and other nations have paid for their tax dollars.

So New Zealand, thank you, we appreciate your contribution to humanity as a whole, we’d love to live there.

Because you have a a you did the pandemic well.

It does help to be an island nation.

And so use the data that’s out there.

And be careful with the data sources you have some of them out there less credible than others.

And once you’ve got the data, make use of it, make decisions with it.

It’s really cool and fun to have, you know, dashboards and spreadsheets and stuff to show with all this stuff.

But if you’re not using the data, it’s just a distraction, right? It’s a decoration at best.

any parting words, guys?

John Wall 38:37

You know, one thing that I do want to throw out there is there you can find a holy grail in the space.

You know, if you’re in a mature B2C space, I’ve done stuff in the insurance industry where we could call out our annual goals a year or two in advance every year, we would hit our goals every year, because we knew which economic indicators were going to affect what the business was.

And we could just, you know, define those goals to make sure we always had two or 3% of cushion and hit the number like clockwork every year.

So there’s there’s huge ramifications if you get this right, there’s huge opportunity.


Christopher Penn 39:09


And spend some time digging into the data into what’s out there and what impacts your business.

Again, all the stuff is free.

It’s out there, you just got to know how to find it and know how to make use of it.

Alright, so thanks for tuning in today and we will catch you all next week.

Thanks for watching today.

Be sure to subscribe to our show wherever you’re watching it.

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