Data Science and Big Data Experts Wanted for Marketing and PR

More and more job listings for both PR and marketing are asking for experience with data science, especially Big Data. Big Data and digital understanding provides better analysis of the results (or lack of them), and such skills also help to pin down and target those who are likely to be most interested in the client’s products and services. Wired referred to data science as being better paying than medicine as a career path, and the Harvard Business Review said it’s the “sexiest job of the 21st century.” Gartner and McKinsey, industry analysts, each reported they expect a shortfall of experts for the jobs coming up of between 100K and 190K by 2020. The majority of those jobs will be in app creation to look for pattern seeking and crunching knowledge.

The Future

It’s sometimes hard to remember, but Big Data has moved to its current position of prominence over just five years. Burtch Works, an employment agency, currently say they have 120 positions in the field to fill and the starting salaries range between $97K-$152K – but managers in these fields got up to $240K and in most cases, they are newly created jobs. This trend for data scientists mimics the trend for digital specialists that happened earlier at the turn of the millennium.

Many of those who have been filling the positions for data science began their careers as statisticians and data miners. Previous job descriptions were often as programmers, consultants, and systems analysts, outside of their job titles they were likely called geeks, and until Big Data became a “thing” on the IoT, no one wanted to pay big dollars for a geek’s statistics. But it’s a different story now; those geeks have become the rock stars of marketing and PR.

Tools and Understanding

Though the use of search engines like Google has helped in the early stages of data science efforts for many companies, it goes well beyond that skill for specialists using computing power, educated choices about more than one software language, and cutting-edge hardware. Making sense of the data and applying statistical and economic tools are also necessary skills. Once the data is compiled, then asking the right questions becomes necessary to make use of the information. And specialists have to be savvy enough to know if the data collected is accurate – it’s not always the case.

It’s not just about those impressive geek skills either. The leader of Burtch Works, Linda Burtch, says business acumen plays a big part too, especially for those working in the marketing and PR side of data. She said: “It’s so critical because a lot of quantitative candidates get so wrapped up in the elegance of the analytics that they forget that they’re answering business problems.” offers webinars, free training, and more for those who want to pick up more tips of the trade as data scientists in the marketing field. They also offer forecast and survey results.

Dr. John H. Johnson, author of Everydata: The Misinformation Hidden in the Little Data you Consume Each Day, said: “If you can build up some basic intuition and logic about how to work with data, you know there are all sorts of people who are essentially citizen data scientists.”

If you are inclined to this kind of job trajectory, don’t wait, start learning all you can and use that knowledge to further your education.

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Sorry, what did you say you do?

You know exactly what we mean right? That awkward moment when someone tells you what they do, you zone out and start thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner and by the time they’ve finished talking you have no idea what their job is, if they’re going to be useful, or even if you should continue having a conversation with them. As people who understand the importance of dinner, we understand how you can end up in that situation, a lot, so we thought we’d lay it all bare on our little corner of the internet, thus avoiding confusion or any awkward situations later.

So what we do…well, it’s all on the tin. We live and breathe our customer’s brands so that we think like them, talk like them, and even walk like them. When we say we’re integrated we honestly mean that. An integrated agency that can handle everything you need, and an agency that integrates with you. Think of it as a metamorphosis where we become you, but in a less creepy way.

And what we really mean by that is, we don’t want to be this add-on thing stuck to one of your departments that comes along for a while and helps you do stuff, but ultimately gets under everyone’s feet and is a bit of a nuisance. We want to dive into businesses and live as if they were our own. Especially in the world of retail when the physical experience of the customer is so important.

A few years ago we started working with Sony Retail and the first thing our Managing Director Nick did was go to the nearest Sony shop and ask for a job in the store for a week. He promised to clean toilets, stock shelves, stand on the door and do anything that would get him in there to understand exactly how Sony’s customers interacted with the brand. That way, we could craft campaigns and adverts that actually brought people to the point of sale.

That’s what we mean by dive in to your brand. Working with the Happy Egg Company meant we visited farms and spent time with hens and farmers and all the people that make that company what it is. We even mucked out stalls.

Working with Morrisons we’ve visited tons of stores, taking our creative teams into the supermarkets for briefing meetings so that everyone is immersed in the brand and the experience. We even spent time in the freezer isle, which as anyone knows is the coldest place on earth apparently.

Our point is, we work with huge retail names like Birds Eye, McVities, Sony, Morrisons and loads more, but we never work from our ivory tower pretending to know things. We go into the shops and get our hands dirty. We roll up our sleeves and touch, poke, prod and play with brands so that we can come up with better solutions, faster.

So whether we’re shoveling chicken crap, or shivering in the freezer isle, we’re doing everything we can to live and breathe all that you are. That’s essentially what we do.

Accelerating the Evolution: Insights from ad:tech India

By Melanie Joe, Consultant – Research and Insights, MSLGROUP

ad:tech, the international conference for digital and interactive marketing and communications, saw its India chapter unfold in the capital city of New Delhi on the 9th and 10th of March. While this was the 7th edition of the New Delhi chapter, 2017 is a milestone for ad:tech, as it completes 20 years internationally. The theme for ad:tech New Delhi 2017, ‘Accelerating the Evolution’, called for a look at the fast-changing digital landscape, and the technologies enabling transformation in the digital space. Attended by delegates from over 100 participating countries, discussions over the two days ranged from the IoT and machine learning to the evolution of content in the digital world.

Summarizing the two days of ad:tech, here are my key takeaways, some new, and the belief in others reaffirmed:

Experience is the next wave of digital transformation

Today, consumers want a brand narrative they can identify with, and more importantly, one they can be a part of. This is especially true for young, digital natives – the thrill for them lies in engaging with the moment, in real time. Interaction is key – and this interaction needs to transcend the traditional digital boundaries of computer and mobile screens (yes, desktops and mobiles have become ‘traditional’ now!). Brands are doing themselves a disservice if they restrict their creativity to on-the-go digital screens. This is where technologies like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality will play a monumental role in reinventing digital engagement; they can help brands in bringing creativity to multiple screens, platforms, and locations in the physical world, and make the interaction more immersive and real. Not only does such intimate interaction create a unique bond between the brand and consumer, but it also helps in developing a long-lasting positive impression. The more immersive the experience, the more engaged – and impressed – is the consumer.


Emotion is good

The brands with the most memorable messages have always been ones that stirred the audience through raw and real emotions. This kind of emotive storytelling is perhaps the most effective way to ingrain the brand message in the minds of the audience. Factors like brand culture and brand purpose are becoming more and more important to the increasingly aware and conscientious consumers of today, and speaking to them with real, human emotions is as personal and genuine as a brand could get. People don’t buy for logical reasons; people buy for emotional reasons – and emotion-led brand messages can help in reinforcing existing memory structures. There’s no such thing as a bad emotion; everything from happiness, surprise, puzzlement, fear, sadness can be used to connect with the consumer – and it’s important for brands to identify when, where and how to employ these emotions. Emotive storytelling, by being relatable to the consumers, also helps in driving social media relevance.

It’s the era of the ‘Live’ moment

The rise and popularity of the ‘live video’ feature in social networks like Facebook and Instagram are testament to people’s appetite for real-time content. While text makes you think, video makes you feel. Companies can leverage live videos to build a strong brand narrative. Venturing away from highly planned scripts every once in a while to create spontaneous content is a great way to build affinity with consumers. Live videos give brands the opportunity to do something new, to create controversial moments, and to engage with their audience on a human-to-human level; it brings together the art of storytelling with the science of engagement. The two-way engagement offered by live videos ensure that the contours of the conversation can be controlled by the consumers, thereby enriching their experience.

FOMO is a brand’s best friend

Thanks to the pervasiveness of social media and the trend of oversharing, the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) has become a phenomenon most people can identify with. While an individual’s peers are living it up out in the world (or on social media), it becomes natural for them to want to join in. This eagerness to participate in the best life has to offer is an excellent tool brands can leverage. It’s easy for brands to, with the right buzz, create FOMO and aspirational qualities around themselves. FOMO is accelerated by social media and experiences, two very valuable assets for young individuals today; a FOMO Strategy, so to speak, will only help brands in drawing the audience in.

Data is a brand’s most prime asset – and it needs to be treated like one

As the world becomes more connected and digital, brands will need to heavily rely on data in the future, more so than now. While more data does not always translate to more and better insights, brands will need to be competitive about acquiring the right data from the right sources. Access to the right data – exclusive, even – will allow for the creation of effective, insight-backed strategies which will have both reach and relevance. In order to convert data into business action, the first step will be to acknowledge the role it plays in keeping the wheels turning.


It’s time to marry Data and Intuition

While data is crucial to accessing the right numbers and relevant information, it can only go so far without the human brain. Data will not tell you something that your gut will. Human intuition touches a nerve that data, will all its complexities, is not built to reach. Like a speaker at ad:tech so aptly put it, “Data opens your mind. Intuition unlocks your soul.” It will take courage for brands to not completely lean on data, but to maximize the effectiveness of their efforts, it will become necessary to strike the right balance between data and plain ol’ human intuition. Where data stops, intuition must begin.

Cross-channel identification of consumers is no longer optional

Consumers expect a seamless experience, and have no patience with brands who don’t keep up with their connected selves. The connected consumers of today are constantly switching from their desktops to mobiles to televisions to cars and more. The number of consumer touchpoints is clearly increasing, and it is crucial for brands to prioritize cross-screen and cross-channel consumer identification. Additionally, the global state of consumer attention is rapidly decreasing. Choices are infinite; attention is not – making it all the more important for brands to deliver relevant, personalized, real-time messages to their consumers, adapted for the platform/device of engagement.

img_20170309_175624Ethics are making a comeback, even for the Internet of Things (IoT)

As an interconnected environment that brings together devices, systems, data and people, the IoT is growing more powerful with the passage of time. This powerful and pervasive nature of the IoT makes the framing and enforcing of laws concerning privacy, security and appropriate online behavior extremely important. Questions about compliance, decisions taken by autonomous systems, etc. will become centrestage, and there will be the need for a system in place to address this. With an affective model of IoT governance, promoting ethical use of IoT technologies will become realistic.


Nao, the Watson in-store personal assistant at the IBM Cognitive Lounge.

Nao, the Watson in-store personal assistant at the IBM Cognitive Lounge.

The rise of the machines is a good thing, at least in our lifetimes

While the machines-vs-man scenario of science fiction literature won’t be a reality any time soon, progress in the field of Artificial Intelligence is shaping our society. Mastering Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) may not be within our machines’ capability now, but the technology we have right now is most certainly bringing about positive effects on how people work, play and live. When machines master our most rudimentary of tasks – both at work and home – we will be left with more time to engage our creative minds. It will be interesting to watch how we utilize this liberation of time – will be innovate or hibernate?

Chatbots are the good guys

Perhaps the most widely-used form of AI at the moment, chatbots are evolving at a rapid pace. The potential for chatbots is enormous, too; the number of people using messaging services is highest now than it has ever been, and the numbers are only expected to increase. Chatbots help in making the consumer experience more seamless, and there are a number of ways brand can leverage them to meaningfully engage with their consumers. For instance, when it comes to customer service, if chatbots eventually replace the human executive, some pressing questions will need answers: will AI be enough to pacify an irate or dissatisfied customer? Will making chatbots a lot more human help, and how human can we make chatbots before a real human will need to step in? These challenges notwithstanding, chatbots are promising; at present, we are at information age of chatbots; next step is transaction; and what comes after will, in all probability, change the face of messaging.

Content is not King anymore. Relevance is

The best content can fail if it is delivered at the wrong time, place, and – to the wrong person. The ongoing challenge of maintaining relevance in a fast-changing world and with the ever-evolving consumer is something brands must overcome. If the content doesn’t strike a chord with the audience, the opportunity to have a conversation with them is lost. With time, it will become more and more important for brands to master the science of relevance; know the right consumer, provide the right message, and have the structures in place to build off of that. Irrespective of what kind of content it is, its end goal will be to reach the audience, and reach them with meaning.

Ideas are no longer enough, and quality is no longer the undisputed winner

Big, ‘out-of-the-box’, ground-breaking ideas don’t work anymore, unless backed by data, analysis, technology – the list is quite a long one. It has become necessary to rely on science now to differentiate and make a mark. Similarly, product quality is essentially irrelevant if the brand doesn’t study the market and its trends. It will require brands to look at various avenues to get hold of the insights they will need.

The digital landscape is evolving at a rate which many brands find difficult to cope with, but at the end of the day, it’s about building meaningful connections with consumers, creating purpose, and carving a niche – and that’s the real essence of the digital transformation. With its power to accelerate everything, technology will be the guiding light in the next stage of digital evolution.

Melanie Joe_B&W
With a specialization in Advertising, Melanie has worked in the digital space with brands from the banking, healthcare, oil & energy, political and consumer sectors. She has also worked on media buying campaigns across print, radio, television and OOH. At MSLGROUP, she tracks inspiring digital initiatives for People’s Insights.
@melanie_joe |

The post Accelerating the Evolution: Insights from ad:tech India appeared first on MSLGROUP’s Blog Critical Conversations: Critical Conversations.

The Evolution of Gender Equality Conversations

WE event - blog image

Women’s March Co-Chair Bob Bland, along with fellow panelists Alan Sexton and Isabel González Whitaker discuss the media’s role in gender equality issues
Michele Chase, Burson-Marsteller’s Managing Director of Worldwide Human Resources, moderates the conversation
"This is matter not just of justice for women, but justice for the whole world” – Bob Bland
Burson-Marsteller’s Alan Sexton and Isabel González Whitaker, Deputy Editor at Billboard Magazine, answer questions
Burson-Marsteller U.S. CEO Mike Fernandez and panelist Isabel González Whitaker
(L – R) Burson-Marsteller’s Catharine Montgomery, Women’s March Co-Chair Bob Bland, and Burson-Marsteller’s Cameron French
Chris Gee, Burson-Marsteller’s head of Corporate Digital Strategy & Content, with client Kathryn Yontef, Director of External Affairs at Microsoft

Professionals in the media and PR industries play a key role in forming messaging around gender equality that help propel women’s issues to the forefront of political and corporate agendas.

To recognize Women’s History Month, Burson-Marsteller sponsored an open forum discussion, “The Evolution of Gender Equality Conversations,” on March 21 at the Microsoft office in Times Square, New York City. Moderated by Burson-Marsteller’s Managing Director of Worldwide Human Resources Michele Chase, the panel included Bob Bland, National Co-Chair of the 2017 Women’s March on Washington and CEO & Founder of Manufacture New York; Isabel González Whitaker, Deputy Editor, Billboard Magazine; and Alan Sexton, Burson-Marsteller U.S. Corporate & Financial Practice Chair and New York Market Leader.

The discussion was largely fueled by a recent survey on the platforms and issues most important to addressing gender inequality, which was conducted by Burson-Marsteller Advantage Women in partnership with Penn Schoen Berland. The survey findings reveal current perceptions about gender parity, including the importance of speaking out on women’s issues, the most effective ways to be vocal, the avenues audiences use to stay informed and the persistent challenges women face in the workplace.

Highlights from the research and the conversation include:

  • Conversations about gender equality have shifted over the last decade to one of intersectionality and authenticity. In comparison to 20 or 30 years ago, there is more mainstreaming of women’s issues and gender equality. Of the survey respondents who have participated in a public demonstration, 46 percent of those demonstrations were related to women’s rights. Bob Bland highlighted the range of social issues and minority populations present at the January 21 Women’s March, and the notion that it’s imperative “when looking at equality for women, we look at equality for all people.”
  • Men need to participate more in conversations about gender equality issues. Personal and professional environments play a role in shaping perceptions on gender equality, and it’s important to start conversations with younger generations at an early age. Another place to start, and encourage, these conversations is with executive boards and corporate leadership teams, which remain typically male-dominant.
  • Business leaders should have honest conversations and implement internal change before they address gender equality publically. Subjects like gender parity go to the heart of a business’ values and goals. Seventy-one percent of the survey respondents agreed that equal pay for women is the most important issue for women in the workplace.
  • If you want to build a successful business, it’s crucial to consider gender equality. In 2015, women represented nearly half (46.8 percent) of the U.S. workforce. When business leaders recognize that fighting for gender equality is imperative, and take genuine action within the workplace to support progress, they have noted a positive influence on corporate culture, stakeholder perceptions and the bottom line. These issues intersect with social consciousness, and when action is being taken, it can lead to better corporate strategy and storytelling.
  • Social media is effective at delivering headlines, but traditional media is still essential. Traditional media has demonstrated its importance in our current social climate. We should be concerned about the echo chambers that form on social media and find ways to break through them to engage in conversations with diverse groups. The survey respondents reported that, while traditional news outlets are the least effective platform for vocalizing women’s issues, they are still the most popular platform for keeping up-to-date about them.

Click above to see photos from the event, and check out a PRWeek article covering the panel here.

Burson-Marsteller Advantage Women can help you activate the value of gender balance within the workplace, and develop courageous communications to support all your endeavors.

Strategy 101: Brand Vs Direct Response

Although it will be second nature to seasoned advertisers and marketers, the difference between brand and DR (direct response) advertising can be confusing to those venturing into broadcast ads for the first time  



When your audience talks about the adverts that grab them and demand the most attention, they will be most often referring to branded content.


When a large advertiser pulls out all the stops getting the best talent money can buy and a production execution to match, you can bet that what they want to build a lasting impression in the mind of their customers – they want to convey excitement and brand recognition above a direct no frills call to action.



Direct response includes many of the print adverts you’ll come across in local newspapers and radio spots, Facebook ads, PPC and remarketing as they have one specific purpose, and that is for the consumer, to buy a product upon being served the ad.


Direct response ads are more targeted and functional than their counterpart in that they are designed to elicit a response, as their namesake would suggest. They often list out features and benefits of a product, price, offers and local availability.



We examine below the latest campaign from BT, promoting their “family sim” offering.


Rather than trying to cram in a direct response element into a brand ad, they have simply created two ads that run in rotation, sometimes even within the same ad break.


The big budget Brand ad follows in the same vein as their recent commercials, enlisting a Hollywood actor portraying themselves in “behind the scenes” situations. In this case Jeremy Renner aka Hawkeye from Captain America, is in the midst of saving a family from an evil overlord, when he is interrupted by film crew to explain he is there to save the family money, rather than saving them from impending doom.


All very glitzy and well produced, that delivers high action and an element of comedy to raise awareness of the product.


This is in stark contrast to the Direct Response ad, which comes across more like a powerpoint presentation, albeit a very slick one, explaining exactly what the product is, cost and benefits to customer. It does not feature the Hollywood actor and only uses voiceover and graphics to promote the product.


BT have then gone one step further to hammer home their message.


On the campaign website landing page, they have an explainer video that goes into even more detail, leaving the customer in no doubt as to the benefit of the product and how they purchase it.  



Get in touch today to discuss how we can help your business plan and deliver your video marketing campaigns.  


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UK shoppers plan to spend more this Mother’s Day

Research finds 26% of UK shoppers plan to spend more this Mother’s Day, compared to 2016 …but for most (26%) mums, it will be time spent with their family that will make their day special… Savvy’s latest research has revealed Mother’s …
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The post UK shoppers plan to spend more this Mother’s Day appeared first on Savvy Thinking.

Is Drake Killing the Album?


Is popular music killing the album? The latest project from Toronto rap artist Drake, entitled ‘More Life’, which dropped this week, is not an album or mixtape, but a self-described ‘playlist’. Is Drake’s adoption of the term a trendy technicality, the indication of a side project, or the signal of a wider shift in the music industry?

In the New York Times, Jon Caramanica writes that “the playlist suggests an aesthetic shift from the album, which in its platonic ideal form is narratively structured and contained, a creator’s complete thought expressed in parts. A playlist in the streaming era, by contrast, is a collection of moods, impressions, influences and references; it’s a river that flows in one direction, ending somewhere far from the beginning (if it ends at all).”

The idea that an album ‘ends’ is one that is being challenged. As the commercial focus of music shifts from selling physical vinyl and CDs to digital streaming services, the musical content of an album can become more fluid. After releasing ‘The Life of Pablo’, Kanye West continued to update the work, adding lyrics and tweaking the mix of what he described as a “living breathing changing creative expression”.

There’s also a business imperative to artists working with the idea of a loose collection of ‘moods’, which can be mixed, matched and tailored to a listener’s location, activity and preferences. Spotify is increasingly transparent about the importance of listening data to its advertising-heavy business model. In Quartz, Amy X. Wang describes Spotify’s “financial incentive to pry more deeply into users’ listening habits and sell ads aligned with their specific lifestyles”. It’s not unrealistic to imagine record labels prioritising the idea of an artist providing the ‘ingredients’ of a user-created playlist, over the complete artistic vision of an album’s narrative.

Do you agree? Would the reconciliatory ‘All Night’ from Beyonce’s album ‘Lemonade’ work without the burning anger of ‘Pray You Catch Me’? When was the last time you listened to an album in full? Let us know on Twitter.

Words by Erica Smith and Jed Carter.

This originally appeared in Moving World Wednesday 20170322.

Subscribe to Moving World Wednesday here.

The post Is Drake Killing the Album? appeared first on Moving Brands – an independent, global creative company.

Our Marketing Manager shares her key takeaways from SXSW 2017


This was my first time attending SXSW and most likely won’t be my last. I spent a total of five days drinking the kool aid and here’s what I learned:

The explosion of influencers

One of the hottest topics was influencers. As more brands and VCs look to invest in this space, they are running into a major issue: authenticity. How can businesses ensure the experience is authentic? But also, how can they evaluate their ROI?

Businesses need to understand that influencers are known for who they are (they are made famous on social channels first and are self-built star) versus celebrities who are known for their work (and often made famous by more traditional channels such as TV, radio, etc.). Put inherent trust in the influencers your business hires. They should be real people with real experiences interacting with your products and your company. Just as brands need to distinguish themselves, so do influencers. As this space grows, consumers will be even more sensitive to highly produced content. Make sure the end results match your brand and your influencer’s brand. – This was from The Moral Code of Pay-to-Play Marketing panel.


‘A robot without a tool is like a car without tires’

You couldn’t throw a rock without hitting a talk, exhibition or demonstration around robots or AI at SXSW.

While robots will continue to be a tool for increased productivity, they will be made to collaborate with humans. Cobots are robots that will be careful of human safety, can work in unstructured environments and have a user interface to interact naturally with their human co-workers. – This was from the Democratizing the Industrial Robot talk with YASKAWA Innovation talk.

We saw the future of storytelling unraveled and pieced back together as we watched a film made completely by AI tools. It’s as dramatic as it sounds. From conception of characters, location, clothing, makeup to the casting of the actor and editing, AI tools such as IBM Watson, EEG, emotion recognition, MS Rinna chatbot etc. were used to create a ‘watchable’ film. – This was from Can a Film Made by a Machine Move You? panel.


Content is king, queen and all the other pieces on the board.

We are starting to see digital platforms such as Youtube, Facebook etc. incubate themselves. They are buying both content and creators. They are also making creative decisions from design to production. We predict that the logical next step would be to bring all elements of content creation and distribution in-house that is if they have not already begin to do so.

Where will content live in the future? Content creators are looking beyond legacy platforms like Facebook and Twitter. From interactive video storytelling, audio and voice recognition, VR/ AR / MR, live video and messaging (chatbots), content creators are looking to build monetization into “themselves” from day one. – This was from the Pop Tech: Marrying LA and SF panel.

sxsw_select_8The future of design is reductive?

From a smart but disgruntled attendee: The machine reduces me to data. Interestingly, this complaint set off a lively discussion.

We are in a lopsided moment where we have data but we are bad at doing something with it all. Except for advertisers. Advertisers, sneakily enough, are using data to adapt to consumers’ needs and wants. Although there is a lack of transparency around their usage of data, it’s scarily nothing new.

There is also the idea of thinking of your data-self as an extension and not a representation of you. As we continue to feed more data and more of ourselves into machines such as Google Home or Alexa, we’d have to accept the fact that we are a known entity. How can design tackle this issue? Is design still the reductiveness of noise and not possibilities? – This was from Innovation by Design: What’s Next? panel.

Tl;dr robots are here to stay. So are influencers.

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