2016 Awards for Excellence Recipients

Digital Analytics Rising Star: Akhil Anumolu

Akhil joined the digital analytics industry in February 2011, after graduating from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management Information Systems.  Since joining the industry, he has spent the majority of his time learning more about digital optimization, personalization, on-site analytics, and front-end development.  He also has experience with SEM, SEO, paid advertising, statistical modeling, data analysis, shipping logistics and offshore manufacturing.  Akhil is a trailblazer in the industry.  He helped launch, build, and grow the digital optimization and personalization platform at Symantec, and revamped their Latin America SEM and SEO practice, growing bookings 50% year over year.  He spent time building a startup, Wonder Workshop, from initial inception through a crowdfunding campaign and their first ecommerce platform with revenue $5M+, in less than a year.    

Akhil’s results speak for themselves.  At Symantec, he built the first personalization and optimization system to connect offsite ad creative (whether text or display), to the onsite experience. This led to an overall global increase in bookings of 8% YoY and 50% YoY bookings growth within his assigned Latin America territory.  He also redesigned landing pages via A/B and multivariate testing to create distinct experiences based on customer region, keyword, referral site, ad placement, and language, which contributed to improving global ROI for all Symantec markets. He was nominated by multiple Symantec executives for the Digital Analytics Rising Star Award in 2015 and named a finalist.   

Since joining Delta Air Lines, he has taken on the role of leading and refining the on-site advertising deployment process, optimization, personalization, and marketing technology in order to improve the customer experience across Delta’s digital touch points. Early success from process and technology improvements have yielded a record-breaking increase in the number of American Express co-branded card acquisitions and card approval rates, an increase in internal metrics via optimization for major areas of Delta.com & Delta Vacations.  He has also provided thought leadership regarding Delta’s deployment of tag management and optimization tools, to improve site performance and test quality.    

Akhil proactively seeks opportunities to demonstrate thought leadership and share his learnings with others.  He presented and/or helped create presentations for speakers at Adobe Summit, eMetrics, Click Summit, and Ensighten Agility.  He actively participates in Quora, Reddit, and Growth Hacking forums, by answering questions on digital analytics.  He has an active personal Twitter account.  A few of Akhil’s accomplishments in the community include: 

  • Adobe Target Customer Advisory Board 
  • Quora, Reddit, and GrothHackers forum submissions and answering of questions 
  • Mentor to startup incubator FourAthens specifically for Digital Analytics and Marketing 
  • Advisor to 2 startups for counseling on data driven growth 
  • Discussions via Twitter on the hashtag #measure 

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Practitioner of the Year: Terri Kochersperger

Terri Kochersperger joined the newly formed Digital Center of Excellence as one of the first charter members in 2011.  She has built a best in class digital analytics practice for the Consumer organization, and in the process established core fundamentals including global implementation of tag management and Adobe Analytics.  She created the digital analytics practice, building her global team and curating our standards, IT integration, and a data driven optimization based company culture -- a daunting task in a decentralized leading CPG company.  In particular, Terri has established a global KPI framework and workshop approach - immersing our cross-functional talent in analytics as a way of life and competitive differentiation.  She has also integrated analytics into our company wide training and talent development programs, and tirelessly works to embed the practice in our aggressive global campaigns for iconic brands such as Johnson's Baby, Listerine, Neutrogena, Clean & Clear, Band-Aid, Tylenol, Zyrtec, and more.  Along the way, Terri has integrated data analytics into our digital platforms (e.g., global website, CRM, Mobile), and helped to launch our real-time marketing dashboards.  Terri is a rock star who is uniquely able to demystify complex data concepts and requirements into action oriented must-haves. She always seeks to further her fluency in our marketing initiatives, and has achieved impressive results (and ROI) with very limited resources.

Terri created the digital analytics practice at Johnson & Johnson Consumer.  She is responsible for oversight, strategy, execution and training globally; over 1,000 marketers, analytics and various agencies are embracing the practice.   With nearly 1,000 websites and a growing mobile application presence, global standards, common technologies, governance and a well-structured organizational model, the strategy is paying off.  Silo'd reporting is a thing of the past and real time optimization and predictive analytics is being embraced across the division.

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Most Influential Industry Contributor: Brent Dykes

With more than 15 years of enterprise analytics, digital marketing and consulting experience, Brent Dykes has brought a wealth of knowledge and practical skills to the analytics industry, including some of the biggest brands in the world, such as Microsoft, Sony, Dell, Comcast and Nike, among many others.    

In his current role at Adobe as an Analytics Evangelist, Brent works closely with the Adobe Analytics product team and its customers to help guide their analytics initiatives with expert advice and feedback. His contributions have helped numerous organizations create a data-driven culture, turn more insights into action and generate a higher return from their analytics investments.   

Outside of his day-to-day role at Adobe, Brent is an ongoing contributor to the analytics community:    --He’s a published author, including his first book "Web Analytics Action Hero" and follow-up eBook "Web Analytics Kick Start Guide." “Web Analytics Action Hero” was recently translated and published in Korean, its first foreign language.   

He directs an annual collegiate digital analytics competition, Adobe Analytics Challenge, which has exposed thousands of students to the power of enterprise-level analytics over the past 10 years, and doubled in size this year to nearly 1,000 students from 24 universities.

He regularly writes thought-provoking articles aimed at helping companies thrive in today’s data economy and evolve their digital marketing, including regular contributions to Forbes and notable placements at industry publications such as VentureBeat and Entrepreneur. He also published a paper in the October 2015 issue of Applied Marketing Analytics Journal: “Data storytelling: What it is and how it can be used to effectively communicate analysis results.”  

He's recently been referenced and interviewed by influential media about digital analytics, such as TechRepublic and SiriusXM/Wharton Business Radio.   

Brent also enjoys speaking on various data-related topics at many industry events. In 2015 alone, Brent participated in the following:   

  • Keynote speaker at eMetrics Boston 2015 with Jennifer Yacenda, “Data Storytellers of the World Unite” (top-rated session)   
  • Panelist on the “Do’s and Don’ts of Data-Driven Marketing” at Data Marketing 2015 in Toronto  
  • Keynote speaker at Conversion Hotel 2015 in Netherlands, “Storytelling with Data: That’s what you need for data-driven impact!”   
  • Speaker at MinneAnalytics Farcon 2015 in Minneapolis, “What’s So Special About Mobile App Analytics?”   
  • Speaker at UMSL Digital Marketing 2015 conference in St. Louis, “How to Become a Web Analytics Action Hero”  
  • Speaker at Adobe Summit 2015 in SLC and London for two breakout sessions, “Analytics Idol: America voted—the top tips are here!” and “Data storytelling: Create a happy ending for data-driven decision-making” 

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New Technology of the Year: Watson Trend, IBM

Digital Analytics has been long defined as the set of activities that transform digital data into insights that create business value. Practically speaking, Digital Analytics has long been the domain of aggregated analytics on clicks and purchase behavior.  During the Holiday 2015 shopping period, that definition was dramatically expanded.   

Over the summer, IBM had been thinking about how shoppers tend to use their social networks to inform their purchase decisions -- especially during the holidays. However we realized the inherent limitations with this approach - that the people who may be best suited to provide the best purchase advice may not be in my immediate social network. We dreamed about using the cognitive power of Watson - the Jeopardy winning computer system - to harness the collective digital conversation of BILLIONS of people on the planet. And we set out on a fast paced, three month initiative to see if we could put the power of a new breed of digital analytics into the hands of SHOPPERS, as well as retailers.   

On November 11, 2015 IBM Watson Trend (www.ibm.com watsontrend) was introduced as an app on iTunes, Google Play and available online at www.ibmwatsontrend.com. Watson Trend was built with the same digital analytics know-how as IBM's traditional Digital Analytics Benchmark, which has for years delivered insights into HOW shoppers were buying digitally. But this year, the Watson Trend app was introduced to deliver deep digital analytics insights to shoppers on WHAT was trending, and WHY. Now, digital analytics was being leveraged in the form of Watson Trend to put the power of cognitive computing in the hands of individual shoppers!   

Watson Trend delivers these unique insights by analyzing tens of millions of digital conversations about purchases on social media, blogs, message boards, forums and ratings & reviews on eCommerce sites. Using the cognitive power of IBM Watson, the app then understood each conversation, grouping them into trends, and determining the overall strength of each trend on a daily basis. Furthermore, the app uses Watson natural language capabilities to uncover the WHY behind each trend, often uncovering unique insights into what was the driving reason or demographic behind each trending product. Lastly, the app forecasts the trend strength of each trend three weeks into the future so that shoppers could see whether this trend had staying power or was just a blip on the radar.   

Consumer and news outlet response to Watson Trend was overwhelmingly positive. The app was featured in The Wall Street Journal, NY Times, CNBC, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, CBS, Fox Business, AdAge, and countless other quality news outlets. In fact, the app received coverage from around the globe in over 15 different languages. Shoppers responded by downloading the app and giving it an average of a 4+ review on both iTunes and Google Play. For the week surrounding Black Friday, iTunes featured the app as a "Best New App" as well.   

Watson Trend was able to shine a bright light on trends that were on the cusp of going mainstream (e.g. Apple Watch) before it happened, while also introducing shoppers to new, emerging products that they may not have otherwise heard about (e.g. Meccanoid robot). In some cases, such as with Lego bricks, Watson Trend was able to inform shoppers as to what sets were likely to sell out during the holiday season so that they could make their purchases early!

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Most Influential Agency/Vendor: Adobe

As the cornerstone of Adobe Marketing Cloud (AMC), Adobe Analytics is the world’s largest enterprise marketing analytics solution, measuring nearly 8 trillion server calls annually for 140,000 marketers, business users and analysts around the globe. Its enables customers to create a holistic view of their business by turning customer interactions into actionable insights through advanced analysis capabilities and intuitive and interactive dashboards and reports that users can sift, sort, and share in real-time.     This past year, Adobe Analytics continued to increase its market share of enterprise analytics customers, reaching an impressive 62 percent of Fortune 50, 57 percent of Fortune 100, and 34 percent of Fortune 500 companies. Adobe Analytics’ Fortune 500 customers include:

  • Top 6 Entertainment Companies
  • 9 of Top 10 Tech Companies 
  • Top 4  Healthcare Companies 
  • Top 5 Telecommunications Companies 
  • Top 3 Internet Services Companies    

In addition, Adobe Analytics has consistently been recognized and praised by analysts, having been noted as a leader in Forrester’s most recent The Forrester Wave™: Web Analytics Q2 2014 report and Gartner’s first Magic Quadrant for Digital Marketing Analytics 2015 report.    

Regardless of its current success and influence in the industry, Adobe is continually evolving the solution. Efforts include adding new analytics and visualization capabilities, and building in tighter integration with AMC’s other seven solutions in order to better enable marketers to take more action on big data and make more customer-focused marketing decisions. Adobe Analytics’ 2015 additions include:   

  • Analysis Workspace: a new smart data discovery platform, which is helping companies democratize data-driven insights and equipping a new group of “citizen data scientists” by making it easier than ever before for marketers and data analysts to get answers from their growing customer and marketing data. Adobe did this by improving the flexibility of Adobe Analytics’ web-based tools and enabling analysts to curate analysis projects for their business partners. With Analysis Workspace, marketers and analysts can move from static reports to flexible reports, giving internal stakeholders a workspace where they have the ability to act on real-time data to inform their decision-making.     
  • Contribution Analysis: a new big data learning engine that intelligently identifies “causes” or contributing factors for changes in trended data and anomalies. This saves analysts countless hours by automating hundreds of reports comparing and contrasting results to deliver statistically-relevant conclusions about correlation and causation. It also automatically curates actionable customer segments based on its conclusions to drive immediate action from insights.    
  • Customer Attributes: enables marketers and analysts to combine descriptive data with online behavioral data to augment customer analysis. This enables users to pipe in data from a CRM system or any other source of online or offline enterprise data as an added analysis dimension (e.g. loyalty program levels). By combining online behavior with customer attributes, analysts can uncover new customer segments, behaviors and other insights to optimize their campaigns.    
  • Calculated Metrics: removes the lengthy implementation period previously required to get a new metric. The calculated metrics builder allows users to create new metrics on-the-fly, that apply historically, without updating implementation. This capability also enables advanced users to segment, share and curate metrics to remove clutter for business users. 

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