Data Byte: Why Quantify Yourself?

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You are being tracked. Every single day, little pieces of your data are flying home to the vault. EZPass knows your driving habits, FICO knows (seemingly) everything, CVS anticipates when you need more band-aids, Target knows when you’re pregnant, Facebook can predict when you’ll get engaged, and FourSquare knows what you did last summer.

We’re essentially writing in a data diary every day, creating the story of our lives for an audience of analysts. Without having to do anything, we’re receiving the most efficient marketing ever, whether its for band-aids or diamond rings. But what happens when we track ourselves, for ourselves?

The desire to own and analyze personal information is crystallizing into the Quantified Self movement and it’s picking up steam, transforming Fitbit wearers, RunKeepers, and Lose It! users into data junkies. The official home of QS is, of course, in California:

The Quantified Self is an international collaboration of users and makers of self-tracking tools. Quantified Self Labs is a California-based company founded by Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly that serves the Quantified Self user community worldwide by producing international meetings, conferences and expositions, community forums, web content and services, and a guide to self-tracking tools. Our aim is to help people get meaning out of their personal data.

This movement is a growing boon for data and research scientists as people are self-creating troves of information about themselves. In the journal, Big Data, Melanie Swain declared that, “The individual body becomes a more knowable, calculable, and administrable object through QS activity, and individuals have an increasingly intimate relationship with data as it mediates the experience of reality.”

What does this intimate relationship with data look like? How do our individual experiences wrap into the larger whole?

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The Complete Guide to Reactivating Churned Customers

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Mitigating churn is crucial to the health of your business. Scoring a new customer costs five times as much as marketing that wins you a repeat purchase. That’s a big cost difference, but easy to understand:

  • If someone has already purchased from you, you already know they like what you’re selling.
  • You have the ability to customize marketing communications based on what you know about them.
  • You have a direct line to their inbox — no need to pay Google to get in front of them.

You can’t afford to lose repeat business: best-in-class ecommerce companies get 76% of their revenue from it! With data on your side, there’s no reason you can’t be best-in-class at holding on to your customers.

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The Data Byte: Pop Science Edition

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At RJMetrics, our mission is to inspire and empower data-driven people. So, on Fridays, we’re going to try something a little fun (because data is fun). We’re going to run The Data Byte — celebrating and examining the many ways data is surfacing in culture.

Neil Degrasse Tyson

useNeilDTysonThis guy! He’s the rockstar astrophysicist of the millennial age. He’s in millions of homes evangelizing for science every Sunday with Cosmos, he’s in your kid’s Superman comic, he demoted a planet.

What makes him important?

Neil deGrasse Tyson is a constant, opinionated advocate for the cosmic perspective. For him, it’s all about contextualizing our place in the universe as loudly as possible. If you take a moment to remember that you are made of starstuff, that you’re breathing the same air and drinking the same water as Napoleon and Cleopatra, that one day our Sun will supernova — if you take a moment for awe, isn’t the world a more marvelous place? And in this marvelous world full of facts, we can stuff our brains. Here’s some more things Neil deGrasse Tyson would like you to remember:

  • The night sky is full of ghosts. The farther away a star is, the longer it took for its light to reach us — long enough to have outlived the star itself. What we see is not what currently exists.
  • We share 90% of our DNA with trees
  • There are more stars than there are seconds of the Earth’s existence

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The Unexpected ROI of Non-traditional Charity

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It’s not news that businesses that use data get better results. But while we know this works in business, it’s still rare to see analytical rigor applied in an area like charity. This seems short-sighted. If businesses that use data see 33% more revenue and 12x profit growth, what kind of impact could data have in the work of helping humanity?

If you’re a certain kind of data nerd with aspirations of making the world of better place, you create a charity like GiveDirectly. Two friends pursuing advanced degrees in economic development at Harvard and MIT founded the organization in 2008 when they were looking for the best ROI for their own donated money.

GiveDirectly does something pretty radical for a charity: it raises money, and then gives it away to poor people in Kenya and Uganda. No strings. No requirements. Very little overhead.

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The Human Brain and Data

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Paul Meehl dedicated his life to figuring out who was better at making decisions – human experts or data. After decades of research he concluded with finality that data-driven algorithms are consistently better at making decisions than humans. Meehl summarized his life work with this:

There is no controversy in social science which shows such a large body of qualitatively diverse studies coming out so uniformly in the same direction as this one. When you are pushing over 100 investigations, predicting everything from the outcome of football games to the diagnosis of liver disease, and when you can hardly come up with a half dozen studies showing even a weak tendency in favor of the clinician, it is time to draw a practical conclusion.

The “practical conclusion” was that data outperforms the human brain, every time. Which begs the question, if using data to make decisions leads to such superior results, why don’t we?

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How to Create Predictable Revenue, and Grow Big

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No matter if you’re an embedded member of a long established company, a single entrepreneur just striking out, or if you’re in the first, hopeful stages of start-up-dom — you need a way to reliably predict your revenue.

Last week, we teamed up with the fantastic Aaron Ross, author of “Predictable Revenue.” Aaron played a significant role in the behemoth success of Salesforce.com, and his book has been dubbed the Silicon Valley Sales Bible.

Aaron’s webinar was a crash-course covering Predictable Revenue basics like:

  • The three fatal mistakes sales leaders make
  • How to build an outbound sales machine that can triple your pipeline
  • Why salespeople shouldn’t prospect

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This Data Analysis Doesn’t Speak My Language!

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In both data analysis and relationships, great communication is the foundation. And great communication is built on a shared language.

Data analysis exists in the quantitative world of business. In all the numbers and charts it can be easy to miss the role communication plays in turning analysis into action. Think of it like this, imagine that your idea of the perfect weekend involves playing video games and your partner’s idea of the ideal weekend is a camping trip.

“Let’s have the best weekend ever!” You say.

“That sounds awesome!” Says your significant other.

Excited, you both begin to plan. And immediately begin arguing.

When your business intelligence tool doesn’t speak your language, this is the kind of thing that happens. Except the conversation goes something like this:

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Is That Conference Sponsorship Worth It?

This was the question our founders were asking themselves at the very first conference RJMetrics ever attended. Conferences are expensive and time consuming and, depending on what you’re selling, it can take months before you see a positive ROI.

What we learned at that first event continues to shape our conference strategy. We’re a business intelligence company so, unsurprisingly, we use data to evaluate how well we perform.

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How to Find Sustainable Ecommerce Growth

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Always be testing should be the mantra of every ecommerce store. Incremental improvements on your homepage, product page, or click-through-rates have a snowball effect on your bottom line. Today’s guest post is from, Sean Ellis, CEO of Qualaroo and founder of GrowthHackers.com. Sean has held marketing leadership roles with companies including Dropbox, LogMeIn, Uproar, and Eventbrite. He literally wrote the guide to conversion rate optimization. Read on to hear what Sean has to teach you about optimizing conversion rates to find sustainable ecommerce growth.

Growing an ecommerce business is hard. But what if I told you that the answer to your growth challenges is right in front of you? Conversion rate optimization is critical for any business, but none more so than in ecommerce—where each conversion improvement results in immediate improvement in sales.

But CRO can also be a frustrating, fruitless practice, leading many ecommerce managers to abandon it in search of other opportunities for acquiring new visitors. In my experience, CRO is the most powerful lever you have to improve your ROI and overall site performance. It has the ability to turn unprofitable traffic into profit centers, and delivers sustainable growth that compounds itself over time.

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Two Strategies to Get More Repeat Customers

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We talk about repeat purchases a lot on this blog. We talk about it so much that today we’re thrilled to have Nima Patel from Lettuce on our blog to talk about it for us. From the company that makes order management fun, here are two strategies to get more repeat customers.

By now you’ve heard that repeat customers are an incredibly valuable segment for any ecommerce business and should not be ignored. Although that’s easy to understand at a high level, getting your customer base to buy more often isn’t so simple to implement. Monetary and points based rewards programs are standard, but what if we told you today that there were ways to earn deep customer loyalty without having to resort to generic financial incentives?

It’s definitely possible.

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