In Don Draper’s time, marketing and advertising were based almost entirely on gut feelings and big ideas. Nowadays, the most successful marketers are using hardcore data analytics, mapping, and machine learning solutions to reach their targets effectively. Here at Go Fish Digital, we use a variety of powerful data solutions to ensure our clients maintain a competitive advantage. Here are a few of my favorite data tools, and how I use them for our clients.
I have previously written about AirTable and how I think it’s going to be at the forefront of next-gen data management solutions. AirTable’s unique combination of mixed file format spreadsheets and powerful database features make it feel like home to both our experienced MySQL users and beginner Google Sheets users alike. Almost nobody else in this space has been able to correctly handle the data storage and querying aspect of mixed-format databases, and I really hope to see AirTable continue to develop.
AirTable — AirTable.com
If you’re just getting introduced to the world of Data Analytics, Tableau is a great place to start. It’s being used by some of the world’s largest consultancies and consumer companies to understand customer data, generate insights, and graphs that people will actually want to look at. My favorite aspect of Tableau is its flexibility – I’ve thrown data at it from unimaginable sources (hundreds of thousands of rows’ worth) and it always has some sort of reporting or mapping feature that can instantly help decision-makers do their jobs better.
Tableau — https://www.tableau.com/
Google Fusion Tables
When we needed more power than Google Sheets could provide, it was tempting to move to a specialized (expensive!) third-party solution. However, Google has a somewhat well-hidden platform called Fusion Tables that allows powerful data and GIS analysis and mapping. For example, we recently analyzed DC Parking Tickets for a client campaign. Fusion Tables handled uploading and querying of the public violation data, as well as heatmapping on the built-in Google Maps integration. Fusion Tables is a great one-stop shop for analytics.
Google Fusion Tables — https://support.google.com/fusiontables/answer/2571232?hl=en
It’s the logical next step for the Facebook Generation – a Data Social Network! Often, the hardest part of working on data-based campaigns is finding interesting and relevant data to work with. Data.World has a really cool assortment of data from diverse sources. Even if you don’t use its integrated analysis and querying tools – it’s a great place to look for data-based inspiration.
For a long time, Google Maps was essentially the only option for web-integrated mapping that actually worked. In the last year, Mapbox has roared onto the scene with powerful and easily-customized mapping features that enable us to build compelling content for both internal use and for our clients. As the GIS data field continues to grow and mature, solutions like Mapbox will become increasingly important for understanding and making decisions with geographic data.
The Bottom Line
No matter how you use data, its importance is undeniable. Clients simply do not accept “we feel like this will work” as a campaign strategy anymore. Understanding how to handle the massive datasets that appear in our everyday work is essential to making good marketing decisions, and creating value for clients. Using these tools, we give ourselves an edge on the competition. I hope you find them useful too!