Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Data visualization in the news: the bloody facts!

Once again my planned blogpost was pre-empted by the news this morning of a brutal incident outside of Pittsburgh and this time it wasn’t gun related it was a mass stabbing. Not something I was expecting to hear and it got me thinking about the seeming increase in these incidents of mass violence so being a data person I had to find some research.

The FBI defines a mass murder as involving 4 or more persons and as the latest tragedy unfolds in Pennslyvania over a year after Newtown we still don’t have any clear understanding of what is driving this rise in violent crime. Back in 2013 following the Newtown tragedy some news agencies were reporting that mass murders were on the rise since 2006, some linking it to the overall economic crisis and some to the widening income inequality gap.  

Well USA Today did a follow up piece digging further into the FBI data which turns out was slightly flawed by being underreported in some cases. It also turned out, not surprisingly, that certain stories got more attention and made it into the data while others did not. Local law enforcement agencies self-report the crime data to the FBI and in some cases don’t report it at all. This created a misperception that these crimes were on the rise when in reality they are pretty much the same just more sensationalized by national media. 

Looking at the graphic below you can see a fairly regular trend of mass murder (based on the FBI definition). 


As you can imagine the larger circles represent a higher volume of victims for that incident. In reviewing the data USA Today found that the majority of mass murder incidents were generally between family members and usually with a legally purchased handgun. Different groups will review this data differently but you have to admit the data visualization tells the story clearly and simply as any good data visualization should. To see the full USA Today piece and the interactive graphic visit here.  To help future victims you can donate blood or support the American Red Cross.   #StopTheViolence 


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Having trouble navigating the marketing technology landscape?

If you aren’t that would be surprising, over the past 4 years the number of companies offering some sort of marketing software has exploded (see the evolution of the infographic for the Marketing Technology Landscape here – thank you to Dana Mondelesi for sharing this on our Rauxa Jostle site and derailing my original post for today which was going to be about me using Predictwise to help me pick the March Madness brackets for the office pool – but we’ll save that till March Madness is over). 


Just pick one area of marketing services and I could list at least 20 companies that claim to support that service with a software/technology solution. For example take a look at Web and Mobile Analytics and just some of the companies that play in that space in 2014.


Some of these names I’m sure you recognize (Adobe, Google, webtrends, IBM) and I’m sure at least 4 more that you’ve never heard of. I’m familiar with Adobe, Google Analytics, KISSmetrics, IBM, webtrends, mixpanel (applied for a job there when they started I thought they were so cool), bitly (not sure how this one really counts) and probably one or two others that I’m having trouble seeing through this mess of logos right now. Anyway the point is this is just one small piece of the marketing technology landscape, pick one you are familiar with from the high-resolution PDF version of the infographic you can download here and you’ll see what I mean.

Just to keep you on our blog a moment longer here’s where it gets interesting, because of this explosion of marketing technologies, we’ve even got a new space the folks at the Chief Marketing Technologist Blog are calling marketing middle-ware (marketing middleware — software to help all the other software in marketing work better together) and these are companies that have stepped in to help you manage your CRM or marketing automation platforms and databases and their interactions with all the marketing experience technologies. So here’s a shot of probably the most densely populated marketing experience channels, social media marketing which should give you an idea of why middle-ware solutions have sprung up in
 the market.


Recognize any of those? Now take a look at the whole picture and it’s really not a surprise you are having trouble navigating these waters.  In my mind this is the next bubble, it seems we have a surplus of marketing technologies, at this rate every major corporation could pick a different technology and then good luck in a merger (i.e. Comcast and TW) getting your marketing to be unified. This is definitely a picture that is unsustainable and hopefully soon the true leaders in marketing technology will emerge and clear the landscape.