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MADS Speaker Spotlight: Thomas Dougherty, Life Extension

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“Today’s peacock is tomorrow's feather duster.” 

We recently sat down with Tom Dougherty, Marketing Analytics Director at Life Extension, to discuss the biggest data science and marketing analytics trends of 2020, and why a data-driven mindset is important to embed into organizational culture today.

Check out what Tom had to say:

What is the biggest data science trend of 2020?

Tom Dougherty: The adoption of AutoML and Search driven analytics and how organizations are utilizing these newer solutions [my guess it is a very small % of companies < 5data %]

Why are data science and marketing analytics powerful when they work together?

TD: Interesting how data science is positioned as this “new shiny object”, data science has been around forever – data science has been the “new” hot buzz word the last 5 years or so.  Back when I entered the data industry in the late 90’s we were building machine learning models [aka “Statistical Models] to enhance marketing’s performance [was not called data science back then – wish I could go back in time and coin the term “data science” for all the stastical models being developed, would be worth a lot of money today.

Data Science goes hand and hand with marketing, provides insights into all marketing programs from identifying who should be marketed too all the way through program performance. Digital marketing expedited the entire marketing funnel and in order for marketers to keep up they must rely on the output of data science techniques over human subjectivity. 

How has data science changed the world?

TD: I believe the onset of Digital has changed the world NOT Data Science. Digital has made our lives move faster [in everything we do], as a human species our threshold of expectations has changed [we want everything NOW, we do not want to wait for an answer, let’s just google it or ask Siri or ask Alexa].  Data Science techniques are now the vehicle to keep up with our fast paced moving world.

Why is a data-driven mindset important to embed into organizational culture today?

TD: If an organization does not think data first then they will be left behind, the understanding of data today is as necessary as it was years ago to have a basic understanding of excel – just a necessity.

If decisions are made without the supporting data, then an organization will fail – end of story

Look at Blockbuster, Sears, Kmart [no investment into data and analytics = failure]

What has been proudest moment of in your career?

TD: I was 35 years old and up to that point had spent the previous 8 years working in positions, going to evening and weekend classes leaning data and analytics.  Received a phone call from my Executive Vice President [at the Corporate bank that I was working at the time], he told me to come over to this office, and he says:  “ I have an opportunity for you today”, he offered me a Vice President role overseeing analytics at the bank.  I remember going to my car in the employee parking lot at saying to myself:  “What just happen”  That day was the turning point of my career and life.

What is the most valuable piece of advice you hope attendees will take away from your MADS West session?

TD: Always continue to test and learn, if you have a hypothesis – test it and should your test be successful continue to challenge it, keep leaning, keep moving forward. Always think into the future and how Data Science can wrap around the next best strategy, today Lifecyle Marketing is HOT, and we are wrapping Data Science techniques around our Lifecycle Marketing programs. Take time and think about how you see Data Science evolving and supporting future “HOT” marketing programs. A previous manager once told me: “Today’s peacock is tomorrow's feather duster.”

Want more content like this? Don’t miss Tom speak at Marketing Analytics & Data Science West taking place March 31-April 2, 2020 in San Francisco, CA. Tom’s session will walk you through Life Extension’s continuous journey of Life Cycle marketing implementing AI/Machine Learning models, deploying AI/ML into a marketing automation platform, and gain insights into the 2020 vision. Learn more about the event and register: http://bit.ly/2vkxkv9

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