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CultureWaves partners with data science firm

Marketing tool aims to better identify consumer motivation

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A collaboration between a pair of companies has given “Voice” to a predictive behaviors tool for marketers designed to help companies better know their audiences and their motivations.

It’s called Voice, and the venture launched in January via Springfield-based CultureWaves, a consumer predictive behavioral analysis company, along with New York-based Dstillery, an applied data science company. The tool serves as a meshing of CultureWaves’ data and Dstillery’s observed behavior signals to provide advertisers with a glance into what motivates consumers to act, said Bob Noble, CultureWaves CEO.

Voice utilizes a methodology combining both human and artificial intelligence. Noble said companies typically use demographic and statistical data to make decisions and then they’ll create messaging around a generic model that, say, all teenagers think alike. That way of thinking is outdated, he said.

“Conventional methods are going out the window fast,” Noble said, noting Voice observes what people do, not just what they say they do. “We have created a totally unique, new segmentation tool. It’s needs-based and behavioral-based that informs traditional research and reported data.”

CultureWaves developed the marketing tool in conjunction with Dstillery.

Christopher Boon, Dstillery’s senior vice president of enterprise solutions, said Voice helps companies determine segments of its audience it doesn’t yet know about.

“That’s what analyzing data at scale allows you to unlock,” he said, noting the tech company is very selective about partnerships.

Local companies in finance, publishing, media and utility industries currently utilize the tool, Noble said. So far, Associated Electric Cooperative Inc., Central Bank of the Ozarks, KOLR 10 and Springfield Business Journal have signed on for access to the data.

Noble said the companies are able to apply needs-based insights to various applications, such as product development, advertising and messaging.

After being approached by Noble early this year, Central Bank officials quickly got on board, said Andrew Tasset, vice president and marketing manager.

“It sounded like a very interesting marketing approach,” he said.

Data pull
CultureWaves provided the companies a Springfield-designated market area report compiled from data pulled in May from more than 85,000 devices, such as cellphones and computers, and observed over 45,000 web domains, Noble said. The Springfield DMA, which he said is a broadcast term used to help describe an advertiser’s reach, stretched across 30 counties.

Noble stressed protecting the privacy of consumers is a chief concern for CultureWaves when collecting data. In doing so, only data that is transparent, aggregated, anonymous and doesn’t violate personally identifiable information standards is used.

“We do not collect information from social media,” he said.

Noble said traditional segmentation, which includes geographic and demographic variables, involves subjective learning, such as surveys. He believes those only take a marketer so far when it comes to reporting data and they do little to help companies with messaging and relevancy. It can take four to eight months and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, he added.

“You can do this in a quarter of the time for a fraction of the cost,” he said of the DMA project for which data information was compiled over one month.

Tasset said an upside is that the data provides a strictly local view.

“We can better understand who we are marketing to in the Springfield metro and not have to rely on national data,” he said. “It’s a more precise and targeted way to market to new customers and ultimately it’s being more savvy with our marketing dollars.”

DMA details
The Springfield DMA project cost, which landed in the $65,000-$75,000 range, was split among the four local companies, said David Nehmer, CultureWaves president.

From data analysis of the Springfield DMA, made up of around 409,000 households, a total of eight personas were created with the audience size broken down by percentage. Personas are a combined description of a set group of people with similar interests and affinities. The top persona, at 20.6 percent, was the Time Consumer, which has news and online gaming as content drivers. This particular persona is made up of Generation Z and millennials and, characteristically, gives someone about 3 seconds to start a conversation, Noble said. If the information is relevant to them, they’ll give another 30 seconds to make a point.

A second DMA report also was produced. It removed Springfield and Branson to essentially eliminate the urban influences, Nehmer said. Top personas in it are the Imitator, the Seeker and the Prudent, which indicated a more adult-minded and family-oriented audience.

The May data included student devices and behaviors, and the researchers say they’re considering a winter data pull to measure seasonality.

“Our market shifts every summer as the students depart and tourists arrive,” Nehmer said. “We can see where the shifts are. What’s great about behavior is it’s constantly evolving. … No matter how people feel today, they may very well feel different in six months.”

Noble believes Voice can serve as a “laboratory for the future” to help marketers keep their brands viable and relevant.

“It’s going to force brands to be more message relevant and help the consumer who is really busy … better understand what’s being offered at the time,” he said.

Brands customarily market against reported and panel data insights to determine the who, what, when and where of consumer activity, Noble said. Voice is designed to understand the why, he added.

Nehmer said CultureWaves is visiting with other companies to pitch the data generated from the DMA report, and additional markets, including some out of state, also are being considered.


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