I’m No Longer Afraid of Data, and You Shouldn’t Be Either!
Blair Roebuck is the Director of Marketing Science at Valtech, as well as one of many impressive speakers who take the time to host seminars for my fellow students and I in the Digital Media Marketing program at George Brown.
When I first heard that Blair was going to be speaking to us, looking at her background and career as a data analyst made me feel very intimidated. I was afraid I was going to be bored, or, even more embarrassing, have no idea what she was talking about. As I often joke about when people ask me anything regarding numbers: I was an art student. I didn’t think I would be able to follow along with anything she said, as I don’t come from any kind of math or science training myself. Turns out, I was worried about a whole lot of nothing.
The biggest question I had before Blair’s lecture began was “what even is Marketing Science?”
The answer is: really cool.
The extended answer is: Marketing Science, according to Blair, is made up of 3 pillars — data and analytics, business, and technology (Roebuck, 2021). Marketing Science analyzes data and transforms it into business insights, which are used to form marketing strategies that incorporate modern technology for a better customer experience. Not nearly as complicated as the name suggests.
For example, Valtech uses data gathered from beacon technology and heat mapping to track customers in retail stores, in order to identify spaces that may require more optimization (Roebuck, 2021). This is applied to tactics such as product placement or location of customer service counters.
Valtech also works with companies like Chanel, by creating a seamless transition between the online and offline experience. Customers can visit Chanel’s Experience Store in SoHo, New York, trying as many products as they want. Then, they can go online later and be greeted with a curated message that includes details about the specific product(s) they tried in store, with options to “buy now!” (Roebuck, 2021).
The key is to start with the data. Blair’s job focuses on wrangling, analyzing and communicating data in relation to the subject matter of any given business or project (Roebuck, 2021). Whether that business is in the industry of retail and consumer packaged goods, hospitality and tourism, healthcare, automotive or even aerospace. This data is then shared with the likes of project managers, creative teams, developers, product owners, and account managers (to name a few) in order to strategize the perfect marketing solutions needed to meet business objectives(Roebuck, 2021).
One question I needed to be answered was “what are the prerequisites for becoming a Marketing Scientist?” Because most people are probably thinking the same thing I was at first; “you must have to be some kind of STEM genius to do this type of work.”
Turns out, not really. Blair’s background is actually in media technology, not math or science. And like many of us, even though she went to school for one thing, that was just the starting point. She started out in paid and social media, doing content and SEO, much like I aim to do (Roebuck, 2021). From there, she moved on to working in the strategy department at an ad agency, which was where she learned that Marketing Science even existed (Roebuck, 2021).
This makes me feel a little less dizzy, as I come from a social science background, myself. The way Blair describes the collection and use of data for the purposes of Marketing Science, it sounds very similar to how I used and implemented statistics in my Sociology undergrad. That is to say: it’s something I already know how to do, and didn’t even realize it.
I think that a career in Marketing Science could be very interesting, as it applies to practically every element of marketing, be that SEO, content, social media, events, in-store — you name it, there was data involved in every decision. Although I personally prefer to stick to the more creative aspects of marketing, I can certainly see myself wanting to take a more Marketing Science approach to projects and being more involved in the data process.
Blair certainly breaks the mold of what I thought a data scientist was, and showed me just how creative Marketing Science can be. I truly appreciate the glimpse she gave me into her incredible career, and I feel significantly more inspired to lean into data, as opposed to running away from it.
Roebuck, B. (2021, September 22). Marketing Science: Unifying Business and Technology. Lecture presented in George Brown College, Toronto, ON.