Blogs By Author

Meaghan
Brill Street names Sandstorm among Top 50 Gen Y Employers of 2013

Adding to a long list of all we have to celebrate this month, Sandstorm is so thrilled to announce that we’ve made Brill Street’s list of top 50 Gen Y employers in Chicago for the fifth time running.

Our growing reputation as one of the best places in the city for Gen Y-ers to learn and grow across a multitude of marketing disciplines is a huge source of pride for us, and is one among many reasons why we’ve been able to develop such a tremendously talented team of creative thinkers and life-long learners.

We love our Gen Y A-team!

This blog was posted by Meaghan on December 17, 2013.
Meaghan Glennan

About the Author

Meaghan Glennan

Meaghan is a storyteller. From the Granite State to the City of Broad Shoulders, she's created impactful true-life tales about people, places, businesses and events. As she guides Sandstorm's story by directing our marketing communications, you'll see a lot of her unique perspective and style.

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Meaghan
Trust in the age of big data

Big data isn’t new, but it has been on our minds for the last several months. So, we thought now was as good a time as any to talk about it.

Big data in the news

In September, the New York Times ran an article that piqued our interest. In short: Acxiom Corporation, one of the world’s largest marketing technology companies, had launched AboutTheData.com – a website that lets consumers see what information (or ‘Big Data’) the company is collecting and analyzing about them.

The pitch was simple: If you want to get the best advertising delivered to you, based on your actual interests, start here. Tell us who you are so we can show you the information used to fuel many of the marketing offers you receive from advertisers using Acxiom’s digital marketing data.

What information is out there?

More and more, companies are beginning to invest in Big Data solutions as a means of achieving a more effective reach, but investing in this kind of data is not without its challenges. For example, here’s what some Sandstormers had to say when they registered with AboutTheData for a look behind the data mining curtain:

“Characteristic data was spot-on except for the child I didn’t know I have. Household vehicle data: only insurance renewal, nothing about past vehicles I’ve owned (10!). Household economic data: accurate, but light.”

“The only thing accurate about my home was the year it was built. There was absolutely no data found on our cars. For household interests, they had gourmet cooking which is really quite funny since we order most from Pizza Hut… None of the data they had on me felt invasive, probably because the most personal pieces of data were simply not us.”

 “The results were disturbingly specific and correct in many cases. In other cases they were completely wrong. They knew everything about my condo purchase, which isn’t hard info to get. They know when my condo and car insurance policies are up for renewal. They knew my age (down to a two year window). Were close enough on my profession. They were pretty far off on my household income and purchasing habits.”

A constant work-in-progress

As our Sandstormers and media outlets have reported, Acxiom still has a few kinks to work out, and chief among them may be accuracy.

“One point I want to make is that this is the first release of the website,” says Nicholas Meshes, an engineering lead at Acxiom who oversees a team of developers who work on the AboutTheData.com project. “There will be subsequent releases that mean more information, improved usability, and more resources and control around how data is being used.”

It’s for more personalized relationships

He adds: “The fact is, corporations want to have more personalized relationships with consumers, and what we’re trying to do is create trust among consumers by letting them see and specify what information is being shared. People who use the website have places to go to give direct feedback, and can opt in or out of most elements we have on file about them. There are also features in the AboutTheData that direct you back to the Acxiom website to show you how we are using your data. Whatever you specify becomes our highest priority.” Whether you opt in or out, you are likely going to be marketed to regardless, “so it may as well be relevant to you.”

One of many tools

Okay. It’s a good idea driven by well-meaning intent, but the Acxiom project and the skepticism with which it has been met underscores one of the biggest challenges faced by marketing companies whose success continues to be influenced by big data: You can’t have trust without accuracy. Even if the data is accurate, it’s just one tool in your marketing toolbox.

Addressing the challenges

Big data is not the marketing panacea, but it can be a fantastic tool to create better experiences for your customers. Using big data effectively requires thoughtful decisions about how you want to engage your target market and providing them with the appropriate control mechanisms to build trust. This is a process and a large component of utilizing big data effectively to address marketing challenges.

This blog was posted by Meaghan on December 12, 2013.
Meaghan Glennan

About the Author

Meaghan Glennan

Meaghan is a storyteller. From the Granite State to the City of Broad Shoulders, she's created impactful true-life tales about people, places, businesses and events. As she guides Sandstorm's story by directing our marketing communications, you'll see a lot of her unique perspective and style.

Meaghan
Sandstorm culture: You Rock!

Want the scoop about our culture? Check out this super-secret take on our recent ‘You Rock’ celebration from the chronicles of our newest Sandstormer, Meaghan Glennan. (Don’t worry, she won’t mind if we share.)

Dear Diary:

Remember when I wrote to you on Valentine’s Day when I was nine and told you that Josh Jeffries gave me a pack of heart-shaped SweetTarts and a tiny paper card with the Land Before Time dinosaurs holding up a sign that said “You’re great!”?

I started my new job at Sandstorm Design last week, and as it turns out, THEY STILL DO THAT (but no dinosaurs, though). They call it “You Rock,” and it’s basically a chance for Sandstormers to hang out and celebrate one another. They have lunch together, and Sandy, the Principal, reads and gives-out hand-written notes of thanks and encouragement that team members have penned for each other. There were so many sweet messages, like “Thanks for all your help on the new project last week,” and “Thanks! It’s wonderful to work with you!”

I KNOW! Isn’t that fantastic?! Hearing how much appreciation and respect the group has for one another totally killed my new-girl jitters. Any team that takes time out of their day to give props to each other like that is obviously one where I am going to be very comfortable and welcome.

It was such a great introduction to the super fun and cohesive culture here. I’ve only just started, but already there’s been an in-office pizza party in which everyone ate at the table together (isn’t that the best?) and plenty of laughs around the office.

I’m having a lot of fun so far. And the best part? There’s another ‘You Rock’ next month!

Think I’m gonna like it here.

This blog was posted by Meaghan on November 14, 2013.
Meaghan Glennan

About the Author

Meaghan Glennan

Meaghan is a storyteller. From the Granite State to the City of Broad Shoulders, she's created impactful true-life tales about people, places, businesses and events. As she guides Sandstorm's story by directing our marketing communications, you'll see a lot of her unique perspective and style.

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