Sixth City Marketing Interviews Dr. Tony Branda of Pace University

As we continue with our series on higher education industry leaders, our next interviewee is Dr. Tony Branda from the Lubin School of Business at Pace University.

Dr. Branda specializes in marketing analytics, a field in which he has completed extensive research and has received publication in a variety of outlets. Additionally, he holds a doctoral degree in marketing analytics and customer intelligence.

In addition to educating, Dr. Branda has served as Chief Data and Analytics Officer for many companies, and has performed advisory and consulting work as well. Dr. Branda is also the founder of the Analytics Hall of Fame.

In our interview, Dr. Branda discusses his thoughts on where marketing is heading inside and outside of the classroom.


1. How long have you been teaching marketing? What made you want to pursue it?

I have been teaching marketing for nearly ten years as an Industry Professor (non-academic) both at Pace, and I have taught at NYU SPS. I have always been a “knowledge transmitter,” and some folks have even nicknamed me “the lamp,” as I am often up on the latest content and topics in marketing, analytics, and data science.

One day, while at RBS as a CAO, I was giving a talk and one HR leader came up to me and said, “You have a gift for explaining things in a very professional interesting way.” I paused and said hmm, there is something to this, and I had heard that before. So, I began to pursue a doctorate in marketing and analytics to pursue my dream to be an industry professor while continuing to practice.


2. What is your favorite course to teach and why?

My favorite course to teach is Customer Intelligence and Analytics as that course has both conceptual discussions of new technologies such as AI and Marketing Technology coupled with a very applied project where I coach students through building a CRM and Marketing Automation and Digital Nervous system for a target firm. They say that teaching is learning as well, and I learn a ton by seeing students apply analytic solutions and technologies to company business problems.


3. Tell me a little bit about yourself (education background, any other relevant work experience). What types of organizations are you involved in?

I have been a Chief Data and Analytics officer for several large brands, including Citibank and RBS, and some mid-size fintech companies. Most of my focus has been on helping firms translate, build and evangelize data science methods, AI, Martech and AdTech to solve business problems.

I currently do consulting and advisory work with Accenture and and am the founder of The Analytics Hall of Fame that was started by a group of analytics and data science experts.


4. What do you consider to be the most important and exciting aspect of the current state of marketing?

The level of change and opportunity created by new disruptive technologies to drive impact. There are so many solutions to drive business impact for nearly every scenario, and while this may be more complex to navigate, the opportunities for business growth are limitless.

The main challenge is getting the corporate cultures to adopt the technologies and stay the course when building them. I don’t believe in failure; with the right fortitude any technology can be stood up and deployed.


5. What types of research do you do as part of your role? How do you incorporate it into your coursework?

My research is primarily on Marketing Analytics topics and is published in the Journal of Marketing Analytics. Much of my research deals with the type of conditions that allow firms to be more analytical and use facts and data to make the best marketing decisions that drive better performance.


6. Where do you feel the future of marketing, particularly digital, is heading?

The future of marketing is AI and data science and more automation of capabilities and ways to engage the customer in their moments of need. This includes things like using chatbots to understand buying intent, along with AI and machine learning to help learn what the customer needs.

Algorithms and technology have only just begun to impact marketing. People think we are in a mature use of these data driven capabilities but if we are honest, we have merely scratched the surface.


7. With digital marketing changing at such a rapid pace, how do you see marketing being taught differently in the future?

In my class, we use digital gamification to flip the classroom learning paradigm by having students do some of the reading before class and to come in and compete and develop their knowledge in the form of gaming.

I believe we will see more automated learning devices in the classroom, such as real-time quizzes, speed learning and other ways to automate and get students involved with the content versus having students only listen to a 3-hour lecture. I find that the more I can get students engaged with the material through simulations, games, and labs, the more they learn.


8. What advice would you give to young marketing professionals?

I recommend that you do some soul searching by taking some assessments like StrengthsFinder to determine how you like to work and what your strengths are. Are you better at presenting and selling versus analyzing and decision making? The answers to these questions will help the professional to choose the right path where they can spread their wings and thrive.

I don’t recommend people only follow the shiny object or the next best thing. I recommend that in your early jobs, you do rotations in several different aspects of marketing to find your passion and understand your work style and strengths.


Now What?

One planning season, as we were reviewing metrics and processes, building spreadsheets, developing assumptions, forecasting our opportunities and potential challenges, a new senior manager came into the picture. We were rushing around gathering our data and putting together our analytic plans, but not a big deal, right? We’ll pull together a quick program review, we knew our programs backwards and forwards, the performance metrics were seared into our brains – easy. But not this year…professionally, it was a turning point for me.

At this initial overview for the new senior manager, prior to the multiple rounds of Plan tweaking, we started to review our year-to-date program performance metrics (as we always did) and was told to…stop! “I’ve seen the deck – so what?” Silence ensued. What does she mean, so what? With what we were proposing, we could up our program revenues 30%! And still, she said “So what?” Continue reading “Now What?”

Jim Sterne Podcast: “Statistician’s Blues”

In this episode, Jim relays his vision for the future of marketing, why cookies are here to stay, and how today’s marketers should be thinking about machine learning (notice we didn’t say “worrying about” machine learning). Join Melinda and Jim as they reminisce about Silicon Valley when there was zero traffic and get blunt about where we need to be looking for the future. Continue reading “Jim Sterne Podcast: “Statistician’s Blues””

Fundamental Qualities and Skills of Market Researchers

As you may know, Market Research is one of the Awards Categories that folks can be
nominated for at the Analytics Hall of Fame. Our Analytics Hall of Fame membership is
global and is open to professionals who work in the following disciplines:

  • Analytics (Insights, AI, Data Science)
  • Business Intelligence and Big Data
  • CRM (Mar-tech, Sales, and Marketing Automation)
  • Digital Marketing and Analytics (Social Intelligence)
  • Research (Marketing, Market, and Competitive Intelligence)

Continue reading “Fundamental Qualities and Skills of Market Researchers”

LOVE Data, LOVE Data Science, LOVE ML, LOVE AI, LOVE Azure, LOVE Tenzureflow and still LOVE YOUR BUSINESS MORE….

How to hire the Executive Data Scientist(CDS) and Scale Data Science Across the Enterprise.

In the age of data engineering and data science, many firms are trying to hire their Chief Data Scientist or Chief Analytics Officier but continue to struggle with how much engineering and science skills those leaders need versus leadership skills.

In my consulting and coaching practice, I am hearing some general themes in terms of challenges which demonstrate somewhat jumpy thinking in terms of what are the essential skills of the Chief Data Scientist:  Some skills you can teach and others come from deep experience.

Firstly, decide if you are looking to hire an executive leading data science or an individual contributor python expert. These are very different skills, and there are no Chimeras? Has anyone seen a Unicorn recently? I don’t think so. I subscribe to the complimentary and pod building theory of hiring which says the Chief Data Scientists needs to be surrounded by a variety of team members, not the least of which is the data engineer to ensure proper deployment of the ML solutions and to ensure IT resources are dedicated to projects.  Also, one question which may help you in hiring is asking yourself and knowing what are the connected skills to data science. Before DS was Predictive Analytics(PA) before PA was quantitative analysis(which skill sets are new and which ones are overlapped would be a good heat map or visual/infographic to create). More on this later. Continue reading “LOVE Data, LOVE Data Science, LOVE ML, LOVE AI, LOVE Azure, LOVE Tenzureflow and still LOVE YOUR BUSINESS MORE….”