Wharton Conference Examines Effects of Analysis

A look at how companies will use customer data in the future.
HOW WILL DATA analytics affect the businesses of the future? That was the question during the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI) conference held last April at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Analytics leaders from companies such as American Apparel, Comcast Spectacor, Google, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, and Microsoft shared detailed insights on how to maximize sales, retain customers, and measure returns on marketing investments with the well-informed use of analytics.

Wharton dean Geoffrey Garrett emphasized the importance of analytics in the business world. He noted that “better leaders make better decisions by analyzing data.” His observation was echoed throughout the event by speakers such as Sandra Nudelman, head of customer and marketing analytics across Chase.

Nudelman spoke about the evolution of the analytics field from simple and straightforward channels such as billboards and magazine ads to complex channels such as social media. She also noted how much the audience has diversified and how analytical capabilities have expanded in the short time since data analytics have been in place. Nudelman said that, to stay competitive, Chase is striving to get a 360-degree view of customer behavior by collecting data across a range of media, including its website, mobile apps, and brick-and-mortar branches.

Closing speaker Ian Di Tullio, vice president of customer relations management and loyalty at Qatar Airways, described how his company has shifted to “customer centricity” by using data to learn everything it can about its best customers. This allows the airline to make accurate, data-driven decisions that keep its customers coming back, he said.

This year’s conference included an audience of more than 200 industry practitioners and 90 unique organizations from across a wide range of business sectors. Video content and speaker presentations are available at wcai.wharton.upenn.edu.