Client Spotlight: Smith and Donovan

Smith and Donovan have been providing photography and video services for a wide variety of businesses and non profit organizations in northwest Indiana and the Chicago area.  Carly Smith and Thad Donovan has created a number of corporate videos, including a More »

Client Spotlight: Benefit Management Associates @BMA_INC

One of Zimana’s favorite clients is the right company to turn to when it comes to planning the right health care coverage for your company.  Started by Paul Dark, Benefit Management Associates (BMA) provides guidance on health care coverage and insurance More »

Zimana spotlight: broadAngle

This interview with Garrison Atkisson, founder of broadAngle, was conducted via online in 2012.  Portions were used as part of a post for Business Agility.  I met Garrison during my grad school days at Georgia Tech. Later we crossed paths, and More »

First Digital Marketing and Analytics Seminar a Success for #Chicago Incubator @Blue1647 and Zimana

Zimana has partnered with Blue 1647, a Chicago start up and entrepreneurship incubator in the Pilsen neighborhood. Founded by Emile Cambry, and co-managed with Antonio Rowry as Chief Operating Officer, Blue 1647 provides a working space for 32 companies and More »

Zimana Client Spotlight: Scientifically Speaking @business317 merges presentation skills with social media

Eric Anderson has been a driving force with his company Scientifically Speaking (nicknamed SciSpeak).  Based in Indianapolis, Scientifically Speaking provides social media and presentations coaching to technology professionals and small businesses.  The end result for the client is an improved More »


Automated Insights names Pierre DeBois of Zimana one of 50 Follow Worthy Marketing and Analytics Experts

Pierre DeBois

Pierre DeBois of Zimana (right) was named one of 50 Follow Worthy Marketing Measurement and Digital Analytics Experts by Automated Insights

The analytics firm Automated Insights named Pierre DeBois, founder of Zimana, one of 50 “Follow-Worthy Marketing Measurement and Digital Analytics Experts”.  The list was compiled by Automated Insights, a multi-disciplinary team consists of experienced technologists, business professionals, and writers.  The company produces Wordsmith, a big data analytics platform that spots trends then translates the correlated data into text.

The 50 Follow Worthy list included some great names in analytics as Aurelie Pol, one of the architects of Mind Your Privacy; Jim Sterne, founder of eMetrics (and author of Social Media Metrics; Justin Cutroni, Google Analytics evangelist (whom I met and taught me during an epikOne training course back in 2006), and Gabrielle Endress-Balhiser of Endress Analytics, a well-respected firm that specializes in Adobe Analytics.

“I am pleased to be selected among a terrific gathering of professionals dedicated to the analytics space,” says Zimana founder Pierre DeBois. “I am truly grateful for the recognition from an advanced analytics team such as Automated Insights.”

You can view the who list and read the selection criteria at the Automated Insights site.

Cloudcamp – HIPAA, Self Care, and applying Internet of Things for personal health care

Healthcare Internet of Things - Chicago Cloudcamp


Chicago Cloudcamp HIPAA Healthcare Panel

The panel discusses healthcare concerns in the age of data sharing

Cloudcamp in Chicago is an interesting mix of presentations on technology. Presenters are usually from the same industry, and are timed to keep presentations at 5 -10 minute lengths.

I attended the September 3rd, 2014 gathering at TechNexus, an incubator in Chicago which recently moved to the upper office floors of the Opera House. Four healthcare professionals spoke about technological trends and highlights from their industry, specifically about security (HIPAA), the Internet of Things, data security, and health service development from startups. This set of presentations included:

  • Security and Sanity in the HIPAA compliant workplace, Alex Connor, lead architect (@HiTizen)
  • We are doctors who take care of patience. What can technology do?, Dr Griffin Myers, Co-Founders and CMO, at Oak Street Health (@OakStreetHealth)
  • QS and BioHacking Movements, Mark Moschel (@markmoschel), Chief Technology Officer of Factor 75
  • Removing silos in Healthcare Data, Carol Zinder, Vice President, Client Experience at CareMerge

All had fascinating looks at their related issues.

Mark Moschel (@markmoschel), Chief Technology Officer of Factor 75 caught my attention the most with his presentation, QS and Biohacking Movements. His presentation focused on the behavior that has arisen from the budding internet of things era. He spoke about the self-care movement.

You may not have heard of it, but you’ve seen hits of it thanks to consumer-available tech devices that measure glucose levels, heart beats, and other personal metrics. There are two groups of tech enthusiasts that have risen from the self care movement.

One is the Quantified Self Movement. QSM is a belief system of “self knowledge through self tracking”, that users manage aspects of their health through the data they collect.  According to Mike, Users:

  • collect data
  • visualize
  • learn about themselves

Users also talk about what they discovered with others, usually in small groups. Mike showed an image in which several execs and well-known technologists, including Wired magazine editorial founder Kevin Kelly, talking to each other about their own experiences with data collection.

The second group are called the Biohackers. The description sound similar to the first, but in the QSM example, practitioners are seeking ways to manage their health. Biohackers seek to improve themselves. Mark calls this system thinking to control and upgrade their own body. Most of the biohacking occurring centers on novel aspects of health, but the outcome is being better able to track posture, heart, mood, blood  glucose.  The tech that allows for these metrics are include implantable glucose monitors and digestible pills.

The slides for this presentation and all the others are available on the Cloudcamp Slideshare  page  – shown below is an embed of the presentation.


Identifying and Testing UX Assumptions by @Annieswank via Refresh Chicago

Annie Swank, a Chicago graphic designer, made a great presentation on User Experience (UX).  She gave her presentation, Identifying and Testing UX Assumptions, at the new location for TechNexus in Chicago for Refresh Chicago, a design and development meetup group dedicated to highlighting the local community of technology specialists and their experiences.  In her presentation, Annie raises the urgency that designers and business owners must consider in establishing a web layout:

“Your competitor is one tab away.  If you are on website and it is not looking the way it is suppose to, your users will check out.”

The overview examines the decision-making process in planning what content and information is provide in a navigational structure meant to maximize a user experience with a site or app.  The presentation does not cover technical  aspects – so no client-side talk of HTML or Javascript – but the overview is a perfect review for small businesses and freelance developers planning a site.  Asking what users will accomplish on your website is the most important aspect in web analytics.

The presentation is about an hour long. For more on Annie, check out her Tumbler page and also consider following her on Twitter (@annieswank).  Also check out RefreshChicago for other meetups via their site ( or Twitter (@Refreshchi)

The Value of Remarketing Campaigns

One aspect I notice with clients, be it small business owners or managers of an enterprise, is a hesitancy to deploy a new technique to their paid search campaigns.  They feel running digital ads is an empty exercise in marketing futility with an indiscriminate increase in spend.  Applying advanced techniques such as remarketing can make that spend more discreet and make the futility less likely.

Remarketing is one of the newest techniques in digital advertising. Remarketing is a strategy in which an ad appears after a website visit.  Its purpose is to provide site visitors a “reminder” to return to a site.  Many remarketing campaigns are created with adding a small snippet of analytics code to the intended site pages.

The advancement of remarketing reflects the dynamic environment consumers are in. With so many ways to discover a retailer online, providers of paid online ads have had reimaging their ads appearing somewhere other than alongside a search engine result.

The value of remarketing lies in providing additional engagement of visitor who fallout of a conversion path. Take a user for a beauty care product. That customer visits apage, but then remembers the need to pay a bill online to prevent a late fee.As a result, they leave your site to go pay a bill or perform some other related online task. As this same user navigates the internet, ads can appear on other visited sites, reminding the customer of thebeauty care product. The ad may even add an enticement – free shipping ora 10% discount if the customer “acts now”. The customer then recallsthat they wanted the beauty care product. The customer then clicks the ad to make the intended purchase.

One end result from this activity is an increase conversion rate. Conversions from an organic search can reach single digit percentages with the best effort; Remarketing campaigns focuses on the unconverted majority.

Another end result is to cause marketers to imagine a potential customers journey. Reviewing website navigation behavior can indicate ideas for where a remarketing campaign would best complement customer search for products and services. There are signs that remarketing campaigns are providing additional value.  An eMarketer post noted that marketers running social media alongside remarketing programs are seeing improve branding and direct purchase response.

Finally, issuing a remarketing plan can be an initial discussion on establishing a privacy policy. Google for example recommends that website indicate a privacy policy when updating its Google Analytics code for remarketing campaigns. Such discussions can rally an organization to understand what can breech consumer data management and ruin customer trust.

Remarketing is on the cusp of breaking out as an expected way to deploy digital advertising. Clickz noted remarketing as among the top 5 marketing trends for 2014.   With some imaginative planning, retailers can learn how to leverage remarketing as a personalization tool and not a shopping intrusion.


Predictive Analytics for Great Retail

Many retailers struggle with connecting with customers’ desires and needs. But instead of relying on sole instincts and trial-and-error tactics, retailers should develop their own predictive analytics models to find the right untapped opportunity. They should begin much sooner than later. Retailers in various markets are realizing the potential of their efforts, becoming significant competitors as a result.

Predictive analytics is the rollup analysis of data that determines an anticipated outcome. For retail, this means determining customer segment behaviors through evaluating data patterns related to that segment. Data for advanced predictive models can be from numerous platforms requiring a mix of software and programming to reveal insights. For example, the R programming language is a popular choice to combine with analytic packages to create predictive models for numerous business scenarios.

Demand for predictive analytics is increasing. O’Reilly noted in a Strata article that business analysts are increasing interested in more complex data modeling. And Gartner noted that by 2016, 70% of most business processes will incorporate real time predictive analytics to establish a competitive advantage.

Applying predictive analytics can lead to developing robust process controls that ensures an organization a better chance to choose the right investments or activities.

Price management is a prime example. IT can monitor tech costs associated with a price management campaign, from website maintenance to inventory-related systems. Thus IT teams impacted by predictive analytics can direct resources on tasks that will likely raise or lower costs. Furthermore, the ongoing nature of a price management campaigns can encourage better supply chain management. This can lead to further cost reductions and improved operations.

A recent Forbes article highlights a few examples that analytics firm ForeSee has observed. Hickory Farms, Perry Ellis, and all saw incremental increased sales through strategic usage of predictive analytics. And last year Chain Store Age noted how grocer Safeway achieved sales success with “Just For U”, a personalized pricing card program for shoppers. Personalized pricing is derived from predictive analytic measures.

To their best capabilities, predictive analytic models address the management of uncertain future outcomes within the organization. No one knows the future with a certainty. But a solid predictive model can provide an important indicator of what profitable activities are best pursued.