It’s safe to say that the agriculture industry is getting more and more innovative thanks to data analytics experts like Dennis Hecht.
As the Vice President of Business Intelligence at Farm Journal Media, the nation’s recognized leader in agriculture content, data, and business insights for agribusiness professionals, Dennis leads a team of data engineers, data scientists, and data product strategists.
Looking back on his previous experience in the industry, Dennis talks about the most important CRM components – managing and understanding attributes that can quantify and qualify a lead. “The data-driven business is all about understanding the sales funnel,” Dennis says. The more you understand certain user behaviors, the better your conversions will be.
Content consumption, behavior patterns, and user habits are some of the most valuable pieces of data that companies can use to their advantage.
On this episode of Infutor Data Solutions’ Identity Revolution, Dennis talks about how he and his team use content consumption to identify and build buyer personas (something you might want to try too). Furthermore, he talks about the most disruptive shifts in the data and analytics space, but also about his exciting plans for 2021.
- Name: Dennis Hecht
- What he does: As the Vice President of Business Intelligence and Data Science at Farm Journal Media, the nation’s recognized leader in the agriculture content, data, and business insights for all audiences in agriculture, Dennis leads data strategy, business intelligence, and data science initiatives.
- Company: Farm Journal Media
- Key Quote: “Farmers are stewards of the Earth and they all want to do the right thing. They want to be sustainable and they want to adopt those practices. And I think it’s just a matter of being able to articulate the value of those practices for them to adopt them.”
- Where to find Dennis: LinkedIn | Twitter
- Understanding your leads is key in the data-driven industry. According to Dennis, it’s all about the sales funnel in the data-driven business. Knowing which attributes indicate where a person is in the sales funnel can help guide them through a journey to sales. One of the ways to understand your leads is by analyzing their content consumption. Then, based on their patterns and habits, you can translate that information into behaviors to identify the most effective way to communicate with them and target them individually.
- You can customize the user experience by building buyer personas. It’s no secret that people are different. Some of them are open to innovative technologies, while others prefer to do things in a traditional manner. Dennis shares his point of view on the importance of identifying buyer personas to be able to communicate with people effectively. Content consumption, third party indicators, and other attributes can be combined together to create buyer personas. For example, if an internet user is behaving in a certain way, those behaviors can be put together to identify their type of buyer persona. Then that information can be used to target individuals differently.
- Strive for a strong identity graph. Having a strong identity graph is a powerful tool that can help you deliver an enhanced customer experience. By implementing high-quality data architecture, companies can bring in additional data to validate identity, create linkages between identifiers, and recognize the role of each platform in converting users. Dennis feels excited about his company’s identity graph in 2021 that will help them track who’s engaging and converting in a more consistent way.
The importance of understanding the sales funnel
“And my first job, I actually started on the phone, calling farmers, qualifying their interest in becoming a lead, and then sharing that lead with sales. And why that’s really interesting is because the CRM component of managing and understanding the attributes that can quantify and qualify a lead set up the platform for success for a data-driven business. And what I mean by that is the data-driven business is all about understanding the sales funnel. And if you can understand what attributes indicate where a person is at in the sales funnel, you can help your customers, your clients walk people through a journey to purchase and retention and upsell.”
Analyzing content consumptions, patterns and habits can help you create new content that will resonate well with the customers
“One of the really exciting things that we’re doing right now is partnering with our digital teams and analyzing our content consumption across all of our platforms. So as a media company, we have 50 million touchpoints, 50 million interactions with farmers every month, people that are reading content, downloading content, and engaging with it in any fashion.
And we can look at all that consumption and at a one-to-one level and understand content consumption and translate that into a behavior. So we can identify populations of farmers that have progressive mindsets or populations of farmers that are innovating in, for example, the robotic space. And it’s really cool to be able to take an asset and based on consumption and patterns and habits, analyze that over time and then assign the current affinity and then almost predict what our future affinity is. And that really becomes helpful and valuable information for our clients when it comes to trying to understand what messages are gonna resonate with my customers and how can I convert more customers to purchase.”
How buyer personas can be used to target different types of individuals effectively
“And we can type personas based on sort of clustering algorithms that the team runs and then we can build the personas out from there and identify them. And then we can absolutely talk to those people differently because the people that are going to adopt carbon sequestering programs today, that’s kind of a really new, hot trigger word in the sustainability space. Like those people are a different set of people than even like people that are innovatively going to adopt a drone or something. So we think about the context of the situation. We think about who is behaving in a certain way that exhibits behavior that we want to identify. Then we build out the persona type, and then we use that to speak to those people differently and target those people differently.”
Finding the right approach for collecting private data
“I think society as a whole is really starting to grapple with the extent to which the data that they create, in private, is being used for some good reasons and other not so good reasons, but there needs to be a bigger conversation about that. We’re not saying we can’t do it, but I think we have to be a little bit more careful about how we do. So when you look at the martech and adtech stack, what percentage of those companies really rely on third-party tracking cookies? I think it’s a massive percentage. So I think that many of these folks will find the right way to do this and we’ll pivot and we’ll get there.”
The most disruptive shifts in the data and analytics space at the moment
“Two things that come to mind when I think about this. The first is sort of the cookiepocalypse era that we’re in right now. And while it’s more of a digital disruptor in third-party cookies going away and not being able to use those as an identifier for digital targeting, it becomes very important on the data side, when it comes to better understanding identity, having state-of-the-art identity solutions, and being able to partner with our digital counterparts to effectively target the right individuals one-to-one…”
What the future holds for his business intelligence team
“And for 2021, for this year, what we’re really putting the top of mind is, one having a focus on business-driven deliverables. So getting our data science team integrated into the business strategy and focusing on KPIs that can drive revenue growth for our companies and take our existing clients and data partnerships to the next level by exploring different data science techniques.
And sort of coupled with that is this idea of democratizing analytics insights. So we’re doubling down on our efforts, moving into 21 here, setting up what we’re terming kind of an analytics library where we’re offering a portal for a lot of our customers and our internal teams at Farm Journal to have a lot more ready, available, access to insights, analytics to ask their own questions of the data.”
About favorite resources to stay up to date with data science and data analytics space
“I’m a really big podcast listener myself. So I think in addition to Infutor podcasts that I’ll be adding to my channel, Analytics on Fire with Mico Yuk is one of my favorites. Also, the Tim Ferriss podcast is just a great one to kind of extend my thinking not only within analytics but outside of the space. And from a wake up in the morning, crack up in my email, I read a lot of data science central. And then there’s a phenomenal community on LinkedIn of folks in the data science and data analytics space that I engage with pretty regularly”
[4:58] “The data-driven business is all about understanding the sales funnel. And if you can understand what attributes indicate where a person is at in the sales funnel, you can help your customers, your clients walk people through a journey to purchase and retention and upsell.”
[6:23] “It’s really cool to be able to take an asset that content and based on consumption and patterns and habits, analyze that over time and then assign the current affinity and then almost predict out what future affinity is.”
[8:44] “We think about the context of the situation. We think about who is behaving in a certain way that exhibits behavior that we want to identify. Then we build out the persona type it, and then we use that to speak to those people differently and target those people differently.”