Every year our Analytics team attends the Digital Analytics Association Symposium here in the DFW area. This conference is always a great opportunity for local analysts to step outside of their day to day roles and come listen to leaders in the industry and hear what they are doing in their roles and businesses. This year’s symposium was in my opinion by far the best DAA symposium I have attended since I became a member three years ago. Considering how strong this year’s Symposium was I wanted to take a moment and give some insight into a few of the topics that were covered, and share what I took away from the symposium.

I won’t go into every single presentation, but there are two different topics that I would like to focus on, and surprisingly enough, neither are 100% analytics focused. However, I think both of these topics are important if you are in the analytics field or in any other field for that matter.

The first topic that I want to discuss was a panel discussion that centered around building out a strong team. The title of the session was “How to Build and Maintain a Great Team: Wise Tips from Great Bosses”. The panel consisted of VPs and Senior level managers at large companies like Fossil and EY. Now typically when I hear a topic like this I tend to zone it out and not necessarily pay attention. However, I found some of their answers really insightful and something I do not necessarily think companies value on a consistent basis. There were two common themes that I took out of this particular session. The first was in order for you to be a great leader on your team you must be invested and involved in their lives, and I don’t think this concept only applies to managers. Instead I think this is something that everyone on a team should consider and work on in order for their co-workers and team members to feel valued and thrive. Now you might be asking, how can I do this in my job? And I really do think the answer is simple. Investing in your co-workers can be as simple as knowing what they care about and showing interest in something other than the deadlines they need to meet. Now obviously the actual work we do is equally as important, but if your team members do not feel valued, even the most talented members will not perform up to their potential.

While this might seem cheesy, I think if you take a few minutes out of your day to interact with your team and ask them how things are going, that can go a long way.

The second theme that I took away from this particular session was around being a mentor on a team. One of the biggest aspects of being a mentor is being able to push your team members in order to help them grow. Each person talked about how their biggest time of growth during their careers was when their mentor pushed them into something they weren’t completely comfortable with at first. However, over time they were able to grow in that area and ultimately built confidence for any challenges they might face moving forward. I think by doing this you help your team grow and empower them moving forward.

The second topic that I really enjoyed was Doug Mitchell’s presentation around Voice of Customer data. Doug currently works at J.C. Penney’s and in his presentation he showed tangible examples of how their team has used VOC data to solve problems and help improve the online experience and overall online business. We all know the issues J.C. Penney’s has had over the past few years, Doug mentioned how one of the biggest problems they were faced with during that decline in performance was they didn’t know what their customers were saying/wanting. Now a lot of that blame can be put on Ron Johnson, who took over J.C. Penney’s In November of 2011, but when it comes down to it one of the biggest problems was a disconnect between the customer and the brand. He went on to explain how his team modified their Forsee surveys to better understand what problems their customers were experiencing and how they could resolve those issues. I think Doug’s examples helped remind me that our customers are constantly providing key data points (via VOC); it is just a matter of if we are listening to what they are saying.

Once I got back from the DAA symposium I made sure and shared this presentation with our team and will be working on implementing this type of data into our reporting to make sure we truly understand our customers.

Overall, I enjoyed this year’s symposium and look forward to next year’s presentations! If you have any questions around the two presentations I went over, or around any topic that was discussed at the conference feel free to comment below.