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Heath Podvesker and Gregg Nathan present on the importance of stepping up the optimization team's work in Fidelity Investments. They discuss how they moved from a system of reporting once a year to a system of making monthly optimization changes.
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"Now what we're moving to is a much more fact-driven, modeling-based approach that is more predictive, it is more directive, taking the emotion out of it, and instead of looking for efficiency, we are now gunning for optimization."

Heath Podvesker and Gregg Nathan present a talk on the process of improving the analytics team, the value of the improvement, and how to avoid pain during the improvement process.

A huge paradigm shift is necessary at this point in time. Up until recently, most business decisions involved bias, emotions, and politics. With good analytics we can see what is actually working, and what needs to be tweaked. Optimization used to take years, but with instant feedback, optimization should be a constant project.

They describe the process of improving insights and being able to take a more active role in determining what needs to be changed as a series of four generations:

  • Gen 1: Slow and short-term focused (no simulations)
  • Gen 2: Show and understand brand (few simulations)
  • Gen 3: Fast & shapes decisions (many simulations.)
  • Gen 4: Faster yet, and drive decisions (uses many simulations)

The importance of building a steady drumbeat of updates. There's little value to being out there annually. Monthly changes help take care of:

  1. Consistency – Largely around methodology rather than insights. By being out there monthly.
  2. Action – There's not enough to act on when you're reevaluating only once a year.
  3. Expansion - Why would management want to expand a team that only acts once a year?
  4. Adoption – the team will only buy into the work if you're not out there regularly. Stakeholders need to believe in you and buy into the metrics.
  5. Vision – If you want to talk to management about a vision that you see once a year, no one will listen to your vision.

Avoiding the pain:

  • Boiling the ocean: Don't go to your stakeholders and say you will do everything, including what you can't. It's very important to cut up the work and build a realistic roadmap. You want your recommendations and insights to be great!
  • No real goals: Having a clear vision of the goals makes you most likely to succeed.
  • Consistency: Often initial conversations will discuss the methodology or technology, whereas consistency of conversations will eventually help you build a good relationship th the management team.

Gregg Nathan, VP Marketing Effectiveness, Fidelity Investments

Gregg Nathan Gregg Nathan is Vice President, Marketing Effectiveness, Customer Knowledge Center at Fidelity Investments. As an innovative, versatile business leader with a rich mixture of experience throughout a 15 year career, Gregg leads a global team responsible for helping Fidelity maximize its promotional investments across broad based media, online marketing and targeted 1:1 efforts through the use of marketing analytics and experimental design.

Gregg is known for his strong analytical and communication skills with exceptional ability to present complex information in a succinct, comprehensive and compelling manner to help drive analytics into marketing and advertising decisions.

Prior to his current role, at Fidelity, Gregg was Director, India Business Management where he helped grow the Customer Knowledge Center's analytic organization to India. He also led Fidelity's Acquisition direct marketing program when he first joined the firm in 2005.

Gregg spent the first 9 years of his career in database marketing and analytics for Grand Circle Travel and Aramark Uniform and Career Apparel. He holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Union College, and an MBA from Bentley University.

Heath Podvesker, SVP, Managing Director, MarketShare

Heath PodveskerHeath Podvesker is Senior Vice President and Managing Director of MarketShare. Heath brings over a 15 years of relevant experience creating and managing integrated, multi-channel marketing solutions. He is a proven leader with analytics and its integration with the marketing and advertising process.

Before joining MarketShare, Heath was VP of Client Services at [x+1], a firm focused on optimization sales conversions and online marketing strategies. There, he was responsible for managing multiple client relationships from strategy through development.

Heath was formerly Vice President, Planning Director at Wunderman, developing global relationship management strategies for accounts, including Microsoft.

A frequent industry speaker, Heath recently spoke at iMedia’s Brand Summit and was a panel speaker at Google’s Future: Direct conference. He has a BA in English from Drew University.