Consulting the Braintrust: Wharton's Research Center for Customer Analytics

May 03, 2013

Are you looking for answers, and not getting help from your internal analytics and business intelligence team? Is there a fundamental question that even your company’s biggest data nerd can’t answer?

Well, if you present a problem to Wharton's Research Center for Customer Analytics, you won't get an answer right away, but you’ll be guaranteed maximum brainpower and a decidedly objective view of the issue.

As pointed out by Stephanie Overby of DataInformed, Wharton's Research Center for Customer Analytics offers a crowdsourcing-like approach to solving data-centric business problems. The “crowd,” though, is limited to academic experts in customer data analysis, so you will have a longer wait for an answer.

Launched by veteran marketing professors, Dr. Eric T. Bradlow and Dr. Peter S. Fader, the center has six dedicated staff members, a small team of research assistants and more than 1,100 scholars in its research network.

Research from Around the Globe

Here’s how it works: In exchange for providing access to a customer data set and making a financial contribution toward the center’s operating costs, Wharton’s Research Center develops a research project addressing a problem suggested by the sponsor and presents it to prospective researchers from academic institutions around the globe who then submit proposals. The sponsoring company selects six proposals and each research team devotes a year to a solution.

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Overby quoted Tom Thomas, executive director of marketing intelligence for digital ad agency Organic, which leveraged its parent company Omnicom’s sponsorship with the center to help take the agency’s analytics to the next level, as saying: “Predicting, indexing, and more dynamic measurement of online consumer behavior requires advanced mathematical, econometric and statistical skills. It’s hard to find this combination of skills in other agencies or consultancies.”

For those marketers with time on their side, Wharton's Research Center for Customer Analytics may be worth the wait. Visit its Lifelong Learning webpage for free video lectures by Wharton faculty members.

Of course, organizations looking for quicker solutions to their marketing analytics problems, can check out and request a demo of our easy to use, ‘data scientist in the cloud’ solution.