Marketing Science Lab is a Data Lake Pioneer

In the expanding world of Big Data, there is more and more information out there that can help your organization target the right customers with the most effective messages for the right products and services at the right time. EMC IT is using data lake technology to help our Marketing and Sales teams gain unprecedented insights into our customer behaviors, needs and sentiments to drive effective marketing.

At the center of this effort is our Marketing Science Lab, which provides advanced analytics support for Marketing using a shared Marketing and Sales workspace in the data lake. The Lab collaborates with Sales on shared data and models to deliver 360 views of customer behaviors by analyzing a vast array of data from internal and increasingly, external sources.

The Marketing Science Lab was first started in 2011, prior to our IT data lake implementation. In a groundbreaking move, Marketing and Sales decided to transcend the traditional approach where each group had their own siloed data to join forces in a Big Data analytics platform. They were among the first customers of EMC IT’s Business Analytics as a Service (BAaaS), based on Pivotal’s Greenplum MPP database appliance and focused on empowering the analysts in the business.

BAaaS provided a powerful, shared analytics platform preloaded with enterprise data so the analysts could easily look for new insights and collaborate across organizations. So data scientists for Marketing and Sales began building analytics competencies together—to create new models to better understand their customers.


When we launched our data lake in 2014 with even more advanced data ingestion and analytics capabilities, the Marketing Science Lab was one of its charter members from day one and is now one of our most advanced users of predictive analytics. Based on evolving Big Data technologies, including Greenplum, Hadoop and multiple tiers of execution capabilities, the data lake can rapidly process large volumes of data—including structured, unstructured and semi-structured—into a central repository to allow the Marketing Science Lab and users across EMC to leverage Big Data to drive business value and success.

The Marketing Science Lab, in partnership with IT, is able to continuously ingest data to build a better data lake as well as developing new analytical models. For example, the Lab merges social media data such as Twitter feeds, with business information from the Dunn & Bradstreet database, with customer-specific data, and even off-grid, aggregated business-to-business information from Bombora Data Co-op to help drive segmentation and gain a 360 customer view. Among the insights the Marketing Science Lab leverages are profiles of which company executives (so-called CXOs) to target in a given industry to market or sell a specific product or service.

So they are segmenting the data, creating personas to help determine that in this industry with these factors, you need to talk to this guy instead of that guy. They are also able to predict a given customer’s propensity to buy specific products or services.

EMC showed off its data lake capabilities in a 2015 marketing campaign in which we used Big Data to analyze the factors that enable champion motorcycle racer John McGuinness, also known as the Morcambe Missile, to go so fast and break records. That analysis, using massive amounts of sensor data, was done in the data lake by the Marketing Science Lab.

More recently, the Lab conducted a market readiness analysis to identify customer segments that were ready to use EMC’s Enterprise Hybrid Cloud solution.  The data lake allowed it to bring in massive amounts of off-grid data from Bombora and other sources and match it up with internal EMC data to identify market prospects. The results are being used to drive EMC’s ongoing Enterprise Hybrid Cloud campaign and better target the Sales efforts.

Marketing and Sales are strong advocates of the data lake, sharing its benefits with customers who visit the physical Marketing Science Lab showcase in Santa Clara, Calif. They showcase the great synergies that exist between the two business groups, something that has drawn a lot of interest from customers.

Since the data lake enables business groups across the company to collaborate on data and strategies, the Marketing Science Lab staff also speaks to other business groups across EMC to share their experience in partnering with IT and their analytics insights.

You could say they are teaching their counterparts how to swim and thrive in the data lake.

If you are attending EMC World 2016, May 2-5 in Las Vegas, be sure to check out our session on EMC IT Succeeding with Big Data on May 4 at the EMC Global Services booth 11:30 a.m. to 12 noon.

About the Author: Mark Duncan