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Art in Analytics: Q&A With Analytics Director Matt Kaupa

Matt Kaupa was an English major which, on its own, is not all that interesting (sorry, fellow English majors – we’re a dime a dozen and we know it). But here’s a fun twist: Matt joined Luquire in August as our new director of analytics, after serving in similar roles for such companies as Publicis Groupe, the world’s third-largest communications conglomerate specializing in technology and data-driven communications solutions. 

So how does an English major make the leap from novels and poems to spreadsheets and dashboards? It’s not really much of a leap, Matt says. We sat down with him to learn why.  

Often people equate analytics to number-crunching and spreadsheets, but that description falls woefully short. How would you define the intersection of art and science when it comes to analytics? 

You know, I actually love that question. Data is great. Data tells us what users did, or how much revenue we have, or how many people visited the website, or what’s the exit rate, etc. But data cannot tell you intent.  

Let’s say we want to lower a bounce rate, or we want to increase conversion or increase revenue. Data can just tell us what the current revenue is, what’s bringing people to the site, what’s bringing people into the store … it can’t tell you why they did or did not purchase. So that’s where the art comes in.  

Art in analytics is, essentially, the development of informed assumptions. We look at all the data available and try to understand the intent in the user categories and make assumptions based on that. To make data actionable, you have to put a face and a persona behind it, and we have data to help us paint that picture. At the end of the day, the art is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of other people and understand why you might see some patterns that differ from others.  

How does empathy and putting yourself in others’ shoes elevate “basic” data analytics to something truly sophisticated? 

A lot of people say to me, “You were an English major. How did you make the leap to analytics?” And I actually don’t think it’s that big of a leap. English involves reading something, interpreting what it means and trying to understand the meaning behind it within a historical or broader context.  

That’s the exact same thing I do in analytics. I read numbers instead of literature, but you have to understand the context, what it means, why it’s useful, and what the data’s trying to tell us. English and analytics are actually very similar. And empathy is a huge part of both.  

When you think about tools – whether they’re dashboards or other types of data visualization and measurement tools – what elements go into a truly good visual? 

There’s going to be a couple branches on this tree. First, I would say I always go for simplicity. For example, if you had to describe a play or a novel in three sentences, you could do it. Now, it’s not necessarily doing it justice, and you’re not getting down to all the minute details, but you can cover the main takeaways. And that’s what I want in a visual – the visual should be your headline, and then you should speak to the data and details behind it.  

With that said, you also need to be really careful because something I see too often is manipulation of visuals to make either growth or reductions look more extreme than they are. I hate misleading visuals, so I try and keep them both simple and honest. Since honesty is key, I make sure to frame everything with why it matters, what it means and what’s the context behind it. 

How can analytics be used to elevate marketing strategies – not just measuring results, but driving them?  

Analytics should not be limited to an autopsy or a postmortem. Understanding past behavior, or past results of campaigns, does nothing for us if we’re not going to use it when we’re looking forward. We are interested in what drove success and what understanding we can take from it.  

Why does the idea of working at an integrated agency like Luquire appeal to you as an analytics professional? 

Nothing lives within a vacuum. Everything ladders up to clients’ business objectives, and analytics is the watchdog of media and marketing efforts in one regard. But really, media and marketing efforts are nothing without analytics, communication strategy and creative all working together toward a common goal or goals. That’s what drew me to Luquire – its smaller size and the fact that it is such a cohesive and collaborative agency. 

What trends do marketers need to be aware of to stay ahead and keep winning in this realm?  

By far the biggest thing around the corner in analytics for any industry is going to be a cookieless future. Fortunately, that has been postponed until 2023. Unfortunately, we’re in September of 2022.  

How that transition is handled will depend entirely on the tools marketers have available to them. There are ways to not necessarily circumvent, but to some degree replace, the benefits of third-party cookies, and those methods will depend on each client’s website infrastructure, the other tools they have available and how much first-party data is already available to them.  

This is going to be a complete paradigm shift. Yes, it’s going to have a lot of implications – not always positive, but not always negative either. That’s the one thing that we’re all trying to keep a pulse on right now, as far as how best to handle that and set our clients up for success. 


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