How can you measure the dollar impact of brand campaigns and sponsorships?

Quantifind, a data science company based in Menlo Park, Calif., will likely suggest you try Signum Impact, the latest offering in its Signum product line.

Signum Impact is "an on demand service that can tell you in real time how a brand campaign or sponsorship is doing financially, what level of revenue it is generating, with whom and why," Josh Reynolds, head of marketing at Quantifind, told CMSWire.

Impact complements other products in Quantifind's portfolio, including Signum Analysis, which identifies consumer data that drives business performance, and Signum for Restaurants, which gives food brands insights into revenue drivers for competitors. 

The company plans to launch other verticals in the retail, beverage and automotive industries.

Underlying all of these products is Signum itself, a real-time insight platform built to identify hidden signals in data from the web and correlate them with a key performance indicator (KPI) relevant to the user. 

In the case of Impact that could be anything that correlates to revenue, such as customer churn or foot traffic. It could also be a straightforward metric such as sales.

Tracking 2 Buckets of Data

Roughly, the underlying platform works by tracking two buckets of data, Reynolds says. One is a "truth line" — say revenue from a particular product The second bucket is an unstructured mess of data — social data, blogs, forum posts, tweets, call center logs, credit card swipes — that produces massive signals of almost any kind. "What we have learned is that only 15 percent of these signals have a potential correlation to the truth line," Reynolds said.

Quantifind’s genius or secret sauce is that it has figured out how to weed out the noise, find the signal that correlates to the relevant KPI and make that KPI discoverable.

In other words, Signum can used for almost any scenario in which someone wants to comb through that huge mess of unstructured data generated online to find a predictive answer. That includes its first use case of identifying possible terrorist attacks.

Founded by Atomic Physicists

To understand how Quantifind's technology was first used to track possible terrorist activity, it's helpful to look at the origins of the data science company. Quantifind was co-founded by John Stockton and Ari Tuchman, two PhDs specializing in atomic physics.

Tuchman received his doctorate in atomic physics from Yale University and served as a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) technical lead for a quantum metrology effort to design ultra-precision navigation sensors. Tuchman's work on precision measurement and signal processing went on to include applications ranging from low field battlefield MRI to optimizing creative messaging for Hollywood movie releases (more on the latter in a moment).

Stockton received a PhD in atomic physics from the California Institute of Technology, where he was a Hertz fellow. In his academic research, Stockton focused on fundamental quantum measurement and ultra-precise metrology devices. His work on high-dimensional information extraction from unstructured data was the basis of the early technical development of Quantifind.

Learning Opportunities

Now let's go back to the two buckets of data that Signum tracks and for the "truth line," as Reynolds called it, substitute "terrorists attacks" for "product revenue."

"People getting hurt, money being made — they are both truth lines," Reynolds said.

Zero Dark Thirty

The technology was also used by Hollywood to, ironically, better market a movie about terrorism. The producers of Zero Dark Thirty, a movie looking at the assassination of Osama Bin Laden by US forces, used an early variation of Signum, Reynolds said.

After analysis, what emerged as a signal was that politically conservative moviegoers thought Zero Dark Thirty would be politicized, emphasizing President Obama’s decision to go after the terrorist.

The producers adjusted the movie trailers to emphasize the role of the CIA agent and the team. "With that adjustment of creative, it opened 41 percent higher than the first analysis," Reynolds said.

From Likes to Financial Impact

Signum Impact aims to the same but in the campaign and brand sponsorship space.

"Sponsorships and brand campaigns are still measured in likes, shares and attitudes, while executives are demanding to know the financial impact of marketing programs," Quantifind's Marketing Director Josh Anish noted in a blog post introducing the product.

Impact's toolset includes features that can measure incremental dollar impact of campaigns and sponsorship, track and analyze the effectiveness of messaging and activations in real-time, benchmark against prior campaign performance and competitors, and drill into demographics, affinities and real customer conversation, he noted.

"CMOs, CFOs and CEOs need to know the financial impact of multimillion dollar sponsorships and brand campaigns," he wrote.