Patrick Hong‘s diverse career has ranged from aerospace engineer to test driver for a popular automotive magazine. He may be taking on his biggest challenge yet by helping companies make useful predictions from virtual mountains of marketing, advertising and sales data. Times of San Diego talked with Hong about his new software-as-service startup, Prenostik, which helps companies make useful decisions from the data they have. The company is located in Orange County, but is a participant in CONNECT‘s popular startup program in San Diego.
Why did you start Prenostik?
There is enough data created every day and thrown into the Internet to fill more than 70 Libraries of Congress. Google’s Eric Schmidt noted back in 2010 that “Every two days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003.” We now live in the data rich but information poor world. I started Prenostik to make sense of all the data, and to turn information into actionable and predictive knowledge. It is now possible to tell the story underlying the vast volume of data without everyone needing a Ph.D. in data science. Prenostik democratizes marketing and sales predictive analytics in organizations so everyone can make use of it: from the frontline employees, the data analysts, to the executives, everyone should be able to see how their individual actions can help the company succeed.
Most companies are drowning in marketing data. How can Prenostik help?
Prenostik’s patented algorithm automatically analyzes data of all types (TV, print, web, mobile apps, social media, events, etc.) plus external factors such as consumer confidence to holistically and contextually see what really drives the consumer to make a purchase, and predict future sales with a 95 percent confidence. Prenostik demystifies marketing and sales predictive analytics, and presents the analysis to decision-makers so results are easily understood and future actions can be confidently taken with just a few mouse clicks.
You have a degree in aerospace engineering. Is this rocket science?
Trained as a mechanical and aerospace engineer, I love to solve problems. But trying to understand consumer behavior is not the same as building a rocket to land on Mars. Rockets are machines that have mathematical structure, but human behavior continues to evolve over time and seldom can be described in mathematical terms. I would argue that making sense of marketing data to understand how a consumer makes a purchase decision is more difficult than rocket science.
Most advertising is still spent on television, even though the median age of viewers is 54 and rising. Will your product help advertisers make the transition to other media?
In my previous career, I worked in the media industry for 18 years. All we really cared about was the size of our audience, which is still the predominant metric that media use to make money, even today. Certainly digital media’s ability to gather audience demographics and psychographic information allows for better, targeted advertising. That’s why even TV is loosing a bit of its advertising luster. But still, TV is the ONE big elephant in the room that is hard for advertisers to ignore. At Prenostik, we seek quality over quantity. Regardless of audience size or media platform, we can quantitatively show how one marketing channel, or a combination of channels can influence sales. This way, we can provide more transparency in the marketing and sales process to the benefit of both the advertisers and the media entities.
Prenostik also makes use of offline data, like attendance at events. How does that help?
It is our belief that a consumer is exposed to many touchpoints before a decision is made for a purchase. And those touchpoints are not exclusive to online or offline activities. Let’s say you are a big football fan and a season-ticket holder. You see a lot of sponsored banners in the stadium. You also watch the games on TV, talk with your friends on social media, or even in person at the office. You begin to see some reoccurring brand names whenever there is a game. Some are well known, but some may not be. Then during the off-season you decide you need to buy something, and you search the Internet, and ask your friends about it. A friend recommends a brand name you recall from the stadium, and then you do more research before making a purchase. The entire process may take one to six months, crisscrossing various types of advertising platforms. With Prenostik, we not only can quantify how event attendance (regardless of the size, but the quality) will convert to sales over time, we can also demonstrate how long it will take and the various customer-journey touchpoints that helped with the eventual purchase decision.
Times of San Diego, a startup itself, regularly writes about startups in technology, biotech and other sectors of local business. If you are a startup in the San Diego area and want to tell your story, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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