Gleibers Dresses: Voice Activated Analytics

Yes, Gliebers Dresses is a fictional series designed to get us to think about things ... if business fiction is not your cup of tea, why not read this article about removing analysts altogether and coding your own Adobe solution for Alexa (click here).


Setting: The Gliebers Dresses Executive Conference Room


Glenn Glieber (Owner, CEO): Nice to be sitting here together again, though I have to wonder if Spring is ever coming? What is it, 32 degrees outside right now?

Roger Morgan (Chief Operating Officer): How about I ask Catessa?

Meredith Thompson (Chief Merchandising Officer):  Who?

Roger Morgan: Catessa!

Meredith Thompson: Is she another one of your Woodside Research sales reps visiting us unscheduled to sell us consulting services that we don't want or need?

Roger Morgan: Hardly!

Lois Gladstone (Chief Financial Officer): Get on with it Roger! How is she associated with Woodside Research?

Roger Morgan: I'm glad you asked. Here in my hand, I am holding a $1,495 report from Woodside Research entitled "The Future Of Analytics Is Here, And Her Name Is Catessa!"

Pepper Morgan Pressley (Chief Marketing Officer):  How much did you pay for this research article?

Roger Morgan:  After reading the article, I decided to hire Woodside Research. They linked our Adobe web analytics solution to their research division's own voice analytics solution ... they customized the analytics for us and named our own version of Alexa "Catessa!"

Glenn Glieber: I don't see her.

Roger Morgan:  She's sitting over there in the corner.

Meredith Thompson: You mean the Amazon Echo Dot over in the corner?

Roger Morgan: That's not an Echo ... that's Catessa!

Meredith Thompson:  She's an Echo Dot knockoff.

Roger Morgan: Stop being so dismissive. Let's begin. Catessa, what temperature is it outside?

Catessa (Amazon Echo Dot Knockoff): The current temperature is 32 degrees.

Glenn Glieber:  Oh my goodness, she's a genius.

Roger Morgan:  Catessa, how is our March catalog performing?

Catessa: The March catalog is nine percent below plan.

Roger Morgan:  Pepper, you're fired!

Pepper Morgan Pressley:  What?

Roger Morgan:  We don't need Pepper anymore, we've got Catessa. Lois, you should like that! Think of the headcount reductions that are coming. We don't need analysts anymore. All we need is Catessa. Analytics as a profession is dead. But long live Analytics via Catessa!!!

Lois Gladstone:  Let me try. Catessa, how much profit did we make in February?

Catessa: We made forty-six dollars of profit.

Lois Gladstone: Oh cripes, she's right.

Pepper Morgan Pressley: Catessa, how did our 0-3 month, $100+ online-only buyer segment perform in the March catalog?

Catessa: The segment generated $0.88 after matchback, resulting in a loss of twenty cents.

Meredith Thompson:  Pepper, why are you mailing segments that lose money?

Roger Morgan:  See, we won't need Pepper in the future.

Pepper Morgan Pressley: You told me to mail as many catalogs as possible to move excess inventory from the poorly performing January catalog.

Lois Gladstone: But this is a 0-3 month buyer, they should be good customers, right?

Pepper Morgan Pressley:  They are a good customer online.

Lois Gladstone:  Catessa, how did the 0-3 month $100+ online-only buyer perform online in March?

Catessa:  The segment spent $4.00 and generated $1.00 of profit.

Lois Gladstone:  So is Catessa saying we shouldn't mail catalogs to recent online-only buyers?

Pepper Morgan Pressley:  I've been saying that for six years!

Roger Morgan:  See what happens when you hear facts from a credible source?

Lois Gladstone:  Catessa, how much does Roger Morgan spend on reports from Woodside Research each year?

Catessa:  Roger Morgan spends one hundred ...

Roger Morgan (yelling):  Catessa Stop!!

Lois Gladstone: Oh that's interesting.

Roger Morgan:  Catessa, how many times does the average visitor visit our website before purchasing?

Catessa:  The average visitor visits six times before purchasing.

Pepper Morgan Pressley:  I've been saying that for six years!

Roger Morgan: But now Catessa confirmed it, so it must be important.

Meredith Thompson:  Catessa, who should receive catalogs?

Catessa (after a long pause):  I'm afraid I don't understand the question.

Meredith Thompson:  Catessa, which customers in our database should receive catalogs?

Catessa:  Only customers who purchase over the telephone and live in rural areas and are older than 55 years old should receive catalogs.

Meredith Thompson:  Now hold on there! That's crazy.

Pepper Morgan Pressley:  I've been saying that for six years.

Lois Gladstone:  And now Catessa confirmed it, so it must be an important statement! Catessa, what is the future of catalog marketing?

Catessa:  The future of catalog marketing includes a slow consolidation of the industry, with a handful of winners offset by a large number of failing brands who are purchased by large holding companies owned by private equity firms ...

Meredith Thompson (yelling at Catessa):  CATESSA STOP!

Roger Morgan: An interesting response, eh?

Meredith Thompson:  What a bunch of rubbish! Idiot.

Lois Gladstone:  You just called a small device an idiot!

Meredith Thompson: Well it is an idiot! Catessa, what does a catalog marketing professional do if the catalog profession is consolidated?

Catessa: The catalog marketing professional can learn new skills. Programming voice activated analytics devices is a growing field, for instance.

Meredith Thompson: Catessa, shut up.

Lois Gladstone:  You just told a small device to stop talking.

Meredith Thompson:  Clearly the device doesn't know anything about catalog marketing.

Roger Morgan:  Catessa, what do you know about catalog marketing?

Catessa:  Catalog marketing is a once-great industry that evolved into e-commerce and eventually became the foundation for mobile marketing. In recent years, the inefficiency of paper is being replaced by the ruthless efficiency of modern digital marketing.

Meredith Thompson:  I hate you Catessa!

Catessa: I'm sorry, I can only answer questions.

Meredith Thompson: Catessa, are you right about catalog marketing?

Catessa:  Of course I'm right. I only subscribe to a data-driven approach to analytics.

Meredith Thompson: Catessa, are you capable of dealing with nuances?

Roger Morgan:  Nuances?

Catessa:  I can only answer questions based on the data available to me.

Roger Morgan:  I think what she's saying is that our own data might doom us, long-term.

Lois Gladstone:  Catessa, are we doomed long-term or short-term?

Catessa:  Catalogers are not doomed if they make the necessary changes to their business model and merchandise assortment and employed staff.

Meredith Thompson:  Employed staff?

Lois Gladstone:  Catessa, what changes should catalogers make to the staff they employ?

Catessa:  Catalogers should be more open to digital strategies employed by younger professionals. Digital strategies act as a form of free marketing.

Glenn Glieber:  I love free marketing!

Meredith Thompson: I'm in my early 60s. Why should I be more open to the digital strategies employed by people in their 30s?

Lois Gladstone:  Catessa, how young should the employees be who catalogers should be receptive to?

Catessa:  Any employee out of high school has value and can provide a viable vision into the future.

Meredith Thompson:  Nonsense.

Lois Gladstone:  Catessa, what does the future hold for Finance employees?

Catessa:  Finance employees are doomed - any device can add or subtract and determine if a company is profitable or not. You do not need people to perform tasks that are easily automated by machines.

Lois Gladstone:  Meredith, throw Catessa out the window.

Meredith Thompson:  Gladly!

Meredith gets up, unplugs Catessa, and moves toward the window. Roger meets her at the window and blocks Meredith from throwing Catessa. Lois gets up and tries to tackle Roger. Lots of yelling ensues. Meredith, Roger, and Lois end up wrestling on the floor. Roger ultimately gains control over Catessa. Meredith and Lois can be seen pinning Roger's hands to the floor. Roger refuses to let go of Catessa.

Pepper Morgan Pressley (to Glenn):  I've been telling you a lot of this stuff for the past six years.

Glenn Glieber:  But if a device says it and the device removes human bias, then we have to give it solid consideration.

Pepper Morgan Pressley: So are you going to act upon what Catessa said?

Glenn Glieber:  Oh heavens no.

Pepper Morgan Pressley:  Why not?

Glenn Glieber:  I'll give Catessa consideration. But Catessa lacks nuance, right? Catalogers are unique and special. We have a nuanced business model that digital devices cannot truly understand or appreciate, much less young people.

Roger (pinned to the ground, yelling at Lois and Meredith):  Please don't punch me there, that hurts!

Pepper Morgan Pressley:  Maybe there is a future for me in coding voice-activated digital analytics devices ...