Knotch’s Gansca Extols the Value of First-Party Data

“I’ve always been very passionate about the science side of things,” said Anda Gansca, the co-founder and CEO of Knotch.

Gansca grew up in Transylvania, Romania where her introduction to her current career was through computer science classes.

When she went to college at Stanford, she thought she would be doing theoretical mathematics or computer science, but when she took her first intro to economics course, her “mind was blown.”

“I realized I could take all of the theoretical knowledge and apply it to the real world, and understand the real world better,” Gansca said. “After the first class, my life changed. I took any [applied] math class I could. “

She enjoyed finding and tweaking the right correlations in order to “find the best version of the truth.”

Entering the workplace, Gansca found a lot of companies focusing on analyzing third-party data but fewer ones trying to collect their own data sets.

“A wave of companies take big data already our there and try to make sense of it, “ Gansca said. “Working in venture capital, looking at data companies, I realized that for very few of them collected first-person data and made decisions on that.”

She added: “I was less passionate about [third-party data], and more interested in collecting new data sets.”

That led her to found Knotch, a provider of real-time intelligence on digital marketing. Knotch enables brands and media companies to embed questions for readers and viewers in the stream of content.

For example, a piece of GE sponsored content on Politico asks the reader, on a scale of 1-10, “Do you agree that GE is a Digital Industrial company?”

Gansca said that she sensed an opportunity when realizing that a lot of content and social strategies were being decided without data backing it up. And when people did consume content, you didn’t necessarily know why or what impression it gave of the company you read about.

“The truth of an audience lies between what they say and what their actions says,” Gansca said.

“We were looking to ways to ask people to respond about how they feel,” Gansca said. “Marketers care about the feedback from their audience.”

Gansca said that she is easily able to convey the power of data to people with different skillsets.

“Data should not be complicated,” Gansca said. “If it’s complicated, it’s not doing its job.”

She said that CMOs don’t need to understand the technology as long as they understand the value.

“It’s less about her [understanding] the algorithms; it’s about the intersection of what people do and what people say,” Gansca said, adding “My grandmother understands the technology.”

Regarding those who want a career in data science, she said the most important skillset is to have a critical mindset.

Being a data scientist is today’s world is asking the right questions, and your role is to be human, Gansca said.

But what happens when AI starts taking every job in marketing?

“Data scientists are still going to be important; I’m a strong believer in the combination of the human mind and machine,” ” Gansca said. “Machines will enhance everything we do, but without the guidance, it will be hard for it to understand even the simple things.”

She added: “Machines can only go so far in understanding irony or humor. Machines are like very powerful weapons that you get to use but it’s up to the human to decide which weapon to use.”

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