In the world of data and analytics, not many women have been known to stomp forward and become role models for young girls who don’t understand the potential of the field. Jennifer Muller, Launchmetrics’ Senior Data Scientist, lover of chocolate and DIY, explains her journey to becoming one of the few women to choose the data route.
What exactly do you do at Launchmetrics?
With my team I provide tailor-made services. If as a brand you want to increase your digital footprint, I look at your digital image, your position on the market, asking questions such as: where are you, who is your audience, who are your natural influencers, and where are they? Before the launch of your campaign, I help you identify the key people to collaborate with to reach your target. And after your campaign or event, I tell you who your best invitees were, the worst, which audiences you activate and where they are located. I help redefine your strategy each step of the way.
Tell us a little bit about what led you here…
Well, I should actually have been a librarian or literature teacher by now, but that didn’t really happen. I studied ‘classics’ in France which included 15 years of Latin and History lessons. At one point, I realised that I was interested in documents in general, not just old ones (although I still love old things; one of my hobbies is to discover all the towns in France with cathedrals). So I completed my education with a Masters in Information and Document Management. Ten years ago, information was books and papers – today it’s data on the web.
I’ve basically always worked with data, but as I just said, not in the meaning we use today. I started working in the monitoring field, looking for the most accurate information for directors about lots of topics like new trends, competitors etc. and slowly but surely, what matters the most, which is who is speaking.
I was working in a big, luxury group with a crazy schedule and was looking for a challenging place in digital, when I found Launchmetrics. I started as a monitoring Project Manager and a year later, I became Data Service Manager. So now I work with data scientists, statisticians, and documentalists. The combined effort of all these people allow us to provide insights about influencers and brands.
Now I’m not only looking for the numbers of mentions a brand gets on the web, but also at which audience has been activated by e.g. the mention of the new ‘it bag’ by influencers. It was at this point I discovered a new world working with data scientists. They create algorithms to crunch data from the web and more specifically from social channels. They (brands?) provide me with a list of hashtags, locations of the audiences of influencers, themes of interest amongst people, media, and similarities between two Instagrammers. All of this looks pretty easy from the surface because we add words to the data to make it understandable, however in the back-end it’s a lot of numbers and tons of big data.
How do you feel about the number of women conquering this field? Do you think it will increase in the future?
I hope so. We’re actually looking for a new data scientist. Girls, come on! We’re the best team ever!
What is the biggest challenge you have faced working in this industry?
The entire [fashion, luxury and beauty] industry knows that influencer marketing, influencers and digital solutions matter, but they seem a little overwhelmed and don’t always know how to approach it. That’s where we come into the picture, to convince the industry and help it change.
Once they are convinced to enter into the world of data, the second biggest challenge is to explain my colourful audience graphs (I won’t get into it here, but if you want a personal explanation, don’t hesitate to call us).
Who is your biggest inspiration and role model?
Indiana Jones will always be my first inspiration in life. It’s so sad that I don’t need a lasso and a hat for data crunching and analysis! But I dream of being the Indiana Jones of data. The holy grail would be full access to all the data in the world.
My second inspiration is all the people climbing the world’s highest mountains such as Everest, K2, Kilimanjaro etc. When you can climb high mountains, you can face anything in life. I try to follow their spirit. My next stop is the Anapurnas in Nepal.
Do you have any advice for other women looking to do what you do?
First of all, you really need to love digging into information and social media. Being a digital native is a real asset in my world. Secondly, don’t be shy – you have to enjoy having a relationship with the customer. After analysing all this data, the best moment is when you’re in front of the customer presenting the results and they ask you questions. You know you’ve succeeded when you have questions to answer.
Wanna keep up with Jennifer? You can follow her on Instagram here.