Today’s Five for Friday guest is Brad Morris, Director of Social Marketing and Analytics. Brad has a tall order, analyze for an analytics company. His mission is to enable Tidemark to live the mantra ‘be a data-driven company’.

Brad talks about how to unleash the power of analytics, the opportunity around mobile, and what's next (He’s one of those ‘must have it first’ kind of guys.).  Meet Brad Morris

PM:  You are all things social media marketing at Tidemark. Where did you get your start?

BM:  Eons ago (in web years), I got a job at a now defunct search marketing agency called Fathom Online. That’s where I fell in love with Online Marketing. At the time social was still very new and wasn’t considered it’s own discipline, it was more pervasive across Online Marketing with everyone participating. You also have to remember that this was a completely different time. MySpace was at the height of its success and Digg was all the rage in content sharing; the landscape was so different from a marketing perspective. I still remember the day I got my first homepage Digg story! It’s almost hard to believe how much change has taken place in Social Media over the past 7 years.

PM:  Many organizations aren’t taking advantage of this deluge of data available to them online. If not, what should they do first and what kind of work do they need to do on a daily basis?

BM: My first advice would be to set up a web analytics platform and start monitoring your brand online. Understanding how people are talking about your brand, how they find your website, and what they do on it, is critical.

With the amount of free tools available online, it’s really as simple as choosing to do it. Google Analytics is free, and you can monitor your brand by simply following search queries on Twitter, Google News, LinkedIn, Quora, and any other niche websites that are relevant to your brand. Over time, you can always transition to more complicated tools and processes.

PM:  Why work at Tidemark?

BM:  The product. It was really that simple. A performance management platform and amazing apps that consolidate data sources, is built mobile first, and has slick data visualizations? Sign me up!

The reason I fell in love with marketing was analytics and the ability to track performance. The feedback loop is so fast, you can constantly tweak and optimize. But the amount of data and data sources can quickly become overwhelming. I adapted by becoming an Excel jockey, but I don’t believe that’s truly sustainable. At some point you have to tie everything together and consolidate. Otherwise you’re just optimizing in silos without taking the bigger picture into consideration.

PM:  You’re an aggressive mobile user. What are you favorite apps?

BM:  I couldn’t live without Evernote. It hasn’t completely replaced my moleskine notebook, but I do use it to take notes for important meetings and when I need to combine visual elements and text. I also use it as a storage locker. Whenever I Tweet, take a pic with Instagram, or star a post in Google Reader, It automatically archives my content. In 5 years, I’m going to have an incredible amount of historical information on myself. Who needs Facebook Timeline?

I also have to mention a few of my other favorite apps, b/c I don’t think they get enough attention:

  • Tweetbot – Twitter client
  • Instapaper – saving and reading news
  • Pulse – RSS reader
  • Sparrow - email

PM: What’s the newest tech toy or gadget you’ve recently purchased:

BM:  Well I’m currently fighting the urge to buy a Nexus 7, but I’ll probably take the plunge soon enough. If I had to pick something right now though, I’d have to list a couple of Kickstarter projects I’ve recently backed. One is making a lot of headlines lately and that’s Ouya. It’s an open source video game system built on Android. I’m really excited to see what happens with it because they’re trying to disrupt an enormous market with some very big, entrenched players (Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo). Another big project I’ve backed on Kickstarter is the gTar. It’s a guitar with an iPhone doc. You download their app, doc it, and it supposedly teaches you how to play songs by lighting up finger placements on the neck of the guitar. It’s like Guitar Hero or Rock Band taken to the next level.