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DMA Analytic Challenge

Proving that smart analytics is at the root of profitable data-driven marketing…

The DMA Analytics Community organizes this Analytic Challenge, to engage the best analytic experts from around the globe to solve to a challenging business problem. Data practitioners and academicians go “head-to-head” to build advanced analytic models to find compelling solutions to support a real-world marketing challenge. Each challenge has a Corporate Partner and a Challenge Partner.

Download an Overview of the Challenge Rules

Be the Challenge Partner

Data service providers have provided the infrastructure and personnel to run the competition, anonymize the data if needed, provide secure online platform for participants models, score the models, award prizes to winners and report on trends during a conference session and again on a webinar. Each Challenge Partner is showcased in several ways.

Find out more about being a Challenge Partner by sending an email to DMACommunities@thedma.org.

Be a Corporate Partner

Publishers, direct response retailers, healthcare clinics and nonprofits have been Corporate Partners who provide the business problems, related data sets (to be anonymized) and optionally, awarded prizes for the challenge participants. (Cash prizes are not required and are completely optional). Each Corporate Partner receives the winning model (valued at thousand of dollars) for in market use along with 5 days of support at no charge.

We’re interested in your tough nut problem. Send a brief description of your analysis needs for consideration.

Our Challenge Partners have been companies willing to scrub data sets for the needed fields, anonymize the data, and score the submitted models for ranking. In return for their efforts, these companies receive many benefits including showcasing their capabilities to global marketers at the Data & Marketing Association’s main event for data-driven marketers, the &THEN Conference. See below with whom we’ve partnered. Want to find out more? Contact us at DMACommunities@thedma.org.

Analysts, Data Scientists, Academicians and other Participants:

Once the problem is identified, the challenge participants with the top-ranking solutions will be announced at the Analytics Community Breakfast event and have the opportunity to present their analytic approaches during a session at the DMA &THEN Conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, October 7-9, 2018. They will also receive a webinar date later in the year for the DMA. See Guidelines below.

Sharing best practices and facilitating the exchange of ideas allows data practitioners to raise their game and increase the value of their work. Here are some past Analytic Challenge winners and some presentations.

Past Challenges, Partners & Winners

2016 — Problem: Build the most accurate model possible to predict customer expected value.

View Video

2016 DMA Analytic Challenge Winners AdTheorent and Data Lab

Ernst Young Logo

DataLab USA logo

Runner up:

2015 — Problem: Build a model that identifies 1X buyers with the greatest likelihood of making a repeat purchase.

View Presentation

Epsilon Logo

1st Place:

2nd Place:
DataLab USA logo

3rd Place:
MSC, A Valid Company Logo

2013 — Problem: Patient Re‐Activation – Are patients coming back for the same problem? Different problem?

View Presentation

Epsilon Logo

Jigyasa Analytics Logo

Primary Partner
Cleveland Clinic Logo

1st Place:
DataLab USA logo

2nd Place:
Fractal Analytics Logo

3rd Place:
PricewaterhouseCoopers Logo

2010 — Problem: Improve marketing to Lapsed donors through better targeting

View Presentation


Primary Partner:
Make-A-Wish logo

1st Place:
DataLab USA logo

2nd Place:
Alliance Data Logo

3rd Place:
Rapid Insight Logo

2011 Problem: Predicting open and click through rates for email marketing campaigns

Jigyasa Analytics Logo
Primary Partner:
Hearst Logo

1st Place:
Global Decision Analytics Team Winning DMA Analytic Challenge
Global Decision Analytics Logo

Most Innovative Solution:
Euro RSCG Discovery team winning DMA Analytic Challenge

2007 — Problem: Build the “best” targeting solution

View Presentation

CAC Group Logo

1st Place:
DataLab USA logo

2nd Place:
Alliance Data Logo

3rd Place:
Expedia Logo

Challenge Partner Guidelines


The 2018 DMA Analytic Challenge is brought to you by the DMA Analytics Community. The DMA Analytics Community organizes this Analytic Challenge, to engage the best analytic experts from around the globe to solve to a challenging business problem. Data practitioners and academicians go “head-to-head” to build advanced analytic models to find compelling solutions to support a real-world marketing challenge.

The Objective

This Challenge has two objectives:

  1. As an industry organization, the DMA focuses on educating the analytic community about analysis, modeling, and data manipulation. The session and Challenge are also intended to teach analytic techniques to event attendees.
  2. Recognize companies that achieve superior performance in analytics.

The Challenge

The 2018 Challenge is to build the most accurate model possible. The winners will be selected using mean squared error (lowest) overall, and the quality and clarity of the presentation of the prediction methodology and model development process.

Each participant in the Challenge will receive a data set(s) for model building and validation.

Participants will be required to post a scored validation data set to the competition FTP. This will be used to evaluate solutions and identify the top three solutions. Additional details regarding the evaluation criteria will be provided when the modeling data set is released.

In addition to presenting at the &THEN conference in October (October 7-9) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV. winners will be invited to present during a future DMA webinar.

Documentation Requirements

  1. Overall PowerPoint presentation (no more than ten pages) outlining:
    • the technical results showing the accuracy and performance of the model against the validation data set via charts and accuracy diagnostics
    • the explanation of model algorithm/equation- what predictor variables it contains and their relative importance to prediction
    • what each variable means/how it was developed, and a non -technical explanation of how the overall model predicts the accuracy of customer lifetime value
  2. Scoring code must be provided when the scored validation file is submitted
  3. Variable creation – variables that were used in the model, need to be traced from input to coefficient / node (if using a tree-based methodology). This includes all recodes, transformations, and summarizations. This information should be presented in a table, with English labels for variables, and equations (if appropriate) for transformations or recodes.

Judging the Results

  1. Evaluation results – cumulative gains tables – will be reviewed by the Challenge Partner and a subset of the DMA Analytics Community Leadership Council
  2. The Judges Panel will identify winning solutions based on criteria that will be specified with the data packet
  3. The Panel will not know which companies have won, but will know which models were the winners
  4. Winners will be notified in early September

DMA Presentation Requirements

  1. The top 3 solutions will be featured during a session at &THEN, DMA’s annual event as well as during the Analytics Community breakfast all taking place October 7-9, 2018 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV.
  2. Each participating company agrees to have a company presenter available at &THEN for the Analytic Challenge session, prepared to present. Note that you will need to register as an attendee for the conference.
  3. There will be a check-in for participating companies prior to commencing the session. Any participating company without a presenter will be excluded from the competition at that time.
  4. The participating company will be allowed to use company logos in the presentation. However, the presentation will be converted to a standard slide template for presentation consistency purposes. The logo will be included.

Documentation requirements for the final presentation

  1. Winners will be notified in early September and must prepare a 7-8 minute presentation for use at the conference session and attend the DMA Analytics Community breakfast, both to be held during DMA’s &THEN Conference, October 7-9, 2018 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV.in Los Angeles. This presentation must include the following components:

    a) The types of exploratory analyses conducted to select variables used in the model
    b) The steps taken with the raw data provided to convert into modeling variables
    c) Any variable reduction techniques used
    d) The steps undertaken in the modeling process
    e) How the final model was determined to submit for the competition

  2. The presentation must be in PowerPoint using the DMA template, and submitted to DMA by Friday, October 1, 2018.
  3. All presentations will be reviewed and edited for content and educational components. As such, you may be contacted to review changes. Refusal to reveal educational content will be grounds for removal from the competition. By agreeing to participate, you are agreeing to fully share the steps and methodologies used in your model.

Additional Requirements

  1. As a DMA Conference session, the DMA retains non-exclusive rights to the material presented during the Analytic Challenge session

Questions? Contact Lisa Merizio Smith at lsmith@ana.net.

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