Marketing Analytics Lessons From the KGB
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Re: Static & predictable
  • 10/14/2015 12:38:09 PM

I wonder if current day internet users may be in the same state of mind as the State Department believing that no one will be able to garner any useful information from their activities and recurrring behaviors. I suppose it's a matter of guessing what might be possible and taking action to frustrate anyone seeking intelligence hints from our movements?

Re: Adversaries
  • 10/3/2015 8:23:37 PM

@Lyndon, I'm having the same problem separating the spies from the marketing applications of analytics. I am very curious about what has changed while analytics capabilities have evolved over the years. I want to know how personnel have changed to prevent detection. I really want to think more about the marketing applications but I just keep going back to the early spies...

Re: Adversaries
  • 10/2/2015 4:11:50 PM


I know this discussion is focused on implications for marketing, but sorry, I just can't seem to get my attention off implications for the spookist industry. I would think today's SVR would be continuing the analytics development of the KGB, and the CIA would long since have learned to do likewise.

I'd also think the NSA would have gotten heavily into this area of analytics applications, especially with respect to vetting, profiling, and monitoring its contractual civilian employees dealing with top-secret issues.

With all the sophisticated profiling analytics, face-recognition technology, and other surveillance and security technology now available, I'd think spooks on all sides would have a much tougher time nowadays. I wonder whether this is affecting personnel retention and survival rates.

Incidentally, I'd also think the career opportunities for analytics professionals in this industry would be almost unlimited.


Hiding in plain sight
  • 10/2/2015 1:03:40 PM

Leo, great post as always! The KGB were a resourceful group. It's not surprising they were able to correctly identify agents through public information. I shudder to think what Putin's intelligence officers might know about US operatives today.

Thanks for pointing out the possibilities for known data within an organization. 

What is OPSEC anyway?
  • 10/2/2015 5:20:41 AM

OPSEC is a method thet was developed during the Vietnam War, when an Army Admiral established the "Purple Dragon" team in order to determine how the enemy was able to obtain advanced information on military operations.

-- Judith, Master Analyst, Blogger

OPSEC Indicators => Big Data Analytics
  • 10/1/2015 8:11:47 PM

The examples I gave you are very simplistic.  The KGB used all kinds of indicators  to build terabytes of big data with the tools and techniques they used to filter out and analyze important data they need. The methods the KGB used are lessons we could apply to marketing analytics

--Judith, Master Analyst, Blogger

OPSEC Indicators
  • 10/1/2015 8:04:51 PM

It's a great blog you posted.  It comes to mind the KFB has used OPSEC indicators. An indicator (unclassified) is any piece of information that can be exploited to gain further information,  It can be combined with other indicators to build a more complete profile of your operations. For example, an OPSEC indicator could be when you go to work, what you do at work, large group or troop movements or financial transactions such as life insurance appointments.  Once the pieces of the puzzle are put together, they can be used as inputs for further analysis. 

-- Judith, Master Analyst, Blogger

  • 10/1/2015 6:28:36 PM

Often things are simpler than they seem. In this case the Soviet success was built on less than the CIA imagined.

This does provide a model for analyzing our customers. But the customer model should not be adversarial. Some of the best companies for analyzing customer behavior (eg Google, Facebook) risk losing the customers trust because they can seem as secretive as the KGB.

Static & predictable
  • 10/1/2015 3:37:31 PM

Great post, as always, Leo... but it also begs the question of why the State Department held to these weird and seemingly arbitrary rules for FSOs (and probably still does). States made it pretty easy for Totrov by keeping things so static and predictable.