I've written a short book. It's called "Pragmalytics: Practical Approaches to Marketing Analytics in the Digital Age". It's a collection and synthesis of some of the things I've learned over the last several years about how to take better advantage of data (Big and little) to make better marketing decisions, and to get better returns on your investments in this area.
The main point of the book is the need for orchestration. I see too much of the focus today on "If we build It (the Big Data Machine, with some data scientist high priests to look after it), good things will happen." My experience has been that you need to get "ecosystemic conditions" in balance to get value. You need to agree on where to focus. You need to get access to the data. You need to have the operational flexibility to act on any insights. And, you need to cultivate an "analytic marketer" mindset in your broader marketing team that blends perspectives, rather than cultivating an elite but blinkered cadre of "marketing analysts". Over the next few weeks, I'll further outline some of what's in the book in a few posts here on my blog.
I'm really grateful to the folks who were kind enough to help me with the book. The list includes: Mike Bernstein, Tip Clifton, Susan Ellerin, Ann Hackett, Perry Hewitt, Jeff Hupe, Ben Kline, Janelle Leonard, Sam Mawn-Mahlau, Bob Neuhaus, Judah Phillips, Trish Gorman Clifford, Rob Schmults, Michelle Seaton, Tad Staley, and my business partner, Jamie Schein. As I said in the book, if you like any of it, they get credit for salvaging it. The rest -- including several bits that even on the thousandth reading still aren't as clear as they should be, plus a couple of typos I need to fix -- are entirely my responsibility.
I'm also grateful to the wonderful firms and colleagues and clients I've had the good fortune to work for and with. I've named the ones I can, but in general have erred on the side of respecting their privacy and confidentiality where the work isn't otherwise in the public domain. To all of them: Thank You!
This field is evolving quickly in some ways, but there are also some timeless principles that apply to it. So, there are bits of the book that I'm sure won't age well (including some that are already obsolete), but others that I hope might. While I'm not one of those coveted Data Scientists by training, I'm deep into this stuff on a regular basis at whatever level is necessary to get a positive return from the effort. So if you're looking for a book on selecting an appropriate regression technique, or tuning Hadoop, you won't find that here, but if you're looking for a book about how to keep all the balls in the air (and in your brain), it might be useful to you. It's purposefully short -- about half the length of a typical business book. My mental model was to make it about as thick as "The Elements of Style", since that's something I use a lot (though you probably won't think so!). Plus, it's organized so you can jump in anywhere and snack as you wish, since this stuff can be toxic in large doses.
In writing it amidst all the Big Data craziness, I was reminded of Gandhi's saying (paraphrased) "First they ignore you... then they fight you, then you win." Having been in the world of marketing analytics now for a while, it seems appropriate to say that "First they ignore you, then they hype you, then you blend in." We're now in the "hype" phase. Not a day goes by without some big piece in the media about Big Data or Data Scientists (who now have hit the highly symbolic "$300k" salary benchmark -- and last time we saw it, in the middle part of the last decade in the online ad sales world, was a sell signal BTW). "Pragmalytics" is more about the "blend in" phase, when all this "cool" stuff is more a part of the furniture that needs to work in harmony with the rest of the operation to make a difference.
"Pragmalytics" is available via Amazon (among other places). If you read it please do me a favor and rate and review it, or even better, please get in touch if you have questions or suggestions for improving it. FWIW, any earnings from it will go to Nashoba Learning Group (a school for kids with autism and related disorders).
Where it makes sense, I'd be very pleased to come talk to you and your colleagues about the ideas in the book and how to apply them, and possibly to explore working together. Also, in a triumph of Hope over Experience, my next book (starting now) will be a collection and synthesis of interviews with other senior marketing executives trying to put Big Data to work. So if you would be interested in sharing some experiences, or know folks who would, I'd love to talk.
About the cover: it's meant to convey the harmonious convergence of "Mars", "Venus", and "Earth" mindsets: that is, a blend of analytic acuity, creativity and communication ability, and practicality and results-orientation that we try to bring to our work. Fellow nerds will appreciate that it's a Cumulative Distribution Function where the exponent is, in a nod to an example in the book, 1.007.
Hi folks, I need a favor. I need 200 subscribers to this blog via Google Currents to get Octavianworld listed in the Currents catalog. If you're reading this on an iPhone, iPad, or Android device, follow this link:
If you are looking at this on a PC, just snap this QR code with your iPhone or Android phone after getting the Currents app.
Here's what I look like on Currents:
What is Currents? If you've used Flipboard or Zite, this is Google's entry. If you've used an RSS reader, but haven't used any of these yet, you're probably a nerdy holdout (it takes one to know one). If you've used none of these, and have no idea what I'm talking about, apps like these help folks like me (and big media firms too) publish online magazines that make screen-scrollable content page-flippable and still-clickable. Yet another distribution channel to help reach new audiences.
Prepping for http://bit.ly/b7KIQz
Here are some discussion questions we're considering. What's your "keep / change / drop / add" to this list? And, please take the poll at bottom!
I'll be moderating a panel at the OMMA Metrics & Measurement Conference in San Francisco on July 22.
The topic of the panel is, "Modeling Attribution: Practitioner Perspectives on the Media Mix". Here's the conference agenda page.
The panel description:
How do you determine the channels that influence offline and online behavior and marketing performance?
How should you allocate your budget across CRM emails, display ads, print advertising, television and radio commercials, direct mail, and other marketing sources?
What models, techniques, and technologies should you use develop attribution and predictive models that can drive your business?
Do you need SAS, SPSS, and a PhD in Statistics?
Does first click, last click, direct, indirect, or appropriate attribution matter – which is best?
What about multiple logistic regression?
What is the impact of survey and voice-of-the-customer data on attribution?
Hear from experts who have to answer these questions and tackle these tough issues as they work hard in the field every day for their consultancies, agencies, and brands.
So far, Manu Mathew, CEO from VisualIQ, and Todd Cunningham, SVP Research at MTV Networks, will be participating on the panel as well.
Hope to see you there. Meanwhile, please suggest questions you'd like to ask the panelists by commenting here. Thanks!
We've assembled a terrific panel for tomorrow's event:
Here are some of the questions we thought to cover:
Suggestions for questions welcome -- just email me via the link at left.
Postscript: a recap of the panel on the MITX blog
By this point, many of you will be familiar with some of the more interesting and exotic examples of "integrated cross-channel product experiences", such as the Nike+ product/ service/ community. But the approach has gone mainstream too. Here's a recent example I experienced:
I went with my family to the "99" Restaurant in Centerville, on Cape Cod in Massachusetts (the one on Route 28). Lying on the table was a pad of these forms:
I texted my information in, and 24 hours later this appeared in my inbox:
I clicked through:
Store to text to email to web to store, all nicely connected. Cool! Hope we're back before it expires. Otherwise we'll have to sacrifice another family member's phone. (Maybe do that anyway, and ask for separate checks... Hey, times are tough!)
This program is run soup-to-nuts for the "99" by an external service called Fishbowl Marketing. It's pretty good! I'm hoping to speak with them about experiences and results with it.
A few observations:
What's your favorite example? Hope to see you tomorrow morning!
I'll be in St. Paul, Minnesota on September 21-23, presenting at the "Action Analytics: Setting A National Agenda" Symposium hosted by Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) and by Capella University. (Notes on the conference to follow.)