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Imagine if you could identify your business’s most profitable customers, craft a better marketing strategy to communicate with them, and inspire them to buy more?
Well now you can. And the best part is that you can do it using the data you already have.
Today, everything we do creates data, and the volumes are enormous. Virtually every time someone views something online, enters search on Google, or even surfs the web on a smart phone, another chunk gets added – in real time - to the multibillion gigabyte (and growing) trove of data that can help us better understand and predict consumer behavior. We no longer need expertise in math or statistics or even expensive modeling software to get the most out of all these revealing consumer insights. A revolution in data analysis is underway, and the methods and tools for aggregating and analyzing this “data deluge” are suddenly far simpler, less expensive, and more precise than they were.
In this book – the first of its kind – Dimitri Maex, Managing Director of global advertising agency OgilvyOne New York and the engine behind the agency’s global analytics practice, reveals how to turn your data - those sexy little numbers that can mean more profit for your business – into actionable strategies that drive real growth and revenues. And he can show you how to do it at virtually no cost. In his clear, easy-to-understand style, he explains how to:
A must read for marketers striving to get the biggest ROI on their advertising dollars, small business owners eager to grow faster, researchers needing a consumer in mind for whom to create new products or services, those in finance responsible for growing the bottom line, and even creatives looking for feedback to help them improve their output, Sexy Little Numbers is THE essential tool not just for math nerds and number crunchers, but for anyone wishing to use the data at their fingertips to grow their business and increase their profits dramatically.
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Q&A with Dimitri Maex
Q. Online advertising online has become the dominant force in the world of advertising, as you explain in the book. Having been on the front lines of this seismic shift, what do you think is the most important data businesses should be looking at in order to get the most return on their online ads?
A. The most important data will tell you exactly what an individual customer wants and needs at a particular moment in time. The most valuable data about these customers will have three attributes. It will be very predictive of a customer’s needs and wants, it will be scarce and it will be recent. The last – recency – is increasingly important. Data ages very quickly in some categories. Knowing that a customer is looking to buy a red dress now is much more valuable than knowing she was looking for one a month ago.
Q. In the book you talk about the Gaus Theory, which says that if you know what people search for, and how that changes over time, this could potentially lead to a barometer of society’s mental state. How has this approach to gleaning consumer insights via search patterns matured over time, and why is it so important now?
A.The best indication of what someone is looking for is their search behavior; customers are actually telling you what they are looking for. Search data is can also give you an idea of what language customers are using, which can give you pointers as to how to talk about your products and services in all media.
Q. In Chapter Six, you mention that, at one time, your clients were very excited that “everything is measurable!” Yet you note that when everything is measurable, companies need to have a way to distinguish what you should measure and what you shouldn’t. How have your clients dealt with this challenge?
A.I still see a lot of companies drowning in numbers. This is because they have not spent enough time planning for measurement. In the book I describe a very simple process we use with clients to help them figure out what they should measure. It starts with a conversation around what the goals are, then we tend to craft measurement plans using those goals as a starting point.
Q. You also discuss how UPS sought to strengthen their brand and provide more services for small and medium businesses and how, by embracing the word ‘logistics,’ you were able to build a new campaign for UPS. What was the best way to measure the success of the campaign?
A. We tend to measure these types of campaigns in various stages. Before the campaign launches, it can be tested in research. Then when the campaign launches, the first results we usually see are how audiences engage on the digital assets of the campaign. But these digital metrics rarely give a complete picture of the campaign’s performance. Ultimately campaigns need to be judged based on the objectives they set out to achieve and they are rarely visits to a landing page or click through rates on a banner. They are usually to drive brand awareness or recognition, to change brand perception and ultimately to sell more products. For UPS we also looked at the impact the logistics campaign had on key brand attributes and we linked it back to sales. We thereby not only understood how customers engaged with the campaign, we also got a good read of whether the campaign drove the outcomes we set out to achieve.
Q. In your final chapter, you say that marketing, research, and advertising are all on their way to being automated. Is this really the future of the industry and if so, what is the most important thing companies need to do to adapt?
A.Not all of marketing, research and advertising will be automated. But a lot of the analytics and number crunching will be. Companies will then be able to differentiate themselves by adopting the insights from the analytics and acting upon them. This should be the main focus area for most companies going forward.
Q. These days, “data mining” and “big data” have gotten a bit of a bad rap, as privacy advocates have become increasingly vocal about what they see as the insidious effects of companies knowing too much about our habits, buying patterns, and personal data. Are the practices you advocate in this book an invasion of privacy? And given that these practices will only become more and more widespread, what steps can concerned consumers take to safeguard their personal information?
A.Today’s privacy debate is a bit of a lightning rod, rightly so. Consumers are very concerned about the data companies are collecting and how that impacts their privacy. However, 99.5% of all practices are not malicious. And where there has been abuse in the past, the industry has very quickly self-regulated. Government is also working on legislation and I strongly believe that in the very near future the appropriate legislation and guidance frameworks will be in place to make people more comfortable with the entire issue. Then the focus will shift from the negative to the positive – from the fear of companies gathering personal information to the opportunity for consumers to get better products and services from these companies based on them having access to my data.About the Author:
DIMITRI MAEX is Managing Director of OgilvyOne New York, Ogilvy & Mather’s Direct and Digital operations. He also serves as the head of the company's Global Data Practice, a team that has been recognized by Forrester Research as being number one in the industry. Renowned worldwide for the analytics solutions he’s developed, he has helped companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, IBM, Philips, Siemens, Sears, UPS, and many other global enterprises employ hugely profitable and radically new uses for their data and analysis.
PAUL B. BROWN, a long-time contributor to The New York Times, is a bestselling author who has collaborated on numerous business classics including Customers for Life (with Carl Sewell) and Your Marketing Sucks (with Mark Stevens).
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