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Sexy Little Numbers: How to Grow Your Business Using the Data You Already Have Hardcover – September 4, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Q&A with Dimitri Maex

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.

Review

"The daily data deluge can cause fits of analysis paralysis. Thankfully, Dimitri Maex is here to prevent that deer-in-the-headlights feeling that comes from information overload"- Fast Company

"An easy read, full of relevant examples of number crunching that gets results. "
-Marketing Daily

"Brings the ancient and secret art of data analytics to life for the modern business leader.  It is not just for data-heads and statisticians, it is for every leader who wants to learn more about how to responsibly unlock the power of data for their organization. Dimitri Maex makes data sexy."
- Don Tapscott, Best-selling author most recently of Macrowikinomics

"What you do with your data is vastly more important than acquiring still more of it.  And the marketing future belongs to just two groups: technicians and magicians. The technicians will ensure that the data’s rich and recent, and the magicians will transmute it into profitable ideas.  So the authors of this invaluable book believe; and every responsible marketing company will want to know why. "
-Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP 

“These strategies can help everyone bank on greater success and better customer relationships - no matter if you are a global business like UPS, a start up looking to find its market, or a venerable mom and pop shop on the corner. “
- Christine M. Owens, SVP, Communications and Brand Management, UPS
 
 
“The age of ‘big data’ is here. Those businesses that are able to derive actionable, predictive insights from huge amounts of data not only gain a competitive advantage but will transform the very culture of their businesses. Maex shows how to leverage data to know which customers to target, how best to engage with them and how to measure what is working. This is a must read for anyone who wishes to understand how others are harnessing the power of data successfully, and how to do the same.”
-Wes Nichols, Co-Founder and CEO, MarketShare
 

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; 1st Edition edition (September 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307888347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307888341
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #923,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James Poag on January 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The prose doesn't flow all that well. The anecdotes are arranged all wrong. It's extremely dense with information. I keep having to put it down.

You can tell it's written by an intellectual.

Go down to the bookstore and check it out on the shelf, then come back to Amazon.com and pay 1/3rd of the price.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dimitri is able to give us sharp insights into some of the most strategic and complex issues that businesses face given the influx of seemingly endless volumes of data. He does so using real cases studies in plain English with simple, strategic frameworks that make the insights intelligible and relevant. It all adds up to making the book a fascinating read that lives up to its title!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is excellent for any business owner big or small. If you are serious about taking your business to the next level, you should definitely read this book. Dimitri Maex is a genius and he writes this book in bite size information that is easily digestible. Data is the future for all businesses, and it is the soil where amazing strategies are cultivated. Sexy little numbers will help you stay ahead of the competition!
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Format: Hardcover
I do not work in Marketing or in Sales, but I've found this book to be very enlightening to understand the business of marketing analytics. If you want to diagnose your business and understand how your customers view you then you should add this book to your shelve. The author doesn't pepper the chapters with confusing descriptions and theory on how to gain information about your customers from the data that you have. The authors concentrate on real world, practical information on how you can take the data that you have and build models of your customers.
I liked that they used their own experiences for their clients in this book. To me it shows that this approach works with pros and that it is an approachable subject if you put some effort into understanding your data.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is very easy to read, although I will admit to being a numbers person and having a statistics degree. It is very insightful with relevant examples that you can easily translate to your company. I checked this out from the library, but will now order my own copy. Very relevant material and clearly presented.
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Sexy Little Numbers is a "must read" for anybody in business who wants to grow their company and boost their profits. Easy to read and clearly organized, it demonstrates a step-by-step approach to using data to find your best customers and extracting greater value from them. I've already put several of these ideas into action and can't wait to reap the rewards!
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Format: Hardcover
The title says it all.
A first-class business read.
The writing style and content make data a compelling subject.
Hard to put down and worth picking up time and time again.
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Format: Hardcover
As a full disclosure I should tell you that I used to work with Dimitri at Ogilvy and had the chance to review an advance copy of this book. I am also an author, so I know what writing a useful book really takes. This review, however, is my own opinion of the book and wasn't solicited or compensated in any way. Now that the disclaimer's out of the way ... if you are trying to grow your business, there are a few reasons you NEED to read this book:

1. Case studies - the book is filled with real case studies from some of Ogilvy's largest clients on how they use data to improve their businesses. Clients such as Caesar's Hotels and UPS agreed to offer an inside look at how they really use data - and in most cases this is information you can't get anywhere else.

2. Real expertise - Dimitri leads an analytics group that works with most of our largest clients at Ogilvy. They are not an academic group that studies theory. Everyday they do real work with real companies, and the insights they generate lead to real revenue. In other words, this is highly practical information.

3. Non-analytical writing style. Just the thought of reading a book about data may be enough to make you reach for your pillow ... but the writing style and fast pace of this book actually makes it a much more enjoyable read than you would expect. The insights from many case studies are sure to give you ideas that you can use for your own business - and you'll remember them thanks to the free and personal writing style.

If you are suffering from data overload, lots of spreadsheets and what seems like monthly reports of meaningless information - Sexy Little Numbers can help you think about your data differently, and actually put it to work to improve your business. The case studies alone (and the never-before-seen lessons they offer) are worth the cost of the book. Highly recommended.
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