abstract-composition

The Creative Mastermind and the Analytical Subordinate

  |  January 31, 2013   |  Comments

How the one who has turned to data and algorithms and the one who has become CMO see things differently.

After giving a presentation on what it takes to be a great analyst, a young professional came up to me with a very common complaint. An all too common complaint.

Her boss was not receptive.

I had admonished the audience that the value an analyst brings to the table is her opinion. Everybody has an opinion of course, but a good analyst - a great analyst - has an opinion predicated on a huge amount of tiny facts, woven together into a comprehensive hypothesis; a supposition about how the world works; a hunch.

But it's a hunch with a pedigree. It's a hunch based on observation, consideration, and contemplation, ending in a conclusion.

The young analyst needed to understand why her boss was so recalcitrant about her opinions, her ideas for alternative marketing promotions, and different tests they could run.

The top dogs in marketing are often shy of the numbers, and analysts cannot fathom that sort of aversion. After all - they're just numbers. They are facts. They aren't dangerous, or accusatory, or imbued with dire negative emotions. It's all just data. It's reality!

abstract-compositionAnd this is where the one who has turned to data and algorithms - who has taken solace in the fastidiousness of her computations - sees things differently from the one who has become CMO by trusting his gut, and built an empire connecting metaphysically with the ephemeral, the psychological, the Zeitgeist.

This senior marketing executive has survived and succeeded by persuading colleagues that he knows how to persuade customers better than the rest. More often than not, it's true, or he wouldn't have ended up the top dog.


When this guy comes face to face with a young, exuberant (maybe a little overly enthusiastic) digital analyst holding charts and graphs, he immediately feels like he's back in the second grade and is about to be handed a report card.

little-boy

Yes, the VP with the impressive expense account, the photo of himself with Seth Godin and Lester Wunderman, and the reserved parking space is a little freaked out by the math.

The advice? Go easy on him.

Start with a couple of simple case studies about multivariate testing and hold off for a while on explaining how vector autoregression explicates the network of direct and indirect effects of paid, owned, earned, and shared media inherent in the circular consumer decision process.

And maybe admit that the gut instinct thing that advertising and marketing have been dining out on for the past couple of hundred years is not just luck and that the data, while compelling, is not the end-all and be-all. Give a little. Learn a little. Just don't expect the guy with the world's most impressive collection of advertising awards to suddenly become a convert to behavioral economics, predictive analytics, and attribution modeling. It might take a little longer than you thought.

Abstract Composition and Little Boy images via Shutterstock.

Tags:

ClickZ Live San Francisco This Year's Premier Digital Marketing Event is #CZLSF
ClickZ Live San Francisco (Aug 11-14) brings together the industry's leading practitioners and marketing strategists to deliver 4 days of educational sessions and training workshops. From Data-Driven Marketing to Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email, this year's comprehensive agenda will help you maximize your marketing efforts and ROI. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jim Sterne

Jim Sterne is an international consultant focused on measuring the value of the online marketing for creating and strengthening customer relationships. Sterne has written eight books on using the Internet for marketing, produces the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit and is co-founder and current chairman of the Digital Analytics Association.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Analytics newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

BigDoor: The Marketers Guide to Customer Loyalty

The Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is imperative to success, but fostering and maintaining loyalty takes a lot of work. This guide is here to help marketers build, execute, and maintain a successful loyalty initiative.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

WEBINARS

Jobs

    • Interactive Product Manager
      Interactive Product Manager (Western Governors University) - Salt Lake CityWestern Governors University, one of the 20 largest universities...
    • SEO Senior Analyst
      SEO Senior Analyst (University of Phoenix (Apollo Education Group)) - San FranciscoSEO Senior Analyst   Position Summary...
    • SEM & Biddable Media Manager
      SEM & Biddable Media Manager (Kepler Group LLC) - New YorkAs an Optimization & Innovation Manager at Kepler Group, you will be on the bleeding...