SXSW 2010: Is Too Much Math Killing Marketing?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 9:30am
Rand Schulman, The Schulman Thorogood Group
Mike Teasdale, Harvest Digital
Joanna Burton, Crescent Communications

Session Description

Breakthrough marketing used to come from creative genius, from big ideas, from empathy with customers. But now all the attention goes to rigorous testing and algorithmic approaches to customer insight. So is the science driving out creativity – or are we focused on the wrong kind of maths?


Amazon‘s PHAME methodology:

  • Identify the Problem
  • Formulate a Hypothesis
  • Propose and Action
  • Identify key Metrics
  • Run the Experiment

Amazon noticed the best way to get someone to buy someone was to suggest to them something in their wish list.

At Google they questioned if they should use green or blue, so instead they decided to test over 40 shades in-between until they discovered which one resulted in the best user interaction.

Google has discovered the most articular formula of all time. Before google came around and made page ranking, and ad ranking. Ad ranking is: Ad ranking = bid price * click through rate. And thus, this causes the most clicked results to bubble to the top making more money for Google and more changes of views for the advertisers with good marketing.

The battle lines

  • Math vs English
  • Reason vs Instinct
  • Right brain vs Left brain

So when does data go wrong?

  • When we start with the data, and not with a problem. Many people look at data with no goal of what they’re finding. Data is really not that great.
  • When we only focus on the things that are easy to measure.
  • When it stops us from taking giant leaps.

You can optimize a better version of the present. But it takes imagination, not math, to take a leap into the future.

The Internet changes the equation. Why?

  • Empirical Data vs. Guess Work or Extrapolated data
  • Tools exist today for optimization
  • But, left brain process thinking!

What is a “Content Engineer?”

  • One part Creator Director
  • One part Data Analysis
  1. Monitor
  2. Measure
  3. Maximize… the do it again!

What’s a better call to action?

  • Buy today – get half off
  • Buy today – get one for free

My math: creativity without conversion = 0

  • Use the Scientific Method
  • Create a Thesis
  • Set up a Control
  • Test against the Control

Many types of conversion events

  • Macro Conversions (ROI)
  • Micro Conversions: conversion to the homepage, product page, forms, optimizations, etc.
  • Revenue Life Cycle Stages

Know your tools – become a Content Engineer

  • Web Analytic & Site Optimization
  • Marketing Optimization
  • CRM
  • Sales 2.0

But this is hard work… too bad! It can be fun. Check out SalesPop.

More Information

Slides (set 1, Teasdale)

Posted in Geeky, SXSW 2010.

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