Sunday, August 18, 2013

Marketing = Creativity + Data

I've always been creative (every child is). But I've also always loved math (yes, math). In 6th grade I actually tallied up the stat lines for our fantasy basketball league myself, using a newspaper (pre-internet) and a TI-85 calculator (pre-iPhone). Then in college, I even chose my first major based off my creative skills and love for math. But after two years at the Knowlton School of Architecture at The Ohio State University, I realized that it was actually too design based and lacking the engineering I had expected. I wanted more math. I wanted more data. That's when I found the perfect career -- Marketing.

Marketing and advertising have always been stereo-typically creative fields (i.e. Mad Men's Creative Director, Don Draper). But today, great marketers are more than just creatives, they're analytical as well. Today, marketers have to thoroughly enjoy digging into the data and tracking KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) on a weekly basis. In order to be a successful marketer in the digital age, you need to track campaign effectiveness from the top of the funnel through the sale.

And now, there's a new marketing buzzword sweeping the nation: Big Data. According to, "big data refers to our ability to collect and analyze the vast amounts of data we are now generating in the world." Now, with big data, marketers can start analyzing and utilizing information earlier in the sales process, before suspects even enter the funnel.

For example, have you read the story about how Target figured out a teen girl was pregnant before her father did? Or how President Obama's 2012 campaign used big data to rally individual voters? Both are examples of how "marketers" analyzed the vast amounts of data available to them to target specific audiences and then persuade them to act in accordance to their organization's goal. And both are examples of how, today, marketing isn't just about being creative. Today:

Marketing = Creativity + Data

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The new 80/20 rule

If you've read my blog, seen my presentations, or talked to me about social media, you've probably heard me preach my version of the 80/20 rule (which by the way is in no way related to Joseph M. Juran's Pareto principle) in regards to what you post on social networks:

80% of the things you post online should be professional and in-line with your public profile while the other 20% can and SHOULD be personal or off-topic.

But lately, I've found the 80/20 rule to be useful guideline for many other things in my life. Generally, if you can split a decision into two 2 black-and-white choices, there is a grey area in the middle in which 80% of your decisions should be made near the good, reasonable, acceptable, unusual, and wise choices end of the spectrum and the other 20% near the high-risk, poor, and easy choices end. Here are some examples:
  • Eat 80% healthy foods and 20% junk foods
  • Read 80% enlightening books/articles and 20% gossip
  • Watch 80% enlightening TV/movies and 20% gossip
  • Shop at 80% local stores and 20% national conglomerates
  • Focus 80% on helping others and 20% on helping yourself
  • Invest 80% of your money on safe bonds/plans/accounts and 20% on aggressive stocks
Can you think of any others? Add them in the comments below: