Should all marketers be quants? Tim O'Connor (LinkedIn) has suggested that the answer to that question is "yes." Tim is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Excelligence and the CEO of LifeCubby, one of their subsidiaries. Tim has also served as a Marketing VP at Siemens and Unisource Worldwide.
On this episode, Tim talks all about quantitative marketing, and explains why he believes that every marketer should have an understanding of basic quantitative tools and methods. He identifies some common gaps in marketers' knowledge, and explains how marketers can be more rigorous in how they analyze problems.
Tim's Current Role with Excelligence - (1:55) - Excelligence is one of the largest childhood education companies in the world. - Tim's responsibilities include brand marketing, product marketing, and customer marketing. - Tim didn't intend to end up in marketing. He was doing sales with Honeywell, and learned marketing out of necessity. He did field-based product marketing without knowing what it was.
What Tim Learned About Marketing in the Military - (7:10) - Tim was an intelligence officer, and found many parallels with marketers - "A good marketer has to find the truth. It's very easy to believe something, but you better dig and dig to understand what's really happening. You have to be really curious." - Tim O'Connor - Pattern recognition is also a crucial element of both intelligence work and marketing. - Between the military and Excelligence, Tim ended up in many different jobs. He moved into childhood education because of how important it is. - "Startups are about growth. You have to be fast and you have to be nimble." - Tim O'Connor
Why Everyone Needs to be a Quant - (12:55) - Mentioned by Tim: The Big Short, Moneyball - Quantitative thinking is using data to look for correlations that inform your strategy. - "Marketing today is high stakes, fast-paced, mostly online, data rich, and oftentimes zero sum." - Tim O'Connor - People struggle with the abstractness of quantitative thinking. They don't know how to analyze patterns.
Net Promoter Score - (20:15) - NPS is a number that reflects healthy growth. - NPS is like blood pressure, it tells you if you are healthy or not, it doesn't tell you anything about why. - You need to correlate NPS with other metrics in order to get to why.
R Squared - (24:45) - Marketers are gamblers at heart. They are betting their companies' money on campaigns and hoping to make a return. - R squared is all about finding out the correlations that expose good bets. It tells you how much the movement of one variable affects change in another variable.
Believing vs. Knowing - (32:35) - "There is a grand canyon between believing and knowing." - Tim O'Connor - Lieutenant Tyler was the officer who was told Japanese bombers were coming toward Hawaii on Pearl Harbor. He said "don't worry about it." - It was his lack of curiosity that led him to fail to detect an important signal. - "When we don't search for the truth, when we aren't curious, that's when we fail as marketers." - Tim O'Connor - CMOs need to be able to get into the weeds and teach their marketers tactical tools.
Questions to test quantitative knowledge in interviews - (40:15) - You want to actually know what marketers can do. So test them in the interview. - One important question for brand marketers: "How can you identify the power of each word in a tagline as they relate to a customer's likelihood to purchase?" - Tim's most important question to ask when interviewing a product manager: "What is derived features and how do you identify them when researching what features to add or improve in your product?" - Tim explains the difference between "derived features" and "stated preferences."
- People behave differently than they say they will in surveys. It's important to test actual real world behavior, rather than just asking consumers what they will do. - One other great interview question: "Explain incrementality of ROAS as it relates to increasing performance marketing spend within a channel."
Lifetime Learning for Marketers - (52:45) - Most people do not have useful marketing knowledge coming out of college, so they have to seek it out. - The challenge is finding the right place for this. There are many continuing education services that provide helpful content. - However, nothing can replace actual hands-on practice. In order to know cutting edge tactics, you have to be involved in tactical implementation.
CMO Advice - (54:55) - Tim's most important advice for a first time CMO? One failure will not end your career. - Failure is an inevitable part of marketing. It's important to have a healthy fear of failure, but don't let it paralyze you and don't be afraid to try new things.
Pardot Lightning Round - (56:45) - Most fun app: Google Analytics - Favorite one day getaway in Northern California: Any state or national park - Favorite recent book: Bad Blood - Ad campaign envious of? Trader Joe's - Most excited for about the future of marketing? Data available at fingertips. That data can be used positively or negatively. How do we market responsibly? It's exciting but we have to be careful.
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