book review

'Sexy Little Numbers' And 'Pinfluence'

Numbers-Computer-BFor many marketers, metrics are like the weather: A generic thing to complain to one another about, and as safe a subject as when to order in lunch.

That’s why the premise of Sexy Little Numbers: How to grow your business using the data you already have (Crown Business) is so appealing. It’s not that there’s any lack of data or metrics, argues author Dimitri Maex, head of Ogilvy & Mather’s global analytics practice. Rather, it’s that most marketers just aren’t doing enough with the deluge of data they already have. The book is an easy read, full of relevant examples of number crunching that gets results. Caesars, for instance, focused on analyzing keywords in customer comments about the hotel, which led them to change the language they used in ads, increasing online ROI by between 15 and 30%. 



With extended coverage of such companies as British Telecom, Cisco and TD Ameritrade, it looks at issues of budget allocation (by country, for example, or by medium), as well as a great chapter on digital testing.  

Maex freely admits he was born a geek and will always be one, so you’ve been warned. There are more pages than there should be with duds like “Now here’s where it gets interesting,” immediately followed by “A = (P(C) X  MC) / ROI.” Don’t hold it against him. The book’s technical moments are easy enough to skim past, and the book may well inspire you to bring a thin-slicing scalpel to your next analytics meeting.

If you’re like us and that last paragraph hurt your eyes, let’s switch to something easier: Raspberry macaroons, for example. Or baby ducks. Vintage tractors. These happy, fluffy images are the foundations of the swift success of Pinterest, writes Beth Hayden in Pinfluence: The complete guide to marketing your business with Pinterest (John Wiley & Sons). The founder of Firefly Digital Marketing and social media expert has written a dandy how-to, covering everything from curation from a brand’s perspective, mobile pinning, and the care and feeding of Pinterest followers.

Hayden obviously gets why Pinterest matters as much as it does to marketers. It bypassed Twitter in terms of referral traffic months ago, and a recent PriceGrabber study finds that 21% of Pinterest users purchased something they saw on a pinboard. 

But she also speaks the language of its fans, and is clearly a Pin-thinker herself. “Pinterest unleashes the inner scrapbooker in all of us -- the part of us that wants to create visually stunning things and share them with the world,” she writes. The social network is “a huge room where people gather with all the stuff they find interesting… They gather to add to their collections, but also to find like minded people who enjoy the same things they do.”

It is, she argues, an authentic reflection of identity. 

“Pinterest boards are like its users’ personal happiness collages,” a consumer psychologist explains to her. “They represent things that I appreciate, things I desire, and that express who I am, whether the things are cupcake, shirtless David Beckham, or an inspirational quotation.”

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