The “Mathematization” of Marketing

mark-kleinAs word spread of my teleconference for Marketing 2.0, an interesting contrarian opinion appeared in my mailbox. Evidently there was something in the meeting notice to cause a reader to suspect that using mathematics to describe behavior could have negative consequences. He wrote “Is it just me, or do others also wonder where this mathematization of social relationships is leading humankind?”

Mathematical marketing

I may be making too much of this comment, but in it I detect an attitude of despair over how the increasing application of math seems to be taking the humanity and flexibility out of human (marketing) relationships. We at Loyalty Builders are definitely not in that camp. We are staunch believers in what some call left brain marketing and others call mathematical marketing. We know that using mathematics can help marketers make a better connection with their customers by, for example, helping them make more relevant offers. Until lately, however, that mathematical approach generally has not been applied with much creativity.

Measuring customer loyalty

Marketers have traditionally tried to understand their customers by studying where they live, their age, their gender, or other demographic factors. But demographics are relatively passive attributes. As you move along the attribute spectrum to ever more active variables, to psychographics and clickstream behavior and ultimately to transaction behavior (what a customer has purchased), mathematics can raise the accuracy of your understanding, the intimacy of your connection to your customer, to ever higher levels. That in turn leads to better customer service, greater efficiencies, and higher profits. Human behavior is not determined by mathematics, but mathematics can be used to measure that behavior.

“We do the math. You do the marketing.”

So to answer the question about where this mathematization is leading humankind, I say it is to a place where we can make better use of our capabilities as humans and not to an android society. We recognize and require the creative side of marketing. The right brain is essential for good campaigns, but it will work best when it is operating from a foundation built on solid, left brain analysis. That is the thinking behind our Longbow tag line, “We do the math. You do the marketing.” We practice mathematical marketing to enable your creativity.

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