Keeping Up with the Quants

As Product Managers and marketing professionals, we must get comfortable with data. Data is critical to help us make sense of endless market information and drive decision making. No, we do not have to be full quants, high-level data analysts, or data scientists. However, we do need to be able to inform our data experts what we hope to understand from specific data requests and what decisions those insights will drive. The ability to be fluent with the proper analytical terminology and methods is critical to working with quantitative information.

The book Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics by Thomas H. Davenport and Jinho Kim is the perfect guide to help non-quants become literate in quantitative methods. The book is aimed to develop your analytical skills. Key skills the book reviews are:

  1. How to formulate a hypothesis,

  2. How to gather and analyze relevant data,

  3. How to interpret and communicate analytical results,

  4. How to develop habits of quantitative thinking, and

  5. How to deal effectively with the "quants" in your organization.

The book is a bit simplistic if you already are a heavy-user of data, but the easy, step-by-step guide with lots of examples is a great refresher for experienced data veterans. For those without the background in analytical thinking and data analysis, this book is perfect. It helps you develop your data “story” from beginning to end, and most importantly work with your data staff to develop insights as a team. Using their skills to pull data and your skills of the business, working together you can develop impactful insights for critical business decisions.

Providing guidelines to develop the analytical skills to summarize data, find the meaning in it, and extract its value, are critical skills for any business professional. Most importantly, marketing professionals can truly gain deeper meaning of the effectiveness of their campaigns and develop innovative new methods to test and experiment with marketing promotions to determine the most effective use of resources. Moving away from vanity metrics to powerful, truly impactful drivers of decisions will provide strong competitive advantages for everyone within the organization. This book is an easy read and great resource.