The Data Debate Continues

This is an excerpt. For the full interview, please visit

eConsultantcy: When it comes to “big data” in marketing, where do you draw a line in the sand as far as a definition, or size of campaign?

Dimitri Maex: Well that in itself could be a launching point for an hour’s worth or more of discussion. Obviously data has become an incredible tool for marketers.

I actually wrote a book about data in the fall of last year called Sexy Little Numbers which is structured around the key questions marketers should answer: how do I know who to talk to, how do I know about what to offer them, where do I find my customers?

It’s important to realize that an analytical approach to marketing  and the application of data is not new. If you look at some of the classics, one of the first books on the subject was written by Claude Hopkins and it’s called Scientific Advertising.

What’s funny if you read it now, is that he’s bringing up the same trending themes that we hear today, but this was published in the 1920s!

What is new is the types of data available — a lot of them come from social for example — and the form it is in, mainly unstructured. We also obviously have more processing power and techniques to sort and process this unstructured data, and it’s becoming a lot more affordable to people, not requiring large teams of statisticians.

What the term “big data” has done is put it on the map everywhere. The big data issue is the swimsuit issue of every magazine now, and that didn’t always use to be the case. When I started fifteen years ago, there were not a whole lot of people interested I can tell you that.

For the full interview, please visit

Dimitri leads the Ogilvy’s Consulting group in North America. This groups consists of approximately 120 consultants across Ogilvy’s Marketing Strategy, CRM and Analytics practices. He is also a member of the OgilvyOne Worldwide board. Dimitri moved to the New York office to run Ogilvy’s Strategy team, which included Ogilvy’s Marketing Strategy, CRM and Analytics capabilities. He took on the management of OgilvyOne in New York in 2011. Most recently, he is the author of Sexy Little Numbers: How to Grow Your Business Using the Data You Already Have.

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