Book Review: Does It Work?

Does It Work?: 10 Principles For Delivering True Business Value in Digital Marketing, By Shane Atchison & Jason Burby

[Note: This book was given out as free promotional material at Domopalooza before its publication date.]

This book manages to combine a lot of different trends and approaches together that would seem to exist in tension but also work well together. This book is clearly marketed at Chief Marketing Officers or other related executives, and it is written in such a way that it appeals to the insight and wisdom of well-respected business leaders who are well-recognized in the field. The book combines a ruthlessly blunt approach to measuring whether marketing ideas work, but shows a humane attitude towards people, especially workers. This is a good approach to take, as sometimes people view their ideas with more respect than other people. This book is also an example of a project where someone puts their spend where their mouth was, so to speak, in submitting ideas to the marketplace of ideas and leveraging the wisdom of crowds to deliver relevant content.

In terms of its principles, the book is consistent and detailed in what it means, with case studies to support its opinions. Its ten principles include the importance of goals, the need for shared vision, the role of data in inspiring creativity, the importance of finding unicorns [1], the importance of culture in predicting success and failure, choosing measurements wisely, the worth of measurement, continuous improvement, customization and individualization, and building a framework for improvement. The book, including two great case studies in the appendices, comes in at a bit more than 300 pages, a lot of which is made up of pages of comments and insights gained from actual business and marketing campaigns. Reading this book and checking out its associated content (like an excellent video about hands only cpr from Vinnie Jones) is an eye-opening experience into the difference between viral views and actual, meaningful results.

This is a fine book to read, but even more so it is written for application. The book presents some stiff challenges to Chief Marketing Officers about the need to align marketing goals with business objectives, the need to seek less domineering and more complicated staff, and the need for marketing to reach women better. However, this somewhat tough advice is blended with providing marketing executives with the data needed to support bold initiatives with risk and reward possibilities in an attitude of iterative experimental design. For those marketing executives willing and able to put the insight of this book into practice, there is a potential of support and encouragement. To commit to any change, whether of a moral nature or a strategic nature, is a difficult matter, and this book, written as it is by consulting leaders in helping to encourage such cultural changes in business, is sorely needed.

[1] The book calls those who are data-friendly, cooperative, sensitive to the needs of others, smart, resilient, and achievers unicorns. I’m not sure I like being called a unicorn.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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12 Responses to Book Review: Does It Work?

  1. Pingback: Data Humanism | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. I’m with you. That description does not a unicorn make. The horn emanating from between the magical creature’s eyes represents something else entirely regardless of the spin placed upon it.

    • That wasn’t quite the first objection I was thinking of.

      • I know; I tend to be a bit obscure at times. I saw a t-shirt with the words, “A rhinoceros is just a chubby unicorn” and thought that the person who came up with it didn’t know how close to the mark it is. The horn on the “magical” unicorn is in the wrong place for a very specific reason. The frontlet is the center of learning and knowledge, and Satan wanted to claim it for himself. God had a marked purpose for putting it where He did (the behemoth is not cut off from the “face” of the earth.) The name “rhinoceros” comes from the Latin for “nose.” Interesting…

      • That is very interesting. I have written a bit about unicorns as they appear in older versions of the Bible as rhinos, but that wasn’t what I was going for with the book review because the author clearly did not have that in mind.

      • It is notable that the authors label real virtues that have been ascribed to you–things that you continually try to maintain as your professional persona–as a mythological creature. It’s as though they are saying that these attributes, as a bundle, do not exist in the real world. But then I do tend to analyze things to death…

      • I think the authors view them as rare, but yes, it does tend to have a certain odd mythological basis sometimes. As long as I don’t get called some sort of monstrous creature, I guess I don’t mind too much.

      • I don’t think the “unicorn” is viewed by many as a monstrous creature–although I just had a visual of a particularly heavy rhino with its horn between the eyes instead of where it belonged. Ugh… that was rather unappealing. 🙂

      • Yes, that is an unappealing mental image, to be sure :). But a lot of mythological creatures and beasts are rather monstrous, like the chimera and others.

      • It was interesting that the authors chose a benign and rather appealing one here–probably to match the appealing character traits that they attached to it. Fictional characters and creatures are often exaggerated animated human characteristics as well; the chimera, for instance. Although rare, a handful of people exist whose DNA from saliva does not match that from their blood. These are some of the complexities that confound us–and we as humans can’t help but let our imaginations run rampant.

      • Indeed, our imaginations often have pretty free reign.

  3. Pingback: Book Review: The Joy Model | Edge Induced Cohesion

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