Oded Netzer is a world-renowned expert in data-driven decision-making. He serves as the Vice Dean of Research and the Arthur J. Samberg Professor of Business at Columbia Business School. As the son of a Holocaust survivor, Oded is the first in his family to attend college. After graduation, he spent some time working in a chicken house but quickly decided that wasn’t for him. After a quick stop at a consulting firm, he returned to college to climb the academic research ladder and pursue a career in education. Currently, he splits his time between teaching as an affiliate of the Columbia University Data Science Institute and consulting as an Amazon Scholar. He has published dozens of papers in the world’s leading marketing and management science journals, and his award-winning research is widely read and highly cited.
In this episode, Oded and I discuss “Decisions Over Decimals,” Oded’s latest co-authored book with Christopher Frank, Vice President of the Global Advertising and Brand Management team at American Express, and Paul Magnone, Head of Global Strategic Alliances at Google, who are also professors at Columbia. Having worked on the front lines and taught future executives, they identified two data myths that served as the inspiration for this book. Oded presents these myths and explores the three core pillars of quantitative intuition covered in the book, highlighting how marketers can improve decision-making by understanding these concepts.
Oded advises against the inclination to rush to find a solution and instead encourages spending more time understanding the problem. According to Oded, a well-thought-out problem is already half-solved. This interview and the book emphasize the significance of asking insightful questions and properly defining the problem. This approach is evident in the emergence of Prompt Engineers for tools like ChatGPT, where precise questioning leverages quantitative intuition to achieve desired outcomes.
The conversation also touches upon unstructured data and its implications for marketers in terms of analysis, decision-making, customer listening, and demonstrating that marketing is not just a cost but can also drive revenue.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- “Decisions Over Decimals”: Why this book and why now?
- What we should be thinking about in terms of good data-based decision-making
- How quantitative intuition is relevant to Prompt Engineers using tools like ChatGPT
- [01:50] The son of a Holocaust survivor
- [03:45] From the chicken house to the university classroom
- [06:30] Why this book and why now?
- [09:25] Three pillars of quantitative intuition
- [16:30] “It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
- [18:00] Analyst in Wonderland
- [21:00] Prompt Engernerrs
- [23:15] What is so special about ChatGPT?
- [25:45] The best is yet to come with AI.
- [28:00] How should we think about unstructured data?
- [30:50] Connecting marketing with unstructured data
- [35:20] Gen Z pushing for “doing well by doing good”
- [38:00] What excites Oded in the marketing space now?
- [39:55] Travel is the best teacher.
- [40:50] Enjoy the journey.
- [41:30] Generative AI and creating a win-win
- [42:10] Brands to watch
- [44:30] Gen Z and AI are driving the future
- Oded Netzer
- Decisions Over Decimals: Striking the Balance between Intuition and Information
- Co-Authors: Christopher Frank and Paul Magnone
- Amazon Scholars
- Prompt Engineers
- Brands mentioned: Google and Amazon for customer centricity. Kyte for product/service design, Patagonia and KIND Bars for win-win propositions.
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Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth opportunities. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies but is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine companies.