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I worked with Mike a few years ago on social media marketing for his book, 52 Things We Wish Someone Had Told Us About Customer Analytics.
Tell us a little bit about your book and business.
My book (our book, as it was co-written with my son, Alex) is about closing the gap between users of customer analytics and providers of customer analytics. Too often the users lack sufficient knowledge to helpfully define, interpret or use customer analytics, so they fail to get so much potential value. Likewise, providers/creators of customer analytics don’t fully understand their end users needs – what decisions they need help making and how the analytics can help them improve their decision making. So we wrote 52 chapters of easy to digest anecdotes that illustrate how to close that gap.
Why did you write your book?
Alex joined me in Singapore 9 years ago for a semester abroad, at a time when I was leading the customer analytics team at Singapore Telecom. He had developed an interest customer analytics and we began to have substantive discussions. That lead to him suggesting I speak at his university (SMU, SIngapore Management University) where I titled my talk “Ten things I wish someone had told me about customer analytics”. The talk drew 600 people. Alex encouraged me to write a book on that material and topic. I agreed only if he would write it with me. So we did the project together, working through phone calls, vacations, etc.
How did you publish your book?
We approached several publishers but all said our material didn’t fit their market profile or was too niche for them. So we went the independent route.
How did things change for you as an author in 2020 and how did you manage to weather through the year during the pandemic?
2020 and 2021 so fare gave us more opportunities to talk to the book’s material, as remote webinars were more easily accepted (hard to do in person talks when one of us lives in Hong Kong, the other in Washington, DC).
What is your favorite book marketing tip?
We are frustrated that we know so little about our customers, despite being customer analytics mavens. Publishing via Amazon means we only know how many copies are sold, the format and which location they use to buy the book (virtual location, e.g. Amazon. com or .uk or .ge). Two things have worked for us: making it clear to contacts that we welcomed the opportunity to do webinars and that these webinars would be full of content, not just an ad for the book. Second, we regularly Google the book title, where we sometimes learn about our customers, leading to marketing opportunities. For example, a short comment by one student at North Texas University about being assigned our book for a course lead us to the professor and the opportunity to do several short webinars for that course, further publicizing our content.
What are your goals for 2021?
No specific goal, we promote the book opportunistically. Our one goal was already achieved, we launched the Chinese translation of the book.
Where can readers find your book?
Alex Sherman is a machine learning practitioner, educator, and author who is passionate about applying analytical tools and techniques in the realm of customer analytics to drive personalized product experiences.
Alex works as a data science manager at Capital One on a computer vision team. Previously, he spent seven years at Deloitte Consulting where he led natural language processing projects for life science clients. Based in Washington D.C., Alex enjoys teaching the practical application of machine learning and customer analytics. He has taught in-person and online data science bootcamps for General Assembly to over 200 students. Alex also shared his analytics experience in a book he co-authored, “52 Things We Wish Someone Had Told Us About Customer Analytics.”
Alex has a Bachelor of Business Administration, summa cum laude, from Temple University, and is studying at the University of Pennsylvania for a Master of Computer and Information Technology.
Mike has over 35 years of marketing, CRM/Big data , and market research experience. He helps clients address marketing opportunities through leveraging big consumer data and traditional market research.
Mike published his first (and last!) book, “52 Things We Wish Someone Had Told Us About Customer Analytics”, co-authored with his son Alex. The book captures real life lessons learned over their careers, with a focus on practical applications of analytics that connect methodologies and processes to impactful outcomes.
Mike began his career at Procter & Gamble, where he managed both new and established brands. Mike spent 17 years with McKinsey & Company; while there he created their Asia-Pacific marketing practice and founded their global CRM practice. Mike was also Global Head of Knowledge Management for Synovate , where he lead efforts to improve the value clients obtain from research. At SingTel and Hong Kong Telecom he set up big data teams and drove the use of both customer data and customer research to help the business understand customer and customer data opportunities.
Mike has been based in Asia since 1997 and has supported work in almost every country in the Asia-Pacific region. Mike has extensive experience in the telecom, retail, financial services, consumer electronics and FMCG industries.
Mike has an MBA, High Distinction (Baker Scholar) from Harvard Business School and two Bachelors degrees, Magna Cum Laude, from the Wharton School and College, University of Pennsylvania.
Mike is a frequent speaker at conferences and published several times in the McKinsey Quarterly on marketing issues in developing and Asian markets. He is the former Board Chair of AFS-USA, a leading high school foreign exchange organization and an avid traveler, having visited over 140 countries.