Basic Math

Not good enough. Hope this is not as surprise, but just a basic knowledge of math is not good enough for marketing managers. We have to be able to do more than work a calculator. I was reminded of this two times in the last week.

– I caught an engineer presenting an average of averages. “Caught” is not the right word. I was not trying to catch anyone, but I could not let it go either. So as politely as I could I asked for the calculation to be redone with a weighted average. It was a winner all around, because the revised calculations made the engineer’s proposition even more compelling.
– Due to some changes on who does what (imagine that) I was asked to come up to speed quickly on an excel file. The file was created over the last 12 months and is very well organized and the notes are better than expected. Still, I had to internalize what is happening in this excel file, including lookups and logic statements. Basic math skills would not have cut it.

I suggest that marketers need a knowledge of statistics, databases, logic, accounting and excel to truly succeed.

I love the people part of marketing, but my experience includes a fairly intense analytical numbers dimension as well. Given my process / analytical social style, this is fine with me.

Now for the cold water. At the end of this school year, I could not keep up with my 10th grader’s math assignments on polynomial factoring. For this engineer turned marketer, who was always able to help my older daughter (now 24) with her math homework, let’s just say it hurt real bad.

Why didn’t I google this in May?

One of my friends who was trying to help me feel better explained that 10th grade is the new grad school.


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