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Five Must-Read Books for Marketing Analytics Students


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pinnellMike Pinnell graduated from the Crosby MBA program in December 2014 with a concentration in marketing analytics. He will work at DISH, accepting an offer with the company after an internship in which he provided insight into how customers use its self-service tools. Pinnell will live in Denver and looks forward to mountain climbing every weekend.
As I prepare to graduate, I have thought about what sparked my interest in analytics and which marketing analytics books helped me develop as an analyst. This list comes with a significant caveat, however: The field of marketing analytics changes so quickly that as soon as a book is published it is behind the times. To truly keep up, supplement these recommendations with sites like CIO for technology business news, Occam’s Razor for digital marketing news and strategies, Forrester for a blog run by analysts at various companies, Big Data University, and others.

Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning by Thomas Davenport

This marketing analytics book is a must read for those interested in marketing analytics.

Some of the ideas presented might seem obvious to those now delving into big data, but Davenport truly led the field.

This is arguably his most important work, and a great place to start.​


freakonomicsFreakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

This book helped me start thinking about problems.

It covers some controversial subjects, but that helped me see how many different ways problems can be approached.  And it does not address strictly business topics, making it an enjoyable read that presents ideas with far-reaching applications.


la-ca-nate-silverThe Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail but Some Don’t by Nate Silver

Nate Silver also brings the concept of big data to big questions.

With his predictions of the 2008 election cycle, he showed the power of data-driven models when used correctly. Although he stays mainly in the realm of sports these days, much can be learned from his methodology.

Data-science-for-businessData Science for Business: What You Need to Know About Data Mining and Data Analytic Thinking by Foster Provost and Tom Fawcett

Back to marketing analytics books for business, this one discusses specific techniques and clearly explains how analytics applies to various situations. There is a nice mix of statistics not too in depth, but a good 30,000-foot view  and business concepts. As an MBA, I sometimes find resources too technical to realistically guide my examination of a problem and exploration of a solution. Provost and Fawcett break it down.

catLearning R: A Step-by-Step Function Guide to Data Analysis by Richard Cotton

In the business world, MBAs are not going to compete with computer scientists and statisticians. We don’t have to. We won’t need to know how to program complex algorithms. Still, it is important to generally understand how to code, which provides an idea of what is feasible and what isn’t when trying to formulate and answer a question.  “R” is becoming the standard throughout industry. Knowledge of this language is valuable. Coworkers will respect you for it.

Again, this list of marketing analytics books is far from exhaustive in a field that changes by the day. These books will, however, provide a valuable foundation of critical thinking and other fundamental skills for solving business problems with big data. Upon that, you can build your own expertise.

To learn more about this emerging field, go to the Crosby MBA program’s marketing analytics page.

Listen to Mike’s comments about his experiences from a September 25 webinar here or by playing the video below.