• Today is: Saturday, June 25, 2016

How Effective is your Marketing Analytics Model?

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Sanchita Lobo
June08/ 2016

This week we are very excited to share a guest article shared by our Jigsaw-Bocconi EPBA (Executive Programme in Business Analytics) student Abhiskeh Mittal. In his article, Abhishek speaks about how to create a successful marketing  analytics model. Go ahead read the article here..

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Originally posted on LinkedIn pulse

So you have come up with your marketing analytics response model (Response models are used to improve response rates by identifying prospects who are more likely to respond to a direct solicitation) using different data mining techniques and validated it with various techniques such as ROC, Confusion Matric etc. and you are ready to go to production. Fair enough, you can go ahead and deploy your model in production. Let’s suppose after you have deployed your model in production, your Boss comes to you and asks – “Tell me how effective your Model is”. You better have an answer to the most logical question.

The value of measurement and continuous improvement is widely acknowledged, and yet most likely to be overlooked. Marketing tests are an important part of analytic marketing, as is data mining. The two often complement each other, and marketing tests are an important part of understanding whether data mining efforts are working. Typically, two things should be tested when using data mining for a marketing treatment. First, is the marketing message working? Second, is the data mining modeling working? So how do you do it? The key is to use holdout groups intelligently factors. In practice, four potential groups exist:

Target Group: Receives the treatment and has model scores indicating response.

Control Group: Receives the treatment and is chosen either at random or based on lower model scores.

Holdout Group: Does not receive the treatment and is chosen either at random or based on lower model scores.

Modeled Holdout Group: Does not receive the treatment and has model scores indicating response.

These four groups are indicated in the following figure:

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The responses from these four groups then provide useful information. Using these groups for modeling is called incremental response modelling. The goal of incremental response modeling is to reach prospects that are more likely to make purchases because of having been contacted.  Comparing the response rates of above mentioned four different groups will clearly tell you how effective your model is.

Author Profile

Abhishek Mittal has over 15 years of experience in designing and developing enterprise applications using technologies such as Big Data, Analytics, Solr & Elastic Search, Cloud Azure and AWS, .Net, IOT and Mobile. Bitten by the analytics bug, he has enrolled in the Jigsaw-Bocconi EPBA (Executive Programme in Business Analytics) course and is looking to use analytics to solve real-world problems

Suggested Read:

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Find Out Why this Senior Tech Manager Joined MISB Bocconi’s Executive Program in Business Analytics

How Excel Changed my Life

Sanchita Lobo
June03/ 2016

A special thanks to Sameera T. for this guest post on Microsoft Excel and how it changed her whole perspective about the best way to do things at work and at home.


I am just an ordinary person and up until just a few months ago, my life was that of a typical modern mom, juggling work and a family, trying to find that perfect balance but never really finding it. The most frustrating thing was that I seemed to be stagnant at work. I had been working for the same company as an accountant for the last five years and I could not see any scope for a promotion or a significant pay rise. This was making me insecure and unhappy, and as a result my mood at home reflected the same emotions.

One day, I woke up and was determined to take charge of my life. I took a day off and after sending the kids to school and my husband to work, I sat down and did some research about the skills I could gain that would help me move forward in my career. The answer surprised me. Most of the articles I read talked about how expertise in Microsoft excel could really give your career a boost and give you a better salary. One particular article – The Key to a Good-Paying Job Is…Microsoft Excel? really caught my eye.

I had some basic knowledge of Excel but I was no expert and had hardly used it to make my work more efficient. So I enrolled in an online intensive Excel course and in a few months I was an Excel pro. I gradually started using it at work and was amazed at how I was able to speed up certain processes and calculations. The best part was that I also started using it at home, to keep track of monthly expenses and found that it saved me so much time as compared to balancing my cheque book manually. I ended up with some much needed free time!  I used my extra time take my kids to the park, or for an evening out with my husband. I began to apply to jobs at bigger companies that had ‘proficiency in excel’ as one of their requirements. Before I knew it, I had a great job offer to join the finance team of a multinational company.

If you were to ask me the five most important ways I now use Excel in my new job, I would list out these important features:

  1. Absolute References

In spreadsheet applications, a reference to a particular cell or group of cells that does not change, even if you change the shape or size of the spreadsheet, or copy the reference to another cell. Is called Absolute references. I am now able to use Absolute References ‘$ sign’ in my formulas to copy formulas to many rows or columns. I can make the formula always reference a specific cell or rows of data.

  1. Copying Visible Cells Only

This shortcut saves me a lot of time when I need to filter a spreadsheet to show only certain data. I just highlight the data I want to copy, Hit F5, click the “Special” button in the lower left hand corner, click on the “Visible Cells Only” Circle box and hit OK. I then press Ctrl “C” or Edit Copy, paste data into the appropriate sheet. Now only the visible data is copied over.

  1. Average lines to help identify trends

I often use Excel to present data in the form of charts or graphs. I use average lines (a simple horizontal line across the chart that represents the average line of the plotted data, so that you can see the average value of the data clearly and easily), to detail the key trends emerging from the data. I can even extend the trend lines beyond the graph, to offer predictions of future activity – and such forecasts can help my management develop their future strategy.

  1. Build great charts

I also am able to sort and filter the data I am working on, and display that data in a visual form using a variety of charts like pie charts, graphs and clustered columns. These charts are a better way to get the data to talk, and my manager is able to use it in reports when discussing bigger business decisions.

  1. Pasting Formats – Paste Special Shortcut

I use this shortcut when we have to create well-presented and meticulous reports. I use it to format cells, rows and columns with specific font styles, colors and bordering. I also use it to apply the same formatting to numerous cells. For e.g.: when I want to copy over an entire column or row’s formatting to another column or row.

I know I was supposed to give you only 5 uses that I liked and used, but I am getting carried away (yes Excel is really cool), so if you don’t mind will add on a few more.

  1. Bring together diverse data

One of the most important functionalities of Excel is being able to bring varied information from various sources and documents together in one place. This even includes text and images.

  1. Data analysis

I know I talked a bit about using Excel to identify trends already, but just want to add a little bit more about how I use it to do some what-if analysis to run different scenarios and forecast the outcome of a worksheet model. I can compare the resulting data of several scenarios in a summary report.

So you see, Excel did make my work life a whole lot more interesting and my home life a whole lot more relaxing. If you were able to relate to my story, perhaps it’s time for you to become an Excel pro too.

Sameera T is a full time mom and works with a multinational company in Chennai as an Account Manager.

Are IPL Teams Getting Bang for Their Buck?

Sanchita Lobo
June02/ 2016

Cricket teams across the world, whether a club side or an international team, analyses data to enhance team performance. Pitch maps tell you where a particular bowler has been landing his deliveries while the wagon wheel is a good indicator of a batsman’s scoring areas. Slow motion video analysis helps batsmen pick well-disguised slower balls and googlies and the multitude of camera angles available today allow bowlers to study a batsman’s technique and weaknesses. But the IPL is different from any other form of cricket, where the sole motive is usually victory alone.


Image Courtesy: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

The IPL is a business. The franchise owners are businessmen. The players are investments. Profit is a motive. As important as studying the strengths and weakness of the opposition is, what is also crucial is understanding whether your investments are bearing fruit. While there is no obvious way to translate player performances to monetary terms, such quantification is extremely important for franchises to get the most value for the money they spend and develop bidding strategies going into the next player auction, this especially considering that players are paid astronomical salaries in the IPL (as high as INR 16,00,00,000). ESPN Cricinfo’s Shiva Jayaraman had undertaken such an analysis in relation to IPL 2014 and the same may be read here.


This has been an expensive season of the IPL. In the 2016 franchise, batsmen scored 16,682 runs in the league stage of this IPL while bowlers took 540 wickets, which means that a wicket was taken every 30.89 runs. This essentially also means that a wicket is worth approximately 30.89 runs. Since a total of INR 467.7 crores was spent by teams at the auctions, it could be said that one run is worth approximately INR 1.4 lakhs, while each wicket is worth INR 43.3 lakhs*.


The analysis of player worth compares the performance of each player against the tournament average and his performances are accordingly assigned values.

E.g. Murugan Ashwin, on whom Pune splurged INR 4.5 crore, played 10 matches (out of 14) and took 7 wickets at an economy rate of 8.45. The overall economy rate for the tournament is 8.2, which means that Murugan Ashwin was about 3% worse than the tournament average. Therefore, his 7 wickets are now worth only 6.79 wickets, and the total value generated by him is equal to the effective wickets taken by him (6.79) multiplied by the worth of each wicket (INR 43.3 lakhs), i.e. INR 2.94 crores. Subtracting this notional value from the actual money spent by Pune on him (INR 4.5 crores), will be the gains or losses incurred by in relation to him. In this case, Murugan Ashwin has cost Pune a loss of INR  1.56 crore.


The below table provides of list of how some of the other lesser known players on whom teams spent big money fared in the league stage of the 2016 IPL. It looks like Karun Nair, Carlos Brathwaite and Chris Morris justified their high price tag, while Pawan Negi, Sanju Samson, M Ashwin, and Deepak Hooda cost their teams some losses.

Pawan Negi’s contributions with the bat and the ball places his value at Rs 96 lakhs, while he cost his team a massive loss of Rs 7.54 crores.

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All of the players in the below table have provided their teams with returns in excess of INR 5 crores. There is no doubt that that the likes of Mustafizur Rahman and Adam Zampa will command a higher price at the next auction. The biggest hit of the season is Andre Russell of Kolkata Knight Riders, bringing in a net return of a whopping Rs 9.39 crores to the team. KKR sure have a reason to smile!

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The table below consolidates the performances of all teams and it can be seen that there are four teams who have a positive return on investment. Not surprisingly, three of these teams – Bangalore, Kolkata and Hyderabad – made the playoffs. The only aberration is Gujarat, who despite topping the table has a negative ROI of 1.83%, while Punjab, the wooden spoon holders, has a positive ROI of 1.66%.

Mumbai failed to make it to the playoffs and has the least returns. Of all the teams, it has seen the most loss, losing out Rs 8.55 crores.

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Virat Kohli has generated incredible value of 14.97 crores during the league stage of the 2016 IPL, however, since he was retained at a price of INR 12.50 crores as per the IPL rules (he may actually be paid more), the returns that he has provided Bangalore is only worth INR 2.47 crores, while Yuzvendra Chahal, retained at only INR 10 lakhs, generated value worth INR 8.56 crores, of which INR 8.46 crores amounts to positive returns for Bangalore!


Author Bio: Bishen Jeswant, the author of this piece, is a cricket babbler with a degree in law. He has been a statistics sub editor for ESPN Cricinfo and currently practices law with a leading Indian firm.

Top 5 Viral Trends and What Made Them Viral

Sanchita Lobo
May30/ 2016

From ‘Charlie bit my finger’ to ‘surprised kitty’ to ‘sneezing panda’, we have seen a lot of videos go viral in the last couple of years. But which are the ones that got the most attention? Which ones had the most views? Why did they go viral in first place? We’ve asked the same questions too!


We’ve taken a look at the top 5 viral trends each year from 2011 to 2015 and observed what made each of it garner the attention that it did:


  1. 2011: Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’

Rebecca Black was previously unknown when she rose to her one-hit-wonder fame. One of the reasons that her video got so famous was because several known twitter celebrities tweeted about her video (One of them even mentioning how it was the ‘worst video ever made’). Her song, even though it had a catchy tune, got the reputation of a bad production and people started perceiving it as something that’s not celebrated but rather mocked. Rebecca Black’s Friday today stands at 94 million views on Youtube. Watch her video here.

  1. 2012: Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’

Gangnam Style is a Korean song that went viral in 2012. In fact, it was the first video on YouTube to ever hit 1 billion views. The video became very popular simply because it was quirky, different and had a very catchy tune. The fact that it came from a country we don’t usually hear about added to its popularity. People liked it for its funny dance as well as silliness, all depicted in the video. Another reason that the video became so popular was because of ‘word of mouth’. This was the only reason that the video hit 1 billion views in the first place. Think about the first time you watched the video. It’s probably because your friend asked you, “Hey, have you watched this crazy video?”

Check out Psy’s Gangnam Style here.

  1. 2013: Harlem Shake

You may remember the Harlem Shake from 2013, when it blew up the internet. It became an internet sensation with 70 million videos from other users uploaded in just one month. On February 2nd, 2013, the first Harlem Shake video got released. It featured five boys moving to some music, and when the beat drops, they all start dancing, jumping, flailing their hands and feet around in an uncoordinated manner. The Harlem Shake became so popular that people went to different heights of doing the Harlem Shake even when underwater or while skydiving. Why it became so popular, you may ask… well, it was because of the catchy music and also because it could be done by any group anywhere in the world! Watch the best of the Harlem Shake here.

  1. 2014: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS foundation in the USA came up with a very interesting and viral idea to spread awareness about the disease. They asked people to donate money, or do the ice bucket challenge, donate and nominate friends and family to do the same. The ice bucket challenge simply involved people standing in front of a camera, completely dry, and pouring a bucket of ice cold water on themselves. The viral content was generated from the reactions different people had when water was thrown on them. It also went viral because a lot of celebrities also took part in the challenge – Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Selena Gomez and many more were a part of the challenge. As a result of the campaign, the ALS foundation raised a lot of money for the research and development for the cure of ALS. Watch Bill Gate’s famous ALS Ice Bucket Challenge here.

  1. 2015: The (Blue) Dress

In 2015, the whole world was confused and curious about one dress. A Tumblr user posted a low resolution picture of a dress that was actually black and blue, but in the picture, the dress looked white and gold. People started analysing the situation getting into long debates about this dress. This dress truly went viral. There were hundreds of articles written on the dress and its unknown colour. Celebrities also started talking about what they thought about the dress. Kim Kardashian asked her twitter followers to choose a side – black and blue or white and gold. The reason why this dress went viral was the mystery behind its colour and because it was not easily solved. But the result was, to people’s amusement, that the dress was indeed black and blue! Read more about it here.

You can learn all about tracking and analysing social media trends with our Social Media Marketing & Analytics course.

Image Courtesy: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

A Day in the Life of a Social Media Manager

Sanchita Lobo
May29/ 2016

A sneak peak at  a video from our newly launched Social Media Marketing and Analytics course. Especially interesting for all of you considering a career in social media. Find out what a Social Media Manager really does.



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Game of Thrones
Sanchita Lobo
May25/ 2016

The season 6 of the fantasy drama is halfway through and it has gotten more nail biting than ever. The show features an ensemble cast and boasts of over 500 listed cast members! We thought this would be a good time to find and present some interesting facts about the popular show


Game of Thrones