by Michael Foster
A few years ago, a trend quietly took over the tech world: hiring economists.
My favorite example was when Valve Corporation (the software company) hired Yanis Varoufakis to become its in-house economist. Varoufakis may not be considered famous nowadays, but in 2010-2011 he quickly became a superstar for representing Greece’s intellectual and academic position against Germany during the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis. Varoufakis’s blunt style and lack of diplomatic acumen turned him into a pariah among the EU political elite, but they’re valuable traits for a video game company used to dealing with sharp-tongued journalists and online trolls who strive to offend.
But that isn’t the only reason why Valve hired Varoufakis. They needed an intelligent person who could understand the odd and emergent dynamics of the virtual economies of video games—and he seemed like the ideal person for the job.
Similarly, other tech companies have been hiring economists to understand the dynamics that drive their emergent businesses. Microsoft, Google, Uber, Pandora, Airbnb, Netflix and many others have hired economists to make business models more efficient and identify opportunities in large and complex systems.
Considering how the most cutting-edge tech firms use economists routinely, you’d expect high-tech digital marketing firms to rely on economists as a matter of course. Think again. In reality, many marketers rely on the baggage of advertising methods and methodologies of yore without digging deep into the underpinnings of many of their assumptions in marketing that come from economics and related fields like finance and statistics.
This finding doesn’t make sense. Digital marketing is a numbers game—and in many cases, it involves the same formulas and mathematical theories that underpin modern economic theory. Yet digital economists aren’t a popular feature of the modern digital marketing agency or publishing company.
Digital economists habitually think in terms of lifetime value and calculating the probabilities, risk/reward profiles and theoretical systems that are needed to attract customers in a way that is sustainably profitable. And since economists are trained to obsess over efficiency, having one on staff will likely help you find ways to make your media buying and planning process more efficient while also making campaigns themselves more efficient.
At this year’s LeadsCon Las Vegas, LQ Digital CEO Katy Keim and USAA Executive Director of Marketing Christina Martin will lead “Less Leads, More Lifetime Value: Think Like a Digital Economist,” a discussion on how you can think like a digital economist and leverage the theories of economics to find greater efficiencies in your lead generation efforts and more profitable customers.
USAA has used the power of economic thinking not only in their basic financial operations but also in their approach to marketing and analyzing customer value—and the results have been tremendous. Few marketers are even aware of this advantage—which is why it’s the best opportunity for lead generation marketers in our maniacally competitive digital marketing landscape.
Click here to register for LeadsCon Las Vegas 2018.