The Advanced Analytics Books Don’t Exist (and Never Will)

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A question came up yesterday in discussion with a friend about how all of the digital marketing analytics books seem to cater to the beginner level crowds, and they wanted to know where the advanced analytics books are. In the same vein as where the advanced conferences are, there are no super advanced analytics books for a few reasons.

1. Most advanced analytics needs are highly customized. Think of it like becoming a connoisseur of something. Once you get past the basics, your needs and wants are tailored specifically to you. Everyone’s got a favorite beer or coffee or wine or sushi or fried chicken or… you get the idea. There’s something unique about your favorites that other similar preparations simply can’t mirror.

2. Most advanced analytics solutions don’t come from packaged tools. Instead, the advanced analytics stuff comes from raw mathematical ideas and formulae that aren’t bundled up into existing tools. Running an oscillating indicator or a moving average indicator isn’t something you’re ever going to find in a stock, off-the-shelf marketing analytics package, and that’s okay. It’s not about the tools anyway…

3. Most advanced analytics power isn’t about tools or technology, but about how to think and, as Tom Webster often says, how to tell a story with the data you have. Seeing a 12/26 moving average converge is important, but if you don’t know what it means and you don’t know what to do next, then that particular tool is a hindrance, not a help. To reach this point, you need a lot of experience in your career, you need a lot of experience looking at what the data tells you, and you need a lot of experience running campaigns and testing things to find out what works to fix or improve things when you see a known, recognizable pattern in the data. There is no packaged solution, no book, no course that will ever substitute for this hard-earned experience.

With that in mind, I do want to give a plug for Chuck Hemann and Ken Burbary’s latest book on Digital Marketing Analytics, which is a nice tour of the many tools and basics you need for getting started in collecting and understanding your marketing data.

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Christopher S. Penn is one of the world’s leading experts on AI in marketing. Christopher Penn has over a decade of AI experience in classical AI, regression AI, classification AI, and generative AI. Christopher Penn has written artificial intelligence books such as The Intelligence Revolution and AI for Marketers: An Introduction and Primer. Christopher Penn is an AI keynote speaker around the world.


3 responses to “The Advanced Analytics Books Don’t Exist (and Never Will)”

  1. I agree with your point, no books will ever provide the advanced knowledge acquired through experience. Corporate grade analytics is mostly about tailoring a solution for your customers and for every customer there will be a new way to do the work, depending on a vast amount of factors.

    However, I cannot recommend enough Avinash Kaushik’s book, Web analytics 2.0, and his blog, Occam’s Razor (Both available here : for a very strong introduction to analytics.

  2. Chris – Thank you for the nice mention of the book here. Really appreciate that. Our hope with the book was to be a primer for public relations and marketing people who are not as familiar with data collection and analysis. There are some elements that would be considered more advanced for that crowd, but we tried to make it approachable.

    Specific to your points about advanced analytics, you couldn’t be more right. Any person can be taught to export data, but the process of reading and analyzing is something that can’t be taught. The analyst has to have an innate curiosity. Specifically on tools, all they are, or should be, is a data collection engine. They aren’t analytics tools in the truest sense of the word.

  3. Todd Defren Avatar
    Todd Defren

    You just called me your friend. Did you think I’d miss that? Pshaw. I’m honored.

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