Modeling Viral Growth and Marketing in PowerPivot

A Tale of Two Charts

Let’s say you operate a business that relies heavily on “word of mouth” – customers recommending your product/service to their friends and colleagues. Or at least, you THINK it relies heavily on that sort of thing.

You need to decide how much to spend on traditional advertising – to supplement the social/viral marketing that your customers do on your behalf.  Take a look at each of these two charts – the captions for each attempt to capture the knee-jerk conclusions you might draw:

Modeling Viral Growth versus Traditional Direct Advertising in PowerPivot

“Advertising?  We Don’t Need No Stinking Advertising!
That is SO Yesterday!  We’re Viral Baby!”

Modeling Viral Growth versus Traditional Direct Advertising in PowerPivot

“All These Youngsters and Their ‘Viral This’ and ‘Social Media That’ – That’s All Just Fancy Excuses to Be Lazy – You Clearly Need to BRING Your Message to the Customer”

If chart 1 reflected reality, you may opt to spend very little on traditional advertising.  But in a chart 2 world, you’d be silly to rely on viral growth.  But which one (if either of them) describes your situation?

Back in October, Rahul Vohra (CEO of Rapportive) wrote a two-part blog series on this topic, posted here on LinkedIn.  I took a note, at the time, to revisit his work and “convert” it to PowerPivot.

It’s a very different kind of problem from what I normally do in PowerPivot – this isn’t about analyzing data I already have, but about calculating future outcomes based on a handful of parameters.  And that leads to some different kinds of thinking, as you will see.


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Conditional Formatting with Different Thresholds per Test, per Product, per Store, per Division, etc.

After a long hiatus, David Hager has returned with a new guest post.  He has a clever Excel trick/formula for applying different conditional formatting “acceptable ranges” depending on the context of the current row.  In his work, different Tests have different acceptable ranges of values that qualify as Pass/Fail/Warning.


Each Test Has a Different “Pass Range” and “Safe Range” –
David Hager’s Technique Translates This Table Quickly into CF Rules

I think this technique can be extended to basically anything:  an acceptable sales growth figure for Store A may be different than that for Store B (or Product A vs. Product B, etc.)

His post also got me thinking about the new “KPI” feature in PowerPivot V2, so I will return later today with a brief follow-on post.

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DataMarket Revisited: The Truth is Out There

How many discoveries are right under our noses, if only we cross-referenced the right data sets? Convergence of Multiple “Thought Streams” Yeah, I love quoting movies.  And tv shows.  And song lyrics.  But it’s not the quoting that I enjoy – it’s the connection.  Taking something technical, for instance, and spotting an intrinsic similarity in something completely unrelated like a movie – I get a huge kick out of that. That tendency to make connections kinda flows through my whole…

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Correlating “Fuzzy Time” Events in One Table with Precise Measurements in Another Table

  Precisely-Timed Measurements vs. Imprecisely-Timed Events:  How Do We Correlate/Relate Them? The Streak is Broken…  and a new streak begins. Well it was a full six-month run of posting every Tuesday and Thursday, Cal Ripken-like consistency.  Then last week it ended.  I was just drained.  Oh well, time to start a new streak!  Back to Tuesday and Thursday.  So let’s dive in… Calculated columns.  I am continually realizing how much there is to know about them – stuff I haven’t…

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Converting from Peaks to Frequencies

“Sniff something? Did ya, rat boy?” Continuity! Folks I just can’t resist a quick followup on the Rat Sniffing Project.  I…  just… can’t.  Plus I am absolutely worn down and don’t have the energy tonight for anything that isn’t inherently entertaining. All of those calculated columns from the last post, remember, were just the setup so we could start doing some REAL observational stuff. You know, something like this: This wasn’t difficult at all. Remember that I now had a…

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Peak Detection: A Surprising Usage of PowerPivot

  “Who are YOU, who are so WISE in the ways of SCIENCE?” It’s all about following through… In a recent post I covered a very simple scientific scenario.  It was an interesting diversion from the normal biz-style scenarios but it left me feeling hollow in two ways.  First, it was too simple and didn’t account for the possibility of multiple different treatment types, so I pinged the Italians.  (They responded, as they always do, and I owe a post…

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Tracking Performance After an Event or Treatment

  “…then they start thinking that, ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’ logic…” Continuing the Impromptu Series of Simple Real World Examples The Mr. Excel PowerPivot Forum has inspired me to change gears a little bit and focus more time on simple techniques that don’t break the DAX Spicy Scale while still being very useful, everyday stuff. I sometimes take this stuff for granted and end up looking for topics that are much more “clever” when in reality we all can…

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