In past decades. many of them in the public domain. But just look at where the mathematicians are now. It then sends PODCAST customized news feeds to its users. quants turned finance upside down. wine. Now they're mapping out ad campaigns and building new businesses from mountains of personal data Neal Goldman is a math entrepreneur." From fledglings like Inform to tech powerhouses such as IBM (). what's next? Our businesses -. and they're enabling marketers to forge new oneon-one relationships with customers. Goldman's startup. even alcoholism. Inform Technologies LLC. they're changing the nature of research in newsrooms and in biology almost impossible to conjure up in our earthbound minds. As this occurs. http://www. This has happened before. who also exist in Inform's system as -. turns up in the polytope near France. In each case. A single article on Bordeaux wine. It reads them and groups COVER them with related pieces. It's called a polytope and it has near-infinite dimensions. They're helping to map out advertising campaigns. a sizable chunk of humanity has moved its work. Every day it combs through thousands of press articles and blog posts in English. How do you convert written words into math? Goldman says it takes a combination of algebra and geometry. By the time you're reading these words. chat. the marriage of higher math and computer modeling transformed science and engineering.Math Will Rock Your World Close Window JANUARY 23.businessweek. Inform doesn't do this work alphabetically or by keywords. It contains every topic written about in the press. and shopping online. And data miners plucked useful nuggets from vast consumer and business databases.and. play. Each line has a series of relationships. Quants turned finance upside down a generation ago. Inform's algorithm calculates the relevance of one article to the next by measuring the angle between the two lines. It STORY uses algorithms to analyze each article by its language and context. chief of the mathematics research group at the National Security Agency: "There has never been a better time to be a mathematician. ourselves. The world is moving into a new age of numbers. yes. Partnerships between mathematicians and computer scientists are bulling into whole new domains of business and imposing the efficiencies of math. And every article that Inform processes becomes a single line within it. These slices of our lives now sit in databases.htm?chan=gl (1 of 6)1/17/2006 2:47:50 AM Math Will Rock Your World . Imagine an object floating in space that has an edge for every known scrap of information.math. Says James R. And that raises a fundamental question: If long articles full of twists and turns can be reduced to a mathematical essence.or vanished as forgotten conversations. where numbers rule. But he's focusing his analytic tools on a different realm altogether: the world of words. this very article will exist as a line in Goldman's polytope. Schatz. is a robotic librarian. more of the economy falls into the realm of numbers. companies are hitching mathematics to business in ways that would have seemed fanciful even a few years guessed it -. for example. In the past decade. He works on Wall Street. agriculture. We feed networks gobs of digital data that once would have languished on scraps of paper -. 2006 COVER STORY A generation ago.

from atmospheric sensors to the feeds from millions of security cameras. the digital equivalent of stick figures. shoppers. for $225 million to Standard & Poor's () (like BusinessWeek. Amit and Balraj Singh. they know where their prospective customers are browsing. the rise of math can contribute to a sense that individuals are powerless. And they are sure to rear up again as the U. not a doctor. what they click on. CEO of Boulder (Colo. others figure out which worker is best equipped for a particular job." The clearest example of math's disruptive power is in advertising. For now. Internet companies use this data not only to profile customers but also to pitch for more contracts. Math entrepreneurs. a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies). by some guesstimates.htm?chan=gl (2 of 6)1/17/2006 2:47:50 AM .000. Amazon. puts it: "The next Jonas Salk will be a mathematician. There Google and other search companies built on math are turning an industry that grew on ideas. and we turn you into math.businessweek. Tom Leighton. Researchers at Aetna Health Care. voters. but every bit as powerful as the armies of Harvard University MBAs who shook up corner suites a generation ago. Neal Goldman of Inform sold his previous math-based startup. these models are crude. what they buy. Some of the simulations will have our names and credit cards attached. are raking in bonanzas.. but by wasted minutes.a company that developed algorithms for genetic research -. In others. Some 18 http://www. quite simply.S. and employers will be able to rank us not only by productivity. from our credit rating to our genomic map. an entrepreneur and applied math professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Merchants will be in a position to track many of our most intimate purchases. Fifteen months ago. much less build businesses on them. and patients. a foreboding that mathematics. a laboratory for innovation and discovery composed of numbers. spells out our destiny. As Jack Einhorn. they'll try to use them to keep us from hijacking airplanes or detonating bombs. our identities will be shielded. vectors.)-based Umbria Inc. But companies and governments will use them all the same to predict how to sell us things. The Dark Side This industrial metamorphosis also has a dark side. But the merger of sophisticated data mining and higher math has tremendous power to conquer mankind's scourges as well. we ourselves become the math nerds' most prized specimens. meanwhile. "We turn the world of content into math." says Howard Kaushansky. says: "All of my students have standing offers at Yahoo! () and Google (). without enlisting skilled mathematicians and computer scientists. They can pull it off because.Math Will Rock Your World From a business point of view. hunches. and personal relationships into a series of calculations. and many other companies are piecing together mathematical models of customers and employees. It's a parallel world that's taking shape. and ramp up our productivity. And last May two brothers. Many of these models will be eerily accurate and others laughably off mark. Congress investigates the Bush Administration's mining of phone and Internet traffic in its effort to sniff out terrorists. In a world teeming with data. perhaps a few genetic details. But over the coming decade. and often. We'll be modeled as workers. steer us clear of diseases. a financial analysis company called CapitalIQ. each of us will give birth to far more fleshed out simulations of (). especially at the Internet powerhouses where new math grads land with six-figure salaries and rich stock deals. The power of mathematicians to make sense of personal data and to model the behavior of individuals will inevitably continue to erode privacy." Top mathematicians are becoming a new global elite. sold Perabit Networks -. Debates over these issues have flared up many times in the past decade. And yes. and algorithms. companies can't sort out their swelling oceans of data. This mathematical modeling of humanity promises to be one of the great undertakings of the 21st century. a company that uses math to analyze marketing trends online. Some models predict what music we'll buy. But even with the most powerful computers and abundant. What's more. cheap Juniper Networks () for $337 million. The rise of mathematics is heating up the job market for luminary quants. they're just begging to be analyzed. It's a force of barely 5. It will grow in scope to include much of the physical world as mathematicians get their hands on new flows of data. chief technical officer of Inform.

and its stock has nearly tripled. CEO of casino giant Harrah's Entertainment Inc. The risk: It gives math-based analysts. an E-Loan ad appears next to the results. has led the company to build individual profiles of millions of Harrah's customers." says Rex Briggs. data analysis will grow in importance. (). In the last five years. The results came back in hard numbers. the San Francisco company that conducted the 30 advertising () could have sold an additional $625 million worth of trucks if it had lifted its online ad budget from 2. for example. or criminal detective work.and he accumulates massive feedback from customers. It can give cell-phone companies or fast-food restaurants the latest buzz on an ad campaign or a new sandwich. founder of Marketing Evolution. phrases.5% to 6% of the total.and turns them into math. A recent search for Gatorade (). Khan's team has amassed a portfolio of 250. Just ask Imran Khan. As data mavens gather more information about customers. the director of search advertising at E-Loan." But some companies are making inroads. Such moves are sure to generate even more data. calculated to maximize returns. no machine could sift through the photos. a growing role in editorial decisions. he started three years ago by bidding on keywords on the major search engines. Whether in law. that Ford Motor Co. grammar. Rising flows of data give companies the intelligence to home in on the individual customer. an online lender. as well as the amount of time they spent gambling and how much they won or lost. even emotions -. showed that large numbers of young men look to it as a cocktail mixer in hopes that the http://www. 30 blue-chip companies. Internet marketers are the natural leaders. calculating the return on investment for each one and tweaking thousands of bids hour by hour. sleuths have relied for centuries on the human brain to pick through strands of disparate evidence and to find patterns.htm?chan=gl (3 of 6)1/17/2006 2:47:50 AM . Then it analyzes the content. Loveman. These studies crunched consumer data to measure the effectiveness of advertising in a host of media. Khan crunches his stash of words. and Zip codes. half of it through online advertising. Ford responded vigorously: Last August it announced plans to move up to 30% of its $1 billion ad budget into media targeted to individual customers. words. looking for market intelligence.000 key words and phrases.. Umbria breaks down English messages into the smallest components -. gender.that towering mountain of information that computer scientists call "unstructured data. and Khan's team pays the price bid for each click. but traditional businesses are following suit. These data enable Harrah's to study gambling through a host of variables and to target individuals with offers. Over time. quants on the marketing side will be able to provide editors and program managers with increasingly sophisticated statistical models. Khan has turned the advertising operation into an enormous statistical laboratory. () and a former Harvard B-school professor. for example. Take media. from Procter & Gamble Co. They indicated. Pi in the Sky Math is also positioned to shake up investigations. an analytics startup in Silicon Valley. from getaway weekends to gourmet dining.half of E-Loan's ad budget -. not to mention advertisers. And why not? Even today. an industry group. geographical coordinates. Colorado's Umbria has built a system to sift through millions of blogs in real time. Harrah's has averaged 22% annual growth. With banks of consumer data continuing to swell. underwent a series of tests promoted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The models include gamblers' ages. Like most others in the industry. giving greater clout to the numbers people. telling them which types of TV scenes or articles appeal most to certain demographic groups. journalism. looking for trends. they gain muscle to demand changes inside companies. snippets of video -. But running search-based ads is hardly a static process. As publishers seek to optimize profits and performance. () to Walt Disney Co. Working with Efficient Frontier Inc.words.businessweek.Math Will Rock Your World months ago. An accountant by training. He spends $15 million a year -. Each time a Web surfer types one of those words in a search engine. "It puts a question mark around the classic church-state divide in the media. names. Sometimes it uncovers trends researchers weren't even looking for. Sherlock Holmes sometimes looked for them in plumes of pipe smoke. Gary W.

a new call center in Manila. Enron pioneered advanced math to create new financial markets. There is a whole world of uninvented businesses. Raghavan describes Yahoo's immense pool of data.businessweek. they're building models of their colleagues. The first step in modeling IBM's workforce. Scribbling on a white board covered with equations. curiosities. as Yahoo's most precious resource. similar insights could uncover countless other patterns. IBM consultants are implementing math-based blueprints to upgrade steel mills in China and revamp operations at the U. "are critical to survival. including the meanderings of humans. e-marketers. That means that instead of modeling machines. And even if they had amassed a huge pile of it. statisticians. is to harvest all sorts of data from company records. it put it through a mathematical analysis called optimization. Years before the accounting mess brought the company down. CEO of Paris-based ILOG. IBM turned optimization into a leg of its services business. "We'll have systems that tap our knowledge by the minute. Takriti says. and schedules. Vast globe-spanning projects can be modeled." As companies continue to receive ever more data about their own processes and their workers. Calculus Ahead http://www. he says. foresees virtual assembly lines. Now. with each task going to the best-qualified person. Calendar data could show which consultants have more free time. It featured raw materials." That may sound like more digital pi in the sky. by tracking mobile devices. Better algorithms. Big Blue named him senior manager of stochastic analysis. The current project is to refocus the supply-chain programs on 50. If you look back at those old supply-chain programs. In the future. They could help bankers spot entrepreneurs careening toward bankruptcy or point police toward sociopaths planning terrorist acts. The results suggested specific improvements. and the rejiggering sped up IBM's operations and cut costs. a 40-member team of researchers is scrutinizing people. A leader in this effort is Syrian-born Samer Takriti. a year before Enron's collapse. The hints of these future businesses float in the oceans of Yahoo's data. To date. They'll come into being as Yahoo discovers new ways to satisfy the urges. People were represented by numbers and were largely interchangeable. at an IBM research center a half-hour's drive north of New York City. who came from the math shop at Enron Corp. says Takriti. That's the science of incorporating random behavior. Once the company had a working model. though. researchers at Big Blue constructed a mathematical model of the company's supply chain. Raghavan's mandate is to sift through that data and form new connections among consumers. Following World War II. a company that turns customers' raw data into visual displays. these professionals are divided into 200 categories. Pierre Haren. "Productivity could rise by a factor of 10. could highlight communication links between employees and the informal social networks that they create. then cut into tiny pieces. and advertisers. there's one important element nearly absent: the human being. Today. The mathematicians' systems lacked the data to provide more detail. A survey of company e-mail. say. featuring the online activity of 200 million registered customers. trucking schedules. Decades later. This doesn't have to be limited to one company. into math models. Eventually. Workers who e-mail each other a lot are more likely to work well together. Postal Service. chief researcher Prabhakar Raghavan heads a team of 100 mathematicians and computer scientists. furnaces.S. the system will know exactly where the consultants are. The team combines data miners. the primitive computers of the time would have choked on it. and experts in operations research. But the math team is hunting for richer personal details. IBM hired Takriti for a second stint in At the Sunnyvale (Calif. And when a contract comes through for." he says. and desires of this customer base. It's actually an extension of mathematical modeling that's been going on for half a century at companies like IBM. IBM's optimization program will cull through its global database and put together the perfect team.000 of the consultants in IBM's services division.) campus of Yahoo. he believes.htm?chan=gl (4 of 6)1/17/2006 2:47:50 AM . many will use math to boost productivity and shake up the workplace. and manufacturing plants.Math Will Rock Your World electrolytes in the sports drink will ease hangovers.

This could disrupt efforts to use math and data mining to fight disease and to battle terrorism. On one hand. income. And it doesn't take much imagination to see where that can lead. In Microsoft Corp." says Craig Silverstein. As soon as you zoom in on an individual face. are foreign-born. an estimated half of the 20. a The goal now is to create systems that share group information while shielding the individual. This will require revamping education. A similar pattern holds for many other math-based professions. you can bet that Big Blue will be offering similar workforce modeling services to its customers." says Michael Sipser.000 math grad students now in the U. "As cryptographers. engaging more girls and ethnic minorities in math. This may well involve extending the math curriculum to include more applied subjects such as statistics. managers and entrepreneurs must bone up on mathematics." Think of looking at a picture of a crowd. the country must breed more top-notch mathematicians at home. medication." says Takriti.S. is working on a system to shield individuals while making use of the data. we know the power of the adversary. race. has long leaned on foreigners to provide math talent in universities and corporate research labs. Even in the post-September 11 world. and boosting the number of students who make it through calculus. Managers will operate tools not only to monitor employees' performance but also to follow their movements and drive up productivity." This means the researchers will have to factor in a certain amount of human behavior. if IBM's operation yields fruit. and workers have reason to fear that the intimate details of their lives are floating around in databases. "It's very possible for people to misplace faith in numbers.S. head of the mathematics department at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "People are complicated. from lowballing sales targets to "accidentally" deleting a rival's snazzy report." she says. It's a promising approach. Midcareer managers can delegate much of this work to http://www. they'll even have the tools to link these initiatives to revenue or return on investment. they figure out how to game it. for example. from predictive models of real estate markets to patient mortality charts for comparing different oncologists. but even Dwork admits that mathematically gifted hackers can continue to pry open doors that she and her team slam shut. including the social sciences. It adds up to an era chock-full of numbers. Math's other problem? Sometimes it's just not as smart as advertised. director of technology at Google. they'll likely work to lock up their information or move it off network. especially as foreigners find greater opportunities abroad.Math Will Rock Your World The program will take years to implement. The antidote at Google and elsewhere is to put mathematicians on teams with specialists from other disciplines. Private Lives One significant challenge to the math revolution is to build new businesses from data without sacrificing privacy. At the same time. they're working with new data. Still. it becomes pixelated. now is twofold. This way. "If you have a system. patients. Outfitting students with the right quantitative skills is a crucial test facing school boards and education ministries worldwide. Eventually IBM-like programs will reach us. This threatens to make the models fuzzier. education. "It's critical to the future of our technological society. The challenge facing the U. The U.htm?chan=gl (5 of 6)1/17/2006 2:47:50 AM . the gateway for math-based disciplines. and neighborhood without zeroing in on one person. much of it untested. like Internet marketers. from computer science to engineering. Mathematicians are at the heart of the privacy battle -. where it is harder for foreigners to get student visas. consumers will be armed with ever more data. Dwork and her team are encasing each person's records in a camouflage of numbers that she calls "noise. If customers. Just as mathematicians need to grapple with human quirks and mysteries.on both sides. On the other side. Perhaps. could study them by age.'s () laboratories near San Francisco. As mathematicians expand their domain into the humanities. Cynthia Dwork.businessweek. Machines never do. This is especially true in America. school districts must cultivate greater math savvy among the broader population to prepare it for a business world in which numbers will pop up continuously.S. researchers working with a database of HIV or breast cancer patients.

Pfleiderer.Math Will Rock Your World their staffers. "We have to train people in business to spot a bogus argument. It's a percolating laboratory full of surprising connections." And to spot opportunities. As more of the world's information is pooled into mathematics. "Now it's easier for people to bamboozle someone by having analysis based on lots of data and graphs. All rights reserved. http://www. the realm of numbers becomes an ever larger meeting ground. with Bremen Leak in New York Advertising | Special Sections | MarketPlace | Knowledge Centers Terms of Use | Privacy Notice | Ethics Code | Contact Us Copyright 2000.2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.htm?chan=gl (6 of 6)1/17/2006 2:47:50 AM . But they still must understand enough about math to question the assumptions behind the numbers. By Stephen Baker." says Paul C. it's a magnificent time to know math. a finance professor at the Stanford Graduate School of and a birthplace for new industries.businessweek. Yes.

the NSA doesn't give numbers of the mathematicians and computer scientists working there. There's a second hitch: Unlike the tech companies it must compete with. But there's also a lifestyle lure. especially at the PhD level. and Microsoft ().Online Extra: The NSA: Security in Numbers Close Window JANUARY 23. engineers." says Cynthia Miller-Wentt. and elsewhere. "We have to look at new and innovative ways to find talent. and computer scientists. In the last decade. This is a severe constraint. all working with intelligence agents. but recruiting in the age of Google is a lot tougher The job offers arrived in plain envelopes. the NSA must compete with free-spending Web giants such as Google () and Yahoo! (). they report. They include mathematicians. 19. BRAND BUILDING. PATRIOT PITCH. NSA officials insist they're meeting recruiting targets. Google. the world's growing rivers of data contain terrorist secrets. Much of the work at the NSA boils down to the same challenges the Internet giants are grappling with.) But the officials admit that it's no easy job to lure a mathematician from a gold-plated job at a West Coast campus." the NSA has assembled multidisciplinary teams. NSA officials say a good number of mathematicians prefer a suburban Maryland life and a government job with predictable hours to the more frantic pace and market gyrations of an Internet company. focus the technical teams on the problems to solve." he says. as are the bountiful math brains in India. For now. the field http://www. NSA math whizzes matched wits with the Soviets: Each side protected its own secret codes while trying to break the other's. UNWARRANTED DATA. Through online elimination rounds. (For security reasons. without warrants.htm?chan=gl (1 of 2)1/17/2006 2:50:41 AM . The NSA's pitch? First the agency appeals to the recruits' patriotism." says Schatz. The agents. The agency is even co-sponsoring math and programming contests run by TopCoder. NSA mathematicians are at the heart of the controversy percolating in Washington over wire taps President Bush authorized. the NSA can hire only U. China. the nation's top techno-spy center. the NSA is working to squeeze intelligence out of the data flooding through global networks. Half of all hires in the math division are PhDs. Eastern Europe." says James Schatz. as the math problems have grown more complicated. they're underrepresented in mathematics. Math is more important than ever at the NSA. This is leading the agency to open up its recruiting process. following the terrorist attacks of 2001. citizens. Chances are. This is especially true of women. universities are foreigners.S. but far less so at the NSA. In general. The mathematicians don't plow through the data alone. The agency is cosponsoring a 10-week competition. A big part of the recruiting challenge at the NSA is to attract young people who haven't heard of the agency. But to land the best brains. 2006 COVER STORY Online Extra: The NSA: Security in Numbers The techno-spy agency has a greater need than ever for American math talent. the information that's flying around the Internet. The study of these "massive data sets. "Look at the whole telecommunications industry. starting Jan. For decades. chief of the NSA's recruitment office. and it's up to the agency's math teams to find them. a Connecticut company whose matches attract geeks from all over the world. About half of the estimated 20. The President's policy casts a wider net for data -from phone and Internet traffic NSA mathematicians more to work with. many of whom have backgrounds in liberal arts. is "one area where mathematicians are having an enormous impact here. the mathematicians who accepted them stole off to Washington and the hush-hush National Security Agency.S.businessweek. Through the cold war. which is expected to attract thousands of computer scientists and math whizzes around the world. chief of the mathematics research group at the agency. Its participation in the TopCoder contests is part of this drive. Like Yahoo. They're off bounds. "Many of our new hires are women.000 math graduate students at U.

com/print/magazine/content/06_04/b3968007.2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.htm?chan=gl (2 of 2)1/17/2006 2:50:41 AM . http://www.hinges on the health of American math education. though. TopCoder winners are often foreign. and therefore unavailable to the NSA. All rights reserved.000 in prizes. surrounded by large-display computer screens and cheering crowds.S. "the NSA isn't healthy.and by extension." Schatz says. But the contest helps the agency build its brand as a cutting-edge lab for math and computer science. will compete together for $150. "If the U." By Stephen Baker in New York Advertising | Special Sections | MarketPlace | Knowledge Centers Terms of Use | Privacy Notice | Ethics Code | Contact Us Copyright 2000. In the end. mathematics community isn't healthy. -.S.Online Extra: The NSA: Security in Numbers will be narrowed to 64. And this group. the success of the NSA -.businessweek. the national security of the U.

He bids on that too. and how much money do they spend? With those numbers. 10/21/05. He heads search marketing at E-Loan ().com/print/magazine/content/06_04/b3968008. "We've spent a lot of money on building this brand. CEO of Efficient Frontier. In total he has bids on 3. "Elone?" Ditto. fluctuating much like a financial market. That may sound exotic to mathophobes." The ranking of each of his quarter-million keywords fluctuates during the day as bidding continues. Since the search ad boom began. Instead Khan's department operates as a number-crunching lab. How many visitors from each keyword visit the Web site? How many of them spend money. Naturally. People like Khan are grabbing ever more of the budgets. The process goes on and on. "If they're looking for us. Khan bids on about 250. "Making the Most of Web Ad Budgets"). For decades. and keyword rank. In total. Those help determine the bidding strategy. Khan's automated system generates a return on investment for each keyword. Calif." He certainly doesn't want potential customers who start out with his company in mind to click on a competitor's ad. such as cost per http://www. it has been an industry of expansive ideas. "Cost. Khan bids for the keyword "E-Loan. an accountant by training. and that number helps to determines Khan's bidding strategy. he runs the numbers on them.000 variations of the brand name.. But there are plenty of other numbers to throw into the mix.businessweek. it has also shaken up marketing departments in companies around the world (see BW Online. But this world of relationships and high concepts has been under siege for three years by people up to their elbows in numbers. While the search advertising boom has focused attention on Google () and the Overture division of Yahoo! (). The crucial calculation for a search marketer is to bid on keywords at the big search engines. Working with Efficient Frontier. Search advertising's biggest advantage comes from the numbers it generates. He now spends $15 million a year." he says. 3/7/05.000 key words and phrases at the major search engines.Online Extra: Search Advertising by the Numbers Close Window JANUARY 23. Khan. In Khan's case. Not much of it buys fancy lunches. creative people. cost per click. we've been able to show through scientific testing and measurement that we can optimize this channel. 2006 COVER STORY Online Extra: Search Advertising by the Numbers At online lender E-Loan. He sets a goal that he aims to maximize. the online lender. STAYING ON TARGET. an analytics startup in Mountain View. that's revenue. I want to make sure they find us. "I get gigabytes of click data. The highest bidder for a word gets its ad placed next to the search results when a Web surfer types that word in a query. Khan's team takes the flow of numbers coming in from the search engines and marries them with internal data. but the concept is simple. "Google and Yahoo!: Rolling In It"). It enables marketers to track customer behavior. especially when it comes to buying keywords Advertising. Khan's share has risen from 20% to 50% of E-Loan's total marketing budget. and chummy deals hatched in fine restaurants. Each one generates its own return on investment. Imran Khan is one of them. and it replaces hunches with science. looks at the process like a linear programming problem. "The reason that we've been able to grow it. "It's the same math you use in managing a portfolio. but he doesn't want to turn away business from bad spellers." Khan says." he says. And then the marketer pays the amount bid when the ad is clicked (see BW Online. and we can scale it. BUYING YOUR BRAND.htm?chan=gl (1 of 2)1/17/2006 2:51:28 AM ." WORDS' WORTH. But how about "Eloan?" It's not spelled quite right. marketing is more about analysis than creativity. Then he factors in the constraints." says Ellen Siminoff.

" Khan is continually testing and tweaking the system. http://www. "I call them analyst marketers. What's more. He measures the online response to E-Loan's TV ads. "Marketing is still considered a soft skill. "SHIFT IN It's all based on numbers.htm?chan=gl (2 of 2)1/17/2006 2:51:28 AM . I look for computer science and economics backgrounds. we can get $20 if we do a mortgage loan. By Stephen Baker in New York EDITED BY Edited by Phil Mintz Advertising | Special Sections | MarketPlace | Knowledge Centers Terms of Use | Privacy Notice | Ethics Code | Contact Us Copyright 2000." he says. This can get complicated. Investment bankers are good. compare the results. So should we buy the keyword based on potential of auto loan or mortgage loan?" He has his team do the math (see BW.Online Extra: Search Advertising by the Numbers keyword. he competes with much of the lending industry. 10/24/05." "If we can get one dollar out of an auto loan. He can send them to various versions of the site. and make adjustments. All rights reserved." Khan says." he says. it's a big. which means the results are much more complex than a far cheaper targeted keyword phrase such as "Tuscaloosa mortgage. When I go out and look for search marketers. And that's what Khan looks for when he recruits. broad word. If he bids for the word "loan. He experiments with different types of ads and compares the results. "Hard Questions From Google"). "But there's a shift in focus from creative to analysis in marketing. He also tests the effectiveness of the Web site in turning visitors into customers.businessweek. math is the crucial skill. "A keyword like 'loan' can deliver either of the two products." In Imran Khan's fast-growing realm of marketing. "A new kind of marketer has emerged.2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. That drives up the price." for example.