I've worked in optimisation now for a number of years, working with major European brands, UK ecommerce retailers, media companies, non-governmental organisations and charities (see Work), and talked at a number of conferences. I've also developed various tools to drill into and visualise various sets of marketing data.
The approach I take (the same approach is adopted at Refined Practice) is very much to focus on what is necessary to get stuff done, i.e. to actually make a real material difference. To that end, the ideal scenario is to try to find a few quick tasks to tackle early on in a project, so as to quickly identify what's actually possible, and to realistically plan ahead.
Science & Data, Not Magic:
Wherever possible, I use detailed data and analysis to justify any findings and recommendations. Data from all kinds of different sources, be it from Experian Hitwise, Google Analytics, wherever - it's all used in analysis, analysis that is reduced down to its absolute essence to save us all time.
A full list of who I've worked with (including quotes) is available at Work, my LinkedIn profile contains other information, and yet more information is available at the Refined Practice website, any queries, do please get in touch.