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SES SJ: Creating a Web Analytics Culture

Posted on Aug 11th, 2009
Written by TopRank Marketing
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    What does Van Halen have to do with Search Marketing?

    Let’s find out with John Marshall of Market Motive.

    Marshall starts out by illustrating Van Halen’s very unique pre-show requests.

    Specifically, Van Halen was very clear that in their dressing room, there should be M & M’s, but no brown M & M’s.

    The business lesson of the brown M & M’s is ‘lose early’. They used the brown M & M’s as an indicator of whether or not the contract had been read. If not, then they knew everything needed to double checked including  many steps in the contract meant to protect the band and the equipment used during the show.

    As a marketer, you will end up in situations where you cannot move the decision makers. So, if you are going to lose – lose early.

    In some cases, analytics will be used to do nothing in an effort to preserve jobs. Figure out early who is willing to be swayed and who is not and don’t spend time on those who won’t sway.

    Richard Zwicky, Enquisite, outlines what the C-suite wants. Even for those that understand the information, there is too much detail and more than what they need to perform their jobs.

    So what does the C-suite want to know?

    • Investment
    • Revenue
    • ROI

    They want to understand the correlation between the investment and what the business received.

    Specifically, they want to be able to forecast and compare intelligently across channels via at-a-glance reports. The details aren’t what they want, they want an assessment.

    On the other hand, the search marketer wants details like referrals, page views, unique visitors, time on site, etc.  These are all essential to a search marketer, but irrelevant to the C-suite according to Zwicky. So what the search marketer should REALLY want is the ability to improve the web site’s customer acquisition numbers for the terms which drive the most value.

    This will allow you to bridge the gap between the search marketer and the C-suite.
    In order to create a web analytics culture, realize that it’s:

    • not about the data
    • about the right information
    • about facilitating smart business decisions

    Next up is Ron Belanger, from Omniture, commenting that you know times have changed when giveaways go from cars to M & M’s. 🙂

    Back to metrics, Belanger takes us through the 7 Keys to Creating a Data-Driven company.
    1. Secure an Executive Sponsor
    Anyone who would benefit significantly from web analytics. They can help you set priorities and protect the web budget from others.

    2. Align implementation with business objectives
    Study shows only 18% have measurement strategy

    3. Invest in staffing and training

    4. Establish and maintain corporate standards
    Might take you longer to implement, but data you extract will have higher value within higher ranks

    5. Celebrate quick wins
    Data and reports are not success. Create actionable insights from the reports.

    6. Test and Measure Data Validity
    Acid test the data with your team while setting up measurement processes and tools, not after. And be sure the data is sound and accurate.

    7. Hold people accountable

    Matt Bailey, Site Logic, is next.

    Analytics is subversive, therefore your job is to constantly ask why. You should constantly attack accepted norms and keep questioning if what you are doing is going to reach objectives.

    Unfortunately, in school and businesses asking questions is frowned upon. Questioning authority, as an analyst, becomes your job. Find the things that are accepted as ‘true’ and disprove them. Not to be a PIA, but to better serve the organization or the client.

    Make sure that your analytics decisions don’t come down to who is loudest. It’s not benefiting anyone involved.

    A way to help make this happen is to test. When you test things, you remove the emotion and let the numbers speak. Whoever wins can then gloat in whatever way they want.

    Attach numbers to dollar signs (and big numbers) when presenting to ‘The MAN’. By questioning ‘The MAN’, you become not only business-driven but an analytics diva. Disclaimer from Bailey, “If you do any of what I just recommended, I am not responsible for your job.”

    Feras Alhlou, E-Nor encourages the audience to know the organization. Next, know your audience within the organization. Don’t start off complex numbers or even visuals.

    Look at measurement in 7 phases, including:
    1. Auto-pilot
    No measurement, periodic reports, some works/some doesn’t but don’t know which is which

    2. Web Metrics
    Measurement baby steps. Start a dash board and get the audience familiar with the data.

    3. Conversion
    Micro(download) and macro(customer) level conversion.

    4. Cost Data Integration
    Campaign Performance and ROI. Look for 80/20 rule. This phase requires more stakeholders and resources.

    5. Offline Data Integration
    Phone + Web Inquiries gets you to a more accurate number

    6. Lead Quality/Classification
    Go beyond the number and start to understand the quality.

    7. Business: Cost/Revenue per Customer
    Tie the metrics to cost and revenue per customer. Go beyond the numbers and understand which campaigns/channels are truly driving revenue.

    Leave any other thoughts on how to create an analytics culture, below in the comments.

    Learn more search engine marketing and social media strategies from 2009 SES SJ coverage by TopRank Online Marketing