Tag Archives: BI

Repeating the Past

I’ve been trying to get a few things straight in my head about the way people Learn Online Marketing.

Will you help me?

Here’s a Premise:

The Online Marketing world seems to repeat the same mistakes over and over; it’s almost like every new generation of technology is a clean slate and somehow people expect an approach that was flawed in a previous generation won’t be flawed this time.

Sure, technology changes, but the fundamentals of human behavior are much more difficult to change.  So you would expect there to be some constants, right?

For example, putting a high value on “quantity” of activity (remember Hits?) when every past generation has found that “quality” ends up as a more important metric.

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You Learn Anything at SES?

SES = Search Engine Strategies San Jose, for those not in the know.

And I mean the question literally.  Not did you have a good time, see lots of friends, do a lot of beneficial networking, talk to customers, build your reputation, create content for your blog, etc.

Did you Learn anything?

Looking at the stream of blog posts, video, Tweets and so forth – much of it incredibly repetitive by the way, which is a whole other issue for this type of Journalism – I have to wonder if anybody except those new to Search actually learned anything.  You know, walked away with new knowledge they could use to improve their efforts.

I have more than a passing curiosity about this issue from a macro perspective.  As you might know, I am a Co-Chair on the Web Analytics Association’s Education Committee, responsible for creating the WAA’s Core Curriculum and upcoming Certification Testing.  So I think a lot about Learning and Education, especially as it relates to the web.  And that thinking includes different “delivery models” like Conferences.

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Operations is Operating Just Fine

99.99% Up time and No Broken Links – What Else Do You Want?

Do you remember web sites when the web was ruled by engineers?  Before Marketing-oriented folks  forced issues like analytics, usability, and testing into the mix?

Just because systems are Operating within Operational guidelines doesn’t mean they’re Optimized for Marketing / Experience.  Yet often these systems are responsible for customer touch point execution in one way or another, directly or indirectly, and have measurable effects on customer value.  Call center screens and scripts.  VRU’s.  Invoices and Packing Slips.  These are the obvious ones. 

Here’s some others:  Contact Reason Codes.  Payment processing.  Inventory management.  Mail room and Address Correction.  Depending on your business model, there are probably dozens.

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Business Prevention Committee

Do you have a BPC (Business Prevention Committee) where you work?

The BPC may not have a formal meeting schedule, so it can be difficult to tell who is actually on the Committee.  But you can often tell who is on the BPC by looking for these signs:

1.  Person has a narrow view of the company or customer, a “my silo” thinker.  For example, a Marketing person who doesn’t care about the negative impact of a marketing program on customer service.

2.  Person is generally averse to testing new ideas, a “this is the way it has always been done” kind of personality.  BPC’ers never admit to being wrong about an idea, especially ones that have to do with “change” of some kind.

3.  Talk of performance-based measurement and compensation makes BPC’ers very nervous.  Not fans of their own skin in the game, getting a little risk on the table.  Like many bloggers, they just repeat what they read.  No data, no conviction, and no responsibility.

4.  A fundamental lack of knowledge about how the business really works.  Worse, won’t take the time to find out what they don’t know because “that’s not my job”.

The best way to go about dismantling the BPC in your company is?

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Jacques Warren @ TDWI

Those of you interested in where web analytics is headed might check out the series of posts Jacques Warren in doing from TDWI (The Data Warehousing Institute) conference.  He’s in for a pound – an exhausting 6 days of high order brain-stuffing, much of it very technical in nature.

I believe most web analysts, if they didn’t come from DW / BI in the first place, would benefit tremendously from the kind of exposure Jacques is receiving at TDWI.  There is a larger scope sitting out there that WA fits into, and the DW / BI world has been around a lot longer.  Those folks have all the arrows in their backs already, and there is a lot to learn from them.

For example, the extent you believe what you see in web analytics reports actually happened, or whether you understand it is often an approximation of what happened, more like a model.  At least from a Marketing / Behavior standpoint.  A dose of reality like Jacques received can put this in perspective.

The very next question on the table is how do we get WA data into BI systems?  The answer, I believe, is Events.  There is really no point in stuffing page views and visits into a data warehouse; not enough value and won’t mean much to the broader Optimization picture. 

What the WA folks will have to do is decide what constitutes a significant Event (which could be a series of smaller actions) and then figure out how to mark that Event with a customer ID and get it into the warehouse. 

Some web analytics applications can already track Events (example), so that’s not the issue.  The question, as always, is what are you going to do with the Event?  Otherwise, it’s not worth tracking.  What’s needed is a Strategy for using high value Events first.

Otherwise, we’ll just end up with that many more junk reports.

At the same time, I think the more exciting prospect than what BI brings to WA is what web analysts can bring to BI, which continues to suffer from a focus on the technology instead of what they can do for the business.  While many WA folks understand the need to annotate and evangelize their work, many BI folks don’t see “being proactive” as part of their role.

I have to tell you, if you think WA and Optimizing web sites is exciting, wait until you get your hands on the entire business and start optimizing it.  Your first A/B test with a call center script, for exampleFulfillment testingPackaging.  The list is endless.

That experience, my friends, is pure adrenaline.

I know some of you out there are already wearing both the WA and BI hats.  Got any killer Business Optimization stories (that you can tell?)

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