Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Random thoughts from eMetrics

eMetrics London is over, Paris is next! It was my 11th time speaking for eMetrics since 2007. Over time, some thoughts have emerged... make your pick and please, jump in and lets have a healthy conversation!
  • Forget about web analytics and marketing - welcome analytics and business optimization
  • Forget about multivariate testing, behavioral targeting, multiple data source integration - you are not a Fortune 1000
  • We will revolutionize business optimization trough analytics - what makes you think so?
  • Social media is not about marketing - it's about people

Forget about web analytics and marketing

Welcome analytics and business optimization.

I've never been a fan of the term "web analytics", nor am I of "marketing optimization". As if the only thing we had to measure and optimize was a web site and online marketing campaigns. The reality is much broader and complex than that: we need to look at the online ecosystem and beyond, we need to dive into business processes - we need to evolve toward business intelligence (the expertise, not the technology) and business analysis. The limits of marketing lies in its ability to dump a truckload of visitors into a broken business process. Marketing ends where you can't figure out how to deal with IT - those who have the expertise and the knowledge of business processes automations that are far less trendy than measuring sentiment on Twitter but immensely more important to the business bottom line!

Forget about multivariate testing, behavioral targeting, multiple data source integration

You are not a Fortune 100 (...if you are, I'm glad you are reading my humble blog!)

At conferences we are inundated with showcase from the best of the best - those who are fully and thoroughly leveraging online analytics, we are speechless witnesses of double-digit improvements anecdotes, carefully rehearsed messages of wisdom carefully crafted to fit in 140 characters. We drool at multivariate testing and behavioral targeting, happily slicing and dicing data from a ton of different sources, amazing visualizations created off dynamic segments... Those "maturity model atheists", as someone once put it at eMetrics San Jose, simply do not need an Online Analytics Maturity Model for the simple reason they are beyond that - they are competing on analytics and have achieved online analytics nirvana (well... kind of). For the rest of us, we have to get down to earth and learn about the most optimal and realistic path to online optimization through analytics. Be it Europe, Canada or most organizations in the US, there is an immense need for guidance and best practices.

On the bright side: tip of the hat to Michael Gulmann from Expedia for revealing how analysts became the decision makers of anything related to site and process improvements - and how they made mistakes and learned from them.

We will revolutionize business optimization trough analytics

What makes you think so?

At the end of eMetrics Toronto I was moderating a panel on the future of web analytics. Although it was a very interesting panel and the crowd participated very well, it left me with a bitter taste. Ask a bunch of hockey fans in Montreal who will win the Stanley cup and you are bound to hear it's the Canadians, no doubt. Ask a bunch of marketers doing web analytics about the future of the industry and you are bound to hear them claim they will do better than the "white coats in the basement" (aka business intelligence people)...

Our industry suffers from its small scale and navel gazing - happily nodding at unison when someone says web analytics is hard. At eMetrics we see more vendors and consultants than practitioners - let alone managers and true decision makers. Everyone is very polite, doesn't want to make any waves - so there is no real debate, not even an "agreement to disagree" - and as a consequence, our industry remains marginalized and evolves too slowly. This is not a critic of eMetrics, this conference plays an important role in the market, but if we are to redefine the future of analytics and business optimization, it would be about time to invite the rest of the team to the lobby bar!

Social media is not about marketing's about people.

A shorter rant to finish off. I'm a bit frustrated with all the craze about Facebook and Twitter. As if businesses couldn't exist without them, as if the soul of any customer was hidden somewhere in social networks and would be revealed by some clever marketing tricks or astroturfing tactics - the picture of worms coming out after rain comes to mind!

Ok, now we've got a couple of topics to think about and get the conversation going!

And if you don't, you are forewarned, I'll post other random thoughts! :)