Thursday, September 10, 2009

Web Analytics Case Study: Quebecor Media - Canoe

This is the first case study of using the Web Analytics Maturity Model in the field and a couple of others will be published in the coming days.

In this case study, the WAMM is used to highlight the amazing accomplishment Quebecor Media realized over the past three years.

When Simon Rivard joined Quebecor Media as Vice-President of Marketing in November of 2006, he didn’t only bring over fifteen years of marketing experience, he also brought a strong belief for online marketing analytics. Quebecor now had a web analytics champion on board, the first and most critical success factor for a successful web analytics program.

Rivard is responsible for the marketing strategy of over 200 websites ranging from news portal to music & bookstore to auto and home classifieds, dating, as well as newspapers and TV stations. Deploying a web analytics solution, let alone educating everyone to the importance of data driven decision making, was a daunting task:
Evolving the web analytics practice within such a large organization requires time and a good understanding of the critical success factors, otherwise risks of failure are significant. At Canoe, we intentionally planned the work over a three years timeframe to allow enough time for each required ingredient (knowledge, technologies, process, etc.) to be defined, understood and owned. Trying to skip some steps revealed to be a mistake and we had to step back. After all, implementing web analytics is a classic example of change management involving a business culture shift.
Simon Rivard
Marketing Vice President
Quebecor Media
While some managers welcomed the move with enthusiasm, there was also some skepticism and passive resistance, questioning and challenging the strategy. Communication and education, as well as sensibility for political issues were key. But sometimes putting the foot down to impose a decision was also required. For example, vendor selection and the deployment strategy were sensible topics. At this scale, free vs paid played an important role, but there were also other factors such as the ability for the solution to grow from “initiated” to “integrated” and eventually, “competitive”. Several deployment strategies were considered, but the decision to start with a globally standardized minimal implementation proved to be the right tactic.

WAMM Assessment

Simply put, three years ago the organization was just getting initiated to analytics, trying “stuff” here and there without coordination or specific plans. As is often the case in large organizations, there was already an untapped pool of talented and skilled personnel. They lacked coordination and a favorable environment to create a critical mass and move beyond local, specific tactical initiatives.

Moving from “analytically initiated” to “analytically integrated” required lots of efforts, but the accrued knowledge is now influencing decisions at the CXO level. The work isn’t over yet. Two multidisciplinary teams, one in Toronto and the other in Montreal, are handling the configuration, service and analysis for hundreds of websites and stakeholders. Gradually, as each internal client becomes more educated and aware of the benefits of web analytics, responsibilities are delegated and the multi-disciplinary teams keep evolving into ever more complex and sophisticated analytics.

About Quebecor Media Inc.

Quebecor Media Inc. is a communications company with operations in North America, Europe and Asia. Quebecor Media owns operating companies in numerous media-related businesses, including: cable, newspapers, television network, a number of specialty channels, a network of English- and French-language Internet properties, magazines and book publishing, production, distribution and retailing of cultural products, DVD and console game rental and retail chain.

For further information regarding the WAMM and its future evolution, including speaking, consulting and training, visit the Web Analytics Maturity Model area on

Coming up next: other case studies!