Announced today: IBM Marketing Center

IBM today announced the new IBM Marketing Center — an all-in-one solution that combines digital analytics data with real-time marketing execution. Marketing Center provides A/B testing, website personalization, email marketing, and more.

For more information and to download the data sheet see the product’s web page at ibm.com/marketing-solutions.

What I find most exciting here is that digital analytics and marketing are glued together in a single application: i.e. there is no room for a chasm between analytics and action anymore!

10 Signs Your Company is Stuck in the Old Web Analytics World Instead of Embracing Today’s Digital Analytics

Continuing the question what digital analytics are vs. web analytics, here are 10 things that hopefully don’t describe you or your company.

  1. You think improving business success with mobile and social channels is not part of the digital/web analyst’s job
  2. You think visitors are trying to accomplish the same thing with your site regardless of whether they are visiting by using their PC, their tablet, or their Smartphone
  3. You operate without benchmarks and competitive intelligence that would tell you where you are vs. your peers so you know where you could be
  4. You operate without voice of customer surveys that would show why customers did what they did
  5. You think your job is just to measure, test, and improve content and ad spend using data … when you could also be thinking about decisions and actions that digital data can drive (e.g. by identifying changes in demand, willingness to pay, or individual customer intent)
  6. You think the value with analytics is just in KPIs, reports and tables … not in the underlying data warehouse of customer insight
  7. You think you are just one silo’d channel that your company is running … when digital is increasingly intertwined with every next move customers are thinking about taking with your company’s offerings
  8. You think visitors’ behavior in one session says much of anything … when today the number of sessions between transactions are becoming more frequent (6.8x on average) and shorter and more surgical. The real beef is in identifying what experiences increase customers’ future looking lifetime value
  9. You think of your website as your only digital home and see the rest of the Internet as incoming channels of traffic. Yet, digital marketers increasingly orchestrate off-site interactions as continuations of previous on-site experiences, e.g. via targeted advertising and email that is not only targeted but dynamic (e.g. displays coupons or recommendations that are current at time of opening)
  10. You think customers’ interactions with your digital channels are unrelated to the customer context, i.e. where they are (e.g. using their Smartphone in your store), who they are (e.g. at risk of leaving), and your past history  of interactions (e.g. an email or call center interaction during which customer was pitched a particular cross-sell product)

Bonus: You walk into your office like a shy report squirrel… when you deserve to walk with the might of the 800 pound gorilla that owns the most real time insight into customers in all your company.

So, what is Digital Analytics then?

The WAA renamed itself to DAA (which was announced at eMetrics in San Francisco last Monday) to reflect the reality of how the profession/industry has grown since its website centric origins. That brings up the question what Digital Analytics should stand for?

No doubt,  every vendor (including me) and consultant will bellow now that digital analytics are exactly what he/she said all along that companies should be doing with analytics. And it is of course exactly what his/her/my company happens to be offering. 😎

We’ll also see the more mundane proposition that Digital Analytics is the combination of web, mobile, and social analytics and also includes VOC, benchmarking, email analytics, search analytics, performance, replay, etc.

Nothing wrong with the above.

It’s just that I think Digital Analytics has greater potential than all that.

Namely, as the digital and physical worlds are increasingly intertwined, digital analytics are becoming a key intelligence for business decisions and CRM, not just channel optimization or making page content/layout better.

For example, already in 2009 Macy’s CEO went on record saying that every dollar spent on Macys.com led to $5.77 influenced in stores within the next 10 days. This reflects the well known “research shopper” phenomenon. Since then, Smartphone ownership in the US has crossed 30% of cell phone users and 4 out of 10 have said in surveys they used their phone to get more information on items while in a store.

Likewise, 33% of retailers said in a survey that equipping their store staff with mobile POS capabilities is a key investment coming now. So both buyers and sellers are going to be even more digitally intertwined than they have been in past years.

As a result we should see that an increasing portion of data used in data warehouses, business intelligence, and CRM is digital data.

To be more specific, we are talking about behavioral data and customer , not just transactional data because the latter has been integrated some time ago already.

New cycle of continuous improvement

To bring this to the point, until here the profession of web analytics has often been identified with a continuous cycle of improvement as seen below. We set goals, measure where we stand, test/experiment with alternative content, pick the best design, rinse and repeat.

As all interactions with a business are becoming increasingly intertwined with digital, it is time to embrace the more strategic potential of digital analytics by moving to the cycle below. Here the insights are used either for business decisions or to identify the next most relevant content or product/service/promo offer for each customer based on their current interests.

For example, at emetrics Steve Petitpas from Microsoft shared their analysis that led to the decision to discontinue the Cash incentives program for Bing. Or in Eric Peterson’s whitepaper Dashboards are not a Strategy, the work of The North Face’s Mike Mayfield is described where Mike identified demand for certain products via digital behavioral data and worked with their merchandise buyers to match supply to that demand. Or Freshdirect is using analytics to identify customers’ willingness to pay for different kinds of their 4-minute meals so that they can provide the right price for the market.

Additional analytics skills

More analytical skills are needed than page and ad and conversion optimizers will have employed in our daily work. Good examples would be:

Yay, lots to do and learn.

Analytics is fun again!