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.

Strategic Roadmap for Digital Marketing in 2011: eBook for Marketing Execs

15 authors, 15 articles. Free, yet with priceless insights.

Learn from marketing thought leaders how to engage with customers and create value for stakeholders in a complex digital world. Covers digital channels, marketing techniques, accountability and technology. Truly a must-read resource for every CMO!

One-click Download from CustomerThink.com (no registration required)

With many thanks to our producer, publisher, and my co-editor, Bob Thompson at DigitalMarketingOne.com and CustomerThink.com

And, of course, all my gratitude to our 15 authors, bloggers, consultants whose insights into digital marketing strategy make up this ebook.

Together, we set out to puzzle together the silo’d niches of digital marketing into one coherent strategic roadmap. The resulting strategy advice could maybe be summarized as follows (and I hope I am doing justice to all my co-authors):

  1. Derive digital strategy from your overall marketing mission and the role that you want digital to play in it
  2. Pay attention to the special nuances of each digital channel but also fuse the channels together into a cross-channel approach
  3. Do the opportunity with digital marketing justice by making appropriate use of its biggest strength: intelligent interactivity
  4. Consider the additional contribution that digital channels and analytics can have on your online-offline customer sales and marketing programs
  5. Get more of what you want (e.g. revenue, budget, etc.) by investing in marketing accountability and ROI optimization
  6. Derive technology strategy from your overall digital strategy

 

 

News today: IBM announced the new IBM Coremetrics Digital Marketing Optimization Suite

The following is cross-posted from the original at the IBM Unica blog.

—-

Exciting news for our IBM Unica NetInsight OnDemand customers and really all marketers: IBM today announced the new IBM Digital Marketing Optimization Suite which accomplishes three great “coming-togethers”. Namely, the following:

1. Combines the Best of IBM Coremetrics and IBM Unica NetInsight OnDemand

Since IBM’s acquisition of Coremetrics and Unica our web analytics teams have been merged together like a deck of cards to make the best use of the combined development and best practices expertise. Our combined team now takes care of both IBM’s on demand and on-premises offerings and customers for web analytics.

And as previous competitors, it was much to my surprise that we had been very like minded in the decade leading up to this merger. Both Unica and Coremetrics had been working in parallel to make sure web analytics delivered not just reports for optimization but also provided individual customer insights for refining relevancy of marketing messages.

2. Fuses together: Customer Profiles, Analytics, and Digital Marketing Execution

The next great coming together I see for our customers in the IBM Coremetrics Digital Marketing Optimization Suite is the tight integration between LIVE Profiles, Web Analytics, and the IBM Coremetrics Digital Marketing Applications such as IBM Coremetrics LIVEmail and IBM Coremetrics Intelligent Offer. This tight integration is the secret sauce that enables our users to execute more relevant digital marketing campaigns driven by analytics. The IBM Coremetrics suite inherits this product design from the Coremetrics side where this combo had been available for years while other vendors were merely talking about it in Powerpoint presentations.

3. Adds a More Flexible and Open Data Architecture for Multichannel Analytics

Now, like D’Artagnan teaming up with the three musketeers, the new IBM Coremetrics Suite adds increased flexibility and openness to the trio of LIVE Profiles, analytics, and digital marketing applications. This is being achieved thanks to experience and technology assets coming from Unica NetInsight OnDemand. And it is a true 1+1 = 3 situation. Not only can marketers extend their analytical lens by combining online and offline insights (using the new IBM Coremetrics Multichannel Analytics add-on), but now they can also target digital marketing execution programs, e.g. through IBM Coremetrics LIVEmail, using the cross-channel picture of an individual’s interests.

The Result: Two Great Growth Paths for our Customers

All marketers have web metrics available to them. Competing on analytics requires us to be cleverer with our use of analytics than the next marketer.

Technology needs to be our “power arm” that helps get things done quickly that would be very tedious, expensive, and time consuming otherwise. The new IBM Coremetrics Digital Marketing Optimization Suite provides IBM customers with a “power arm” that helps them go beyond commodity web metrics and move towards digital analytics where discovering new opportunities with segments or individual prospects and customers means more strategic opportunities.

Our customers also have another growth path to go from analytics to digital marketing execution, and from there to integrations with their enterprise (e.g. to their Netezza data warehouse or their IBM Unica Enterprise Marketing Management system), and with the rest of their digital marketing eco-system, e.g. through the eco-systems of IBM Coremetrics LIVEmail (i.e. Email service providers), and IBM Coremetrics AdTarget (i.e. display ad networks).

Now the ball is in your court. How are you going to put all these multichannel analytics and digital marketing opportunities into the race for beating out your competition?

For Our Customers …

Existing NetInsight OnDemand and Coremetrics customers, please keep your eyes peeled for further information by email. Please register for the upcoming customer-only launch webinars. There is no requirement to move to the combined solution immediately. IBM plans on continuing support of the existing Unica NetInsight OnDemand and Coremetrics versions into the future, accompanied by the same industry leading service and support you have come to expect. IBM believes there are compelling components in the combined release that are meaningful and important to your business. In the launch webinars, you will learn about all the great business benefits that our Unica NetInsight OnDemand customers that upgrade will have available. For example, all customers can use their current and new release in parallel during their upgrade process.

For More Information …

Please keep an eye on Unica.com and Coremetrics.com as we will progressively publish more details in the next 10 days of about the new capabilities that our customers can expect. For now, see:

 

 

Local Search: Engaging Customers by Alan See, Berry Network

For the right kind of business, local search is an indispensable opportunity for promoting your offering. With the wildfire spread of smart phones it is also getting that much more play.

Perfect that the next five-star article in the DigitalMarketingOne eBook series is on how to find and engage customers with local search and written by no other than Alan See, CMO of Berry Network, an At&T company. Alan was a speaker in this week’s CustomerThink B2B Summit. He also serves as an associate faculty member for the University of Phoenix’s College of Business & Management.

Doing Local Search justice is getting increasingly hard because, to quote from Alan, Local Search provides: “the ability to promote, but also persuade since most local search platforms include ratings and reviews. “.

In fact the Google / Yelp business models might merge increasingly. So if we don’t pay close attention to how our local brand is represented local search can be as much a liability as it is an opportunity.

Read Alan’s popular article and chime in with your own questions.

Digital-Marketing Framework (now revised and improved)

Here is a revised framework for digital marketing strategy.

Digital-marketing-strategy-framework

 

Why the revision?

This fixes a number of shortcomings in the first version that I had proposed 10 days ago.

  • For example, David Raab and Laura Patterson, members of the Founders Council of DigitalMarketingOne, caught a critical flaw in the earlier version. Namely, my placement of channels (e.g. Search, display, etc.) in the framework diagram was flawed. I placed them in specific locations of the customer lifecycle whereas they can play a role in many stages of the lifecycle.
  • Additionally, I was in round table discussions at the eConsultancy peer summit in NYC, and it was a good reminder that many companies still haven’t made explicit what mission their digital channel has, i.e. how it should be contributing to the business.

Elements of the new strategic framework for digital marketing

Informed by overall marketing strategy

First of all, before CMOs think about using this framework they still ought to start with a higher level framework such as Doug Goldstein’s briliant work at MindOfMarketing.net. That global strategy needs to be in place so that the CMO can now drill-down to define the contribution of digital within the bigger setting.

Define Digital’s mission

Job one is to define how digital is to contribute to the business and to the customer life cycle across multiple channels.

Select your overall digital strategy

Based on your digital mission your CMO can now derive the overall approach in terms of presences that you should prioritize (e.g. mobile, Facebook, website, etc.) and their related “site types” or business models, i.e.

  1. eCommerce,
  2. lead gen,
  3. customer service,
  4. content/publishing,
  5. or brand marketing.

Based on these decisions you can then derive the top five KPIs and targets that you should work towards. You can also form an initial opinion on the ad channels that suggest themselves for the audience that you wish to reach.

Interactivity

As pointed out in the last post, interactivity is what digital is really good at. So the new framework retains the prominent role for interactive marketing across the customer lifecycle. I removed the reference to channels (e.g. search, etc.) however since each channel can play a role in multiple lifecycle stages.

ROI measurement and optimization

The other strengths of digital are measurability and testing. This needs to be put to use towards continuous improvement. Using the insights marketers change their investments in the familiar cycle of continuous optimization.

Unlike the original web analytics cycle of continuous improvement however, the emphasis here is that the continuous improvement applies not just to web pages and advertising. But you want to apply it to your entire digital and interaction strategy.

Technology strategy and selection

Finally, your use of digital marketing technology should of course be determined by the digital and interactive marketing strategies that you are going after.

In Search of a Strategic Framework for Digital Marketing

At the new DigitalMarketingOne, our Founders Council is seeking to design and explore a strategic framework for digital marketing.  

Marketing does so many things though and does them so differently at different companies. How do we put all that into a framework that makes sense to CMOs – our target audience?

Luckily, many clever people have thought about that before.

Starting from a Strategic Framework for Marketing in General

The Strategic Marketing Framework presented on MindofMarketing.net (see below) was one of many frameworks that seemed especially appropriate for a CMO audience. It should serve as a great starting point.

Mind of Marketing's Strategic marketing framework

Strategic marketing framework, MindOfMarketing.net

It’s just beautiful how this framework:

  1. Emphasizes that the job of Marketing is much more than just to be the “Hey, make this pretty and send us the leads!” department.
  2. Is also easy on the eye

Evolving this Marketing Framework for Digital

There are a number of things, however, that are so strategic to digital marketing that they should be better emphasized in our framework. Namely:

1. Interactivity

While digital can’t beat traditional advertising media on reach, its unique strength is interactivity.  So, let’s expand the traditional marketing mix’s classic 4 Ps: Product, price, placement, and promotion. Namely, let’s drill open promotion to show just how much is possible within that one P in digital. Let’s add the Ps that are so key to digital marketing: persuasion, permission, personalization, multiple web presences, net-promoters, etc.

2. Ad channels

Rumors of the death of advertising in the digital age are greatly exaggerated: ads are everywhere on the net.  But there is an immense amount of unique know-how within each of the digital ad channels. We should call out the most important channels in the framework to do that justice.

3. ROI measurement and optimization

Digital media are fantastically measurable. Optimization within a channel can sometimes even be automated. That creates the illusion that it should be almost automatic to measure overall ROI / returns across digital and allocate your investments appropriately. Not so easy! Therefore let’s add ROI measurement and optimization to the framework explicitly.

The Resulting Strategic Marketing Framework for Digital

Below is the resulting strategic marketing framework with the modifications for Digital.


Click to expand

What do you think?

Does this framework do a good enough job to encapsulate all that goes into measuring and increasing ROI (with marketing initiatives and customer relationships) in digital?

Once we have the framework down, we can proceed to the next step and explore the details with the help of DigitalMarketingOne’ers from all corners of Digital.

….

Credits

A number of folks deserve credit for their inspiring works that went into this framework. Namely:

  • MindofMarketing.net, provided the Strategic Marketing Framework starting point
  • The idea of the extended Ps for the marketing mix came from Unica’s Yuchun Lee in his keynote at the 2008 Unica customer conference, MIS
  • Jim Sterne, eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, coined the “windows into the hearts & minds of the market place”
  • The Eisenberg brothers while at Future Now Inc. developed Persuasion Architecture
  • I credit Digitas for the idea of the hour glass shaped funnel since I saw it on a slide of theirs

Soup to Nuts Marketing Optimization – In the Coming Big League

Exciting times! The consolidation in the marketing technology industry is producing a big league of solutions providers.

Dreaming ahead into the future, what can companies hope to achieve with this new breed of marketing software and services providers?

The end-to-end conversion optimization vision that still seemed far reaching to me back in February, looks much more limited now given the new outlook today.

Disclaimer: The following perspective reflects only my personal dreams and shouldn’t be taken to represent the positions, strategies or opinions of my employer.

Digital Enterprise Marketing++

It isn’t possible to do the coming future justice by calling it next generation analytics, campaign management, or marketing automation. The step up in caliber requires also a step up in language.

Might the following become every day terms in enterprise marketing technology in 2011 and beyond?

Soup to Nuts Marketing Optimization

[Read more →]

Since when does SEM no longer include SEO???

It used to be that SEM was the umbrella term for paid and organic. Articles on search would begin with a sentence such as “Search engine marketing (SEM) comes in two types: paid (PPC) and organic (SEO).”. I used to abbreviate that as “SEM=PPC+SEO”.

But something changed in the past 3-12 months.

Now, most articles seem to explain SEM as “search marketing” and equate it only with paid search. You read sentences such as “SEO is going like this and that, whereas SEM (search marketing) is going … (wherever Google and Facebook are going)”.

That seems wrong on so many levels

 

What? Organic search is not “marketing”?

If PPC is Search Marketing, then what is SEO? An IT function?

That’s baloney.

The effort of prioritizing what keywords (i.e. audiences, buyers, markets) your site should rank for is a strategic marketing function. It is in line with marketing best practices to consider SEO a marketing function and investment. For example, books such as Marketing Champions include great reminders that marketing is ultimately about “identifying sources of new cash and helping to rake these in.”

What? PPC advertising = Marketing = Advertising?

Since when is Marketing equal with just advertising? Is that something that Google and Facebook put in people’s heads, i.e. that if they want to do search marketing then they have to pony up the cash for every visitor that clicks? Or is it the Madmen TV show that is to blame?

If PPC advertising isn’t embedded in a broader strategy and coordinated with organic search it will be the 60% of the online marketing budget that is wasted.

What? Search marketing stops at organic rank optimization and advertising?

You often hear of paid search marketing as the art of advertising (with help of agencies or search bid management tools) and organic search marketing as the art of improving rankings. Yet, these are only some of the ingredients in what should be proper search marketing.

Search marketing optimization requires much more, e.g. audience research, landing page design, landing page optimization, funnel optimization, and re-targeting.

Digital marketers are surprisingly silo’d. There are separate teams (and agencies) for organic vs. paid. The teams for website optimization are separate and so are the teams for email marketing. This silo’d specialization is probably to blame for the lack of an end-to-end view on optimization.

So what is a better term to use then?

I wonder whether the current trend may have risen just because of the visual appeal of the acronyms: SEO vs. SEM. Visually, they may seem as if they were referring to the two categories of search when you look from a distance. In contrast, the PPC vs. organic terms don’t have a visual relationship.

But there is no need for this abuse.

We can just simply go back to saying “paid vs. organic search” which are both aspects of search marketing.

5 Ways to Increase Returns from Search Marketing (SEM)

The team at Online Marketing with RSS Ray kindly invited me to present on BrightTALK yesterday on five ways to increase returns from SEM.

This was a welcome opportunity for me to detail my recommendations for how to optimize search engine marketing from end-to-end rather than focusing only on search bid management and SEO.

If you are new to online or search marketing, you will hopefully find this a useful intro to help you plan your optimization efforts. If you are already experienced in online marketing, especially SEM, then the only useful piece for you in this presentation will be a reminder that SEM optimization requires you to take a complete view.

Otherwise, the weakest link in the chain will break your ROI.

A BrightTALK Channel

Stop acting like a loner, ‘cause web marketing optimization is a team sport!

I have to say, I am growing increasingly annoyed with the silo’d nature of the discussion that seems to still be dominating our web analytics industry.

We have been so silo’d that, for example, even something as adjacent to web analytics as audience measurement and its vendors (i.e. the comScore, Hitwise, Compete of the world) seem to appear more like second class citizens in our discussions. Meanwhile, 90% of the chatter among web analytics vendors, consultants, and bloggers seems to focus only on core web analytics topics and vendors.

A symptom that should give us pause is that most of our guru authors and bloggers – who are such rock stars to us web analytics people – are utterly unknown outside our little niche. Forget offline marketers, not even other online marketers know them!

Surely that isn’t because “the others” are all stupid and don’t understand performance optimization.

Honestly, I don’t know exactly why we seem to be such a silo’d breed. It is probably just a function of specialization in the workplace. Web analysts handle web analytics tools, multivariate testing, voice of customer, and maybe participate in behavioral targeting. But

  • Who owns audience measurement / competitive intelligence? Probably a shared function with marketing/PR?
  • Who owns social media monitoring? More often the “social media manager” or PR rather than the web analyst?
  • Who owns search optimization tools? SEO and PPC teams, of course. (And they too can be separated from each other in larger organizations)
  • Who owns email marketing? The direct or customer marketing functions.
  • Who owns ad servers and behavioral targeting networks? The online marketing or media team
  • Who owns site performance? IT
  • Who owns the replay stuff? Web developers?

If there is any way out of this strange situation it is probably to be found in embracing the different aspects of web marketing in a more balanced fashion instead of losing ourselves in increasingly nuanced web analytics details that seem esoteric and boring to people outside our niche.

Might we find bigger gains in 2010 by looking more for a breadth-first approach vs. continuing our deep dive?

Take search marketing as an example

The diagram below shows the search marketing funnel starting from potential visitors, i.e. users of the search engines (or their content networks). The search marketer aims to acquire them on site and then lure them deeper into the funnel to engage, persuade, and convert.

semfunnel1

The diagram then lists the different categories of marketing tactics and technologies that are involved in moving prospects through the funnel. Let’s take a deeper look at each category.

1. Audience measurement and influence

This category includes more items than one might think at first glance, namely the following.

Tool Example of how it helps with search marketing
Keyword research tools Which keywords are being used in general?
Audience measurement or competitive intelligence tools Which keywords work for your competitors and what is your share of those keywords
Social media monitoring tools Which keywords are being used by your audience? If your search clicks are up/down is that because there is a spike of positive/negative buzz about you?
Advertising, online and offline With improved awareness and perception of your brand, your audience is more likely to click on your search listings

 

2. Search marketing

This category includes the most obvious items associated with search marketing optimization:

Tool Example of how it helps with search marketing
Search bid management tools or agencies Reduce manual efforts and increase returns from your paid search budget
SEO tools or agencies Help monitor your success vs. competition for ranking better on critical keywords

 

3. Landing page management, and 4. site management

These categories include similar items that I shall list together here. But it makes sense to keep them as two categories because the vendors/tools for landing page management are sometimes not the same ones as those used for managing content on the rest of the site.

Tool Example of how it helps with search marketing
(Landing) page design and deployment To make split testing of landing pages for reducing bounce rates feasible it needs to be easy to create and deploy alternative test candidates
Multivariate testing Multivariate testing can evaluate even more permutations of test elements on a single page.
Voice of customer The numbers don’t tell the whole story of why visitors searching for XYZ do or don’t buy. So you need to ask them.
Personalization or behavioral targeting Going beyond testing, dynamic content that is targeted to individuals based on their past and ral time behavior has the promise of increasing conversion rates further
Lead management For businesses where the sales cycle continues offline it helps for improving offline conversion rates to tap into the prospects web behavior. For example the salesforce automation system can be updated with past and ongoing web searches that the prospect does.

 

Not to even mention product recommendations, product reviews, etc.

Is that all?

No, there is much more that is critical. Search visitors will often not convert on their first visit. So re-marketing is essential.

semfunnel2

More importantly, maybe, the customer life cycle doesn’t end with the first purchase. That is in fact when the work of the customer marketer only begins and the life cycle continues with on-boarding, growing lifetime value, attrition risk detection, and win back. Some additional tactics and technologies that are involved on the online channels include the following:

5. Interactive Marketing

Tool Example of how it helps with search marketing
Email marketing The lead is nurtured with content that keeps their interest alive and brings them back to the site until they convert (again).
Re-marketing ad networks The lead is reached on other (publishers’) sites with ad banners that are relevant to their past searches
Interactive Marketing (or next-generation campaign management or event-triggered marketing) By building all interactions on each individuals’ past and current behavior on the web channel (and beyond), the marketer aims to keep their messages (both timing and content) aligned with the individuals’ interests.

 

Do we really need all of that … stuff … to optimize search marketing?

If your goal is merely to improve search marketing, e.g. PPC, you need nothing more than a Google AdWords account while paying attention to the built-in couple of metrics. But if you are after optimization, then the above are truly all part of the funnel or chain. Each of these pieces are truly needed and will pay for themselves.

And we are supposed to integrate that with web analytics?

As a supporting function and nerve center, web analytics has the potential to glue most of these elements together. When done right this could make your web analytics people some of the best known employees across all of these teams.

But you would be forgiven if you are thinking that integrating all of these functions with web analytics could be too big of an effort and cost. That is precisely why vendors such as Omniture and Unica are building out online marketing suites.

Today, not all of the above are available (and integrated) within one vendor’s suite. But that day will come because there is a real need by marketers.