What tools do you use to monitor for marketing?

March 12, 2009

 

monitoring

I have a huge amount of respect for anyone in Sales, I’m also (sometimes) a bit jealous. Aside from the fact that their jobs are incredibly difficult there is one luxury they do have that we in marketing do not. Clear goals and defined metrics. In marketing it’s often our responsibility to define what we should care about, what tools and business processes we use, how we should collect data to support its use, and ultimately how we consume it. Suffice to say we have a lot of metrics to be ontop of to do our jobs effectively. Website analytics are just one piece in a much larger web of data.

To get this conversation going, here’s a list of the tools we’re using:

This is by no means a complete round up of all available solutions out there. These are just the tools we use at WebTrends. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive list, try these lists:

My question to you is: What tools to you use to monitor for marketing?

 

Social Media IT

March 11, 2009

 

I’m the IT guy at our house. Are you? If we have a problem with our Y! Small business email, blog, with FB or twitter I’m typically trying to QA and find the fix in whatever spare time I can muster. Sound familiar?

If you work for a company and you have a problem with your email, who do you talk to? IT?

So, if you have a problem with your blog (that you talk about work stuff with sometimes), who do you talk to? Maybe IT, but chances are it depends on the problem or how your IT department feels about supporting blogs. What if you have a question about your work Twitter account? Or LinkedIn? Or Facebook? Now, who do you talk to?

who can help? anyone?

help? anyone? anyone?

We need a Social Media IT department.

Our Social Media IT department wouldn’t solve all our problems would they? If we are lucky, and I’m lucky with the talented folks on my IT team, they’d be able to help us with the technical half of our challenges.

Our challenges are so much bigger. We need support at our place of work for the social and cultural issues we face on the social web. Employees need direction on the protocol and etiquette. If we’re participating on the social web to support our business, we also need tips on how to be successful in our communications. We have to have guidance on win friends and influence people toward our goals. That opens up a whole other can of works, metrics; we have to know what what is effective after all.

Zeldman talks about our need for a web division. He correctly identifies that we typically hand our websites to IT or Marketing. Any guesses where WebTrend’s website lives? While each of these respective departments have skills and interests that should influence the site. Traditionally neither is well suited for the whole responsibility. The same is true for the company Facebook group or the corporate Twitter account.

I’m not convinced we need a web division, but I think Zeldman is on to something. I am convinced that we need support for these newly emerged communication tools. And, not by dumping the responsibilities on existing departments that are ill-equipped and already bootstrapping. We do need Social Media IT for daily support of social media tools. It’s probably more accurate to say that we need a web division with social media capabilities. Or, better yet, a Communication Department.

Where does social media IT support live in your company?

 

We are Social Media Middleware

March 9, 2009

 

From Wikipedia: Middleware is computer software that connects software components or applications.

Look at the conversation prism. It attempts to round up all of the 2.0 services out there. While many more have sprung up or died off since Brian Solis remade Robert Scoble’s Social Media Starfish, the visual metaphor does a great job telling the story: There are more communication services out there than you know what to do with.

Brian Solis' Conversation Prism

Brian Solis' Conversation Prism

I am big fan of Mashable; I follow them on twitter and I read their blog daily. Their answer to managing the conversation prism…a 5 step process. I don’t think so.

Where’s the software that ties them all together? Who’s got the software stack infographic that shows how they all interoperate? Who is doing the legwork on the protocols and APIs to make sure we don’t have to think about them?

Oh, wait that’s right: No one.

Shit.

The burden is on us. *We* are the social media middleware.

Maybe that’s what Eric Schmidt was trying to say when he bagged on Twitter as a poor man’s email system. Maybe he was talking about the lack of basic robustness that a “real” business needs to operate. Not that Twitter should evolve to become email, but it could certainly stand to learn from it. Kinda like the way we learn lessons from the mainframe world of 20 years ago on topics like virtualization.

As I was saying last Friday, we’re inundated with data these days and much of it is from some form of communication. Each service has it’s own interface, user experience, APIs, and clients. There are so many valuable insights we could gain from a system that ties them all together. Do I have any volunteers? It can be our ‘side project’. I’m not joking.

 

Web of Data

March 7, 2009

 

More platforms and more applications come online everyday. We know this. They all create data. We know this. Our businesses collect data, it comes at us from everywhere and from every channel we operate in. We know this too.

infosthetics.com view of NYTime News Data

NYTimes News Data

In truth we are attacked by data. The sheer volume that is available. Some of us run from data. Some of us stay afloat in data. Some of us channel our data into value. Regardless, we are surrounded by data.

The Library of Congress with 130 million items on about 530 miles of bookshelves, including 29 million book, 2.7 million recordings, 12 million photographs, 4.8 million maps, and 58 million manuscripts, can be stored on 10 terabytes.

IDC says that 161 exabytes of digital content was created, captured, or replicated in 2006. That’s 161 billion gigabytes, for those of you counting (I lost count at 6,979,563). By 2010, IDC suggests that number will increase sixfold to 988 exabytes.

To put that in perspective, in 2006 alone we created 16 million times more data than exists in the whole Library of Congress. In 2010 we’ll create 96 million times more data than the LoC.

What is all of this data? It’s memories like photos, documents, and videos. It’s communications like emails, phone calls, IMs, Facebook messages, and tweets. It’s business operations customer campaign management, general ledger, CRM and so much more. Is it fluid? Yes. Always? No. Some of it is purely for storage to comply with omnipresent edicts like Sarbanes-Oxley, PCI compliance, etc.

It is not humanly possible to parse all of this data; and to be clear some of it shouldn’t be. Our only way out of this web of data is to embrace it. We need software to help us make sense of it. We have to embrace its complexity, gain insight from it, and take action with it.

Fifteen years ago when WebTrends entered the web analytics space, the data we captured and processed was about onsite activity. Over a decade ago this was revolutionary and it has been largely manageable since. However, today’s enterprise businesses, of which mine is one, have our own web of data. It’s comprised of CRM, BI, BPM, social media monitoring, and more. The business ecosystem necessitates an ability to plumb together this data and expose new patterns, insights, and more valuable actions from the interconnected data.

Interconnected data is part of our Open Exchange focus and there are more details to come at Engage. See you there.

 

Dear Vivek Kundra

March 5, 2009

 

Dear Vivek Kundra,

I wanted to reach out and congratulate you on your selection today as the chief information officer for The White House as reported by Brian Knowlton in The New York Times. The next few months will undoubtedly be busy. Nonetheless could I bend your ear for a moment?

I’m sure you’ve seen the spirited conversation stemming from Chris Soghoian’s article on the Whitehouse.gov’s ‘removal’ of YouTube in favor of Akamai’s content delivery network.

Not true it turns out.

Both YouTube and Akamai will continue to communicate their work toward security and privacy, I see you use YouTube in the District already. I wonder what your view is about all the cookie fuss?

In no way am I trying to downplay the importance of data privacy or security, especially within a government run web property. Privacy and security are of the utmost importance to my business. All of the talk about the enabling of cookies seems like an old tired debate. Sure I work for WebTrends and absolutely we provide baseline web analytics software for Whitehouse.gov, but aren’t we past all of this cookie business? I am sincerely interested in your opinion here.

Let’s think about this for a moment….how efficient is a government web site if citizens can’t find the information or services they are after? The analytics tools that the Whitehouse.gov team is using, much like most private sector companies with a website, is simply to help ensure the site is providing visitors the information, pictures and multimedia content they want to see. Making it as easy as possible to find information is exactly what people are asking for (in the public and private sectors) – a government that uses technology to assist them can cut down on costs associated with providing information to citizens. That is practical empowerment; it is communication, transparency, participation.

A hypothetical: What if a large percentage of citizens who visit Whitehouse.gov perform on-site searches for the term “stimulus” but aren’t visiting the companion Recovery.gov site? Are the promotions for the Recovery.gov site too hard to find? Are these citizens not relating the word “stimulus” with “recovery”? Aggregate analytics provide the collective data and insight needed to diagnose and help correct these types of challenges. And, think what would happen if we allocated the fiscal stimulus funds for infrastructure improvements without taking into account how people use our current infrastructure. We’d run the risk of waste millions of dollars improving bridges that don’t need repairs or don’t get much traffic – or we’d dole out an equal sum for an inconsequential amount of work on every bridge in the nation — rather than investing in the ones that that need the most repairs due to the heaviest use and or age.

I believe there is a difference between the security of a web application and the analysis needed to gain better insight and take better actions from data.

I would love to hear what you think about all of this. How about over dinner at The White House in May?

Sincerely,

Jascha Kaykas-Wolff

 

The Next Chapter – Open Exchange

March 3, 2009

 

open_sign I’ve been here a few months now and have had the opportunity to talk with a number of smart people in our space: Customers, Employees, Industy Experts like Eric Peterson, Bill Gassman, John Lovett and more. The new executive team at WebTrends has inherited a mixed reputation in the market with complaints about delivering innovation. On the flip side consensus seems to be that the industry wants to see WebTrends be more successful. Success for us = our Customer’s and Partner’s success. It is our responsibility as a company, vendor, and partner to thousands to make that a reality. We have an amazing customer base, some of the most innovative minds in #WA are using our products and services. The WebTrends team is energized to take on the next challenges. We believe the work ahead is rooted in us refining our conversational listening skills. We want to engage in conversations with you.

I believe the term ‘Open’ in the #WA industry and here at WebTrends has been overused. Too often Open refers to technology. It isn’t just that. Open is core value we have at WebTrends; our employees are charged with making our customer’s more successful. Our Open Exchange is about our people, the relationships we establish locally and in the industry, AND about our philosophy for developing our products moving forward.

In support of that, we’ve been working on an updated communication strategy for WebTrends for nearly a month now. Today, we’re pleased to be launching two executive blogs: one for our CEO Alex Yoder, and this one for myself. We’re launching them on WordPress Mu because we want to add more voices soon. Let’s look at how our blogs will work together.

Our corporate blog will continue to operate and will be focused on information that is applicable by our customers–tutorials, customer service, best practices, etc.

Alex will talk at a high-level about our commitment to our customers to help them with enterprise-wide data. He’ll also discuss how we’re approaching new products, innovation, growth, acquisitions, etc

I will discuss more specifics about how WebTrends will be assisting clients, with special attention paid to the key attribute of Open Exchange: both in our technology and the way we collaborate with customers, partners and the community. Without stealing Alex’s thunder I’ll also talk about innovation in the industry, adjacent industries, and in our products.

We have an editorial calendar lined up for our blogs built from the discussions we’ve had thus far. If there are topics you’d like to see us address, please leave us a comment below. We know there are concerns, so take the gloves off and let’s have a real conversation here! We’re confident that we’re already heading in the right direction and would be honored to have the opportunity to demonstrate it with you, not with talk but with action.

 


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