Web Analytics Is Not Hard.

October 20, 2009


Running a business is hard.

The business ecosystem is complex, a web of data.

"Analytics...form the connective tissue."

The ecosystem surrounding a business – developing IP, building a brand, motivating people, managing operations – often appears disjointed. We employ separate technologies, have separate (often competing) departments, separate sets of processes, even separate offices. Thus it’s easy to forget that business does indeed operate within an ecosystem, that all these seemingly separate entities must work together to make business flourish. Managing your business ecosystem is hard, but truly successful business – that is, to understand the problems we’re solving and take care of our customers:

1) They understand the business problem they are solving.
2) They take care of their customers.
3) They innovate.

All of our businesses have problems, whether they’re related to internal processes or those of our customers, and we face an ever-widening array of tools we can use to address them within the business ecosystem. Analytics are one of the most basic parts of that ecosystem. They form the connective tissue that intertwines with marketing automation, multivariate testing, business intelligence and a bevy of maturing technologies that make it easier for us to run a successful business that understands the problem they are solving and takes care of their customers.

Yet all too often there is an expectation that analytics are removed from your business. That they are a business within your business. That only from identifying separate processes and separate resources can analytics be successful. I’ve heard businesses say more times that I care to share in the last year that they need to “make analytics successful.” We’ve got it wrong.

Technology can’t be beneficial to your business if it operates in a vacuum of resources and expertise. Maybe your business can be stronger with the newer tools (or maybe the new tools get in your way), but they can’t replace a good recipe and a skilled cook.

Success happens because of people and process supported by technology, not technology in and of itself. Web Analytics is not hard, running your business is. I think you’ll agree, however, that when operating within the context of a well-run business ecosystem, analytics can help you solve your business problems better, take better care of your customers and support innovation. Over the coming weeks and months I’ll be exploring how marketing plays a role in a successful business. How the practice of marketing iteration is practiced and how it is supported by a recipe of analytics, mvt, a myriad of emerging technologies and, most importantly, skilled cooks.

In the meantime, I’d love to know what makes your business hard, what challenges you are facing, and how you use process and technology (like analytics) to make your business better.


Looking forward to your posts on the practice of marketing iteration!

From Justin Kistner on October 21st, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by kaykas: Web Analytics. Is it really hard? http://bit.ly/4yB5Sv #measure #Webtrends…

From uberVU - social comments on October 22nd, 2009 at 2:07 am

I have to disagree slightly- I’m finding analytics hard! Total newbie, unqualified in statistics or analytics, who has been asked to be the analytics guy.

The business problem is quite a simple one at this point- increase traffic. Is Webtrends only useful to monitor that or can I use it as a tool for solving the problem?

I’m aware of your training courses but was wondering if there are any free resources out there to help me learn the basics of interpreting and using the statistics.

From Owen P on October 23rd, 2009 at 11:06 am

Owen, thanks for the comment. Being put in your spot is a tough one and it’s really at the core of what i’m trying to get too. We all to often ask one person to be our ‘analytics’ person and more often than not it’s a thankless job. Is the business you are in selling advertising (you say increasing traffic if a goal)? The business problem you are trying to solve will often lend itself well to the way you measure success and failure (of course being told a specific metric is something you have to monitor and grow is a reality). As for Webtrends we do two things with our products and services:

Help our customers gain insight into their owned, earned and bought assets.

Help our customer take action on that insight to drive better business results.

Can we help you monitor….but that’s only half the battle. If you have a spare few minutes i’d suggest assessing your company against the DM3: http://www.webtrends.com/Products/Services/Digital-Marketing-Maturity-Model.aspx

From jascha kaykas-wolff on October 26th, 2009 at 8:11 pm

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