A Letter To Web Analytics From The CEO

To my colleagues in Web Analytics:

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for the great work you’ve been doing in helping the firm improve our Web site, and for the enlightening data that you provide to me and the leadership team regarding our site’s visitors and the trends in utilization of the Web site.

But I also wanted to use this letter to share with you what we need from you going forward, as the online channel becomes an integral part of how we market and do business. I’d like to encourage you to focus on:

1) Explanations, not just reports. The leadership team is deluged with data from all parts of the organization. [Between you and I, we get reports out the wazoo.] What’s missing in most of these reports, however, is an explanation about the “why”. Why did what happen happen? Give us your theories about why Web usage is increasing or declining and why customers use the site the way they do. Use the data to back up your hypotheses — not as the main dish.

2) The customer, not just the channel. We recognize that the Internet is an increasingly important place for our customers and prospects to interact with us and purchase from us. But it’s not the only channel they use. Reframe your analyses beyond the Web and help us see things from a customer perspective. Which customer segments use the site more than others, and how do they use it in conjunction with other channels? Are we missing opportunities to redefine our customer segments altogether based on the buying and interaction behavior that you have data on?

3) Economics of the online channel.
The leadership team is always interested in knowing how many site visitors we have, which pages they visit, and the trends over time. And I know you’d like to see us invest more in this channel and in your ability to collect and analyze data about it. But we need you to help us address two very challenging questions: Are we investing the right amount in this channel? and What are we getting for this investment?

Answering the questions I’ve posed won’t be easy. Most importantly, I don’t believe you can answer them without working with other parts of the company like market research and customer service. Take the initiative to reach out and work with these groups. Integrating our efforts internally is the first step towards delivering a seamless experience for our customers.

I look forward to continuing this discussion with you.

Keep up the good work,

The CEO

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4 thoughts on “A Letter To Web Analytics From The CEO

  1. Pingback: The Big Integration » Well, since it’s coming from the ceo

  2. To our beloved CEO,

    Thank you so much for recognizing our efforts to date. As you know, we’ve been hard at work trying to help you and the entire organization understand how visitors are interacting with our online channel. We share your vision and firmly believe that the future of our business depends on making our visitors and customers successful online.

    Regarding your needs going forward, we in web analytics would like to offer the following response:

    1) Explanations, not just reports. We thought you’d never ask! We’ve often observed that many people in the organization request various reports, usually just minutes before some important meeting, and then fail to do anything with them. We would much rather automate reporting using key performance indicators, provide recipients with the necessary education, and then spend our time conducting real analysis that will let us make the recommendations you’re asking for.

    According to Eric Peterson (the guy who wrote that red book we sent you to read, “Web Analytics Demystified”) far too few companies are actually doing analysis. Forrester Research recently validated Mr. Peterson’s point, so you know it must be true.

    Don’t get us wrong, we know why people ask for reports, but we’re also well aware that few people really understand this data and that in general the entire company would benefit if we gave recommendations based on good analysis, not just reports. To this end we need your help: Will you PLEASE tell everyone that from this point on we in web analytics are only going to deliver reports that ARE GOING TO BE USED so that we can stop responding to fire-drills all the time? We would much prefer to do the work you’ve hired us to do, keeping in mind we are “web ANALYTICS” not “web REPORTING”.

    2) The customer, not just the channel. Again, your brilliance and wisdom is duly noted, and we’re happy to accommodate your request but we need your help. One of the major problems we have when performing multi-channel customer analysis is that many of your senior lieutenants continue to treat their particular channel as if it were the only source of business for our company. They consistently isolate and protect “their” data, and drag their feet when we ask about integration projects.

    We’d love to work out a unique user ID that crosses our various customer databases and provide relevant analysis that reflects how customers view our business. We’re happy to take the initiative and reach out, but we need YOU to mandate that this work will happen. You might need to re-write compensation plans, address channel conflict, and invest in more powerful technology … we’re happy to help figure out what needs to be done. Creating a robust multi-channel customer view is hard work and it’s just not going to happen unless YOU get involved and direct the organization to work together.

    3) Economics of the online channel. We would really like to start to calculate return on investment for our marketing efforts, including our investment in web analytics. We’re glad you’re interested in the data and trends, etc., but we know you well enough to know that you think in terms of dollars. Regarding this, did you get the memo we sent you last week about deploying technology that will let us run controlled experiments?

    We ask because Eric T. Peterson, the author we referred to above and an industry thought leader who just formed his own company to address the EXACT ISSUES you’re bringing up in your memo, commented last week at the Emetrics Summit that “if you’re not doing controlled experimentation, you’re not doing web analytics.” He said it twice, in a very confident voice, and so we’re inclined to believe him.

    We agree with Peterson, we’re being held back by not being able to test the analysis we’re able to provide and it’s driving us crazy.

    If you let us deploy a platform for controlled experiments, we’ll do two things for you: 1) We’ll answer your questions about rate of investment and rate of return (and even try and increase the return we’re getting by improving the efficacy of our online efforts) and 2) we’ll measure the return that you get from our investment in web analytics. In a nutshell, we’ll take the measurement technology you’ve already given us and use it to fulfill the promise of web analytics — we’ll use the data to identify areas needing improvement, we’ll make the changes, and measure the incremental value those changes provide back to the organization.

    We’re happy to work with you and the rest of the organization to fulfill this promise. And we’re ready to do the necessary work, but we need YOU to set the tone and create a mandate to use web analytics to drive our business success. We want this company to be an analytical competitor, replacing the reports you have “up your wazoo” with money — bags and bags of money.

    We appreciate your interest and support.

    Sincerely,

    The Web Analytics Team

  3. Pingback: CEO Letter To Web Analytics -- Response To Eric Peterson's Memo « Marketing ROI: Whims from Ron Shevlin

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