We just held a public webcast today with the American Marketing Association (AMA) and our star speaker Jim Sterne. Jim is the president of the Web Analytics Association, author of many books, and the producer of the popular e-metrics summit events for web marketing optimization.
Jim shared with us his insights on "Using Web analytics to impress your CMO". Jim cited many practical examples that ranged from online ad spend optimization through customer relationship building. If you were not one of the 800+ in the audience I can highly recommend the recorded version of the webcast that will become available from Unica.com in the next few days.
In the run up to the seminar, our moderator from the AMA, Marla Chupack, told us a story that reminded me of the plight of the analytics oriented marketer. A man had played the same Lotto numbers for ten years without much luck. Finally, he won a huge chunk of money. Grateful for his fortune, he sent everyone in his native village in India a generous sum as a gift. But what should he learn? Instead of being appreciative soon everybody just wanted more.
What is the moral for the analytically oriented marketer? At first, it may seem hard enough to get web analytics and cross channel analytics in place. Once you invest into the right systems however, you may receive more data, reports, and insights than you can dream of. When you pass those to your colleagues you expect them to be grateful. Instead, a typical bureaucratic organization may request more and more and more reports from you over time. But are all of these driving happiness, a.k.a business value?
Bottomline: In order to embrace multichannel marketing, don't wait until the day that you can put the big 360 degree CRM data warehouse into place. Even if you did, it would not by itself be sufficient for driving better business results. You will still have to turn the insights into intelligent marketing programs for acquisition, conversion, retention, up-sell, cross-sell, attrition prevention, and win back. Given that, my recommendation, why not bootleg by starting small and focusing on generating ROI from the beginning? For example, if you find that customer attrition is a problem you could put an early warning system in place with small amounts of off-the-shelf software. Say, you combine web analytics with event detection. When web site visitors exhibit a change in online behavior patterns (say they used to visit frequently but for the past month the frequency has gradually gone down), you take action for retention.
Later on, when you start seeing results, you could enhance your system by tapping into customers' offline purchases records. Say, you find out who is using the web site less frequently but has instead shifted to the stores. These customers may still be OK and may not need retention efforts. While your competitor may still be building their 360 degree data warehouse, you already generate ROI and increased loyalty.
Clearly, I am biased because Unica is the vendor of many marketing solutions in this area. But my point is that one does not need to wait until you have the sponsorhip for the solution of your dreams. Start small, see what works, and then grow that.