Friday, October 24, 2008

Little things that make your day as a Web Analytics evangelist

'Hurrah! You make my day!'Developing Web Analytics or a Web data-driven culture in any large organization is a long and most of the time difficult journey. Truth is that it takes a lot of patience and perseverance. It usually requires a lot of “evangelization” and education. It is often like a never-ending quest – a bit like the Holy Grail (and you being Percival). This long journey can be demotivating and highly frustrating time to time. After all, we – analytics geeks – are human beings. We have feelings too. So if you are going through such situation, don’t despair as you are not alone!

Fortunately, there are little things that make your day as a Web Analytics evangelist, that keeps you motivated in your long way to Web Analytics nirvana. I’m not talking about big “victories” like finding the small recommendation that double your conversion ratio and save more money in a day than you would earn in a year. No, I am talking about these little things like emails, reactions, kind words that give you this morale boost that we all need sometimes. Without these, you would probably have switched job or sunk in deep depression.  Well, I would have.

So let me share with you some recent examples.

No – you are not preaching in the desert
Back in April, after a new department launched its first public website, I met the business stakeholders to introduce them to Web Analytics. I explained them how they should derive online KPI’s that relate to their business objectives. At the end, we agreed they would do their homework and get back to me for review and implementation. Everybody was enthusiastic and we all parted away. Then nothing happened, no news for 6 months. I thought to myself: valuable time lost, another one who says “yes” but who don’t really see the importance of measuring online performances.

Then they got back to me and they showed me the early draft dashboard I gave them as an example. The dashboard was full of annotations, items that were stroked through. They started to go through the results of their brainstorming. I was speechless as they actually got it right. They applied the process in the right way and came up with great ideas. They actually listened to me the first time and what I said made sense after all! Hurrah! I almost shed a tear of emotion :-)

The main learning point here is that it is essential to have a clear & simple methodology to guide business stakeholders in defining their most appropriate business KPI’s. A methodology that connects to their world, not to yours.

When joint efforts lead to great results
Web Analytics is teamwork!Recently, I received an email from the Internet marketing manager of one of our national companies. He wanted to share very good news: the local Toyota site was first automotive website in terms of online “findability” according to a study made by a local search engine media agency! I immediately shared the good news with the rest of our Web team & marketing as this was the result of more than one year of joint efforts:
  • From the Web developers who made the site technically more search engine friendly
  • From the SEO agency who teached us best practices about search engine optimization
  • From the Marketing team, our Web agency & myself who applied these best practices on a pilot project.
  • From myself who wrote down all lessons learned in our home-made SEO “bible” and who teached our national companies how to implement SEO by themselves.
  • From our national companies and their agencies that got their hands into the grout and applied the methodology & best practices on their local sites.
Team work, that’s what Web Analytics is! It is not a one-man job. No need to say that I was happy to see that all this work was not done for nothing and actually deliver great results. I almost jumped of joy! :-)

When the apprentices impress the master
The Web Analytics Master you will beI’m always happy when business users are applying our process and best practices whether it is for campaign tracking, external site tagging or analysis. But sometimes few ones step out of the crowd by doing more than just applying them. They use them extensively, sometimes in ways you would not expect, pushing your guidelines or processes to their limits. I call these few users our local “heroes”. 

One of these “heroes” made once a very clever use of our campaign measurement guidelines for a specific campaign that brought not only valuable insights but also turned into a practical case that was presented few weeks ago at our internal European Internet marketing conference. 

Not only these “heroes” impress me but also they come asking for more. They push me to investigate new tracks, making the whole thing progress. They help me to raise the bar and to  keep the whole game exciting.

So here’s an advice: look for your own local heroes and cherish them! Not only they will give a sense to what you do but they will help you moving further in your Web Analytics journey.

Share your passion, get kind words & chocolates (or whatever pleases you)
Even small things can make you happy. Words are free. It costs nothing to say nice enthusiastic comments like “Great job, you rule!”, “You are my hero! You save the day!” or just a humble but sincere “Thank you for your work” :-). When you get some, well, it can make your day – at least it does it form. 

Chocolates does it too (or whatever that taste good so you know ;-)). I’m regularly asked to do some presentations on Web Analytics or SEO at our own European Internet Marketing conference. I really enjoy it and it seems the audience does as well.  Last time, I even got a box of tasty Belgian chocolates from our luxury brand representative. Yummy!
Cote d'or - Belgian Chocolate

I could come with many other examples, small & big but you get the idea. 

In the end
Enjoy life!The Web Analytics journey takes time, a lot of time. It can be very frustrating time to time so try aiming at small achievements that get you closer (even if very small steps) to your bigger goals. Look for the bright side of life, keep faith and enjoy these little things that make you day, even the simplest ones, when they happen. 

And you, what does make your day as a Web Analytics evangelist? Please share yours!

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