Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Good practices: set-up your super-heroes team & evangelize your organization

Adoption of Web Analytics culture within any organization is not an easy task. It is probably one of the biggest challenges with Web Analytics. It takes time and perseverance. And when you are alone, it may seem impossible.  What you need is to look for the Web analytics heroes who are waiting for you to uncover their true talents...and to help you spread Web Analytics in your organization.
Nothing can stop the super X Men analytical team. Get yours!
You can’t excite them all!
Just imagine the scene. You just finished reading “Web Analytics Hour a Day” from Avinash Kaushik (or whatever great books on Web Analytics). You have trained yourself and your super cool Web Analytics tool has no more secret for you. Websites of your organization have been fully tagged and reports are being “puked” out at an incredible rate. You are ready to evangelize your organization and explain how fanstatic are Web Analytics and all the benefits that come with them.  It is time to excite the crowd. It is showtime!

So you set-up a big presentation-demonstration and you explain all great principles & added-value of Web Analytics, you amaze them with the tool super-animated-colourful reporting interface. The curtain falls down and you get some warm applauses. Few  may come and say politely “good show! Great tool!”. Back to your desk, you wait for the phone to ring or for emails to pop in your mailbox but nothing…How can it be?!

Let’s face it you can’t convert your entire organization about Web Analytics. It is almost impossible. There are plenty of reasons why some people will not even listen to you: they may have other priorities or concerns, they may not be interested for the moment, they may not have the time or the resources, they may not like being told what they should do if it does not come from their boss, etc… 

Does that mean it is hopeless? Certainly NOT! What you need is to look for those potential “super heroes” hiding in the mass, the champions who will help you disseminate Web Analytics practices within your organization.

Looking for the Web Analytics X-men (or women)
Back to the opening story. Did you notice the few ones who had sparkles in their eyes while listening to youwho could see “specials” things in these graphs & pie charts you showed? They have special abilities or strong interest in Web Analytics. They are…different.

No one would resist to such sexy Web Analytics hero. Would you?Forget about the others (for the moment) and focus your attention and energy on these Web Analytics “mutants”. It is time to set-up your X Men team! Find your Jean Grey, your Wolverine and let you being Professor Charles Xavier! (no need to shave your head though!)

More seriously ( I shoudn’t have written this while watching X Men 3 – The Last Stand on TV :-)), you need to find “receptive” people within your organization who are willing to work with you and put in practice all the great stuffs you explained. One advice: cherish them and provide them with full support, help them gather actionable insights, improve whatever online performances…Build success stories & practical case studies! And let human psychology do the rest…

Human psychology & snowball effect
Heroes will not remain silent. They will be so happy (or so proud) that they will go around jumping (flying?) and tell their peers about the great things they achieved. They will share their success (or simply brag about it). And in the end, they will talk about… you! (except if you are working with ungrateful people)

But it will not stop there. Others will get "jealous", they will want their share of success too (or simply they will not want to be the “last of the class” :)). In the end, they will come to you! ha! ha! Again, it will be upon to you to teach them and turn them into heroes who will go and evangelize other peers – creating a snowball effect.

Anyway, let your heroes excite their peers. Let them sell! They will do it very well while you can focus on assisting them with your super knowledge and skills.

Because they worth it
This approach, while much slower than trying to change the corporation culture overnight, is more likely to succeed. Moreover it has many advantages.

For you:
  • Motivation & recognition: all the time and efforts you will invest will deliver real results and hopefully some recognition for your hard work. You will not feel all alone anymore and new challenges will keep you motivated. Heroes will come back with more and more requests, pushing further your limits…and skills.
  • Availability: By focusing on a limited number of projects, you will be able to dedicate more time to coach your heroes and make sure they succeed in their missions. 
  • Real case-studies: Your heroes will provide you with more ammo for convincing the skeptics and for resting your case. Theory is good but nothing beats real life case studies!
For your heroes
  • Success, pride, honour & chocolates: That's what comes with Web Analytics when applied successfully. They may even get rewarded by their management (bonus, promotion, chocolates or even a bottle of Chouffe :-))
  • Skills & expertise development: not only they will improve their "business" performances but they will also develop their skills & expertise in Web Analytics. Not the worst thing to put in a resume in these days.
And for your organization, it will get actionable insights, improved performances & better ROI (i.e. money!). So an happy world in the end!

An example
Believe it or not but it works. I didn’t invent the concept of using “heroes” as such. It is part of Avinash Kaushik’s excellent post “How To Excite People About Web Analytics: Five Tips”. But I didn’t wait for these tips to experience the general concept myself. I just did not use the term "hero" at that time (but "super" users). Here is an example, from my humble practioner experience.

2 years ago, I presented to a large audience how they could track & measure campaigns using our centralized WA tool in addition to local tracking. I would not say the presentation was a “failure” (in French, we say a "flop") but it kind of looked like that. Few weeks later, the Internet marketing manager from a “small” country contacted me. She was motivated to give it a try.

We did it, it worked quite ok and I found myself with a real-life practical example to present. But no big show this time, a simple Webcast session with limited audience. A dozen country managers attended the online presentation. Several showed interest but one standed out - the online manager of one of our biggest markets. He wanted to apply the method for his next huge online campaign. Now I was getting nervous, feeling some real pressure (and excitment :-)). 3 months later, the results were presented as case-study during a very important internal summit. After that many – from small to large markets - followed the same path… 

"Fly home, Buddy. I work alone"
Teamwork is for me an essential characteristic of Web Analytics. So no, you should not work alone. That is my advice. Go and look for heroes and champions within your organization and set-up your own analytical Incredibles secret team. Feel free to wear a red suit and a mask if you like it but remember, as Edna said "No capes!" (see here why :-)).

Red suits and masks but no capes!
A BIG thank you to all the "heroes" I work with. They are really "super"!

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1 comment:

  1. I am looking to lead the functional shift towards measurement in a large global corporation and am running into many of the problems described. This is great advice, thanks for sharing. I was hoping for an organic shift without bureaucratic involvement. I believe this strategy will help get us there.

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