Digital Marketing and Web Analytics: THE BASICS OF “SHOW ME THE MONEY”

This is the first in a series of a three part article on Web Analytics as part of our Digital Marketing information. These articles provide an Executive Summary on the “what and how” basics of Web Analytics as a demystifying starting point for those who are thinking about or starting into web analytics, are reviewing  consulting proposals  or need a quick “Show me the Money” refresher and reminder.

Part 1 will introduce the topic of web analytics.

Part 2 will describe the different components of web analytics that are involved in an overall digital marketing strategy and illustrate a quick business case and ROI methodology

 

Part 3 will identify different tools and solutions that can be employed in digital marketing and web analytics.

This series of articles is intended to provide an overview to Executives and Business owners on the merits of digital marketing while keeping an eye on the ROI.

DIGITAL MARKETING AND WEB ANALYTICS – Part 1
What is “HOT” in digital marketing these days? Social Media, tablets, Cloud Computing,  Business Intelligence, Web Analytics, predicative analytics, the mobile web, mobile apps, group buying sites, loyalty programs and web stocks  to name a few.

 

What is not so “HOT”? A struggling economy, traditional advertising not yielding traditional results, inflationary cost-price pressures, flat   sales, “hype” about the results the web can provide, consumers giving you bad service ratings, shrinking margins and profits. Unfriendly bankers, tax auditors, more regulatory paper work, higher payroll taxes, a new competitor and a new market opportunity are on another mental list you are keeping.

 

Don’t worry!!!! Help is on the way. You or someone in your organization has probably received the 1000th call promising from Mumbai to rank your web site #1 on the first page of any search engine and flood you with new customers – –  or the marketing folks have a new strategy to use social media to engage consumers to “turn things around “- – or you have just learned that all the web site development that was recently updated and relaunched needs to be reworked again under a new mobile strategy because mobile searches are expected to overtake “old” web searches next year. Then there is the pitch for a new mobile “app” that no one can tell you how consumers will find amongst the thousands already available to drive sales – – but a competitor has just rolled one out – – so we need one too. By the way, it seems we’re getting both “likes” and “dislikes”…but we don’t know why…and now we need to be on the new Google Plus social network as well as Facebook and we should figure out how to into the Google wallet because it is going to replace your leather wallet.

 

 

There is a French expression – – “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” or “the more things change the more they stay the same” that needs to ground and frame our “business” thinking and decision making in understanding and formulating digital marketing business priorities. The “hype” and the “buzz” of all things digital doesn’t mean you forget how to add 1 + 1….or causes you to forget that 1+1 = 3 only added up in a business class vs. real life.

 

Business leaders and successful businesses embrace evolutionary and revolutionary changes and risk/reward investments for business development and sales growth through the immediacy, buzz and sizzle of the digital universe, However, – it is important remember and re instill the disciplines of measured risk, performance management and ROI to digital marketing as with any other operational area or initiative The mistakes of the dot com era are still somewhere in our business memory where decisions were made on newly invented overnight performance indicators and business logic.

 

Is that slick pitch presentation with lasers and 3D charts from a mid-20’s “expert” going to convince you to open your wallet? Maybe – – but you need to ask the right business case questions – – and align performance monitoring to track and obtain accountable “results”.

 

Today, the fundamental and old-fashioned “show me the money” ROI marketing questions still needs to be constantly asked.

Web Analytics – 101 – The Good and the Bad

The term analytics refers to the applied use of statistical and behavioral analysis techniques to gain understanding and value from structured and unstructured quantitative and qualitative information to enable insights that are actionable.

 

Web Analytics fundamental concepts are similar to traditional analog marketing, advertising, sales and market research activities and tools. The disruptive power of Web Analytics emerges from the combination of digital internet technology, intelligent user-friendly data mining software power and volumes of individual and global market 24/7 real time accessibility, which empower marketing and sales business intelligence and decision making. The scope of Web Analytics   covers the following strategic elements:

 

  • dynamically driving company reach and awareness to demographically targeted prospects and customers vs. competitors via web and all marketing channels on a first time and repetitive basis
  • achieving high organic page ranking, high qualified sales lead traffic from organic and paid searches , converting e commerce sales, enhancing brand awareness  and other metrics customized to the firm’s business model
  • progressing and influencing prospective and repeat customers towards revenue-generating activity and transactions
  • real time collection and analysis of behavioral qualitative (experience, engagement, conversion, referral, etc.) and quantitative data from website, web page social media, and other digital channels on  individual and aggregate levels to enhance web site and digital channel performance to increase sales, brand loyalty,  and ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment)

 

The value proposition of Web Analytics technology and methodology over traditional marketing is:

 

  • the dynamic and relatively rapid ability for firms of all sizes to execute individual, segmented  or mass consumer digital channel marketing with local to global reach  using commoditized and specialized web analytics solutions,
  • continual real time prototype trials , A/B testing and unique messaging,
  • collecting real time data with intelligent analysis and executing on the fly initiatives, competitive changes and iterative tweaks in areas such as site content and media offerings, product and merchandising promotions, site navigation and usability, creative design, changing PPC ads, unique tracking codes, re-engaging customers, internal search and the purchase decision process to identify goals and KPI’s (key performance indicators) and optimize results for ROMI.

 

If your web analytics process is primarily focused on just driving web traffic and you are not doing many of the foregoing elements, your Web Analytics is under performing and you are losing customers and money every day.

 

Competitive advantage is achieved by deploying various tools, which provide increasing degrees of data analysis and intelligent analytics ranging from basic statistics to fuzzy logic predictive analytics.  While it may appear that Web Analytics creates a competitive barrier based on firm size and resources, the playing field has been leveled between small to large firms for web marketing and web analytics as many previously sophisticated tools and solutions are provided at no cost by major search engines.

The DRIP Red Flag

Mark Twain once said, “The one thing worse than lies is statistics.”   A hundred odd years later, we can say that “the one thing worse than statistics is too many statistics”. While Web Analytics offers faster, more powerful and sexier techniques and tools for planning, executing and optimizing marketing and sales development than traditional marketing- a lot of 24/7 forensic detective work, time and potential cost is required to figure out “what works” and “how do we make it better” to increase web marketing presence and drive better sales results. The dynamic of instant web reporting gratification and the  interactive capability and power of web analytic “activities” of planning, creating, watching, gathering, crunching, testing,  tweaking and engaging can be all consuming to the point of statistical fascination, data addiction or paralysis by analysis. Pure statistical reporting creates organizational DRIP (data rich information poor) outcomes with poor information and decision making and not fully leveraging the real time power, responsiveness and reach of digital marketing channels.

 

In summary, marketing plans must define the few key performance indicators that drive traffic, sales revenue and ROMI for actionable decision making without drowning in superfluous data and dashboards. Your performance management process must incorporate accountability.

 

 

Part 2 of 3 in our article series on Web Analytics will describe the different components of web analytics that are involved in an overall digital marketing strategy and illustrate a quick business case and ROI methodology.

 

Part 3 will identify different tools and solutions that can be employed in digital marketing and web analytics.

 

Ted Dzialowski 

Plutus Consulting Group

Comments are closed.