napaliSome of you have heard me speak at a conference, I always have a deep passion and excitement when I talk about the “Trinity”. I wax and wane about it and go on and on about how fantastic the “Trinity” is.

But it took a comment from Lisa Seaman to make me realize that I had not written about the “Trinity” on this blog. So Lisa asks wisely: “I’m not sure I ever got what the “Trinity” is.” My fault Lisa, here’s a post just for you. : )

A couple of years ago we were grappling with the challenges of “web analytics” : ) and how to solve them. My thinking about web analytics at that time was that the traditional way of doing it was very much dead. So what is the solution?

trinityAfter a few days of thinking a “new” way of thinking about decision making on the web coalesced. The output was this little slide with three core components. That “mindset” got the name Trinity (and not for the nice lady on the right, though that would have made a cooler story).

Trinity also became the moniker that was given to the strategic approach that was applied in order to build out a world-class web decision making platform.

At the center of the Trinity is the reason it exists:

trinity center

The goal of the Trinity mindset is to power the generation of actionable insights. Its goal is not to do reporting. Its goal is not to figure out how to spam decision makers with data. Actionable Insights & Metrics are the uber-goal simply because they drive strategic differentiation and a sustainable competitive advantage.

The first component of the Trinity mindset is Behavior analysis, what we traditionally consider clickstream data analysis.

trinity behavior

We collect all the clickstream data and the objective is to analyze it from a higher plane of reference. No more measuring HITS. Do Click Density analysis, massive segmentation, search (both internal and external). The objective is to get really smart about clickstream analysis and get to really truly inferring the intent of our site visitors.

People usually expect too much of the clickstream data. The best we can do with clickstream data is infer intent, and we have to make peace with it.

The second component of the Trinity mindset is Outcomes analysis. I fondly call it the “so what” element.

trinity outcomes

This is critical for one simple reason, at the end of the day when all is said and done what was the outcome for the customer and the company.

I encourage you to ask a simple question to the site owners: Why does your website exist? (You might be surprised how many can’t answer that question quickly.) This element of the Trinity exists to measure how well is the website doing in meeting the goal of its existence.

In the simplest of terms this is measure Revenue for ecommerce websites (not just how much but also why did we make as much as we did) and measuring Conversion Rates smarter. But for support websites this is measuring Problem Resolution and Timeliness.

Every website should have a clearly articulated outcome, if you don’t have the capacity to measure all nuances of outcomes the recommendation is to give up on measuring Behavior (clickstream) all together. Why sink time into that? A bit extreme? Yes. Necessary? You bet your bottom.

The third component of the Trinity mindset is Experience. Think of it as “why did they behave the way they did!!”.

trinity experience

This is perhaps the most critical element to me, if I had to pick just one element (and it is hard to choose amongst your children : )) I would pick Experience. This is us attempting to get into the head of our customer. This is the Why. This is the warm hug when you are stymied and tortured by your clickstream data and you want to tear your hair out.

There are many different ways to understand the experience of customers on your website. There are surveys you can do. I am a huge believer of experimentation and testing (let’s have the customers tell us what they prefer). Doing Lab Usability testing is another great option. We love Follow Me Homes, a concept advocated by Scott Cook the founder of Intuit under his impactful Customer Driven Innovation mindset.

All these experience methodologies decked against one single purpose: Getting companies to listen to the Voice of Customer.

Now we can assemble the three components and the core center and voila you get Trinity:

trinity strategy thumb

The Trinity mindset empowers you to Understand the customer experience so explicitly that you can influence the right customer behavior which will lead to win-win outcomes for the company and its customers.

That last part is important: Trinity aims for win-win.

If the right version version of the product for you is Basic and not Premier then our job as site owners is for us to help you figure that out and buy Basic. We could make more money in the short term if you buy Premier today. But you will get it, use it, get frustrated as it is too advanced for you and you’ll never buy from us again. But if we help you buy the right for you version Basic then next year you’ll be back for Premier. Trinity aims to solve for the long term.

So there you go, it is just that simple. : ) [Lisa does it make sense now?]

Each element of the Trinity is supported by a tool and different methodologies and sustainable processes and, most importantly, key people skills. Just having the mindset does not solve the problem (though I guarantee it will put you on the right path). Executing on the Trinity strategic approach means creating the right organization structure and a move evolved culture. But these are all topics for a future post.

What do you think? Do you agree with the Trinity mindset? Too complex? Perhaps too simple? Is your website leadership executing against such a mindset? Please share your feedback via comments.

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