November 2006

30 Nov 2006 12:31 am

DSC00732 smallI recently had the opportunity to record a couple of podcasts with Wendi Malley of the Web Analytics Association’s Research Committee. The topic of the podcasts was Measuring Rich Media. A heavy and ambiguous topic if there ever was one. Wendi was kind enough to point me to the Wikipedia definition of Rich Media:

    Rich media is the term used to describe a broad range of interactive digital media that exhibit dynamic motion, taking advantage of enhanced sensory features such as video, audio and animation. The term is used to describe widely varying technologies and implementations and an exact definition is elusive.

Like everyone else I have used lots of websites that create rich internet experiences. I have also had the delight of having to measure some rich experiences that use Ajax or Flash or RSS or blogs (are they really rich experiences or really social and web 2.0 experiences?).

[My peer blogger Clint Ivy deserves the credit for first posting links to the podcasts, thanks so much Clint.]

In our first podcast we discussed measuring Ajax, Flash and Flex based rich experiences (including RIA’s – Rich Internet Applications).

WAA webpage with podcast and conversation transcript : Click Here.

Listen to the Podcast : (39:22 mins)

Download the podcast : Click Here (4.6 mb)

Quick Essence: How to do you measure experiences where the page paradigm is dead and there is a lack of any standardization in the current page centric web analytics tools? Especially since every single day the technology and what we do with it evolves. The podcast discusses shifting out thinking from “page views” in a session to identifying “business events” using available technologies (javascript or, for example, ATG event logging) to capture key outcomes and context. More than ever in the RIA world it is important not just to measure outcome but also experience and customer satisfaction with that experience while integrating the rich experience data with rest of the site data for segmentation purposes. For more about the limitations, pros and cons, best practices and examples please listen to the podcast.

In the second one we focussed on measuring RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and Blogs.

WAA webpage with podcast and conversation transcript : Click Here.

Listen to the Podcast : (33:43 mins)

Download the podcast : Click Here (3.9 mb)

Quick Essence: RSS and Blogs are very young and there is a distinct lack of analytics tools created to measure them (except for MeasureMap which I can’t wait to try, sadly sign up has been closed for a while). But there are some interesting things we can do right now. For RSS there is lots you can track with free services like FeedBurner (number of daily subscribers, clicks on feeds – content consumption, geo location and types of readers, and even live data).  Measure success of a blog is even more fun. I cover the thoughts in my Measuring Blog Success post. In addition to that we discuss what rich media / experiences have been used on this blog (Ajax live search, zoom clouds etc) and what was learned from these experiments and how you can use them.

One Overall Core Thought:

    Measuring success of rich experiences (ajax or flash or flex or others) requires a fundamental mindset shift away from how web analytics is thought of and done today. It is hard but necessary. Period.

Three Important Things to Consider:

  1. Pre planning: Unlike other things for this area you need to do a lot of pre-planning and make sure your code is included in the rich experience before you get started. On web pages we can recover and tag later etc. In this area it is very hard to do so set a lot of time for planning.
  2. Integration of data, hyper important because A) you can’t measure in a silo (so you need to know what the differences are in outcomes based on where different segments of people come from or based on offers or what they might have seen before or after the experience) B) you want to know what people “think”, so in our case it is important to integrate into mechanisms such as website surveys.
  3. Testing, testing, testing, testing. You are ready for rich experiences, but are your customers ready? I have a great example of this in the podcast above. Failing faster is a awesome recipe for long term success. 

I want to thank Jim Humphrys and Wendi Malley for the opportunity to do the podcasts, and I highly recommend Wendi for the job of professional podcast recorder! : )

Please share your feedback on the podcasts and your perspective on how to measure rich experiences. Also please considering joining the wonderful Web Analytics Association (click here), it comes with tons of benefits.

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PS: I am very happy that today Occam’s Razor has achieved two small milestones.

With this post we have crossed 100,000 words written in 61 blog posts (and you have contributed and additional 82,000 in comments).

Today, after a little over six months of existence, we also crossed 500 unique blog links in Technorati (Nov 29: Rank 4,803 and 1,241 links from 504 blogs).

technorati 500 blog links

It is truly kindness from strangers that makes this small milestone possible since I know less than 1% of the blog authors who have linked to this blog. I thank you all very much, you have made my day (it has been a very very tough couple weeks so this is appreciated even more, Gracias).

[The ranking will go down because technorati only considers a rolling six months window, and I can’t possibly get lots more new links! : ) ]

27 Nov 2006 12:59 am

DSC00461 smallThe 2006 e-consultancy Online Marketing Masterclass event in London was a jam packed day of fantastic speakers, a wonderfully intelligent audience and great conversations. The RIBA is a great location as well, Ashley and the nice e-consultancy team deserve a big round of applause.

As at all such events there was so much to learn from attending and speaking and from the audience questions. All nine presentations were great but here are two that had I think had particularly relevant insights for readers of Occam’s Razor. I have excerpted the relevant slides, which are followed by a brief commentary that provides my interpretation (a format similar to the emetrics DC summit reflections).

I want to thank the authors for permission to share their work, it is very nice of them to share the wealth.

# 1

Who? Andy Harding, Carphone Warehouse Plc
What? Customer Acquisition in a Multi-Channel Environment ( )
Where? Slides 5 & 6, Customer personas and value of each target. Slide 15, You capability and customer expectations.

Why? I wanted to pick just one thing from each presenter, to keep this blog post short, but there were two absolutely brilliant concepts in Andy’s presentation. Like many of us in the web world The Carphone Warehouse has invested in understanding the personas of their customers:

customer personas

Personas can be used to create optimal customer experiences or to create the right type of marketing programs or targeted acquisitions strategies or other such activities that can be performed when you know your customer so well. But Andy’s team has gone one step further and compute the Size and Value of each persona, here’s the graph plotted with Age on the x-axis….

value of each customer persona

This graph is very powerful because while we all create personas only a select few will take one step further to quantify the value and volume of each of those personas. A graph such as the one above can help provide decision makers with a very powerful mechanism to do simple things like focus on where to invest resources or what the bottom-line impact will be from solving for each persona or, if trended over time, how to improve the value of each of the large bubble and watch it move higher on the y-axis.

I am not sure how Value is computed but you can use Profitability or Customer Loyalty or Net Promoter or Least Likely to Switch (in case of phone company) or Most Amount Spent on Add-on Services or other such metrics. Pick the one that makes most sense for your company.

We are all becoming increasingly familiar that the web is a living breathing mechanism that is constantly changing. For the longest time companies (website owners) were in control of creating the customer experience but increasingly customers are creating their own experiences (think all the web 2.0 stuff and mash-up’s etc).

company capabilities customer expectations

In the above slide Andy provides a great framework to diagnose where we, as website owner’s are, and what the expectations of our customers might be. The red and yellow lines show how capabilities and expectations trend over time.

Early in your existence (or when the Internet started) the red line was lower, websites had very robust / delightful capabilities that were way ahead of customer expectations (maybe they were not quite as savvy or they did not care). But as the web has evolved and our customers have become increasingly sophisticated the slope of the yellow line (customer expectations) has a much steeper gradient.

Look at your company’s website, the features and tools it provides, how much it can scale, is it static or dynamic and ask more such questions. This will help you plot the red line, include what capabilities you are looking to build in the future. Now go back to your customers (personas above) and ask them what they expect from a website experience. Plot the yellow line.

Now comes the hard part. Where is your company at the current time? Point A (in which case you are fine) or at point B (in which case you are in trouble).

My belief is that this simple graph can be hugely actionable because it will provide powerful insights about what you need to get done to deliver against the expectations that your customers have (or maybe even question if you want to do that). I suspect that most of us will find that we all think that we are at point A and what we will find is that we are really at point B and woefully unprepared to move from point A to B (it can be hugely painful in terms of resources, skills, processes, infrastructure and mindsets).

# 2

Who? David Hughes, Non-Line Marketing
What? Retain and Grow: Getting Close and Staying Close ( )
Where? Slides 37, It’s “Non-line Marketing”.

Why? David’s delightfully entertaining talk (I highly recommend seeing David present in person!) focussed on how to retain and grow our existing, and valuable, customers. One can use all the wonderful options available to us to execute our own retention strategies: superior customer services, loyalty programs, personalization, community, providing incremental choice and convenience etc. Slide 5 has this wonderful quote: “Your diamonds are not in far-away mountains or in distant seas; they are in your own back yard if you will but dig for them. – Russell Conwell 1862”. In the presentation there are wonderful examples of how to execute your own strategy.

One of the most interesting concepts David presented was that of Non-Line Marketing.

non 2Dline marketing

In our minds, and execution strategies, we typically live in the silos of On-line Marketing and Off-line Marketing. Sure we try to think, a little bit, of off-line when we do on-line and vice a versa. But in reality we live in a world where customers behave in a very weird way. Rather then choosing one channel over the other or starting at one and ending up at the other (as the linearity above might imply at first glance) our customers are going back and forth between the two channels depending on what stage they are in, what they are buying and what their comfort level is.

non 2Dline marketing customer behaviour

[I have taken the “artistic liberty” of illustrating three customer experiences on his slide, purely for communication purposes.]

We execute marketing programs and measure effectiveness as if the process is linear. But in reality as the red, green and purple lines indicate customer behavior is very different and we are not very well set-up to measure effectiveness. If you come to the website (the red line above), read reviews, go to the store, look and touch the products, talk to the sales person who totally wow’s you and you go and buy the product (all in one day). Who gets the credit? Your Google PPC program? What if your path was the one shown by the green arrows? Off-line then online then offline then online?

If the world truly is made up of non-line customer behavior should effectiveness of all our marketing programs be a “faith based initiative” (trust me my marketing is working, I just can’t prove it)? How can we measure success in a non-line customer experience world? Tough questions with evolving answers.

We are very much at the first baby steps of executing "nonline" marketing campaigns and measuring effectiveness of such campaigns. What is clear is that our customers already live in that world, we have to catchup. This is all the more reason that your core web success measurement strategy can't rest on the bedrock of clickstream data, if it was not already limiting before it is very much so now. Taking steps to incorporate other measurement sources such as surveys or remote usability or market research or collecting information via registration etc are going to be critical. And who knows that else is around the corner. [Qualitative data. Survey Best Practices.]

I want to thank Andy and David again for their wonderful presentations and also for sharing them with us.

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