Imagine my embarrassment when I didn’t recognize her.
It was only moderate embarrassment at first. I re-meet lots of people... again. My memory for names and faces was never good and it's gotten worse.
When Carey Wilkins of Evolytics came up to me at the last eMetrics Summit in San Francisco and said hello, she didn't do a full eye roll while waiting for me to place her face.
I turned to her good friends Dylan Lewis and his wife Jen and joked that I should be forgiven for forgetting, but I had met Carey (many moons ago) very late one night, with her husband Tom and an effusive Eric Peterson who insisted that the four of us go out for one last drink before the last bar in town closed.
Dylan and Jen smiled and nodded knowingly.
Carey shook her head, grinned and said, "You don't remember, do you?"
"Tom and I came to the eMetrics Summit in 2003 in Santa Barbara."
Que the red face, the shuffling of feet and the effort to come up with something appropriately apologetic to say. But Carey, always ready to make one feel at ease, let me off the hook before perspiration dotted my forehead and the room started to swim.
"Well," she said with a big smile, "it was ten years ago! Back then, I was at Director of Customer Experience Management at VML and Tom was a Business Analysis Consultant with Hallmark."
"Working with Zina Wiest??"
"That's right! See? You do have some memory left! In fact, we still have the binder with the attendee list - I'll email it to you."
With the tension broken, a group of us, including (left to right) Carey, Jen and Dylan, went to a dinner that was so good, it was photographable:
Sadly missing from the photo but not from the fun were Angel Morales and René Dechamps Otamendi.
I'm not sure how many of them were in on it, but just to rub in my forgetfulness, my dessert arrived decorated thusly:
A good time was definitely had by all.
True to her word, Carey sent me the PDF which started with the Agenda:
A full day workshop delivered by yours truly.
My opening presentation/orientation the next morning.
Matthew Berk from Jupiter Research on how to buy a web analytics tool and is remembered for saying, "And sometimes you just have to grep the logs."
Ken McGaffin on analyzing search for intent but we didn't know to call it that yet.
Guy Creese at Aberdeen group on the landscape of our burgeoning industry.
Kristen Zhivago and Mark Gibbs with a role playing demonstration of the tense politics between marketing and IT. (I think they're still not talking to each other.)
Terry Lund with an amazing case study of Internet Analytics at Kodak.com which he had helped create.
Bryan Eisenberg who introduced us to the concept of personas with Persuasion Architecture - a real eye-opener.
Gary Beberman from the IT side of macys.com who famously said. "Sometimes you just have to tell them what the numbers are, what the numbers mean and what they should do about it!"
Our first Web Analytics Vendor Variety Hour which got quite lively when the audience asked, "If your product didn't exist, which of your competitors would you choose?"
Mike Grehan on how Google looked at links as citation rather than just text on the page.
Phil Gibson from National Semiconductor who was already integrating visits from identified clients into their hand-build Sales Force Automation tools.
It was a rollickingly fascinating conference.
This was back in the day when we printed everything on paper and included the full names, addresses, phone numbers and emails for each participant. No Facebook, no Linked In, no Twitter then.
So I perused the list of attendees and found something interesting.
Of the 85 people who have come to the second-ever eMetrics Summit in 2003 in Santa Barbara, thirteen had come to the eMetrics Summit in San Francisco ten years later in 2013.
Then and Now
Then: Product Manager, Sane Solutions
Now: Multichannel Marketing Evangelist, IBM
Then: Web Manager, Silicon Graphics
Now: Manager, Industry Solutions Web Marketing Team, IBM
Then: Managing Partner, Technology Leaders
Now: CEO, Technology Leaders
Then: Founder, FurtureNow
Now: Partner, BryanEisenberg.com
Then: Director of Internet Marketing, SmartDraw.com
Now: Group Manager, Web Measurement, Intuit
Then: President, WebSideStory
Now: CEO, Tealium
Then: Director, BotBiz Consulting
Now: SVP, Customer Engagement, iJento
Eric T. Peterson
Then: Senior E-Business Analyst, WebSideStory
Now: CEO, Web Analytics Demystified
Then: CEO, WebSideStory
Now: Management Consultant & Partner Efectyv Digital
Then: Director of Product Marketing, NetIQ/WebTrends
Now: VP Product Marketing, Webtrends
Then: Director, Online Relationship Marketing, SAP
Now: Sr. Director, Global Search, SAP
Then: President, Target Marketing
Now: President, Target Marketing
Then: Director, Customer Experience Management, VML
Now: Partner / VP, Evolytics
Would-be number fourteen, Ronny Kohavi, will be with us in Chicago next week.
Then: VP, Business Intelligence, Blue Martini Software
Now: Partner Architect, Microsoft
In between: Director of Data Mining and Personalization, Amazon.com
I think this speaks volumes about the cohesiveness of our industry and the fact that we have grown a community as well.
What draws us to this industry? What keeps people engaged in world of customer intelligence / web analytics / data science / insight discovery? It's exciting.
When you come to a realization, make a discovery or put two and two together, it's exhilarating. Learning is addictive which is why humans make progress. We love to learn. This field is focused on learning new data streams to learn from. We are inventing new ways to improve. It's awesome.
And then, there's the human side.
To quote Carey in her latest email to me:
Ahh, what friendships 10 years brings! While eMetrics is a fantastic resource for learning and education, I look back at that list and smile at the many friends I didn’t know then but now have come to enjoy so much. Thank you for this community you’ve created!
I am delighted. I am humbled. I am grateful.
Thank you, my friends. I look forward to seeing you at the next eMetrics Summit.
Every now and then, I get a phone call out of the blue....
OK, mostly I get an email out of the blue, asking for a time for a phone call, but sometimes they just call.
Telemarketers? Nope, just the opposite. They are people just like you who are curious about the eMetrics Summit.
Sure there's metric boatloads of info on the website
Videos (including one of me in my car - What was I thinking?)
A list of companies that have attended in the past
Testimonials from attendees
And my favorite: Funding Approval Success Tips
And sometimes, they just want to ask a human if the eMetrics Summit is right for them.
Now, of course, I would like everybody to come to the eMetrics Summit!
But I am much more interested in having everybody who comes to find it valuable. So I am careful in my recommendations.
"I'm a student and I can't afford it and I'm not sure if I'm interested in this industry."
You should come and check it out. A) We have a 50% discount for students. B) If you're serious and really will show up, we can trade a two- or three-day pass in exchange for volunteering.
"I'm an SEO / SEM person and don't know if this is going to help me."
It absolutely will help you. Search is just one of many data streams. The eMetrics Summit is all about analyzing multiple data streams. Nobody is an expert in all areas - so if you know lots and lots about search, you can learn how to integrate that data with all the other streams. And you might be just the right person to give a presentation to the rest of us about search analytics. Check out the Call for Speakers.
"I've done A/B split testing, multivariate testing, email remarketing, display retargeting, data visualization, social media sentiment analysis and much more. I've been at this for years. In fact, I am now in charge of a team of people who do those things. What the heck can I learn at this conference?"
1. The keynotes are major, name-brand companies with big budgets who are leading the charge. You'll learn what is troubling even the best and the brightest and find out how they are tackling those problems. where we are headed. They also share where they are headed next.
2. The eMetrics Strategy Track covers the gamut from marketing mix modeling to managing your career. Learn something to enhance your corporate analytics strategy. How do you optimizing your optimization program? How do you protect customer privacy? How about the art of meaningful scorecards and dashboards? You’ll also learn insights about career path options, hiring guidance and how to communicate insights better so you are more influential.
3. You'll get a lot out of the eMetrics Management Track because people and process are trickier than technology. Planning and implementing solid process management, explaining the niceties of online analytics to senior executives, how to build a cost effective, high value analytics team - these things are not found in the manual or the online help pages. These are people skills, you can learn from people.
"I love marketing , but I find math intimidating. Can I really get into this without a PHD in statistics? I was an English Major in college."
Yeah, me too - Shakespeare.
"We're a non-profit and have no money for conferences, tools, analysts, etc. But I really want to come and learn. Is that possible?"
See the above answer about volunteers and 50% off for students, non-profits and government.
Check out the Analysis Exchange before you do anything else!
Finally, if you want to ask a human if the eMetrics Summit is right for you, call me.
805-965-3184 x 4
(Weird fact: I've had that phone number since 1979)
I went Back to the Future and I'm here to report what I found.
It was Thursday, April 18, 2013, from 9:00 until 4:00 at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel in conjunction with the eMetrics Summit. It was the eMetrics Executive Roundtable and I learned three very important things.
I can tell you what I learned, but not from whom due to the Chatham House Rule:
When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the idenity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.
This was my third trip to the future in connection with online marketing and customer analytics. The first time was 2002 when I launched the first eMetrics Summit in Santa Barbara. The audience was the content, the conversation was mesmerizing and the future looked very bright indeed. There have been at least two (and lately eight) eMetrics Summits each year ever since. Sharp people doing smart things with data to improve the customer experience - and profitability, of course.
Seven years after launch, it was time for another foray into the unknown so I hosted another gathering of the initiated, resulting in 101 Things You Should Know; A Report from the eMetrics Analysis Symposium, Summer 2009.
But by 2013, things had changed so much, so fast, it was time to regroup and re-gather a smaller, more established, more accomplished set of individuals to take a peek over the horizon. The eMetrics Executive Roundtable included more than a dozen senior analytics types with real-world, hands-on, enterprise level customer experience experience. The topics on the table were: Where are we? What's the hard part? What's next?
The conversation ran from people to process to technology and the areas of concern were all predicted back in 2002:
- We have enough technology, we just aren't sure what to do with it.
- Wrangling new data types is the new normal so it's time to give up on technical perfection and focus on insight development and management.
- Corporate culture is crucial and change management is required. "Teaching people to fish" - to analyze data for themselves - is not as easy as hoped.
- We will always want to know which half of our advertising dollar is being wasted.
- The Internet democratizes brands. You stand for what the public says you stand for
- Finding and retaining the right people is a challenge.
The conversation brought forth many great snippets of advice for dealing with each of the above, but they were tactical and will be the subject of numerous blog posts to come. While valuable, none were as ground breaking as the three I things I actually learned this time.
1. You No Longer Need to Know the Question Before You Start Collecting Data
This resonated so deeply that it is still ringing in my ears. I was compelled to offer it up as a new definition for Big Data. The three V's are nice (Volume, Variety, Velocity) but everybody gets hung up on volume: How much do you need before you can call it Big? How much data does it take to change a light bulb?
The amount just doesn't matter. Whether it's Stéphane Hamel's, "That which no longer fits into Excel" or it's measured in petabytes, yottabytes or brontobytes, the quantity is immaterial. What matters is that we can afford to capture and mange more than we could before.
Classic database design says the first thing you do is, "Determine the purpose of your database." Then you can go out and organize the data that will answer your questions. And then divide the information into tables and columns with primary keys to uniquely identify each row, set up the table relationships, refine your design and apply normalization rules.
If you don't know the questions you want answered, you cannot get off the ground.
Why? Because in a world of limited resources (disk space and processing power), careful planning was central to allocating those resources.
When Hector was a pup, I sold business computers. Our regional professional organization started selling Cado computers, warmed up to Data General and finally graduated to selling IBM System 34's and 36's.
One day, the sales team was driven down to the local Prime Computer offices where we got a demo of the new machine we'd soon be selling: the Prime 850. This 32-bit bad boy was a multi-stream, parallel processing wonder with ultra-high density MOS memory packing 64k bits on a single chip and could support 128 terminals - at the same time. It was a smokin' hot machine.
After the chalk-talk about what parallel piping meant to number crunching, we actually got our hands on the actual device. Well, OK, we got to look on as our host sat in front of an amber screen, paused at the command prompt said, "Watch this. I'm going to ask for the phone numbers of all our customers who have purchased 550's, 650's or 750's in the Southwest whose maintenance contracts are about to expire. It's as simple and as fast as this...!"
We all murmured our admiration that he would try such a query on a multi-terminal machine. Such confidence. Such raw power!
And then we waited.
After five minutes - which is an interminably long time when you don't know whether you should still be impressed or not - he got up and left the room with a cloud over his head.
After another five minutes he returned and explained that a new secretary had been asked to look up a phone number ... and she did ... on her terminal ... at the command prompt ... inarticulately querying seven databases at the same time and bringing the machine to its knees.
The demo was not nearly as impressive after that.
Today, with dirt-cheap storage and distributed computing on clusters of computers, the resources are not nearly so limited and the ability to pre-process unstructured data into structured data - fit for online analytical processing - is at hand.
As a result, potentially interesting data can be collected at will until such time as somebody comes up with the question du jour. Data collection is now a matter of course and we can really focus our attention of asking better questions more often.
2. The Website is No Longer an Oddity
In the beginning, the corporate website was a skunk-works project that a couple of guys in IT played with. Later, marketing discovered it and a small group of marketing and technical people kept it going because it was so cool.
When it started costing real money, management tried to find the right home for it. Large retailers did their best to ignore the whole thing until stores started to complain that these nerds were sucking up resources and cannibalizing sales. New silos of customer experience and behavioral data were born along with new political rivalries.
In 1995 I was brought in to explain the World Wide Web to a group or marketing executives at Sears. I told them that they would be soon selling everything online. There was outright laughter in the room. In an avuncular fashion, my host gently informed me that the current CEO was doing just fine even after killing the iconic Sears Catalog. They were done selling through the mail and would stick with stores.
I was crushed. Not that my ideas were wrong. Oh no, I was much too arrogant for that. I was crushed that I could not get them to see the obvious truth, right in front of their eyes.
One member of the audience that day was a consultant with IBM who asked me to participate in a three day brain storming session with Lowes so I could explain the vision. That meeting only had about twenty people in it so there was an actual conversation.
The team at Lowes got it. They were excited about online customer service and sales and advertising. But they faced a serious political problem - they were in competition with their own stores. I explained that the Internet was the same as the telephone. It was just a tool that could be used to aid in marketing and sales. It didn't have to compete.
Snap-On Tools, State Farm Insurance, Johnson & Johnson - everywhere I went, they wouldn't tolerate channel conflict and I kept begging them to see that the Internet did not have to conflict but could support and enhance communication with their customers.
Q: How long would it take for these people to figure it out?
A: About twenty years.
A decade ago, large retailers (some sooner than others) granted the company website full status as a store. It would get the same resources as any other store that was selling as much. That was new; a recognition that the Internet was not a fad and that the people working on the World Wide Web were not 'playing' with computers. Ecommerce was real commerce.
At the eMetrics Executive Roundtable, I heard a very forward-thinking company make a statement that I had expected to have come true much sooner. But when a participant from another large retailer on the other side of the table said, "Yes, we're doing that too," it rang that resonating bell that said this is a major sea change - a shift in thinking that comes from maturity.
"We're not an independent store. We're not doing ecommerce. We are part of the infrastructure. We're a service organization. It's a little more complicated than just ZIP codes, but when a sale is made online, the local store gets the credit."
That's what I had been trying to get others to understand.
Buy it here, buy it now, or let me order it for you online and we'll ship it to you.
Please see our huge selection on our website.
Buy it now and pick it up in the store this afternoon.
Buy it on your phone, return it in the store.
It all seemed so obvious in 1995.
3. Transparency Wins
Full disclosure: This part was something I learned from a break-out session at the eMetrics Summit and not in the Executive Roundtable. I suspect this is a little too forward thinking at this point and it may only be an instance, rather than the proof in the pudding.
I wrote about some previous resonating moments from Emetrics Summits past in my recent article Profitable Newspaper: Hold the Presses! I mentioned them in a run-up to the current rendition: Joseph Gordon of the San Diego Union-Tribune told how they had become profitable by using analytics to become transparent in their product development and in their selling of ad space.
The condensed version of that article goes like this: Authors (and management) see a daily dashboard that compares the traffic and engagement each one of them ignites. Journalists who have been on staff for decades are competing with those who were hired last week. Their editorial staff remains vigilant that standards are kept high. After all, if you run multivariate testing to its logical extreme, you get porn and the Sand Diego UT is on the opposite end of that spectrum.
Further, the newspaper owns a local cable channel and their advertisers see all the stats on impressions, time on site, clickthroughs, etc., which all get correlated to the Nielsen overnights and to the ads seen on the web by the same individuals.
There is a sense of "information wants to be free" at work here and "transparency breeds confidence" at work here. People do not want to know how the sausage is made, but they do want to know whether or not and how much horse meat is in it.
Trust your employees to make better products when they can see your customers' response. Trust your advertisers to be happier to work with you and spend more money when they can see the direct results of their expenditures.
Yes, this all sounds very far-fetched but as Wired Magazine celebrates its 20th birthday, it's good to know that some people, somewhere, are wringing value out of these principles. Or, as William Gibson likes to say, the future is already here - it's just not evenly distributed.
So those are my three big takeaways the eMetrics Executive Roundtable. Maybe you'll be at the next one and we can compare notes.
Oh, and here's a bonus thought, aspirational perhaps, but altogether hoped for: When privacy laws are enacted, one of the potential benefits will be forcing companies to finally create systems around customer data rather than living in transactional, accounting, behavioral or attitudinal silos.
One can hope.
Ted McDonald - I'm Calling You Out
Once upon a time, there was a Marketing Analytics Manager at Verisign named Ted McDonald who had everything; a great career, a happy set of triplets whom he hopes will play the ukulele someday. But he made one tragic miscalculation... He appeared in Emer Kirrane's Silly Series of analytics interviews wearing this shirt:
It took me years to track down this wearer of copyright infringement. I hunted high and low and finally came across him at the eMetrics Summit in Toronto in March of 2013.
It was, in fact, at the Web Analytics Wednesday associated with eMetrics and there, I was able to begin exacting my revenge.
So be warned and beware... Should you or anybody you know decide it would be wise to sport an article of clothing with my image, know that I will not take it lying down.
You want proof do you?
Take THAT Ted McDonald!
Yeah, that's right.
Tha's what I'M talkin' 'bout
(Translation: This is of which I am speaking)
And for good measure, I'm getting all recursive with your face:
You think you've got game?
The next eMetrics Summit is in San Francisco April 14 - 18
Your Name In Northern Lights
New Marketing Medium Announced
Company Slogans in the Skies Before the End of the Year
SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA 4/1/13 - Scientists have announced a new method of using the Northern Lights as a display for advertising. This latest development on the marketing front has large companies scrambling to be the first to sign up with a new service being offered by Target Marketing of Santa Barbara.
“It’s essentially a breakthrough in ionospheric and magnetospheric physics,” says Jim Sterne of Target Marketing. “Years ago, original studies had been focused on the use of low frequency signals to communicate with space probes across vast distances, and now the Internet gives us a large enough platform to control the Northern Lights.”
Computer models generated back in the early 1980s indicated that a blanket of loosely woven copper wire spread over a huge area could generate controlled pulses. The intent was communication with spacecraft that had left the solar system. Low-frequency communication has long been used to communicate with submarines far out at sea. It was deemed impractical at the time, however, to construct such a system due to its enormous cost. Today the Internet backbone provides the platform, and the characteristics of modern routers and switches provide the controls.
The clock rates of modern chips and the use of interference pattern techniques can generate over-clocked signals in the 400 to 500 GHz range. These signals interact with the Ionosphere and can be tuned to cause alterations in Northern Lights contours. Target Marketing plans to display the first commercial messages in Northern Lights within the year and the announcement has started a bidding war among several corporations.
Target Marketing is in discussions with product development executives at Hortonworks to create the first holographic in-memory databases above The Cloud.
Contact: Jim Sterne <email@example.com>
You think you've got analytics problems?
In the middle of February, 2012, I reviewed some analytics dilemmas from 2005 in an article entitled Analytics Problems Won't Die.
In that article, I discussed the problems we had solved, including:
The numbers don't match and we're over it. Different tools measure differently. The end.
The Internet is considered an important part of the marketing mix and brand recognition measurement is par for the course - especially with the advent of social media.
We finally have dashboards (although they are becoming less useful)
We have analytics roles and responsibilities.
We know how much data to keep (All of it!)
I also discussed problems that refused to go away and that's why the article came to mind last week. At the eMetrics Summit in Toronto, we did another Roundtable Discussion on our top-most problems.
Here's the list that came from Canada:
Need a common key to master multiple channels
This was reiterated a number of ways including synching online and offline. The solution? Figure out a way to incentivize people enough to opt in. I want to log into Amazon on every device I own. Can you make me want to log in to your car wash web site, app and when I drive in?
Too many tools
This used to be too much data but now that Big Data is all the rage, we are embracing the surge rather than shunning the deluge. however, the need to master more and more tools to accommodate the wider variety of data types is fiscally, mentally and integration-ally taxing. The implementation and training are wearing us down. The issue is one of prioritization... and good luck with that.
The "half my dollar is wasted" problem is not going away. However, I saw several presentations at eMetrics that gave me hope. Moen is doing some very interesting work with Critical Mass, identifying the drivers of different stages of the buying cycle. They're taking a more marketing mix modeling approach that has real merit. Ross Jenkins showed a very interesting approach that big pharma is using to nail down the impact their online efforts are having on branded prescription requests in the doctor's office. Attribution remains a troubling problem for those with limited resources.
The runner-up for the Most Common Problem:
How do I get my boss to understand the value of analytics?
How do I get buy-in from those for whom the insights are created?
How do I explain that data collection by itself is not enough?
How do I stay up to date in this ever-changing landscape?
What KPI's should I be looking at today??
But the clear winner these days:
Finding qualified, experienced and talented people
This was the subject of our last keynote panel at the eMetrics Summit in Toronto and the options were slim. Jennifer van Amerom from IQ PARTNERS makes a living helping people with this. Marco Bailetti at Franklin Templeton Investments declared he has six open requisitions at the moment and hires based on personality first and technical rigor second. (If you can't be a change agent, all of your truly wonderful analytics work is going nowhere if you can't champion it.) Angie Brown from IBM confirmed that it really is who you know. That's why social media is so popular: If somebody you know can recommend somebody....
While these problems seem perennial, the eMetrics Summit continues to bring hundreds of people together to actively share and learn how to conquer them. The next one is in San Francisco, April 14 - 18. Maybe you should come - we could sure use the help.
Linked In - you are just too funny
Is the Pope Catholic?
Did the little piggy cry "wee wee wee" all the way home?
Do woodchucks chuck wood?
Does it take two to tango?
Is the pen mightier than the sword?
Does a rolling stone gather no moss?
If a tree falls in the woods when nobody is around, does it still make a noise?
Do these pants make me look phat?
If you don't know these people or why I find this SO funny,
you should definitely come to the eMetrics Summit in San Francisco
Sometimes the numbers just go up and down.
This was one of the main points made by Michael Blastland in his keynote at the eMetrics Summit in London last month.
Michael is the author of The Tiger That Isn't (http://www.amazon.com/Tiger-That-Isnt-Michael-Blastland/dp/1861978391/), a book about how there are lies, damned lies and statistics.
Given our human propensity for storytelling, we are desperate to makes sense out of chaos and to bend data to our will. We are drenched in mental traps created out a variety of biases that are all too human. I delved into this in an article for ClickZ called Don't Believe Everything You Think (http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2076211/dont-believe).
But Blastland's point was even simpler. Sometimes numbers just go up and down.
Like waves, there are natural peaks and troughs. This is one of those few places where averages are actually useful. On average, waves are higher in the winter than in the summer. On average, the wind picks up in the afternoon. On average, you are more likely to get into a car crash within 5 miles of your home.
But how you measure your averages is crucial.
Blastland's excellent example was with the wonderful job that traffic cameras have done in lowering fatalities on UK roads.
He had members of the eMetrics audience roll one die twice, and add up the numbers. He then asked for a show of hands for those who had high scores (12, 11 and 10) and those who had low scores (2, 3 and 4). As you would expect, most people fell into the middle.
Blastland then showed a photo of a traffic camera and asked the few people who had high scores (Tragic Deaths On The Highway!) to roll again. As you might assume, their scores were dramatically lower than the first time.
Ah-HAH! was Blastland's response. Just a photo of a traffic camera was enough to lower the death rates significantly!
Then he explained that the UK Department for Transport had fallen for a similar statistical slipup when they:
1. Identified roads where an unusually large number of traffic fatalities had accrued.
2. Set up traffic cameras on those stretches of roads.
3. Took great glee in reporting how successful their program was in lowering fatalities.
Sometimes the numbers just go up and down.
When you measure the peaks of waves at specific locations, blow pixie dust in the air, then measure the exact same location, you might think that the pixie dust has dramatically lowered the average height of the water and invest heavily in more pixie dust.
A Department for Transport press release stated: "Deaths and serious injuries fell by 35% on roads where speed cameras have been in operation, the transport secretary, Alistair Darling, announced today. He said: 'The report clearly shows speed cameras are working. Speeds are down and so are deaths and injuries ... This means that more lives can be saved and more injuries avoided.'"
That was in 2003. It took three years for Blastland to convince the DfT that they may want to reexamine their findings and they finally conceded and dropped their effectiveness claim. Bottom line? The money could have been spent better elsewhere.
So when you're looking over your A/B split tests, your multivariate tests and your attribution regression testing, remember that thing about correlation and causation.
Sometimes the numbers just go up and down.
Up early and feeling refreshed.
Morning run, feeling self-righteous.
Play with the puppies over breakfast, feeling cheerful.
Into work early – more self-righteousness.
Quick check of a handful of Tweeters I follow and
it starts to dawn on me:
It may be Tuesday, but the Universe has decided
it’s going to be another Monday.
First up: Eric Peterson follows up with his “social media is like coffee” conversation with Tim O’Reilly and Charlene Li:
OK – we classify this under Sh#t Happens and figure Eric will report when he’s done cursing the gods of WordPress.
On to Avinash Kaushik’s #rant:
I read his post with sympathy and the comments with a knowing nod and feel compelled to post a link to the Internet Explorer vs. Murder Rate data visualization joke with some witty comment about how maybe in this case, there is causation and Google Maps should post the locations of people trying to install Win 7 SP1 so we can avoid those areas.
But I can’t.
The short version is that I have recently moved my email hosting to Google’s Gmail and there’s this awkward week of transferring data between conflicting accounts that means I cannot log into Google Plus until further notice. (grumble, grumble, grumble)
So – machines and humans are not going to get along today.
But then, I come across something that compels me to post.
Yes, that’s right, all of the above was just preamble. Now we get to the heart of the thing.
It starts with this tweet:
As with the above, this is a convergence of people I respect. I’ve known Matthias for years and seriously admire his enthusiasm and deep understanding of the practical side of analytics. He understands the technology and the politics. Matthias is now working at Semphonicwhich is Gary Angel’s firm and has always been top notch. I have also known Celebrus for donkey’s years, back when they were Speed-Trap with some seriously interesting technology.
I got Malcolm Duckett to bring me up to speed once the Celebrus logo was flying high and I was duly impressed. This was analytics taken to its logical extreme, empowering the automation of marketing. Nicely done.
But that was more than a year ago and lots can change in a year. So if Semphonic has undertaken the effort to explain what Celebrus is up to these days, I want to know.
And this is where my tale of woe hits the bubble-over point.
I click on the link in the tweet
I arrive at the landing page
I scratch my head
I read more
I read again
Let us not take this from the top of the page, but from the top-of-mind.
“When Web Analytics Marries Database Marketing” Joint White Paper with Semphonic Inc
OK – I’m on the right page. Good.
I am ready to download…. but first, I need to give them my email, name, company and country. Fine Fair trade. I’m used to it.
The eye is drawn to those immortal words in the middle of the second paragraph: “click here”.
Click here to what? Now it’s my job to scan the text on either side to figure out why I should click.
firstly please click here to go to the collection management page
Hmmmmm…. I don’t really understand. Shouldn’t I just fill out the form and be done with it? OK, OK, Let me read the whole sentence and see if it makes more sense.
If you are not opted-in and want to download a white paper, firstly please click here to go to the collection management page and opt in.
Uhm… won’t I “be opted in” if I just fill out the little form on the right?
OK… let’s go for the whole paragraph, shall we?
We ask that you please register with us in order to receive our white papers.
Fair enough – that’s what the little form is for, yes?
Please complete and submit the contact form on the right of this page.
Right – just as I thought.
You will then receive an email to the address given containing a link leading you to the page where you can download the document.
That’s all pretty standard and why are you wasting my time with the obvious?
If you are opted-in and do not clear your cookies you will only need to do this once as the Celebrus software will remember you when you return.
If I am opted in but do not clear my cookies? Yes! Of course!
That’s how cookies work. Great, you will remember me. Terrific.
If you are not opted-in and want to download a white paper, firstly please click here to go to the collection management page and opt in.
And how am I to know whether I am opted in or not?
Once you have opted in you can register on this page and then access the whitepaper. Thank you and happy reading!
So the little form on the right is a ruse. You need me to go to adifferent landing page and then come back here and then fill out the little form?
This is not going to end well. I can tell already that I am facing the opening to a rabbit hole from which I may never find my way back to the white paper.
But wait… for reasons unknown…. my eye is drawn to the very top of the page. Up there one is all but commanded to ignore. First, it’s waaay up top, above the company logo. Next, it’s in a colored box. That means it’s a header with no information. Probably just there for SEO purposes. Next. the colors are black text on a dark gray background. These are the primary do-not-read-me choices. Lastly, it’s labeled:
Cookies and Privacy
Nothing to see here… move along.
You are currently opted in.
I am… wait… What?
We are optimising this site for you based on your behaviour in the site and we will use data we collect to communicate with you as part of this process when this is appropriate.
My mind is whirling. My temples are pounding.
And then I read the very least important thing on the page.
I read the paragraph just under the big title and the paragraph with the “click here” imperative in it. I’m referring to the paragraph that is displayed in light gray text on a white background. The most ignore-me-please combination possible:
This joint white paper between Semphonic Inc. and Celebrus Technologies looks at: the morphing of web analytics into digital analytics; the importance of individual data in database marketing; the reasons for these two disciplines to marry; the value that organisations are already achieving with this new approach.
And then my head explodes.
[Later, after reassembly and mopping up]
If I am reading this right, I need merely fill out the little form on the right.
As I would have done, had I not been flummoxed by text that the database should have known not to show me.
Let’s try that… and hit Submit and… my data disappears … but I am reassured by:
Check In Box.
Tick…. tick…. tick….
Check In Box.
Tick…. tick…. tick….
Check In Box.
Tick…. tick…. tick….
While I’m waiting, I see an email from Jeff Zwelling, CEO of Convertro. I click on the link and hit this landing page:
I fill out the form and get this:
I Alt-Tab over to my In Box and see this:
Thank you for requesting our white paper ‘advantages of
customer path attribution’
You can download this from our website using the link below:
And now, I have something to read while I wait for an email from Celebrus.
And, in the meantime, Eric Peterson’s post about social media as coffee has appeared.
More good reading.
Maybe it’ll become Tuesday after lunch…
I had the pleasure of touring Eastern Canada last week. Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa decided it was time to punish me for living in Santa Barbara. Oh, it was beautiful and the skies were clear and the sun was bright but it was a bit chilly. The temperature even sounded cold … even in Fahrenheit. Minus six degrees sounds coooold. And in Celsius? -22. I have a screen shot to prove it. That’s when things go from bracing to dangerous.
Therefore, I would like to send out special thanks to Nicholas Bennett, VP, Product Development at Napkyn for finding my (only) winter coat in the back of the back coat closet at the Empire Grill in Ottawa after I had given it up for stolen. Not possible! said my cohort of locals and Nicholas went back to look one more time. Nicholas, many thanks. My Pandora baseball cap in the pocket is a prized possession.
The most fun I had in my whirl-wind #eMetrics tour (next to giving presentations, which I love), was handing out free tickets to the eMetrics Summit in Toronto to three lucky winners. It’s great to see their eyes light up but I wanted to know more about them.
Allow me to introduce Natalia Bogatirev and Michelle Gosselin to the#measure community.
Natalia Bogatirev is an Oracle database developer for Pythian. She is also a 4th year student at the University of Ottawa in the B.Comm program with a Management Information Systems specialization. She had read about the eMetrics Summit and signed up for the event in Ottawa to see if it was interesting enough to make a career as a data analyst.
Now that she has a ticket to the eMetrics Summit, she’s interested in learning about new trends in the field, meet and talk with experts in the field of data analysis and learn from their experience and get a better understanding of the career path of a data analyst.
Natalia told me that she is most interested in seeing sessions on Big Data and learning how behavioral analysis can help create a better customer experience and a better business strategy. If you see Natalia in Toronto, say hello!
Michelle Gosselin has spent the last year as an independent business intelligence consultant specializing in mobile analytics – and working exclusively for the newspaper La Presse. This is after she spend almost six years at Mediagrif as a Senior Business Analyst and Web Analytics Specialist.
Like most people, Michelle is looking forward to the eMetrics Summit where she can learn, make connections and come back with new ideas she can apply directly to her daily tactics and help her ensure her overall strategy is on the mark.
When I asked Michelle what interested her most on the eMetrics Summit agenda, she said she made note of the Privacy, Cookies and Analytics: A Hot Mess You Can’t Ignore session, especially since privacy is being impacted by (another session that got her attention) Big Data: What It Means for the Future of the Digital Analyst. Since she has a Master’s in Business Intelligence, a certificate in Web Analytics from UBC and has worked in both fields, she is always looking for ideas about how all of the above merge in the world of mobile.
Michelle is also interested in the session called, Analytics in Real Life which is described as, “Successfully bringing analytics programs to life involves much more than just buying and implementing tools.”
If you want to know more about the intricate workings of publishing on mobile, be sure to stop Michelle in the hallway and pepper her with questions.
It is with regret that I have been unable to connect with our third winning. Hank – or Henk – who won at the eMetrics / SIP event in Toronto… email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) call me (805-965-3184 x4) or tweet me (@jimsterne) so I can make sure you get yours!!
I was grateful for the warmer weather in San Diego this week made possible by Tealium at their user group meeting and look forward to the not as warm as Southern California but definitely not as cold as Eastern Canada nextweek when I head out to the Econsultancy JUMP event. Maybe I’ll run into some of you there?
If not, be sure to mark your calendars for the eMetrics Summit in Toronto, and the eMetrics Summit in San Francisco. You never know whom you might meet!