Tuesday, July 22, 2008

At Omniture it's Academic

Bravo to Omniture for its academic initiative to get college students trained in Web analytics. There is currently a dearth of qualified Web analysts on the market as indicated by the nearly 1,500 open Web Analytics job requirements listed on Monster.com.

By enabling students to gain hands on experience with today’s leading tools, we’re sure to see a new crop of practitioners with fresh ideas and innovative tactics. It’s good to see that Analytics University is still alive and well.

Marketing on Nostradamus’ Tightrope

Threads from the OMMA conference on Behavioral Targeting are beginning to leak into the news and indicate that BT is looking very promising as a mainstream advertising tactic. Although the conference was a bit niche to justify my travel, I’m watching from afar. Despite that advertising falls outside of my direct research coverage area, the Behavioral Targeting wave extends to site operations as well so I have a vested interest. And, the advertising world, with their deep pockets and liberal creative, often serve as a bellwether for on-site tactics.

Dave Morgan, former CEO of Tacoda, forecast that the Behavioral Targeting market will grow from $700 million in 2007 to almost $10 billion by 2012. Of course, he’s betting on the evolution on IPTV to weigh in on the BT game and sink some serious cash into the biz.

I love this one from Dave Martin, Director of interactive media for Ignited…”It’s only going to get creepier”. He’s predicting pushed outdoor ads for everyone based on RFID chips embedded within credit cards.

While I’m a huge fan of targeting, the show stopper for these technologies is consumer privacy. My research shows that consumers do want some targeted ads, but there’s still a strong undercurrent of “not on my computer you don’t” among the masses. You’ve heard me riff on relevance, context and opt-in before, so I’ll save you the recall…but IMHO that’s where targeting is at.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It’s not the Tools, It’s the Craftsman

It turns out that IndexTools does have nearly 80 percent of Omniture’s standard off-the-shelf functionality (77 percent to be exact). Yet, so does almost everyone else. Google Analytics has 64 percent of the standard features (excludes premium and custom features) offered by Omniture. And Coremetrics, Unica and WebTrends all deliver more standard features out of the box than Omniture. Our recently published Web Analytics Buyer’s Guide reveals that the functionality gap between Web analytics tools is narrow and differentiators will surface in flexibility and data integration capabilities. Only one-third of analytics clients surveyed listed standard features and functionality as a priority when selecting vendors. Flexibility of reporting, ability to service business needs and accuracy of information all outweigh features in the buying deliberation process.

As far as tools go, there’s not a huge difference in the tools that a carpenter would pull together to frame a house and the set that my three year old uses. He’s got a hammer, tape measure, level and a saw and walks around with them in a backpack like he’s ready to conquer the world. Despite the fact that these plastic tools will only get him so far in framing out a new house, they represent all the necessary components to do so. Yet, even with equivalent tools we all know that while one carpenter may be capable of building a magnificent abode, another might struggle with a birdhouse. Thus, today’s tools have less to do with how far an organization can go with Web analytics because other factors have significantly more impact. The ability to leverage data through unlimited segmentation, blended analysis, and capture/reporting of custom elements is becoming increasingly important as web analysts grow more sophisticated. Further, the ability to integrate multiple data sources into an analytics solution to obtain a holistic picture of business performance is a differentiating factor for data-driven organizations. Solutions that are leading the enterprise-class constellation from Omniture, Coremetrics and Unica are facilitating these complex tasks. And the others are not too far behind.

I’d like to congratulate all of the leaders in this year’s enterprise and SMB constellations and give a hearty thanks to all who participated. This report was about five months in the making and required significant help and cooperation from numerous individuals. One thing I realized in the process is that there is an analytics vendor out there for every business. I demo’ed some great tools and each one of them had at least one eye-opening quality demonstrating true innovation. Yet, attempting to definitively state which is best in the market requires understanding the unique needs of an organization. JupiterResearch reports (especially Buyer's Guides), are meant to initiate dialogue between analysts and our clients. While the report stands on its own, it is meant to be directional in nature and the insight that clients receive by understanding the content with respect to their unique businesses is invaluable. Thus, I welcome any questions or inquiries if you’d like to learn more about the method behind the report or how it applies to your business.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Relaxed & Recharged

There’s nothing like a week at the beach to recharge the intellectual batteries. Although gone are the days of chilling with a good book while the gentle waves lap my feet. Now, it’s all about chasing kids, skim boarding and building sandcastles. However, I’m feeling fully refreshed after some good family fun, several great fishing trips (including one epic day with a 35” striper on the flyrod), and just generally taking it easy. Ahhh…summertime.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Widespread Panic, Boston - 7/10/08

So, I'll fill you in on a little known fun fact... I have a penchant for live music. Especially Jam Bands. Widespread riped it up tonight. Certainly the best touring jam band of this time. David Schools held it down with an insane base line that cemented the groove to the floor, while Jimmy took to noodling on the high end with some twisty riffs. In between, there was a cacouphony of brilliance that JB wandered through as if he knew exactly where he was going. A truely remarkable performance.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Resurgence of Searchandising Lingo

I stumbled across several citations of the term “searchandising” recently, indicating that this term is rearing its head once again.

Here’s a June 30th quote from an SLI-Systems press release: "We're pleased that the new console provides us the tools needed to match our customers' needs with our business goals through more flexible 'searchandising'."

Earlier in June, several mainstream news sites including CNN Money, DM News and Click Z picked up on a multi-vendor PR push featuring Overstock that announced: “Omniture, Inc. (NASDAQ: OMTR), Bazaarvoice and Mercado today announced that Overstock.com is using integrated solutions from the three companies through Omniture Genesis to employ a strategy called "searchandising" -- the utilizing of on-site search terms, user-generated product reviews and analytics to optimize product merchandising and relevance.”

Coincidentally, I just spoke with Geoff Atkinson of Overstock, who upon prompting, commented that they started integrating data from all three sources to remove as much guess work as possible from their merchandising tactics. Their ultimate goal is to automate the process and dynamically generate as much content as possible. He went on to say that all three vendors are great partners for Overstock and have never said no to any of their ideas, allowing them to pioneer new opportunities.
Finally, an interview with the eCommerce Director of Vermont Teddy Bear in early June 2008 also featured use of searchandising in paraphrase format by eM+c Magazine: “Since deploying SLI Systems [the searchandising solution provider Vermont Teddy Bear chose for its site], we have seen an increase in traffic to all three of our sites and have improved customer service because site visitors can now easily find what they're looking for.”

I published the term back in March of 2007 in an eCommerce Times article and was issued a friendly cease and desist letter from Offermatica that turned out not to hold water. Despite the fact that my article still ranks highest on Google's SERP for the keyword “searchandising", it appears that Mercado filed for a trademark on the buzzy little term on July 9th, 2007.

So, is the term “searchandizing” just more marketing-speak or does the term resonate with you?