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The end of Web analysts

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As an avid Internet marketer, I continue to be amazed by the occurrence of discussions that focus more on how to boost Web analytic capabilities and less on figuring out what those numbers mean or, even worse, how to profit from them. Anyone charged with creating and executing online marketing campaigns can't do so effectively without understanding what their audiences seek and how best to communicate and deliver that information to produce desired responses. In short, analyzing user behavior is an all-hands effort. Online marketers must recognize that they are business managers, and they must thoroughly understand the business' goals in quantifiable terms. Only then can those responsible for these initiatives create tailored messaging for each audience segment. For a campaign to reach its full potential, online marketers must understand the interdependencies of each stakeholder group—such as decision-makers, influencers and end-users. In addition, they need a clear understanding of the business' value proposition and how their products and services can solve specific problems or address needs. In addition, marketers need to engage these audiences, who, in a Web 2.0 world, have come to expect two-way conversations. What that means is that a failure to extract and understand Web analytics is no longer acceptable. Furthermore, waiting for someone else to decipher the numbers will cost more than its worth in terms of generating an acceptable campaign ROI. Any promotion initiative will require slight tactical changes and the ability to respond quickly, while waiting for a so-called “analytics expert” could mean the difference between a promotion's success and failure. I propose that Internet marketing agencies and internal departments do away with the job title “Web analyst” and instead take time to establish and conduct cross-training programs with all personnel to help them understand what the figures mean and how best to use them in order to meet or exceed a campaign's stated objectives. In the end, marketing departments will have a much easier time showing a quantifiable return for the investments made. Charles Wiedenhoft is director of business planning and optimization at Red Door Interactive. He can be reached at cwiedenhoft@reddoor.biz.
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