On the other hand, working through these challenges can pay huge dividends. Take Designer Linens Outlet, which credits rigorous analysis of customer Web site behavior—and subsequent Web optimization—with cutting marketing dollars spent versus money brought in by 25%.
Software company Symantec Corp. has begun correlating data from its Web site, e-mail and other avenues not only to reveal trends in customer activity but to better target its online media buys, often in real time. Cisco Systems has turned to behavioral analytics to better segment its Web audience based on what they do on the Cisco Web site, a technique that ultimately influences that behavior. IT reseller RADirect Inc. used analytics as a core part of its program to add video and other Web 2.0 elements to its Web site, using analytics feedback to optimize video placement on its pages as well as decide to distribute its video to third-party sites such as YouTube.
What all of those efforts have in common is that they use Web analytics along with various other marketing data to get a more complete, and actionable, understanding of a particular customer.
“If you only care about how many people are coming to your Web site, that's a thing of the past,” said Jim Sterne, president of Target Marketing and founding president of the Web Analytics Association. “Today, it's "What does user behavior look like on my Web site?' Tomorrow, it will be about matching behavioral data of online customers with offline phone, call center and mobile phone interactions. What do I know about my customer and how can I profile them? That's the holistic picture.” M