The Multichannel Analytics Team?
Several macro-level catalysts are necessitating the shift to a multichannel approach to data collection and analysis. The ongoing mainstreaming of the Internet channel for enabling commerce, conversation, and relationship marketing is certainly pushing this movement. The burgeoning set of analytics tools that integrate with other technologies to enable event detection and trigger a customer-specific response is also promoting change in the way companies think about connecting offline and online data to improve overall business performance.
If database marketers and Web analysts are evolving into a new type of team, then what roles are necessary on this new multichannel team? Here are a few:
· Web Analyst. The overall Web analytics professional has a deep understanding of the Web channel. This person uses a Web analytics tool to understand the performance of site traffic, online marketing campaigns, and to segment Web data in order to understand how visitors referred from certain channels navigate (or don't) through the site. They understand, measure, and report whether the site is fulfilling its purpose for conversion, task completion, and other KPIs when compared to business goals.
· Site Optimizer. A niche type of Web analytics professional, the site optimizer is in charge of determining the right approach for configuring and reporting the results for AB (champion/challenger) and multivariate tests. This person is all about testing components of site and page design to yield the best combination of elements that provides a lift in a particular metric against a goal, such as conversion rate. Content targeting may also fall under this person.
· Social Metrician. Another niche type of Web analytics professional, the social media measurer is concerned about the performance of customer touchpoints outside of the main Web site. He or she collects, monitors, and analyzes data related to things that happen "out there, on the Internet," such as syndicated video, mobile, widgets, blogs, social networks, and other social media.
· Database Marketer. The traditional offline analyst and database miner. This role analyzes data from channels that are not online but may reference and promote online interaction, such as television, radio, print, catalogs, and direct mail. Of course, these analytics skills can be applied to online data as well!
· Search Analyst. The analytics professional in charge of keyword identification/selection, keyword management, bidding, and analyzing the outcomes of search. He or she may be in charge of analyzing site performance against known SEO goals too, not just SEM.
· Market Researcher. The traditional market researcher gathers, analyzes, and reports data about the overall market, key competitors, and customers.
· Qualitative Analyst. Part market researcher and part analyst, this individual is in charge of online customer and visitor surveying, relating customer feedback and visitor opinions to the context of on-site behavior to help deduce "why" people did something on your site.
· Ad Analyst. Solely dedicated to assessing the performance of advertising campaigns, the ad analyst assesses and educates clients on ad campaign performance both online and offline.
· Audience Measurer. The wielder of an audience measurement tool informs competitive decisions, influences media plans, and provides benchmarking and competitive data to give context to other data analysis activities, such as keyword bidding or media buying.
How would these professionals all work together? The market researcher's data is used to help craft a customer-focused and competitively differentiated campaign strategy. The audience measurer provides data that focuses the strategy on the right online demographics and sites, while the database marketer mines historic data to figure out the best-performing offline tactics for the identified demographics.
Let's say a mix of search, social media, and online and offline display ads are selected as part of the campaign. The search analyst concentrates on SEO/SEM, while the ad analyst tracks the performance of display ads. The social metrician examines the social media ecosystem's response to the campaign. The Web analyst analyzes how campaign-referred visitors behave and navigate through the site, taking into account the context of the qualitative analyst's voice-of-customer data. Meanwhile, the site optimizer tests landing pages and funnels to ensure they effectively convert visitors and fulfill business goals.
For many companies, it would be unrealistic and perhaps impossible find and hire people to fill each of the roles I've presented above. In fact, in most companies these roles and activities are completed by only a few people, if at all. An option for companies that seek to expand or combine teams is to look at consultants, contract workers, and full-time equivalents allocated across multiple people.
That said, companies that are unable to bridge together online and offline analytics teams will miss important data points. In the digital future, we'll see different types of analytics professionals working together across channels to yield profitable insights that support campaign and business goals.