eMetrics San Francisco 2013 Wrap-Up
This month the Analytics Demystified team travelled to San Francisco for the eMetrics Marketing & Optimisation Summit. Here are a few of the things that emerged for me from the event.
Communication is critical
When hiring: Communication is a truly critical skill for analysts. Balaji Bram from Walmart recommends looking for digital analytics talent that can recommend and influence others.
When communicating analytics results: Raise it up a level. Ask yourself – how would I tell my boss’s boss what we’re trying to achieve and what our results were? –Tim Wilson. As Ned Kumar put it, “Executives don’t care what you did [aka, your methodology.] They care about what they should do [what actions they should take.]” And perhaps putting it best: Ian Lurie – “Data no one understands is just ink. Ink gets FIRED.” And remember: “Being right without being understood is meaningless.”
With great power comes great responsibility: While analysts may feel they don’t have much power (after all, they may not be the ones who make or execute on decisions), Ian Lurie cautioned: “As the people who present data, we have a lot of power over the decisions other people make. Don’t cheat!”
The nature of social
For the last few years, social has been the “shiny object” marketers have gone after, without necessarily having concrete goals or even reasons. Finally it seems like we are starting to get it: “Don’t build a strategy around a social channel. Build a strategy, and see what channel fits with it.” –John Lovett
After all, social isn’t a channel, a platform, or even a toolset. It is a capability. It’s what allows us to act, but in and of itself, is not goal. Perhaps one of the most apt analogies: “Social is like a telephone. It’s not the end goal, it’s merely an enabler.” –John Lovett
On the client side, Vail Resorts has taken great strides in the past few years with their Epic Mix app, which incorporates in-mountain data with social media sharing. However, Vail hasn’t reinvited the wheel or forced a social experience. Rather, their customers have been telling stories of their trips for years. Social is what they have always done, and it’s just the channels and the integrations that have changed. –Nancy Koons
Working with stakeholders
One anecdote I loved was Nancy Koons‘, who shared Vail’s internal “tweet your face off” competition. Apart from a friendly competition to see who could refer the most traffic and reservations, a big benefit was that their marketers got really good at campaign tracking! After all, if you are incentivised based on a metric, there’s suddenly much more interest in measuring it properly!
In setting expectations, Tim Wilson recommends that rather than asking a client or stakeholder what their KPIs are, analysts need to ask the “magic questions” that lead to the KPIs. “What are we trying to do?” and “How will we know if we’ve done it?” When people are requesting data, don’t ask about dimensions and metrics, and don’t let them put requests in those terms. Ask them to put it in the following form: “I believe that … and if I’m right, I will …” This ensures they have 1) a hypothesis and 2) a plan for action based on the results.
There’s always more
It’s impossible to truly wrap up three days of great presentations in a short blog post, but these were certainly a few of the highlights for me.
The Twitter scene
In true geeky fashion, I took a look at the #eMetrics twitter feed to see what was going on there. Here is a little overview: