Creating A Web Optimization Culture

We’re live from San Francisco!

eMetrics is already proving to be completely different from any other show I’ve liveblogged. There are seats for about 60 in this session room and I actually have to sit a few rows back to see the projector screen. No front row liveblogging? It’s like the Twilight Zone! Luckily I’ve already run into some search friends so I’m not feeling completely unsettled. And Matt Bailey gave me cool SiteLogics schwag. I’m going to stop rambling now.

Judith Pasual (ZAAZ) and Kristen Findley (Ameriprise Financial) are kicking things off for us at the Creating A Web Optimization Culture panel. Here we go.

Judith starts off by doing her nervous dance. It looks like Ashlee Simpson’s SNL jig. It’s not about just analytics. You’re doing all this for a purpose. You’re trying or refine what you’re doing and make better business decisions.

Methodology for Success

Establishing the organization framework: Conduct an internal analysis. Create a distinct and clear vision to help direct the optimization culture. Identify where analytics and optimization needs to reside. Set short-term progressive goals.

Leader sponsorships: Identify your executive champion. Seek this person out. Identify your opposition and understand why. Use the framework and competitive information. Conduct a Persuasion Campaign (you’re on a PR mission!). Give them more than what they asked for. Report back on wins and monitor critical failures. Build a matrix putting in what successes and failures you’ve had and put it on the desktop of your leader.

Community/ Establish a Guidance Coalition (aka Steering Committee): Set short-term goals. Choose specific project types. Hold off-sites. Tie results to the coalition’s work performance. She advises looking up Kurt Lewin. He’s recognized as the “founder of social psychology” and was one of the first researchers to study group dynamics and organizational development

Leveraging resources: Your key partners are the product managers/producers, the technical resource person, quality assurance people, IA, research and the happy volunteer (you’ll have to search for this person. Try to get a third of their time). Partnerships require traveling a long road, so communicate. Take them out; learn what they do and what they go through. Be involved.
Education/ Spreading the Wealth: When adults learn you have to make sure that the new ideas are tied to stuff they already know. Do assimilation. Relate whatever it is you’re doing to what they already do. You also have to tell them why they need to be doing this. Why do they need this new skill? Tie it back to their performance. You have to give them the who, what, when, where and why. All of this will save you time.

Common Traits of Success

  • Company vision established to help direct the change
  • Maintain the sense of urgency throughout the process
  • Plan for short-term progressive successes
  • Knowledge base of success and pitfalls
  • Assembling a group with the power to lead the integration
  • Avoid the culture of “no”
  • Established accountability

She’s working with a global client who has all these different regions. She’s interviewing all these different groups from around the world. The groups that are successful act on the data they get and hold their team members accountable for the metrics. That’s what makes groups successful.

Getting Started – When you are a one man show!

  • Develop standard documentation and publish it. (Start a company wiki. Put it there.)
  • Outline the list of projects and prioritize them.
  • Train business users, then schedule a follow-up session.
  • Create a matrix of successes and pitfalls.
  • Meet often with your executive champion.
  • Ask for help.

Up next is Kristen. Her dad was a professional hockey player. He played for Toronto. Maybe Susan can look that up for us. [No luck. –Susan]

Development of an Analytics Team

Building the base – Know your teams, establish your standards and find a champion
Project Team – Getting in on the daily work
Influencers – Your information starts driving decisions

The Project Lifecycle: Discover/Define, Define, Develop/Deliver, Data. Analytics should be involved from the very beginning, not just in the Data step.

Becoming Part of the Project Team

The soft skills: Bonding, give them more, make the connection, pinch-hitter.

The deliverables: milestones, documentation, results and options.

Discover/Define: You’re meeting with the business partners. Ask the questions everyone is afraid to ask. Ask “why are we doing this project? What’s the point?” Know the business needs and site objectives. Attack 3-5 Metrics to answer KPIs. Know the macro and micro indicators.

Example: Her company is redesigning their site.

The KPIs for her site are to deliver the brand and provide lead generation for the site.
The goals are to improve navigation, refresh content and re-align with business partners.
Macro indicators: Conversation average and the satisfaction score.
Micro indicators: Bounce rate, exit page, rate, contribution, etc

Design: Should it be a blue button, a red button or a green button? It drives her nuts that people care about this. She tells them “we’ll test it”. Plan your tags – Flash, AJAX, page names.

Develop: Confirm tagging and debug. She plugs Omniture’s debugging tool. Consider your micro and macro indicators. Do you have what you need to track these things? Can you answer your KPI questions?

Data: Consider your discover phase KPIs, your audience, size/length of the project, and the impact of results. When you’re delivering the results, always try to give a high-level summary, number details, conclusions and suggestions. Don’t just send out an email and dump the data in someone’s lap, especially if it’s bad news. Find options. It’s more fun to become the “answer” person than to be the one delivering the bad news.

Getting Started

  • Create basic documentation
    • Site objectives/KPIs/goals to share
    • QA Tracking Sheet
    • Monthly scorecard (not so basic!)
  • Get to know your variables – document them if you haven’t!
  • Use your committee and champion to help you be in the right meetings.
  • Start small – try this process on a small project. See what works for you.
  • Who likes what I’m doing, who doesn’t – WHY?
  • Outline how this paradigm shift will affect everyday work.
  • Get over yourself.

Judith steps in again to say you have to find out who likes what you’re doing, who doesn’t and why. How will what you do affect your company? You really do have to get over yourself. It’s not about you. It’s about your internal and external customers.

Question & Answer

When does Web analytics stop being a cost center and start becoming a profit center?

Kristen: They’re in transition to become more of a profit center. Her monthly scorecard includes a monetization on it that helps her monetize the positive behaviors on their Web site. Her CMO loves it. That was one of her major breakthroughs. It’s open the door for new conversations.

How do you get everyone on the same page to come up with the goals you’re trying to track?

Kristen: Bring someone in to help you. Write up four goals, justify them and explain them. Once you have them, bring them to your VPs. Once something is down on paper, they can tweak and move things around as they see fit. She talks about her scorecard that puts the four goals in different sections. She went to the execs with an idea and didn’t want on them to do it.

How much autonomy do you have in making decisions?

Kristen: She has to justify everything. She tries really hard to say, this is the test we ran, these are the results.

[The downside of being only one of 60 in a room? Everyone is totally watching me type. Performance anxiety, much?]

Lisa Barone is a writer, content marketer & VP of strategy at Overit Media. She's also a very active Twitterer, much to the dismay of the rest of the world.

See Lisa's author page for links to connect on social media.

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