Analytics, and all that it entails, is a "newer" buzzword. Most organizations have already bought into the value of search marketing ... the Search industry is more or less entrenched at this stage as a valid, viable and oftentimes necessary marketing medium.
Unfortunately for Salted Stone, we are young and relatively late to that game. The marketplace is already saturated with Search agencies, and we've fought an uphill battle to build out the right sort of client list. While we're quite good at what we do from a Search perspective, there are a lot of other firms that have established themselves as legitimate and benefited from a considerable head start.
So we required a competitive differentiation, and we hedged out bets on the fact that Analytics would be the next big wave in the digital space. We're still holding our hand as concerns that position. Over a long enough timeline, Analytics becomes the logical conclusion to all things in the digital space.
At its simplest, Analytics is the only means by which efforts made in the digital space can be accurately evaluated. And at a more advanced level, Analytics is the key to unlocking the hidden value of web traffic as distinct from (but not necessarily exclusive of) any sort of online marketing initiatives.
We've been fortunate to recently begin working with an amazing tech outfit comprised of industry veterans in the BI space; heavy-hitters with accolades that would take too many words to list. I felt like a mental dwarf sitting at the table.
Their product falls in the BPM / BAO bucket -- innovative and complex and light years beyond anything that I knew was possible prior to sitting down and being educated. The crux of their value prop is that the deployed product unearths patterns in Big Data at an enterprise level via a sophisticated Complex Event Processing engine, which then triggers logic that then optimizes business processes on the fly.
One of the major difficulties that this team faces is concisely packaging this value without relying on concrete examples / manifestations. In other words, the team is having an extraordinarily difficult time generalizing the value without the crutch of tangible use-cases. Demonstrating the value with case studies is simple, but this hurdle has made a horizontal market play very difficult.
Web Analytics is not very different, precisely because a value-adding Analytics project will vary from organization to organization, from engagement to engagement. At its root, Analytics provides data. A lot of data. It is in the analysis of that data towards the achievement of a specific goal that the value presents itself.
This is why Landing Page Optimization has become a natural entry-point for us in selling Analytics services. The impact is measurable, immediate and readily digestible. When we can show a quantifiable increase in conversion rate by testing new variations of landing pages against the original, the value is clear.
If we can increase conversion rate by five, ten or twenty-percent, there is an easily identified ROI traced back to the program. And - not surprisingly - these types of increases are not difficult to achieve for most websites.
Until Analytics becomes a household term (like Search Marketing has), and there is an inherent understanding of its value, marketing departments will not have fixed room in the budget for an Analytics engagement.
And until that point, we'll continue to introduce Analytics through the back-door: with concrete, project-based engagements focused on tangible and immediate return like is the case with Landing Page Optimization.
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