Hire People Who Care About Performance!


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What is the difference between those who get a web analytics solution vs. those who really GET WEB ANALYTICS? The following advice by Tom Harrison of Digital Advisor may sum it up: “Hire people who care about performance”. DigitalAdvisor is an online play that uses web analytics for improving their understanding how visitors looking for plasma TV and LCD TV reviews and ratings are using the site in order to improve their TV buying experience. I should disclose that they use Unica’s web analytics solution, i.e. the one provided by my employer.

In 2005 the discussion in the web analytics user community had first turned to the phenomenon that almost all web site marketers have a web analytics solution in place; yet the vast majority are leaving all the money on the table by using it solely for low value trend reporting. Only much fewer leverage the high value analytics at their fingertips for optimizing ad spending and site conversions. Countless best practices for approaching web analytics right have been published since then. For example, you need to first start with your site goals, translate those into key performance indicators (KPIs), make sure that you don’t have too many KPIs, you should assign each KPI to an owner, you should work an incremental cycle of testing and improvements.

By now, many more marketers have adopted these best practices to gain real business value. But to be honest, the majority of companies out there are still not following the best practice. Why not? Not enough people, other priorities, too busy. Too busy? Digital Advisor has been able to increase business results five fold. You are too busy for that? Obviously, most web marketing managers must still not have their priorities straight. Or they don’t believe the opportunity that waits for them in the analytics because they befriend too many bad users of web analytics reporting and not enough superstars like Tom Harrison.

Why were Digital Advisor and Tom Harrison so successful? Tom says: “We believe that the only way to run our business is to run it by the numbers”. And he recommends hiring people who care about performance as he and his colleagues do. I think that is what it boils down to. If you care about performance you are going to find ways to get the numbers and optimize. If performance is not your biggest priority, then you will always be too busy. Rebecca Lieb put it well: “Web analytics is like exercise equipment. You don’t get a great shape just from putting the equipment in your basement”. If you don’t make exercising one of your top 3 priorities in the day, you don’t get to it either.

Do you care about performance or what is holding you up?


  1. I couldn’t agree more that hiring people who care about performance is critical in today’s world. Setting and using appropriate performance measures is one of the keys to customer management success—see our SMART planning framework. The “M” stands for Metrics.

    In my research of Customer Experience Management the past couple of years, I found companies like Intuit, Wells Fargo and others are indeed investing in tools to help measure online performance. And they hire people, I’m sure, that get how important this is.

    But, I also learned that they hire people that care even more about something else. People. There’s something different about high-performing online businesses. It’s not just that they care about the numbers and achieving high performance. It’s that they really care about serving their customers well, and see managing the numbers as one way to accomplish that.

    And they use Web Analytics and other tools, including feedback management, to assess whether their customers are happy with the experiences they are receiving.

    Bob Thompson, CustomerThink Corp.
    Blog: Unconventional Wisdom

  2. Bob,

    Your point is very well taken! That is another one of the recommendations to web analysts to make it about people rather than clicks or page views etc. To this date, colleagues in the space quote Sam Decker’s presentatino at the e-metrics summit in 2005. He was working at Dell at that time and shared the challenge of conveying how web metrics translate into real people who may have a great experience with the brand online or a bad one. To prove his point he was showing images of football stadiums filled with 40,000 people for every 40,000 unique visitors in his reports.

    Thank you for adding the point!

  3. Akin

    Another fine blog post.

    I support both your suggestion that we need to be more driven by business performance metrics and Bob’s suggestion that business performance metrics by themselves are not enough. Further to what Bob wrote, I would also suggest that there are other metrics that should be measured so that we can measure, monitor and manage the bigger performance picture rather than just the smaller one.

    The implications for industrial-strength performance management is that the corporate balanced scorecard should be cascaded down to the function that manages web performance and that the function must understand which of the value drivers in the scorecard are influenced by their web activities. These are not always straightforward traffic and its Ímmediate effects-related measures. For example, a confusing shopping process that leads to dropped baskets not only results directly in poor on-line shop sales, but may also result in increased traffic to easier-to-use off-line traffic as customers defect to these channels.

    Graham Hill


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