I recently expe­ri­enced shock and awe in the web ana­lyt­ics indus­try. I was speak­ing with a VP of Mar­ket­ing who had asked for best prac­tices in orga­ni­za­tional suc­cess with web ana­lyt­ics and mar­ket­ing mea­sure­ment. She con­fessed to know­ing very lit­tle about web ana­lyt­ics and how their mar­ket­ing group could ben­e­fit from such tools.

But before I had the chance to reply, she quickly pointed out that they had already decided only a few users would be allowed to access the entire sys­tem. While their orga­ni­za­tion num­bered sev­eral hun­dred employ­ees, includ­ing around 70 in mar­ket­ing alone, they felt that only four employ­ees — that’s right — four, should have access to all the mar­ket­ing data in this ana­lyt­ics pack­age. All other indi­vid­u­als — any­one that wanted a report, an analy­sis, or sim­ply had a ques­tion — would have to request it from one of these four peo­ple. In this day and age, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

The ven­dor she selected, which I’ll leave anony­mous, sold them on the idea that orga­ni­za­tional access to data was “bad” and it cre­ated more prob­lems than it solved. To drive this point home, the ven­dor charges sev­eral *thou­sand* dol­lars per addi­tional user — effec­tively pro­hibit­ing the com­pany from really grow­ing beyond the four ini­tial users with­out some seri­ous bud­get considerations.

I couldn’t believe what I was hear­ing — just when I thought the days of Ivory Tower ana­lyt­ics were over! In all my expe­ri­ence, suc­cess is a direct func­tion of orga­ni­za­tional ana­lyt­ics adop­tion. When mar­keters have data, they can make deci­sions. Informed deci­sions. These deci­sions drive profit and max­i­mize ROI, far bet­ter than your gut. In other words, data removes the sub­jec­tiv­ity. If you take this away, mar­keters are just guess­ing what works, what doesn’t, and why. So why would you even con­sider this?

The mis­guided notion is that orga­ni­za­tional access to data cre­ates “more prob­lems than it solves”. This elit­ist, Ivory Tower phi­los­o­phy basi­cally asserts that a mere 1% of your orga­ni­za­tion is “smart enough” to make deci­sions from your data. While this is con­ve­nient for the ven­dor that advo­cated this expen­sive per user model to the VP of Mar­ket­ing, it couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth.

Here’s the real­ity — prob­lems can occur with end-user access to data — but they occur when end-users get the WRONG data. Not when end-users get the RIGHT data. In other words, the prob­lem is not with the end-user, it’s with the data itself.

So how do you ensure your end-users are get­ting the RIGHT data? First, under­stand what ques­tions you’d like to answer with ana­lyt­ics — before deploy­ing the sys­tem. Sec­ond, agree on what met­rics best answer these ques­tions — for exam­ple, is it click-thru rate, rev­enue per click, or profit per cus­tomer? Third, dis­cuss the results with your team or group — while the data may sug­gest a cam­paign is not work­ing, you have many options for what actions you ulti­mately take.

The Omni­ture Best Prac­tices team is here to help you thru this process, so please do not hes­i­tate to con­tact me with any questions.

In part­ing I say do not get blind­sided by Ivory Tower ana­lyt­ics — they ulti­mately cost you more, and severely limit your suc­cess. Data mon­gers beware — your days are numbered!