I call this a brainstorm because even though I will be sharing some of our best practices in my blog series, the topic of governance is so huge and so nuanced that nobody can possibly have all of the answers. I’m going to try to boil some admittedly HUGE topics into pithy bullets. My goal is to get the conversation started. Please share your thoughts on what’s worked and what hasn’t as you’ve worked to get your financial services or insurance company organized around a unified digital strategy.
HUGE Topic #1 – Who Should Own your Web Analytics & Digital Marketing Tools?
Let’s get right to it shall we? Too often Financial Services companies start out by giving ownership of their Digital Marketing tools to IT. More seasoned and successful FinServ companies will generally move the ownership from IT to another group or they had a great place fit for their Digital Marketing tools from the start. I mean no offence to IT and certainly don’t intend to imply that IT shouldn’t be a key player in your digital strategy, however I agree with Avinash Kaushik of Google Analytics when he tweeted the following:
Let me ensure that I’m clear on this topic. Implementations are executed by IT, but I argue that the ownership of your digital marketing tools, the decisions on what should/shouldn’t be measured/tested/optimized, and the overall ownership of the successful deployment of the tools should be outside of IT.
First of all why does IT often own digital marketing tools in Financial Services companies? I think that there are two reasons.
- Implementation: Although the key audience for Digital Marketing tools are typically the ecommerce and marketing teams, Digital Marketing tools typically require involvement from IT upfront and often times requires their continuous maintenance involvement. Since IT implements the tool, it often falls on them to own that implementation. IT therefore becomes the gatekeepers of the tool.
- Centralized: Like the website itself, IT is centralized and their scope spans the entire bank. How many powerful arms are there in a FinServ company that span all lines of business? Often there aren’t any. The website and the online strategy has to span all lines of business and therefore IT becomes a more “centralized” owner.
Why wouldn’t IT be the best place for your web analytics tool? They are in charge of deploying it after all. I see the problem as one of alignment. And when I say alignment I mean IT’s alignment with the purposes of the tools they are implementing. While IT’s goals are certainly aligned with the interests of the company’s, they are often not perfectly aligned with the end users of the tools. Some examples of typical issues that will often come up when Digital Marketing tools are owned by IT:
- Business requirements may not be correctly or thoroughly taken and therefore key reports may be missing
- Implementations often get too granular (capture everything just in case and let the business sort it out later) or not granular enough (the same basic tags are deployed on every page without required customization to save costs)
- Lack of adoption among the lines of business (lack of report distribution strategy and a training strategy)
- In his new book, Web Analytics Action Hero Brent Dykes describes the need to get out of “Implementation Land” and move into “Action Land.” This is often delayed and at times never happens under IT ownership.
So where should your Analytics tool sit? I don’t think that there is any one best answer for a Financial Services company. The obvious criteria would be a centralized team that is aligned with driving business results. Our most successful customers will usually align their ownership in the Global Marketing or eCommerce organizations.
I know that there are a lot of FinServ companies out there who have run into the issues described above. Perhaps some of you are seeing these issues but haven’t been able to sort out the root of the problem yet. Maybe there’s even someone reading who shatters the terrible IT stereotype that I’ve laid out here. I’d love to hear about your experiences.
In my next post I’ll dive deeper into how your Financial Services company can best organize itself around Digital Marketing.