Resolutions for 2008: Optimize, Nurture, and Act

  |  January 10, 2008   |  Comments

Put search engine optimization on the top of your list, and don't forget Web site analytics or the creative team.

Welcome to the New Year! It's a time to reflect on the past year and to renew ourselves in anticipation of the year to come. The celebration and joy of the season makes everyone a bit more optimistic and everything look a bit brighter.

The online marketing space saw a lot of change and growth in 2007. And 2008 seems like it will be even more of the same. Here are some suggested resolutions for you and your team to help kick the year off in style and keep the momentum building through the next 12 months.

Elevate the Importance of SEO

SEO (define) is still seen as something that's "done" once, or when a site is rebuilt or redesigned. Most companies have yet to create a dedicated function or an ongoing agency relationship to treat SEO as another key element in making online marketing successful.

Even with all the attention that SEO and SEM (define) have received in the past year, the real opportunity lies ahead. Put SEO at the top of the list for something to nurture carefully in the coming year.

Optimize Your Pages

I've said it many times, but it bears repeating. Start optimizing now. Landing page optimization, as well as behavioral targeting, are among the best tools for generating fast ROI (define).

Instead of rebuilding your site, you can now have one that's constantly evolving and improving. Site optimization turns your site into an ongoing experiment in precision marketing.

Imagine how powerful it would be if print ads changed every time your customers opened the magazine until they finally took action. That's the power of optimization.

Integrate Your Analytics Teams

Most marketing teams have finally seen the value in doing analytics, but they're still treating the multiple flavors of analytics -- site, ad serving, offline -- as different disciplines with different teams to support them.

This silo approach significantly reduces the effectiveness of your analytics program and prevents you from seeing the whole picture. Integrate the teams and have them build something that leverages all the available data.

Sprinkle New Data Into the Mix

Once your analytics teams are integrated, you can start adding new types of data for them to track and weave into your marketing "story." The important new data types in 2008 are behavioral (what are people doing), social (what are people talking about), competitive (what are your competitors doing) and experiential (what do your customers actually experience online). Each one tells part of the story and provides new richness and clarity to classic Web analytics.

Give the Creative Team New Power

Don't let your creative director sit on the sidelines while everyone else is busy with analytics. Bring him closer and help him understand how his team can be empowered by the inclusion of measurable goals and standard baselines in every brief.

Instead of the creative director having to defend his ideas, he can now point to the data that supports him and expect the same of others. His success becomes the team's success.

Wish Omniture Well

The company had a terrific year and has finally pulled together the pieces necessary to have a full suite of integrated analytics and optimization. As the market leader, it's in a unique position of influence and should continue to help improve the industry through outreach, best practices, new techniques, and ongoing improvement.

There are still great opportunities for new vendors to stake their claims, but the momentum belongs to Omniture. You should hope they continue to set a great example for all of us.

Take Action

This is the same thing I exhort you to do in every column. All the plans and analytics mean nothing if you don't take the actions necessary to change and grow. Ask yourself and your team every day: "What can we do based on what we know." Answer that with action.

Here's to a great and productive 2008!

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Shane Atchison

In 1998, Shane co-founded ZAAZ to advocate a different approach to Web services — one that respects and delivers on the power of the individual and the promise of Web technologies. As CEO, Shane leads the company's long-term strategic vision of working with leading financial service organizations, consumer brands, startups, non-profits, and community-based organizations, helping each realize the potential of the Internet and its meaningful impact on their business.

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