Understanding Online Marketing Metrics Without the Math

  |  January 7, 2010   |  Comments

And keeping an eye on the junction of electronic communication (the cool tech stuff), the ability to measure all of it (the analytics stuff), and customer centricity (the customers-as-humans stuff).

Twenty years ago, you hadn't heard of the Internet. Only government researchers used it and nobody even imagined you could use it to buy and sell stuff. Ten years ago, it was all the rage except for that annoying little dot-bomb hiccup. In between those two dates, I wrote a healthy number of articles for ClickZ. Most of them are lost to posterity, but a few of my older articles remain.

Now I'm back.

Why? Because for as long as I've been watching this online marketing space, it never, never gets boring. It changes all the time. It expands, it morphs, it zigs, and it zags.

What's my perspective? This column is going to keep an eye on the junction of electronic communication (the cool tech stuff), the ability to measure all of it (the analytics stuff), and customer centricity (the customers-as-humans stuff).

I'll tackle Web analytics, social media metrics, customer satisfaction statistics, and more -- all from the management side of the coin. I don't do how-to or compare different tools. I take the business management viewpoint.

When I got started in online marketing consulting in 1993 I just knew that some Web sites were working and some weren't. I wrote half a dozen books about how to do marketing, advertising, and customer service online until I got tired of people asking me, "But Jim, how do you know that's the right way to do it?"

So, I changed my course and set my sights on proof. I dove into e-metrics. I started the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit conferences, wrote a book about Web metrics, and helped found the Web Analytics Association. After an eight-year hiatus from books, I was compelled to write one called "Social Media Metrics" which will be out in the spring.

I wanted to be able to prove to those old white guys at the top of the marketing management pyramid that the Internet was important, was providing value, and was interacting with people in new and exciting ways. I wanted to be able to show them that we could not only confirm what we were doing online was working, but that we could use the numbers to make it even better.

As the tools, techniques, and ingenuity just keep getting more and more interesting, I'm leaving books behind again. Maybe I can keep up better with a bi-weekly column. This is going to help you understand which metrics matter, how to communicate with others in your organization, and how to make your Web site work better for the sake of your customers. It's time to pick up where I left off.

    A little ways down memory lane
    Is an article bylined with my name.
    December 24 the date
    In Nineteen Hundred and Ninety Eight
    At this link you will observe it's
    My Ode (in rhyme) to Customer Service.
    Proof that ClickZ once was disposed
    To let me dabble a bit in prose.
    Now I take another turn
    (Proving that some people just never learn).
    I'll try to shed some extra light
    On online marketers' common plight
    Of producing stats and graphs all night
    But longing to supply insight.
    I won't talk math, I won't get nerdy
    And I'll try to keep from being wordy.
    And right up front I guarantee
    To cut back on the poetry.
    Thanks for reading and although it's scary
    I look forward to your commentary.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jim Sterne

Jim Sterne is an international consultant who focuses on measuring the value of the Web as a medium for creating and strengthening customer relationships. Sterne has written eight books on using the Internet for marketing, is the founding president and current chairman of the Digital Analytics Association and produces the eMetrics Summit and the Media Analytics Summit.

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