My last column focused on where analytics should live within an organization, primarily looking at IT versus marketing. I made the case that analytics must be more closely tied to the business/marketing side to be actionable and to truly drive change, but there must be solid collaboration with the technical side as well.
The column happened to publish on the second day of Jim Sterne's Emetrics conference, at which I spoke at a few sessions. A number of people pulled me aside and discussed their take on where analytics should live and shared some other things people had been discussing throughout the week.
Analytics reporting into finance rather than marketing or IT is one interesting trend. There are a lot of good reasons this could make sense, but a number of things to watch out for as well. No matter where analytics ultimately lives, it must be fully integrated into a number of groups within the company.
Based on these discussions and past experience leading many analytics and optimization engagements, I put together a list of some pros and cons for having analytics report into the finance department.
Benefits of Analytics Reporting to Finance
Potential Issues With Analytics Reporting to Finance
Yes, there needs to be strong integration with finance (and many other groups), but optimization and analytics must work together. And there's a huge risk of analysis turning into just reporting if it's in finance and too far removed from the people who can make the day-to-day changes on the site.
Ideally, you can create hooks in all three groups and others so you have an integrated approach where everyone is held accountable for their actions (or lack thereof). Ultimately, though, analytics and optimization should be within the marketing group's Web team. Regular meetings between those responsible within each group to share opportunities, successes, and financial impact to the business will help greatly.
As always, I welcome feedback and look forward to hearing what's working with others!
As the Chief Performance Marketing Officer for POSSIBLE, Jason supports the agency's global Marketing Sciences and Media Services programs.
His primary role is to help POSSIBLE teams and clients use data to craft digital strategies that attract, convert, and retain customers - maximizing ongoing ROI across paid, earned, and owned channels. He believes that brands can better serve their customers by understanding audience behavior, and that messaging should be targeted to individual customers through the use of testing, behavioral targeting, and CRM initiatives.
Jason has written extensively about digital analytics, optimization and digital strategy, including an ongoing column at ClickZ.com. He is the co-author of "Actionable Web Analytics: Using Data to Make Smart Business Decisions," which is one of the leading texts in the field of digital analytics. His client roster includes Microsoft, Nike, Nokia, Dell, Ford, Sony, PayPal/eBay, P&G, Alcoa, Expedia, Mazda, Intel, and Motorola, and more. Jason is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars around the world ranging from the Cannes Lions, Adobe Omniture Summits, eMetrics, SES, ad:tech, BazaarVoice, and many other WPP events.
Follow him on Twitter @JasonBurby.
May 22, 2013
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