Marketing Analytics Maturity

  |  January 20, 2011   |  Comments

Marketing analytics is not just about competitive advantage, but also being a responsible adult.

Stéphane Hamel writes about, lectures about, and teaches at the university level about his Online Analytics Maturity Model. He has created a white paper, a workshop, and a self-assessment questionnaire that all help you understand where you are on the maturity continuum.

Stéphane's model starts with the evaluation of your management. If nobody is responsible for marketing analytics, you're in deep trouble. The next step up is that a director is responsible. Better than that would be if senior management is involved. Better? The corporate culture is based on being data-driven. The highest level of marketing analytics maturity is if your organization is competing on analytics.

Similar sets of levels are identified for the maturity of your objectives, scope, resources, methodology and process, and tools and technology (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Stéphane Hamel's Web Analytics Maturity Model

While it sounds very reassuring that Stéphane has laid out the roadmap to maturity, it must be noted that the path is strewn with obstacles that shine a bright light on the immaturity lurking inside every company. By that I mean, the conversations this process starts highlight the juvenile approach many individuals take to working as a team.

An assessment of your organization's marketing analytics maturation depends on the outcome of a reasonable conversation about your:

  • Overall business strategy (What is this business trying to accomplish?)
  • Goals and objectives (What are the short- and long-term objectives to achieve the strategy?)
  • Key business drivers (What are the important execution steps to meet the goals and objectives?)
  • Key performance indicators (What measure of success is tied to the drivers?)
  • Supporting metrics (What are the detailed measures that feed and augment the KPIs?)

This is much harder on the surface than it looks. In addition, it's not what I was referring to in the title of this column on marketing analytics maturity.

I wanted to draw attention to the maturation of the marketing analytics industry as a whole. I leave it to Stéphane to tell us the statistical results of his assessment questionnaire while I report on my anecdotal observations.

In the past 10 years, I've seen the Web analytics industry progress from a handful of long-haired, sandal-wearing enthusiasts to an established, organized, seasoned profession.

Where once there were heated arguments over whether log files were better than page tags, we now have companies hiring teams of marketing analysts and creating formal processes for multivariate test management. Where we used to have three or four vendor white papers on the value of measuring click-throughs, we now have a formal Certified Web Analyst offered by the growing Web Analytics Association.

Perhaps the biggest indication of this industrial maturation is the acquisitions of a variety of analytics companies. Abode picked up Omniture, comScore acquired Nedstat, Teradata purchased Aprimo, and IBM bought Coremetrics and Unica.

It has become obvious that a curious, esoteric little niche for data junkies has blossomed into what many of us suspected and have long argued is a very serious business necessity. It's not only a matter of competitive advantage, marketing analytics is now about being a responsible adult.

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Jim Sterne

Jim Sterne is an international consultant focused on measuring the value of the online marketing for creating and strengthening customer relationships. Sterne has written eight books on using the Internet for marketing, produces the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit and is co-founder and current chairman of the Digital Analytics Association.

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