In the beginning, the IT department created the web server and the server log. And darkness was upon the face of the marketing department.
And the spirit of the home page moved upon the face of the marketing department and the marketing department said, "Let there be reports." And the marketing department saw the reports. And it was good.
And the marketing department divided the hits from the visits and called the hits page views, and the visits they called sessions. And the marketing department said, "Let the reports be gathered together unto one place, and let the PowerPoint graphs appear that we may know the full power and glory of our website." And it was so.
Or so they thought.
For over a span of time the statistics poured forth, the results were displayed, and kaleidoscopic charts were abundant, resplendent in their brilliance and reassuring in that all lines proceeded in their inexorable elevation up and to the right. And the marketing department dwelt in peaceful indolence.
Yet, improvements to the website came there none.
For lo, the reports and graphs were generated not from lights in the firmament yielding a font of wisdom, but from the rote recording of web server transactions, which conveyed neither insight nor enlightenment.
And senior executives came among them and asked what knowledge they had gleaned from their reports, charts, and graphs. And after a prolonged silence the eyes of the marketing department were opened. And there was heard a wailing and the gnashing of teeth. And they knew that they were naked; and they sewed Webtrends printouts together and made themselves coverings.
The marketing department wandered from the desert of ignorance to the wellspring of IT asking, "Hi-tech, hi-tech, why hast thou forsaken me?" And the IT department said, "Behold, I have given you every datum bearing information which is upon the face of all the website, and every report, from which is the fruit of a server yielding logs." And the IT department rested.
And the marketing department went unto a sage and said, "How can the graphs bring forth ideas, the ideas yielding actions, and the actions yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the site of the web?" For thus is the manner of speaking of the tribe of marketing.
And the sage said, "Let not the issue of the IT department be your guide, but resolve to know your own aspirations. Strive to know your own purpose, and do not prostrate yourselves at the printouts of misguided prophets. To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven," sayeth the sage, "and you must know your purpose if you are to adjudicate which data will best divulge unto you whether you have done what is right and good in the site of the web."
And the sage said unto them, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the web, and subdue it. And have dominion over the visitors to the site, and over the relationships of thine customers, and over every living thing that clicketh upon your site."
The marketing department returned to their cubicles refreshed with erudition. And they ascertained the identity of calibrations that would lead them not into frustration, but deliver them from Advil. And the IT department was enthralled that the marketing tribe had become decisive and purposeful and thus were they able to forge big data assemblages embodying valuable wisdom as a veritable tree of knowledge.
And so it came to pass that in the first month in the seventh year of the web analytics endeavor, on the first day of the month, in the second hour of the third teleconference of that day, that the visualization tools were brought forth. And the new predictive methods revealed the way and the light to the increase of their profits through the betterment of their website, their mobile apps, and their social media efforts, for all customers forever and ever.
Photo credit: Jim Sterne
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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.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT