Taking advantage of the insight generated by Web analytics is the number one problem people have with analytics, according to a recent Forrester Research study. Without a process or a plan to act on the data, it’s difficult to get anything done. And if insight from Web analytics isn’t used for site improvement, what’s the return on the analytics investment?
In the past, sites were tuned or redesigned every year or so and new additions were added on a monthly basis. Today, our most successful clients have changed the process to one of ongoing optimization. They constantly tune through A/B or multivariate testing to maximize conversion of desired site behaviors.
In previous columns, I’ve written a lot about the process of identifying opportunities to improve the site, monetizing those opportunities, then prioritizing them based on the greatest potential impact to the business. This process puts in place a method to rank different opportunities and understand what each means to the business before investing in site changes.
Optimization Resource Planning
Frequently when we work with new clients, we get the “identify, monetize, prioritize” process in place and come up with some meaningful potential changes for the site. Then the client must act on the opportunity, which may include the need for a number of different resources, such as:
- Web strategists
- Project managers
- Information architecture (IA)/usability specialists
- Server specialists
More often than not, these people aren’t just sitting around waiting to work on something. Normally, they’re booked and may not be available for quite some time. You may have identified some great opportunities, things that can greatly impact revenue or decrease costs, but the message you get is the people and resources you need to take advantage of these opportunities aren’t readily available.
Two years ago, we were working with a client when this situation arose. During our monetization exercise, we found the impact to revenue for a specific opportunity if delayed by three months was nearly $2 million. If delayed six months, it would cost $4 million in potentially lost revenue.
We worked with the client to evaluate some of the other projects in the queue and the value they had on the business — the potential impact on revenue and cost savings. We found a lot of projects in the queue didn’t have a clear tie to overall business goals or the ability to move the metrics that were most important to the business.
Where Can You Have the Greatest Impact?
We then worked with the organization to estimate the potential impact of all the projects in the queue and worked with management to re-sort project priority based on that impact. We call this “Dynamic Prioritization.” As you can imagine, it wasn’t an easy process to push some things off. But with support from key executives, we were able to redistribute the resources.
Some things that didn’t measure up on the potential value and impact to the business were left in process. But the prioritization exercise alone helped sort out where the focus was and allowed us to take advantage of the bigger, new opportunities.
Once we went through this a few times, it changed the way the client evaluated new opportunities for the queue. It began looking at assigning potential impact values to all items before determining if they were going to be added.
Over the past two years, we’ve used this tactic to help many of our clients focus on the opportunities that can drive success. It’s not easy. You may get push back from people within your organization. You may not be able to change the organization overnight. But you can at least try to change the way opportunities for your resources are prioritized.
How do you handle the prioritization or opportunities? Can Dynamic Prioritization work for you? Can you start by using some of these tactics so you focus on the opportunities that drive your business?
Let me know how it goes.
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