Omniture’s European Summit: A Look at the Trends

My conference season kicked off last week when Omniture came to town to host its European Summit in London. Around 1,000 people from across Europe gathered to listen to what one of the largest marketing technologies companies had to say.

The conference theme was “Lead the Change,” and Josh James, Omniture’s CEO and co-founder, gave the keynote speech. He asserted that prospects are still good for our industry even in these difficult times. “Technology is no respecter of the economy,” he told us and outlined the potential based on the fact that “less than 10 percent of transactions are being optimized.”

He announced several products, including the introduction of the Omniture marketing suite in Europe, the launch of Omniture Recommendations, new reporting capabilities in Site Catalyst for measuring how viral videos are, and the integration with 24/7’s Open AdStream. Much was made also about Omniture’s partnership with WPP and James interviewed Mark Read, WPP’s strategy director. Read stressed the importance of digital to WPP these days (accounting for more than 25 percent of business) and it was interesting to hear that WPP’s digital priorities are social media, mobile, and analytics.

From the opening sessions, my sense is that progress at Omniture is more evolutionary than revolutionary.

There was talk about the impact that social media and mobile will have on the way that consumers and marketers interact and there were announcements of new measurement capabilities in those areas. There were hints that there will be more focus on improving measurement capabilities on content and lead generation sites. There was also talk about more activity on integration, including the integration of SearchCenter (its keyword bid management tool) and Test&Target (its multivariate testing tool), as well as more concentration on Developer Connection and its data integration capability, Genesis.

So the start of the conference painted a picture of consolidation and amalgamation, which isn’t surprising given the expansive and acquisitive nature of Omniture over the past two years.

Ed Thompson, a vice president at consultancy Gartner, gave an interesting and wide-ranging presentation. After talking about the shifts in the customer-relationship management (CRM) space from operational CRM to analytical and collaborative CRM strategies, he focused on customer experience management. He discussed how companies are looking to differentiate themselves through the customer experience but identified three major challenges facing those companies:

  1. Customers are becoming more powerful.
  2. No one in those companies “owns” the customer.
  3. On the whole, employees don’t care.

So the challenge is to find someone who cares about customers in the company and then put the right measurement frameworks in place.

Thompson shared an interesting insight based on his analysis on the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). He looked at the profile of companies with the highest customer satisfaction scores. They were food companies, Internet companies, and the like. From this, he came to the view that most companies with good customer satisfaction scores didn’t actually deal directly with customers.

“Humans screw up the customer experience,” he said, warning companies shouldn’t confuse customer intimacy with good customer experience. I guess that underpins the need to get the Web experience right, as people often don’t want to deal with other people. They just want to get the job done.

I took the opportunity to take in a few presentations from the social media track, including mobile and video measurement. Greg Dowling, head of analysis at Nokia, summed it up best when he said, “Mobile measurement is hard.”

The proliferation of devices and browsers, the lack of industry standards, and problems with visitor identification combine to create many measurement challenges. It reminded me of the Web analytics world about eight or nine years ago.

Matthew Langie, senior director of product marketing at Omniture, outlined a mobile analytics maturity model that starts by measuring the mobile opportunity through to profile-based targeting. For most companies, measuring the opportunity is about as good as it gets at the moment.

Later this week I head out to the West Coast to get another dose of conference input at the Emetrics Marketing Optimization Summit in San Jose, California. I’ll give you a round up on that one next time. ‘Til then.

Meet Neil at Emetrics Marketing Optimization Summit in San Jose CA. His presentation on predictive analytics is May 4, 2009.

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