Web Analytics Steering Committee: It’s All About Governance

In my last column, we saw how a fictional CMO finally aligned his team to improve accountability and get more value from his Web analytics data. As part of that effort, he established a 12-month series of mandates. Mandate one requires the creation of a site analysis steering committee, led by the marketing organization and including members from across the organization.

Sounds easy enough, but how can you ensure such a committee will be successful? I’ve often noticed that even when organizations establish a site analysis steering committee, it often lacks the people, resources, and influence to make a difference.

If you’re considering setting up such a committee (or improving the one you have), here are some structural considerations to keep in mind.

Steering Committee Members

A committee’s makeup is often as important as its mandate. Not only does it require a diverse membership from across the organization, its members should also be in positions of influence. I’ve seen excellent committees make great recommendations, only to have those ideas ignored or diluted by others.

As a result, I believe a model steering committee should contain the following members:

  • CMO

  • Director of e-business
  • Director of technology
  • Senior Web analyst

Steering Committee Mandate

The committee should have a clear set of responsibilities. To some degree these will vary from organization to organization, but at the base there are 10 tasks every successful committee needs to accomplish:

  • Schedule: Establish a regular meeting schedule. Monthly meetings are a good target, especially when the committee is deciding on its goals and responsibilities.

  • Internal communication: Create a method for sharing ideas and decisions with the rest of the organization. An intranet site is a great place to start.
  • Incentives: Require committee members’ bonuses be tied in some way to Web site behavior.
  • Goals: Agree on success metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) for your organization.
  • Terminology: Define the terms you’ll use and document them on your intranet.
  • Technology standards: Agree on a page-tagging methodology and document it.
  • Budget: Set aside funding for Web analysis, including headcount, in your organization.
  • Human resources: Work with your HR department to integrate behavioral goals into your entire marketing and e-business organization.
  • Agency relationships: Make sure your agencies have a financial incentive to report and achieve your behavioral goals. Remember, alignment between your organization and theirs is crucial.
  • Data accuracy: Your organization must be able to trust the integrity of its data. Pay close attention to conflicting reports from different sources of data. Also, commission a third-party audit of your data accuracy quarterly.

Does your organization have a functioning Web site steering committee? If so, let me know what’s working and what isn’t. What metrics do you use to gauge its value? This is your opportunity to contribute to the ClickZ community, so please e-mail me with your thoughts, and I’ll share contributions from readers in my next column.

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