Stop Reporting on PageViews
I have been at Analytics Congresses recently and was part of a discussion about the involvement of the Analyst within the company structure. Lots of whining here and many people felt misunderstood and underevaluated.
Which is their own fault.
A typical response about what to do when people enter the analytics department and ask for strange info was: “Well, then they just get a report for that.” Wrong!
If you position yourself as data and reporting deliverer instead of Business Improvement Manager then you should change your job and become a controlling employee. A perfect job title for an Analyst could be Business Development Manager, since that is what this human species do – developing new business within the digital channel. But as everybody relates this title to a different task, I am very much in favor of calling the analysts Business Improvement Managers.
Existing Business can always be improved and new Business as well; trial and error periods can be reduced in time, but only by understanding the relevant data. This can’t happen without data, figures and relevant research on existing and future planned actions. So, instead of complaining about the position of analytical approaches you need to start yelling at your CEO. Not like every other department does (we want more budget, more employees, less work, more insights) but with your weapons. And not only the CEO should be targeted; the CFO and the CMO need you as well. They maybe don’t know it yet, but they do.
Start yelling at them. Start with relevant figures, think CEO, think CFO, think CMO. Don’t think Web Analyst. As soon as you have presented relevant figures to the CEO (like ROI-increase, Cost reduction or New ways to generate customers/business he will start you love you, as well as the CFO and the CMO.
If you send the C-Level Page Impressions-Reports you get typical C-Level answers: none. Or if they respond they will say thanks for the statistics. You should no longer invest any time at all in statistics. Key Performance Indicators are the key to C-level heaven, meaning increasing your budget or valuing your work, meaning hiring Assistants for your tasks etc.
The bigger the company the more hierarchies are between you and the CEO. Be a rebel and approach him directly or go politically direct through those levels with the same strategy: delivering meaningful data that those levels understand, value and enable them to act (so they get all the honor – you will be rewarded soon enough for your competence, trust me).
It is time for a change in the analyst brain. Many web analysts that have been hired within the last years, act too shy or are not able to think outside their reporting box. Although those people are quite often a young generation they have not learned to be strategists, politicians or managers. It is always good to have the Analytics background like delivered by UBC or other courses but that is by far not enough. You first of all need to understand the company insights and political behavior. Grab your CEO when he walks by, gain attention with unusual insights at your direct boss’ desk. You can do that better than you currently do.
I am no longer willing to listen to analysts complaining about their situation: no responsibility, no feedback. No career. Your own fault. Act professional and combine management learnings by Peter Drucker or Fredmund Malik with Analytics competence. Otherwise the CEO will never get to know your name and help your department to grow because of the importance of your results, proposals or recommendations.
And again it is all about business and money. So, if your Analyst is in love with data that is good. If the analyst drowns in data that is bad, meaning that person might want to set up nice-to-know reports but they do not help you make (more) money. Setting up goals for an analytics department is a key strategy in order to improve their performance as well. If their performance grows, the website performance will surely do so, too. A powerful article about the need of starting to grow out of the basement into the C-Level hierarchy is also this one: Eight Questions to Ask Your Director of Analytics in the Forbes Magazine
You might not need a Manifesto to do the Analytics job right, but if it helps focus on the following topics and you will receive a powerful performance:
- Think About Analytics – not about Tool Usage
- Do Not Measure Data that does not lead you anywhere
- Never set up Website Goals that are not related with Company Goals
- Prove Colleagues wrong who think of you as a Statistical Expert
- Collect Knowledge, deepen it, discuss it and share it
- Be a CMO, CFO and CEO in one person, but don’t be an online freak – But be an online freak rather than a statistician
In general I believe that Process-Management will have a deep impact within the coming years when thinking about positioning and rewarding Analytics knowledge. Therefore the Analytics department needs to be included in those processes (starting with no brainers like: no digital marketing campaign without a tag). To position the Analytics department as its own administrative department can help enabling the Analysts (or as I now call them Business Improvement Managers) in a more flexible and better performing way. Process management is the application of knowledge and skills, tools and techniques to define and measure and report processes. And especially to improve those processes.
So, never plan your internal processes without the including the Analytical point of view. It can be value based expert feeling (or fact based gut feeling) which means it is still a feeling but it is already related to and built on values and facts. The more those processes are in place and the more the analyst is not a math genius but a manager the more the company will profit from a smart combination.