Like a hot coal in the fire, something has been burning in my mind lately. When I started my career at Microsoft I was fresh from multiple years at Yahoo!, during some of the best years the company had ever seen. The web was our business. Everyone at Yahoo understood it, what it could do for other business’, and how to embrace it. When I started at Microsoft, however, I was struck by how much the web wasn’t even remotely a part of our core business. In fact, a great friend and very respected marketer once said (and i’m paraphrasing) “You say the web is important and I trust your instinct, but if you can’t explain how it’s going to impact my business, in my language, and in business terms, then how am I supposed to care?”
The parallels of how Microsoft used to (and in some pockets of its business today still) think about ‘the web’ and our ‘web analytics’ industry today strike me as very parallel. This presents some challenges and conversely some great opportunity.
What our customers really need our help with first is marrying their business goals to their technology investments – like ‘the web’ challenge of defining a set of KPIs and linking those to their online channel from initiation to sale. Second, they need our industry to be in agreement in defining a core set of business and technical drivers to achieve those goals – a common vernacular. Lastly, they need to rely on us as partners and not “analyics vendors”. We need to know as much, or more in some cases, about how their business work as we do our own. These things can put our business partners first and help us rationalize, to them in laymen terms, how our business can help theirs.
We should all be embracing vernacular change within our companies to enable better partnerships with our customers.
One of the more powerful tools to drive common vernacular and allow focus on business objectives is to use a maturity model. A maturity model can be described as a structured assessment of an organizations tools and people that aids in the definition and understanding of an organization’s processes; it can provide the ability for a business to effectively drive planning and goals alignment within their broader organization. Recently we at Webtrends introduced the Digital Marketing Maturity Model. We have been very open about soliciting feedback and are happy to say that quite a bit has come through. So, thanks to those of you who have sent feedback! The power in using a maturity model is that it can help align expectations around capabilities and agreement on vernacular so that a business can plan a strategy for how to accomplish goals based on their capabilities.
Analytics has long been an industry driven by engineers and number crunchers – purists in the best way. We feed off the eco-chamber of our industry with the intelligence and know-how of our practitioners. However, to truly gain validity and help customers rationalize financial investments using our technology it is critical that our industry invest in business leadership and resources that speak the same language as business leadership in our customer’s business.
Join us in helping establish the digital marketing maturity model at Webtrends