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Jim, You’re right, of course, the vast majority of companies don’t do even the most basic personalization. Given that, I think you’re point about real-time decisioning is intriguing. You said: “I honestly think true real-time decisioning is overrated unless you are in select industries. I really do. I think you can do a lot with nightly models and reference the scores in conjunction with rules you have set that are grounded in behavioral analysis. Often that stuff probably doesn’t drastically change intra-day.” I think that’s huge. I laid out a ton of different personalization options in some earlier posts and... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at SemAngel
Hey Gary – You’re absolutely right that companies continue to tell us that the greatest bottleneck to their testing process is creative. Should it be? NO!! Bottlenecks should be due to your site traffic – never your analytics, creative or development or you’re not getting maximum benefit from your program. So why is creative most frequently the bottleneck? If we’re talking copy only – there’s really no excuse as you point out. BUT – when we’re talking UX and design – well – that takes more time and those people tend to be very busy folks being pulled every which... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at SemAngel
I hate being only mostly right! Before we dive down into what we mean by analytics driving testing and how that might/should work, I wanted to talk a little bit more about pure-creative testing. I saw a presentation recently by one of the 2012 Obama team and she talked extensively about the email testing they did. They had four full-time writers cranking out emails. This was just on the donor side of the house. Four full-time writers! God knows how many people there were generating creative for the whole campaign. Naturally, the writers had different styles and often took very... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at SemAngel
Indeed, Gary it has been a long road to finally put fingers to keyboard to talk virtually about this topic. I am not sure you truly want me hijacking your blog for a while but away we go….release the Krakken! Let me somewhat correct you in what I was finding with regards to personalization. A lot of this experience comes prior to EY but still holds true for the most part. The honest truth is most organizations aren’t doing a lot of personalization at all, nothing. Not even low hanging fruit like looking at previous purchase or content-consumption behavior to... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at SemAngel
Talking Personalization [Jim Hazen and I have been talking about Personalization and the appropriate technology stack since his days at SAS before he joined Semphonic/EY. Back then, we talked about doing a white paper together on the best approach to creating a personalization stack. Since that never quite came off, we’ve decided to tackle the topic as a dialog in my blog. So over the next 1-2 weeks we’re just going to exchange posts and thoughts on the topic.] Jim, First, let me say how excited I am to be talking this over – it’s been a long time coming!... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2014 at SemAngel
Gary, First, let me say you’re right….mostly. Second, a caveat – many optimization experts will claim that everything they say is the Truth and the only way forward. I do not claim that is the case with any of what I’m about to say. Rather – I claim it is *mostly* true and following this philosophy of testing and learning has a nearly 0% likelihood of failing to provide not just good results – but long-term, continuous improvement for your digital properties. It is not the ONLY way. I do believe it is the best way. Now – with that... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2014 at SemAngel
Analytics Club Latest Post - Creating a Personalization Mindset Like most of us, I waste a fair amount of time reading on the internet. Some very small portion of this reading is legitimately useful. Most is just distraction. But among the most pleasant of those distractions is something called the Slate Movie Club. I’m a regular reader of Slate but more for the cultural and arts stuff than the politics, and among the features I like the best are the times when Slate assembles a small group of critics and they sustain a multi-day dialog on a topic. The Movie... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2014 at SemAngel
[Kelly Wortham and I have been talking optimization at X Change for years. Now that she’s part of the team here, we’ve been working on a piece together around building an Optimization Center of Excellence in the enterprise. Kelly also leads a regular group of testing folks who meet every month or so do discuss enterprise optimization programs.] Kelly, We’ve been working on a piece that captures a key theme for our practice – that analytics should drive testing. Naturally, we both believe that’s true, and it’s a theme I want to explore in some detail. But I wanted to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2014 at SemAngel
Personalization may not be as controversial, discussed, or intriguing as attribution, but it’s ultimately rather more important. I didn’t really intend it this way, but framing attribution as a problem around lift also makes attribution and personalization more closely related. Every marketing touch is a kind of personalization – singling out a distinct pathway to conversion that may generate incremental lift. Personalization is the set of techniques you use to tune a specific touch to generate maximum lift. So personalization and attribution aren’t, like “hot” and “cold” - the same concept along a subjective relation – they are more like... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2014 at SemAngel
My last post on attribution generated quite a bit of comment. The comment thread on LinkedIn (where I’ve just recently begun posting) was particularly robust. I don’t usually have time during the week to review comments or reply, but I think there’s enough thought-provoking material in the various comment threads to warrant some additional thoughts. In case you missed it, here’s a quick summary of my thoughts on attribution. Essentially, the need for attribution analysis has been driven by the frequency of multi-touch behavior in an acquisition life-cycle. Traditionally, we’ve given credit to the marketing campaign that sourced a visitor... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2014 at SemAngel
Attribution – assigning the proper credit for a conversion to a campaign - is a critical part of digital analytics. After all, digital is inherently multi-touch. And in a multi-touch environment, you can’t optimize properly unless you can assign credit accurately. That’s why nearly every digital analytics professional and every digital marketer knows that simplistic attribution methods like “last touch” don’t work. We’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking about and working on attribution in our practice recently, and before I continue my series on Personalization I wanted to capture the gist of a hot internal discussion that is... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2014 at SemAngel
I spent most of this past week in Berlin at the Digital Analytics Hub. It was great to see the EU crowd and get at least a few chances to experience early summer in Berlin. You might think that in a flat, digital world, the differences in practice between the U.S. and Europe would be slight. But in tribute to the amazing stickiness of culture, that's just not the case. In general, the perception is that Europe is still a few years behind the U.S. when it comes to digital analytics and that’s largely true – at least outside of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2014 at SemAngel
We’ve finally nailed down the venue and the dates so we can do the formal announcement for X Change. We’re on for October 28-30th in Scottsdale, AZ at the very lovely Phoenician Resort. It’s a fantastic venue; different than anything we’ve done before but very much in the spirit of what we try to achieve with X Change. Spectacular setting (sand sans waves), beautiful property, great weather, and terrific meeting spaces for our all-conversational format. If you’ve been to X Change, that’s probably all I need to say. If you’ve heard about X Change and always wanted to go, you... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2014 at SemAngel
Personalization is the heart of digital. As a direct channel, digital rewards personalization in almost every form and the sites and companies that have created distinct competitive advantage using digital have almost always found unique new ways to deliver a highly personalized experience. In my last post, I mapped high-level types of personalization to specific strategies. In this post, I want to join that exercise to my earlier listing of analytics for personalization to create a full mapping for personalization – from strategy to tactics to analysis. As with most of the blog series that I write, it should be... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2014 at SemAngel
Personalization is the heart of digital. As a direct channel, digital rewards personalization in almost every form, and there are no shortage of forms. I’ve been walking through how to select the right place to focus when you start building a personalization program. At a high-level, the basic types of personalization I described were these: Personalizing a Marketing Drive: Optimizing a specific drive within a broader experience Personalizing an Experience: Creating a unique creative environment for a visitor Suggesting Relevant Content or Products: Optimizing User Selection inside a stable experience Tuning an Offer: Changing the parameters, size or definition of... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2014 at SemAngel
As part of the upcoming Digital Analytics Hub Conference in Berlin (1st week of June), I did an interview on the sessions I'll be doing there and thoughts on some of the broader directions in digital analytics including a surprising amount of discussion around analytics methodology. Analytics method has never gotten the attention it deserves in digital and with the growth in big data systems, the absence of robust analytic methods to analyze digital data has become an issue of paramount importance. What are the key challenges your clients are currently facing? And how have these challenges evolved over the... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2014 at SemAngel
Personalization is the heart of digital. As a direct channel, digital rewards personalization in almost every form, and there are no shortage of forms. In my last two posts, I’ve described an array of personalization strategies and a similarly long list of analytics techniques to drive those strategies. Originally, I’d intended to match the two lists, but on reflection, I’ve decided to tackle, from a business perspective, the factors that drive choice around the personalization strategies. Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2014 at SemAngel
Personalization is the heart of digital. As a direct channel, digital rewards personalization in almost every form, and there are no shortage of forms. My last post described a laundry list of strategies for personalization. From crowd-sourcing to Next-Best-Offer to people-matching, I cataloged thirteen different ways to make an experience more relevant. Most of those strategies need some form of analytics to make them work. Here’s a look at the techniques (including a few non-analytic ones) for driving those strategies. Saved Values When you first learn how to program, you usually start by writing a simple little program that writes... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2014 at SemAngel
When I was at the Adobe’s Summit Conference the hot analytics topic, at least as far as people I was talking to, seemed to be – what’s up with X Change? And since then I've been getting a steady stream of emails asking me if we are on. The answer is yes. Yes we are doing X Change. And yes, it is behind schedule. Last year the EY acquisition happened after X Change was completely in place. This year, we’re working our way through the internal processes and it is taking more time. That being said, we are 100% most... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2014 at SemAngel
Personalization is the new frontier for digital analytics. It’s the single most powerful, analytically driven tool in the marketing (and customer service) arsenal. Digital is fundamentally a direct response medium. The companies that succeed big in digital have almost all found ways to create unique and highly personalized experiences. But while market leaders have successfully deployed deep personalization, most of the rest of the market hasn’t even scratched the surface of the opportunity. Challenges in technology, understanding, and methodology have limited and often crippled attempts to drive effective personalization. In this series, I’m exploring how analytics can be used to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2014 at SemAngel
The key to understanding digital is to realize that it's not a mass medium. Great digital business models are nearly always distinguished by delivering highly customized experiences. Personalization drives exceptional experience across ecommerce, publishing, hospitality and more. So what's the key to personalization and relevancy? Analytics. Here's an introduction to why digital as a direct medium demands analytics and some of the basic analysis techniques used to drive relevant digital experiences. Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2014 at SemAngel
Consistent analytics. Cadence. Testing. Communication. I described these as the essential elements in building virtuous cycles in analytics. Virtuous cycles are all about feedback loops – and feedback loops need consistent application. You have to be able to analyze, test, and re-analyze continuously or else the operational teams that drive the actual changes can’t be kept consistently engaged and busy. For most organizations, the answer to this demand for continuous testing has been to disassociate analytics and testing. By creating open testing intake processes and encouraging experimentation, many organizations find they can generate quite a high-volume of testing ideas. There’s... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2014 at SemAngel
I’m planning to re-visit my last post on virtuous cycles with a more detailed look at the digital analytics methodologies that we use to drive those cycles. Not every analytics technique is consistently repeatable or will pay dividends when run in a cycle, so I think it’s worthwhile to take a deeper dive into what does work – at least when it comes to digital. But early spring (at least here in San Francisco) is a busy time in the digital analytics world and there’s a few Conference’s and events coming up that I wanted to call-out first. Foremost among... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2014 at SemAngel
Getting it Wrong and Proud of It A virtuous cycle occurs when your organization analyzes, tests, learns, operationalizes and feeds back into the analytics. It's a virtuous cycle because the input from each step makes the next step better and because the whole process loops - with interpretation of data driving tests and the outcome of tests sharpening and enhancing the next round of analytics. Like collaboration, virtuous cycles are one of those “mom and apple pie” concepts that everyone is in favor of but very few people seem to get right. Unlike collaboration, this failure isn’t primarily a matter... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2014 at SemAngel
There’s more to creating an effective Center of Excellence in Analytics than creating an organizational placeholder. In this series, I’ve been walking through a set of guiding principles that we’ve found make the difference between adding another box on an org chart and having a transformative analytics practice. Today’s topic, collaboration, is a difficult one. Unlike my last post on why it’s a mistake to separate analytics and reporting in your organization (and it’s worth checking out Steve Robinson’s thoughtful commentary), collaboration isn’t exactly controversial. What’s difficult is that collaboration is a little too close to Mom and apple pie.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2014 at SemAngel