This week I was fortunate enough to get to participate in not one, but two panels on Digital Measurement with Red Door Interactive in San Diego and Denver. It is always great to get a chance to meet with and talk to others in this industry about the challenges that we face and how others are handling these challenges. Both events drew a diverse crowd from all levels of experience and across multiple verticals. And even with this diversity there were quite a number of common themes that came out of the panelists and the questions of the attendees. The three points that I hope every attendee left with are these:
Develop the talent you have.
With the ever increasing shortage of people, the need to educate and train the staff you already have is equally important. I will not get into you need a better tool debate, because the best resource you have is your people. Encourage them to go to local analytics events like these speaker series, or Web Analytics Wednesday meetups. Find the budget to send them to industry events like Demystified Days, eMetrics, Omniture Summit, WebTrends Engage, etc. Join the Web Analytics Association and attend the regional Symposiums across the country. Encourage them to participate in the Analysis Exchange as students or mentors. Whatever you do, invest in your people that is where the true ROI is.
Empty the pool.
Folks are drowning in data out there so much that they can not get to the information they need that sometimes the only way to get out of that pattern is to drain the pool and start over. This approach is blatantly stolen from Adam Greco. Try turning off reports, go dark, radio silence. See who screams, find out what data they need to do their job. If the report and the analysis from it is not going to get you promoted or get you fired then it is probably not needed.
This issue is not going to go away. The fear mongering that has come out of the Wall Street Journal is just the beginning. There will be more legislation that develops because of this and more vendors and browsers will scramble to get in front of this issue. I truly believe that each of us in the digital measurement industry has the responsibility to be informed about this issue. Take the time and read the WAA’s Code of Ethics, get to know it and understand the motivation behind it. Sign it if you agree, but more importantly, acknowledge that this might be the most critical issue facing our industry that we have faced to date. We have to help educate others about what it is we really do track, and that what we do is not evil. Start with your friends and family, expand from there. Not too long ago people were scared to use their credit cards online, but now most people do not even give it s second thought. We can get to that same level of comfort with what we do and the user benefits that it provides to the consumers out there.
The other theme that emerged from these panels is that you are not alone. Almost every company is facing these issues and trying to figure out what their approach to these and other issues will be. Keep pushing yourself to learn more, ask why, and get that true level of understanding of what being in this community is all about.