Digital Marketing Maturity: Time to take a look in the mirror

by Jim Cain

One of the core components of the Analyst Program is working with clients over time to help increase both the actual and perceived value of web analysis in the organization.

From our very first report, we get great feedback from our direct stakeholder (i.e. virtual boss) on how much easier it is to understand the business through structured and ongoing performance management/business analysis.

Over the course of the first few months however, we tend to start getting executives higher up the food chain looking at our reports and starting to take digital seriously as the reports are speaking their language instead of making them learn a new one. This is a quick example of an organization making steps towards becoming more mature in regards to digital strategy and execution.

We recognize that in order to be someone’s analyst long term, we need to help evolve the client organization’s approach to online. And we take this seriously, in fact one of our Strategy Board members is a gentleman by the name of Stephane Hamel – creator of the Web Analytics Maturity model.

We have been saying for several years that Napkyn doesn’t work with specific categories of company (i.e. electronics, publishing, content), we work with organizations who have a certain level of digital organization maturity. It doesn’t matter what your website does, if you are spending money and running campaigns while using the words ‘think’ ‘hope’ and ‘feel’ – you most likely aren’t going to read our reports.

Clients who realize they need a full time web analyst and choose Napkyn are a diverse bunch, but they all have one thing in common. They took a long look at their digital marketing strategy and realized that it was impossible to continue to make gains without ongoing structure and assessment of the health and wealth of online efforts. You never win if you aren’t keeping score.

With this in mind, it has been very reassuring to see some brilliant and respected members of the analytics community start writing about the importance of maturity – not just in analytics, but in all aspects of digital marketing. I would like to shine a spotlight on two pieces in particular that stand out:

Piece: Best Web Analytics 2.0 tools
Author: Avinash Kaushik
Why it’s important: No surprise to see Mr. Kaushik referenced on any list of good copy – he is almost single-handedly creating the increased executive visibility around web analytics with tactical, no-nonsense insights. The reason this piece is so important to me however, is about halfway down the article in a section called “Don’t be scared: Prioritze”. I think that the graph in this section will eventually be on the short list of key insights from Avinash that everyone references (i.e. 10/90, data puke).

Unlike many of Avinash’s posts that post insightful best practices for anyone attempting web analytics, this piece recognizes that certain businesses aren’t large/mature enough to do everything, and will end up drinking from the fire-hose of data. He therefore lists analytics tools that are relevant to different levels, and then lists the priority that they should be implemented for maximum organization impact.

Recommending Voice of Customer implementation first for a Large company was a real ‘eureka’ moment for me – get the data that the executives care about/understand implemented first as it will grease the skids to get buy in for clickstream and outcome analysis data. If you tell the EVP of Marketing that 25% of people surveyed think your online store is crap, you can be sure they will start asking questions that only the web analyst can answer.

Piece: Maturity Model for Digital Marketing Strategy
Author: Akin Arikan
Why it’s important: Akin is the evangelist for Unica (now IBM), and is a continuous source of awesome on topics around complex digital analytics, like multichannel analytics and overall digital strategy. He wrote a piece recently outlining a maturity model he wrote for digital marketers, and it’s a great piece. Most marketers reading this are going to feel a little bummed out – even Akin’s first level of maturity is way past where most companies are. That said, the act of even trying to assess your organization is a huge step in the right direction – better yet, get your boss to look at this.

Our internal maturity framework that we use to assess clients is a lot different than Akin’s, but more because we work with companies that are very different from the average Unica customer. The main point is that a company with a million dollars worth of online marketing tools but no plan will fail, just like a company with ten online marketers and no web analyst will fail. Note as well that Akin rightly points out that a major component of digital maturity involves strategic planning – something that is often overlooked when you are ‘moving at the speed of internet’.

I highly recommend reading both of these blogs, and then taking a long look in the mirror in regards to your own organization. If you do that and don’t realize that you need a web analyst drop me a line, I’d love to find out why.



Jim Cain

Founder and CEO, Napkyn Analytics

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