As part of the build-up to X Change, we sometimes ask Huddle Leaders to talk about their topics and experience with the Conference. Last week, Michael Feiner (of our London partners, AEP Convert) and I put together a short set of questions for some of the Leaders in Berlin. David Williams of ASOS was first out the gate with a great set of answers - I'm looking forward to his Huddles already!
Could you briefly describe ASOS and your role?
ASOS is a global online fashion and beauty retailer aimed at fashion forward 20-somethings. We have over 50,000 different products online at any one time and add around 1,500 new lines a week. As Head of Customer Intelligence it’s my job to understand how people engage with us across our different channels and use that data to help the business improve that experience. To us, it’s all about the customer.
Can you tell us a little about the technology ASOS is using to measure digital channels? And how is that evolving?
Our primary Web Analytics deployments utilise Webtrends but we have also thrown in Google Analytics for good measure (no pun intended!). Recently, we’ve started loading some raw Webtrends log file data into Quantivo – and we’re able to do some seriously cool analysis with it. The two complement each other brilliantly. I see that approach continuing to evolve over time – how can we get better business value out of existing systems and data by making them more complimentary? Ultimately that leads to the Big Data pathway- but we’ll come to that later!
What are the key challenges digital analysts face when it comes to measuring online customer behaviour?
Ensuring that the main bottleneck to analysis is the analysts own brain rather than his toolset. With the proliferation of digital channels, tools and hunger for visitor level insight, we need to ensure that the challenge remains in the analysis itself, not in getting at the data to perform it. That’s a lot easier said than done of course!
Your first huddle topic is “Strategic Joins of Web Analytics & CRM”. What led you to pick that topic?
A quote I’ve heard too often: “one hit wonders – customers that order once and never come back” – to which begs the obvious question, how do you know they never come back? What is really meant is customers that never placed a second order. To me this is symptomatic of the fact that Web Analytics and ‘CRM’ systems are often more isolated than they should be and a lot of opportunity is lost by not reinforcing the latter with the former. Even in the absence of, or as we prepare for, warehouse / Big Data solutions, there is a lot that can be done relatively easily and efficiently to, for example, create some really useful segmentations to target upon, or to reinforce understanding of purchase behaviour with browsing behaviour.
Your second huddle topic is “Preparing for Big Data”. What will this huddle cover?
Big Data is all the rage but my concern is that there is a lot of ground work to be done before diving in that is often overlooked. Everything from the organisational change that will be needed to support the significant blurring of the boundaries between analytical disciplines that will result, through to the simple, but perhaps non-trivial questions: what does Big Data really mean to my organisation and what exactly am I trying to achieve? It’s too easy to just say “a single customer view” and I think sufficient time invested upfront in understanding this will significantly improve such projects chances of success. We’re starting this journey now and I look forward to open discussions with others on the subject.
Big Data, customer analytics and multi-channel analytics are all the rave. Is 2012 the year when these buzz terms turn into reality?
It’s certainly the year that it’ll be firmly on every execs radar, if it isn’t already. Turning it into reality requires a certain level of maturity within each organisation in relation to the understanding of existing data and also within the industry in terms of the toolsets available to deliver it. I’m quietly optimistic!
What are you hoping to achieve through your huddles?
A good balance of give and take – of share and learn. I’ve intentionally picked subjects that I’m heavily involved in but would not necessarily consider myself expert – I’m there to catalyse discussion, not to lecture.
Of the other Huddles at X Change which are of particular interest to you?
Your own “Moving from Web to Customer Analytics” – as this touches on my previous comments on organisational change. Plus there are a couple of other Analytics/CRM huddles that would appear complimentary to my own and this subject is a personal favourite at the moment!
You attended X Change 2011. Why should web analysts and optimisation professionals attend X Change 2012?
Because of its clear focus and unique format. It’s a great opportunity to learn from like minded professionals without a single sales booth in site. It makes almost every other conference look like a vendor-fest.
Intrigued? Thinking how cool it would be sit down and talk about Digital CRM and Big-Data with David? That's what I'm thinking, and that's what X Change is all about. You can join us by registering now!