[With our super short registration season for this year’s X Change, it’s definitely time to register. And if you have registered, MAKE SURE YOU BOOK YOUR ROOM AT THE PHOENICIAN since the Hotel block expires this week. It’s time!]
One of the fascinating aspects of X Change is that the topics are largely community driven. The conversations are all led by enterprise measurement leaders and those leaders choose the two topics they want to deep dive into. So the topics that get chosen are almost always what’s top-of-mind - what’s interesting, promising, or puzzling folks who are trying to deliver great analytics. Five years ago, we were knee deep in conversations around web analytics tools. Two years ago, we were all talking mobile. The last couple of years, it’s been data science and big data. Those trends are telling and important to understand. But instead of delving into those long term trends, I’m going to walk through my own take on what the core issues are – and then suggest Huddles that might be appropriate.
Data Democratization: Allow me to say that almost every enterprise out there gets this wrong. Dreadfully wrong. Yes, data has been democratized in the last five years. No, most people aren’t ready for democracy. What people should finally be realizing is that pushing data out the door in ever prettier forms is not the way to get your organization using data well. And yet…and yet, an immense amount of energy is expended on trying to build better dashboards. This truly is a foundational activity. You can’t generate and operationalize analytics until you’ve created a mature organization that understands their marketspace and environment via data. What’s more, until you get this somewhat right, your team will be chewed up with an endless stream of ad hoc requests and support requirements.
What Conversations to Join: Kyle Keller (Vox): "Is the future of reporting…less reporting" and Tom Lingdell (The Hartford): "Where does Data Democratization Start and End"
Optimization: What’s missing in 99% of our analytics projects? Impact. Testing and Optimization deliver impact. But what’s missing in most Testing & Optimization programs? Any understanding of what to test, who to test it on, and what type of creative or capability will make an impact. As the Analytics Club series that Kelly Wortham and I just wrapped up hammered home, the disconnect between analytics and testing is crushing the effectiveness of each. This is an organization question first and foremost, but it extends into analytics method and even into technology and big data.
What Conversations to Join: Melanie Hall (American Express): "Scaling and Growing an Advanced Optimization Program" and Dylan Lewis (Intuit): "Testing Palooza"
Personalization: My other Analytics Club thread is (or ought to be) another core focus area for digital analytics organizations. I’m delighted to see this topic get more traction because it’s the fundamental driver of deep impact on the business (even more than optimization). Personalization matters, and it’s the key to gaining strategic advantage in digital. If you aren’t driving personalization capabilities into your organization, you’re not doing a good job. It’s that simple (okay, maybe not that simple – but it’s close).
What Conversations to Join: David McBride (American Eagle): "Getting Started with Personalization", David Williams (ASOS): "Talk to me, not the masses", and Lynn Lanphier (Best Buy): "What to consider when establishing a personalization/targeting strategy"
Talent: Everything is important. Methodology. Technology. Process. They all matter and they all matter a lot. But when you get right down to it, people matter most. And with analytics demand skyrocketing and supply still very limited, getting and keeping talent is probably the single most important thing an enterprise manager has to focus on. I personally would much rather hang out in an analytics method or big data huddle (and that's what I'll likely do), but you probably couldn’t pick a better place to spend your time than figuring out the best ways to solve the people challenge.
What Conversations to Join: Kiele Cauble (Thomson Reuters): "Marketer, Data Analyst – or both?" and Julie Ferrara (University of Tennessee): "Re-balancing a top heavy team"
Hard to believe I didn’t pick any big data Huddles – that’s just wrong. I guess that’s part of what makes X Change great (and challenging). If you love this stuff, it all seems pretty darn interesting and important.
Hope to see you there!