by Cindy Herrmann, partner, Mogul Marketing
I have been wanting to go to a SES conference on search and social media marketing for some time now, and I am so happy that one is finally coming to New York later this month. As I looked at the conference agenda, I came across a term I had not heard much about, convergence analytics. It is about taking data from multiple sources and displaying it on one dashboard.
We’ve been getting sales calls from a lot of these vendors, most new companies, and the products are pricey, both in terms of cost, and in terms of support time. But you don’t know if a marketing campaign is successful or not without measurement, so it looks like this is a space to get to know.
To learn a little more, I contacted the two gentlemen who will be talking about Convergence Analytics at SES New York, and asked them a few questions.
Q: Are you going to be talking about products like Hubspot and comparing them to Google Analytics? From the blurb about your session, I think this is what it is about, but I want to make sure.
Google Analytics dashboard
A: With Convergence Analytics, we are defining a new marketing space for digital analytics. I’m not sure we have mentioned Hubspot, though they do have a great product. The first and most important factor of Convergence Analytics is that it goes well beyond anything Google Analytics currently does, and beyond what Hubspot does as well (though I haven’t explored the version they just released). The archetypical companies include Google, but that’s because they also have a Tag Management tool, Google Universal Analytics, they own search, and have an ad platform. They collect data from everywhere, and the tag line (so to speak) for Convergence Analytics is “Everybody’s measuring everything”. Other archetypical companies would include Adobe with their suite of analytics tools (beyond Omniture), as well as Gooddata, Alteryx, IBM and startups like Anametrix that mash together data from many different sources–some from the clickstream, some not from the clickstream. BTW I am pretty sure Hubspot collects data only from the clickstream?
Q: When should a company invest in analytics software (rather than using something free)? What are some of the benefits?
A: The above. I’m not sure this is altogether relevant to what we’re talking about, but it’s a fair bet that anyone who is going to do anything at all in Convergence Analytics will not find a free tool to do the work. In “free” stand-alone analytics, there’s pretty much just Google Analytics (or Flurry for apps). But even GA is not free to anyone who wants to make it answer business questions because someone, somewhere will have to take it beyond the basics–and that may require internal domain expertise plus tool expertise, or it may need to come from a professional services organization. The benchmark in any case is that anyone who needs to go beyond the bare minimum needs to establish a budget for analytics.
Q: I am amazed by how many of these vendors are contacting me. It looks like they see a need out there for people to look at the overall effectiveness of their online marketing efforts. They want a lot of money and most are pretty new names. How should I analyze who would make sense for which of my clients?
A: Many vendors are coming from all over the digital marketing spectrum and converging on Convergence. Many are adding “connectors” to disparate data sources, adding sophisticated dashboards, and beefing up their analytics algorithms. The newer ones are harder to figure, but those that carry little baggage from their past incarnations are likely to travel far in the new market! Key factors include the quality and flexibility of their data connectors and their professional service and/or customer support modules. Self-service is going to be tougher for the foreseeable future. That said, customers may want to look at their existing measurement tools and see what features have been added, or what within that vendor’s suite of offerings can fill the needs. The key is finding tools that will integrate data from many sources and may include desktop, mobile, social, CRM, call center, sales, inventory, demographics, geographics, campaign data, POS and cost data.
Q: How do I avoid going with someone who ends up being a loser as the field consolidates?
A: Some of the older analytics companies may be too tied to their old paradigms to be flexible enough in the new space despite claims to the contrary. Newer companies need ample funding in addition to a robust product. But for the near-term, its an expanding market and room for lots of competitors. We predict it will be much bigger than web analytics.
Q: Why are you experts in this area?
A (Andrew Edwards): I’ve been an operating executive in the digital marketing space since the early 1990s and created some of the first commercial web sites. I’ve had a web analytics consulting company for over ten years and was a founder of the Digital Analytics Association. Most of the work I’ve done has been at the enterprise level, and I’ve been writing about digital marketing for about five years including a year and a half for ClickZ. I’ve also spoken publicly about digital marketing at The DMA and other venues, and in April will be speaking about The Dawn of Convergence Analytics at eMetrics in San Francisco.
Q: What else can I say that will be interesting, and will help entice people to come listen to you?
A: We expect our Convergence Analytics report to become an industry barometer (Incisive supports this concept). Attendees will not want to miss the launch of this important new subject, as we help redefine the digital marketing industry.
About Andrew Edwards
Andrew Edwards has been a pioneer in the digital space since the 1980s. He introduced desktop publishing to the Yellow Pages, helped create “interactive television” with AT&T, taught advanced computer graphics at New York’s Pratt Institute; and founded Renaissance Multimedia where he launched web sites for SoBe Beverage and Canon Digital Video. In 1998 he was awarded Deloitte and Touche’s National Fast 500 Award. Today he is one of the most senior thought-leaders in the digital analytics space and a regular columnist for ClickZ (Incisive Media).
Andrew is a Founder and former Board Member of the DAA (Digital Analytics Association), as well as a Managing Partner at Technology Leaders where he has provided digital analytics expertise to companies like T-Mobile, Merck & Company, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Burson-Marsteller and Priceline. Along with Rand Schulman, he founded Efectyv Marketing in 2012.
About Rand Schulman
Rand Schulman was founder and CEO of one of the first SaaS-based Web-Analytics companies, Keylime Software, which was acquired by Yahoo. Rand lead marketing and products at Webtrends, and was CMO of WebSideStory through its IPO, which was later acquired by Omniture/Adobe. Rand was General Manger for Unica, acquired by IBM.
He was a co-founder, board member and is an emeritus board director of the Digital Marketing Association. He’s been a Trustee of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation and is an Executive-in-Residence at the University of the Pacific for New Media and Marketing. He was named one of the top 100 BtoB Markters by BtoB Magizne.
He currently advises numerous mobile and social media companies, as well as larger organizations like SRI and VCs about disruptive marketing trends.
Rand is a Managing Partner with Efectyv Marketing along with Andrew Edwards, is widely quoted and has numerous published articles on digital marketing and his latest work will be released on Convergence Analytics, published by Incisive Media, later next month.
Rand and Andrew are speaking at the upcoming SES New York.