What vendors could learn from the Emetrics Summit

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Vendors should also educate themselvesAfter a very nice bath, a good nights rest and some usual Saturday grocery shopping, I finally got René out of his week-end siesta and decided it was time to start my first post about the Emetrics Summit we attended, together with Siegert, during the end of this week in London.
As usual, there is a lot to digest after such an event but, in contrary to last year, it was more about networking and confirmation of our own issues and findings than real new knowledge and great surprises. Call me ‘blasée’ or just really focused.

In any case, please allow me to start with some kind of rant through a list of things I heard from vendors and found misplaced, ridiculous, utterly stupid and shows how little some of them (not all by afar) actually know about the business they’re in.
I’m aware of the fact that these are harsh words but as more and more vendors seem to be walking the education path for their own personnel as well (on top of their clients apparently), I would just like their statements to be more than simple words.

First of all, if you are one of those lucky persons to keep your companies’ stand, see with your colleagues if you can’t get away and catch a couple of presentations. After all, the Emetrics Summit is the “crème de la crème” in terms of information related to Web Analytics. Be smart, divide the presentations between your colleagues and share and educate yourselves: we don’t spend 2 days talking about your product, trust me!

When a vendor delegate comes up to me to ask me if I’m Aurelie Pols (yes, it’s written on my badge, Matthew does a great job with that amongst many more things), if I’m the one downloading all the white-papers (no, that’s somebody from my team being paid to download documents and make me look smart) and if I they actually read them, I’m … confused.
If I download them, yes, I read them. I actually often donwload them at the end of the day and rarely straight after opening the email (metrics you could get with your wonderful solution). I even store them on my computer and annotate some bits of text that inspire me for some of my presentations. Yes, even your solution inspires me!
It’s when I left him to catch Avinash’s presentation and he looked at me stunned “Avi..who” that my heart really shrunk. Poor guy! you’re not selling a washing machine! It’s getting quite complex and please, read about the sector you’re working in so that you won’t tell me stupid things over the phone next time and waste my time.
No, WebTrends does not only do log files, thank you very much and next time, your mobile phone scotched colleague could also present himself, for the sake of good manners.
Enough about that, no pun intended, please read Avinash’s blog to familiarize yourself at least with the 10/90 rule.

I’m not sure vendors are aware of the fact that most people attending the Emetrics Summits actually know something about products or hopefully already went through some kind of sales presentation and pre-sales discussions. This event is thus very different from other commercial events and this holds consequences on the way your company should be presented.
As attendees are there for 2 full days, they will tend to come back to your stand to ask more questions after the basic first demo if they’re interested. This means that the questions will become tougher, both on a technical level but also regarding processes, this year’s buzz word ever since Eric Peterson presented his view in Washington last fall.
Thankfully, business related issues such as interpretation of reports or real discussions about usable KPIs were not part of this year’s issues but it would be good for you to get a heads start for next year, in order to look smarter and possibly increase your chances of actually closing those deals you need by the end of the quarter.

Getting back to processes, I think that everybody really serious about Web Analytics and working with large clients should pay attention to what Vincent Kermorgant from Nokia has to say. Vincent, I’m sorry I didn’t present myself, I’m a very shy person (with a big Dutch mouth, I know). Next time better, promised but I really wanted to say thank you for your whitepaper “Implementing Web Analytics the Nokia Way: a Customer’s Methodology co-authored” with Ilkka Manninen, and how much of an inspiration it has been. The first version can be found on the Yahoo user Groups. I am really looking forward to the next version you mentioned.

Why are processes important?

  1. Because tags don’t magically appear on web pages and I’m not even talking about Web 2.0 tipy Rich Media apps
  2. Because once you’ve managed to get those tags up there, the web analytics product versions evolve (together with the tags) and you inevitably wonder how your tags could best evolve in line with your favorite vendor. Add to that that comunication about launches of new versions and ending of support for certain versions is not always totally transparent and you might find yourself with discrepancies in numbers that will cost you a lot of effort to explain.
  3. Because every client integrates differently with tools external to the used Web Analytics application and believe me, it can become quite messy!
    You might be talking about getting information from a CMS – or eMarketing Platform as we prefer to call & build them -, an emailing platform such as Optizen’s Messagent here in Belgium (and many others, specific to each country) is quite often required, external databases, external surveys that could be linked to WA data, CRM data and you name it.
    You might also want to export your WA data somewhere else.
  4. Because format and automatisation actually matter (no, I’m not talking about real time!!!!!!!!!!) as WA is about easily delivering actionable data to end users. These end users can be at different levels within an organisation and require different KPIs, in their preferred format in order to assure maximum accessibility. The fact that your tool (your favourite WA tool) is actually capable of delivering a none standard KPI within an Xcelsius (Business Objects) type dashboard holds large consequences, believe me!

It’s time to get back to the school benched (pre)-sales boys & girls!
The time has passed that slacky presentations and amazing promises will actually assure you a sale as hopefully less and less practitioners will switch between Omniture, WebSideStory, WebTrends, Coremetrics, SAS, and all those expensive players. Accountability is going to inevitably become a rule of thumb at some point and you should assure that your solution, together with it’s related services, is up to spitting out the requested numbers.

My suggestion would be

  1. education for clients certainly as they are already doing that by the way and unlike some of you might think, are not raving enthusiastic about your expensive educational services. Let’s face it, it’s not your core business;
  2. a better selection of partners. I’ll give it to you, not an easy task but do weigh the consequences of your choices carefully, on the long term
  3. and finally education of your staff as there is nothing more annoying to be bullied by a pompous, ignorant idiot who tries to shift the pressure of his sales figures onto his partners while sneaking behind your back and wondering why intelligent prospects don’t really like to get those pushy phone calls.

That’s for the rant, sorry about that, just trying to help and I did not mention any names so please take this as friendly advice and let’s work on it in order to make the next Emetrics Summit even better for everybody: practitionars, consultants and vendors. Together we can make a difference. Let’s help out one another.

Don’t hesitate to comment.

Kind regards,

Aurélie

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3 Responses to “What vendors could learn from the Emetrics Summit”

  1. Lars Says:

    Wow, what a thorough post!

    You said:
    “it was more about networking and confirmation of our own issues and findings than real new knowledge and great surprises”

    I have to agree for most part. It was still good though.
    :)

  2. Dennis R. Mortensen Says:

    Hi Aurélie

    Disclaimer:
    I am a VENDOR, … but I would be also like to think of myself as a practitioner (with 10 years in the industry). And what a RANT! :-)

    – nevertheless; it rings very true. I find it utterly embarrassing how some of us approach potential “prospects” at shows like this. Take this response from a Vendor from Emetrics Washington:

    Hello, My Name is Avinash. What is Unique About You?

    http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/2006/10/hello-my-name-is-avinash-what-is-unique-about-you.html

    “I have not used other web analytics products but ******’s ability to create hundreds of custom variables is unique. We also have built in bid management in the latest version.”

    First of all; how can you be in this industry without even having seen or tried any other tools; and if that’s true – why would they send you to the premier enterprise event of the industry. And secondly; I do HOPE that I am not the only one having multiple accounts with my competitors … hmmm … Am I on the verge of getting sued now? :-)

    Dennis R. Mortensen, COO at IndexTools
    My Web Analytics Blog – and my quick comments to Emetrics London 2007

  3. morganusvitus Says:

    The site looks great ! Thanks for all your help ( past, present and future !)

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