I am back in the Dutch mountains (the place where I grew up is called Bergen, which literally means mountains in Dutch) for the sell of my mother’s house. It’s been a long week, filled with workshops (these really worn me out), eternal Kafkaian discussions with vendors, technical mishaps within clients environments and the bright light of our new ad campaigns that my husband is setting up with our Design team.
It’s funny like there’s rythm to following the blogs that are out there related to Web Analytics. I must admit that I have so much work that I don’t have the time to follow it all up but every once in a while, something gets my attention. There’s of course also René who feeds me with info, Siegert who surfs around on the more Dutch part of the WA domain, Guillaume who’s talking to the vendors about his technical issues and of course the daily Yahoo User Group newsletter.
There is just so much information lying out there on the field as well that I’m sort of in a kind of balance between looking at what’s going on in real life, in comparison with what I see on the blogs, user groups, web casts and products website or conferences.
The delay with which Europe also reacts often means that I’m faced with issues that have been discussed some time ago on the user group for example. I remember some months back the discussions about measurements of PPC and I’m finally in this situation for a client today.
So, I’ve been doing my research on the User Group, using the search and getting back to reading posts in more depth from some months ago. By the way, I wouldn’t dare to ask a question in the fear of being kindly reminded by Robin Steif that the question had already been asked.
I don’t know her personally – and admit that she scares me a bit – but was warmly conforted in my admiration for her work by the fact that she was writing her blog in Italy. As some of you might know, my husband (and CEO), René is Spanish but my heart also partly lies in Italy. Every time I’m worried about the world and tired of working (OX2, the company for which I work has been created by my husband and myself), I think about Tuscany.
My mind wonders down the hills near Montepulciano to take the road to Pienza. I take a left turn down a small allee of stones, surrounded by cypresses and drive up to Monticello. I park my car on the top of the hill and enter the eonotheca, which has a lovely patio with a marvelous views on the Tucanian hillside. The wine shines like ruby in the sun and the pecorino ravioli are just wonderful. Aaaahhh, holidays in Italy!
There is also another wonderful village where we spent our honeymoon. It’s a cyber village called Coletta (ADSL connections in Wifi all over the little 3D, Lord of the Rings hobbits like appartments, including near the wonderful pool) where you can rent appartments and work in the sun. Wonderful place!
Anyhow getting back to Robin Steif, this lady that I admire and scares me a little, I read this great post about a discussion she had with an Investment Banker. The reason why I like Robin Steif is because she makes great sense – I don’t always grasp everything, the notion of VISTA doesn’t ring any bells for example but I’ll be doing my research, promised, -, works incredibly hard or is terribly efficient (can’t always say that from myself) and says/writes amazing things! The most common question I ask myself for any project after the second meeting is what Robin asked at the eMetrics summit: “Where does the data sit?” (or something in these terms). I’ve adapted it today to “what’s the data journey, which are the end destinations (formats) and destinators?”. It’s like Kothler’s marketing 4 Ps being replaced by the who, what, where, why of true Business Intelligence. Frank, if you’re reading, that one’s for you in my humble opinion (IMHO).
This new post mentions another great quote:”Currently, buying a big package and then not having an IT staff that can and will customize it, and of course, an analyst, is like buying a Porsche and driving it in first.”. Wow, yes, absolutely! We should ask the guys from Top Gear what they’d think of that! Imagine showing a sketch of Jeremy Clarckson and his gang, trying out super duper cars but they are only allowed to drive in first … i can already imagine their frustration, anger and see the engine smoking. How often don’t you get web analytics engine smoking because nobody wants the responsibility… sounds familiar?
Anyhow, getting back to the post, what have we witnessed recently and less recently?
Well, in the short term time span, I’ve seen Omniture doing an IPO and ZAAZ being acquired.
Of the 2 events, I find the later the most interesting. Not only the fact that they were acquired (and also that I was happy from someone else I admire and I’ve been reading for years, Jason Burby) but which company ZAAZ was actually going to join.
By the way Omniture’s IPO for me is the reflection of the lack of knowledge and understanding in the complexity of Web Analytics, and technology in general, by the financial institutions and their short term lust for money. One must not forget that the stockmarkets are merely the reflection of a fraction of the economy, which are not always driven in the light of the communities’ interest. My hope lies in the UN and not the SEC but that’s another debate.
So ZAAZ was acquired by Wunderman, which is part of the Young & Rubicam Brands and a member of the WPP Group (NASDAQ: WPPGY). Talking about integration, jollys, nice one! I just hope the technical aspects are covered there as well. After all, let’s face it, we’ve been in pitches against more advertising type of companies and I haven’t seen one yet that really was solid, technically speaking! I’ll give it to you, the holy grail is what you do with the technology and I’m pretty sure the guys from ZAAZ with the Wundermenschen will do wonders. But the Wunders are not alone, there’s an interesting other aspect to this groups portfolio.
It cries out for synergies and , collaboration to create something new, remodel the ways the markets are working today and of course more specifically the advertising sector.
It’s easy to see how this all logicially falls into place. The advertising sector has been through different types of Internet related envolvements, from creating their own spin-offs from acquiring exisiting ones. The interesting aspect is also the culture clash between the traditional advertising companies and the web or interactive agencies. But the problem was with the Internet boom & bust that the audience was not there. It is today, which means that these agencies, which also deal inderectly with allocated budget for media, will be in charge of closing the gap between ad spends on media and actual media consumption. I’m sure the Zaazinians will contribute to this by demonstrating the profitability of web related initiatives through Web Analytics.
There is another, more technological group, of companies out there that should actual follow the same kind of logic. I’m talking about the big4, former Big 5: PWC, Ernst & Young, Deloitte & Touch, Andersen (I always forget where they fit in) and the last, can’t remember; the Valoris, Atos origin, Cap Gemini and the likes. Funny I heard about 2 weeks ago is that the daily price for a Web Analytics consultant in one of these firms goes at less than half the rate that I charge. And I know what prices where charged by PWC for example during the Internet boom. They were double my price, just like vendors rates today.
Don’t you see a discrapency there? The integrators don’t believe in Web Analytics, or at least they under rate it; the vendors overcharge (and I’m not only talking about licenses and maintenances) while the consultants don’t really measure what they’re setting up (and still overcharging). I’m jocking on the last one, I’ve met really great people at some of them, good professionals. Unfortunately not always visionary but that’s also probably related to the level of managements involvement of that particular company at the time.
Talking about visionary, would one of you Big 4’s please step-up related to click fraude, you’ve got an interesting position to take here.
Would someone care I explain it to them?
So, M&A and IPOs.
An IPO is good when it brings the money to the right place, for the right reason, to the right people. It’s not my place to judge the later but I would like to raise the issue of why would investors pump money into Omniture? Yes, the Web Analytics market will grow but face it gentelmen (and ladies), the money is not where the technologies lies. It lies in the people, in their brains, in their understanding of every clients needs.
I’ve heard stories of integrators outsourcing their WA against cheaper labour, first in the new European countries and now in India.
That’s not where the money lies.
Want to follow the money in WA? look at the profitability of the end customers.
Who can insure that the advertiser will get more money out of his communication? the advertising agency through measurement.
What’s the most measurable and the fastest growing advertising channel? the web
Who can make it happend? advertising agencies and interactive agencies specialised in Web Analytics
But also how can I ensure maximum profitability from my technological developments? an integrator with an interactive agency, specialised in Web Analytics (or web intelligence as Jacques Warren would say).