[Omniture Summit :: Tail]

03.15.07 :: Day 3: Keynotes, Breakouts, Sidebar, Downloads.


We listened just to Anne Holland, President and CEO of MarketingSherpa. As usual the 'Sherp went over some great data even if some of it was a couple years old. Key take-aways:

  • While 2.0 has buzz and would get that extra $100K of Spend if/as Marketers had it, the real dominating investments are still all about Search and Email... Because they're so proven in terms of bang for the buck.
  • Paid and Organic Search convert at about the same rates on average. I had actually been assuming organic would be more, so it was a good head check against a common Marketer's trap: being so close to one's field that one assumes the audience is just as familiar, as comprehending, as non-impressionable, as jaded and/or as discriminating.
  • Putting new levels of attention on robust and effective internal (on-site) search, and also on re-marketing to lost conversions (ex: shopping cart abandons) are each hot new ROI frontiers. The idea being these are prime leads worth putting extra effort into keeping in the fold. Both B2C and B2B are advised to invest here.
  • SEM conversion rates coming from situations where Analytics is being deeply embraced are around 10%. However SEO is still averaging just half that rate, meaning Marketers haven't gotten it as well together with optimizing conversions from unpaid traffic yet (and need to).
  • Solicit the surveyed ROI data from them if/as need be to justify hiring Analysts and arming them with great Analysis tools. They're currently way underutilized.

As a side note, I was glad to see SEO at the top of their survey of Marketers' answers to the basic "what works?" question... whereas some of the flashier fun Web 2.0 stuff like podcasts for example was in the bottom ends i.e. single percentages.

Another stand-out item re. what's on marketers' minds is landing page optimization, from SEM and Email especially. So the rest of the keynote was all more granular i.e. landing page and email best practices for both B2C and B2B.


The first of these I hit was all on leveraging internal search. Really it was a big pitch from Endeca, a new Omniture partner. Their engine seems pretty solid, very oriented toward letting users refine results against a classification scheme. Plus, the hooks it has into SiteCatalyst give it optimization potential. It's made to be most beneficial for big e-tailers (ex: Home Depot) and/or media sites (ex: NY Times). Home Depot offered themselves up as a case study. They've been a longtime Endeca client who had recently dropped WebsideStory or Omniture. I did that on one project before, myself.

The second session, which we all hit, was all on making Analysis work on RIAs (Rich Interface Applications e.g. Flash, AJAX): Really technical and meticulous work but impressive when successes are presented. Main messages received:

  • Omniture's new ActionSource protocol makes tracking Flash sites much easier. Just set up the classification scheme in SAINT and there it is. No coding in opbject assemblies to Omnture's JavaScript tag, no HTML page or giving Builders access to SiteCatalyst needed even, for implementation and testing. Just the free Charles proxies utility or similar debugger needed for verifying event firings. Awesome.
  • Start-to-finish, tracking & analytics implementations on robust RIAs take months.
  • Project Managers need to build Analysis into requirements definitions at the kickoff stages. What happens too often is QA and Analysis get tacked on the end and sacrificed from/in the planning then it all blows up. Companies need to take it all very seriously and plan for it needing to take a while to get it in right.

Case studies included Nike. They have (4) JSP sites, (183) Flash sites, (1) dozen agencies, and Omniture tying all of it together behind the scene. Wow. The sites they're most proud of are NikeID (multiple languages, one big app, rolled into all just one SWF!) and NikePlus. One cool point was that they use SiteCatalyst to help guide offline inventory management, e.g. triggered alerts that flag whenever users try to order something that's out of stock. Their approach to marrying Analytics with robust, database-driven Flash applications creates a tight online marketing ecosystem.

Digestion / freeform sidebar:

There are a lot of exciting things happening, and there's much to get out in front of this year.

To me it feels increasingly that while solidifying their grasp on Web 2.0 (or as Omniture billed it this week, "Marketing 2.0") enterprise web marketers might do well to try adopting a content management industry inspired logic to evaluation and development of companies' presence online. That is, address the triumvirate of layers that makes for any given web property (or family thereof) distinctly, but also extend it to the whole online realization of their brand(s):

  • Presentational
  • Informational
  • Functional

My point here is the value of a CMS is sold on its ability to manage versioning and collaborative workflows for all these asset types... but look what happens when we look at project challenges through that same perspective. It creates a view that helps inform the strategic agenda. It could work simply by using this model to frame what companies are trying to online, instead of getting focused so straight away just on what their sites are about on the surface, to the end that one misses what really trying to do and why. I suspect the latter can be a potential trap for all kinds and levels of consultancies.

When so many things start off with a phone call from Brand X to experts A, B and C about their idea for Project Z and then everyone jumps to make a case for Y they should get the gig, etc., it can potentially distract a bit from the relationships being key. Not just between marketer and brand, but between brand and audience. Areas like this are where people sometimes let themselves get swept up into all the "gee-whiz" production options, in my experience. Marketers get wrapped up in advertising mindsets along the way, instead of thinking like brand ambassadors to the audience - mediators in between the two parties, even. What takes the hit perhaps most of all are overlooked meganiches where much can be learned about what customers really need and want. Marketers mustn't let these fly under their radar. Studying and then engaging these - honestly and under whatever disclaimers are needed to help expedite things - is important for bypassing all the noise. Honesty in advertising? Now more than ever, because so many of us online are all both content consumers as well as publishers. Or, put more bluntly, everyone's selling something - and it's a great thing, not a disturbing one. It creates great collective filters for bullshit.

I prefaced the importance of content in my last post: Some of the biggest brands online to-day are firms that, through various means and vendors in combination and over time, have published great presentation layers, solid and/or hit-and-miss functional layers, and emaciated or underdeveloped informational layers. So now more than ever with the new empowered audience and

the Web the way we've all always wanted it to work

- as MarketingSherpa put it this week - brands have a problem. They need to not just open themselves up. They need to expand their reach by enriching themselves... moreover some may even need to take it a step further with their social engineering work, spiking the punch via viral campaigns deployed as hoax and/or stealth initiatives, even. I wonder how many are thinking these ways yet, and how much of this type of thinking we need to start doing for them. For starters we do know we have clients challenged with the basic informational content void to-day, whether they know it or not... and marketers need to come up with ways to help them stay relevant there because the bar has been raised on brands re. what qualifies as such or not. Those who don't evolve to stay relevant may fade, so it's up to those versed in forward-thinking online marketing to be both conduits and advisers as this next stage of natural selection plays out on the Web.

So as we work, perhaps framing strategic vital signs as if evaluating CMS software requirements at the conceptual levels might help... and also, it might simultaneously help break discipline silos, optimizing our project / production management workflows so that at the end of the day we're putting out even tighter product than we already are.

Marketing Wisdom for 2007

No Comments »


Based out of Northern California, bl.asphemo.us is a bl.og dedicated to the advocacy and study of high-impact, data driven marketing disciplines and related concerns: Analytics and Data Mining, Marketing Automation, Integrated Advertising (targeting, retargeting), Demand Generation and Lead Nurturing, Social Media / Social Engineering (Crowd-hacking) and the new PR, Privacy, Security, CRM, SEO / SEM, CRO, ROI... more TLAs (three letter acronyms) than any sane person's daily lexicon should include.

About the Preacher