I've been trying to get around to collecting my thoughts about the various conferences I've attended this week, and now, just hours away from another conference I need to blog about, (PRSA) and am just now getting around to it.
First let me say that Jim Sterne's e-Metrics opening emetics presentation was as good a primer on modern day measurement as you can get. Jim and I bonded awhile back over a mutual passion for metrics done right.
A year ago, I had the good fortune to catch another measurement maven, Eric Petersen, give his talk at last year's e-Metrics conference, and it completely changed my perspective on measuring engagement. This year was no different. While last year's presentation focused on numbers, this year Petersen's clear message, was that it's not about the tools or the data, it was on the interpretation.
My favorite line was his opener: In God we Trust, all others bring data. He went on to point out something I've been saying for years, that the data is available, the challenge is to get people to use it. What people don't understand, Petersen said, is that businesses can create sustainable and strategic competitive advantages by investing in collecting, using and interpreting that data, or as he put it, the qualitative and quantitative analysis and multi-variate testing to drive decisions and actions.
He also pointed out the elephant in the room, and that is that Web analytics is hard. He's right. It's not easy to interpret web analytic date correctly, but I would argue that what is hard, but necessary, is to correlate that web analytic data to other social, and traditional media as well as other outcomes. My second favorite piece of advice from Petersen: There is no such thing as "web analytics" it's all analytics so take a class in SAS and learn what SAS can do for you.. " Nice plug for my client, but its good advice to up and coming PR people as well.