I'm a partner in the advanced analytics group at Bain & Company, the global management consulting firm. My primary focus is on marketing analytics (bio). I've been writing here (views my own) about marketing, technology, e-business, and analytics since 2003 (blog name explained).

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June 01, 2009

The Age of Analytics, Part II: It's not the Technology, it's what you do with it

When we started our "marketing analytics agency" business nearly a year and a half ago, we were reacting to a set of emerging needs and opportunities wrapped up in a zeitgeist we called "The Age Of Analytics". In the midst of a tough economy, it's nice to see (in addition to the clients we have the good fortune to work for) validation of the concept, both in yesterday's NYT (discussing the emergence of data practices at ad agency holding companies) and in today's Mediapost.  The latter article, summarizing research by Forrester Research's John Lovett, offers some especially interesting forecasts:

  • spending on web analytics (software and support services) will double to nearly a billion dollars in the next five years;
  • the growth is being driven principally by marketers trying to figure out what's happening across media channels, not just within a web site;
  • most of the growth will come from organizations with between half a million and two million uniques;
  • 58% of sites surveyed through the WASP service have analytics installed;
  • the average cost of hosted analytics services is $15,000 / year, though 73% use free (read: GA) services;
  • Of the folks using services they pay for, over a third also use a free (read: GA) service as well; 
The article presents a wonderful picture from John's report that perfectly describes the market as we see it today (see this earlier post on "Pragmalytics" which describes our approach).  Most organizations have some analytics system installed, but they're still struggling to get over data issues.  The challenge ultimately is to get over the "action chasm", or as one senior executive told us last year, "Our challenge is to get our marketing team thinking less like accountants and more like decision makers!"  


Postscript from John's "Analytics Evolution" blog:

Web analytics is no longer a point solution – its part of something bigger. For vendors, this means that you should plan on diversifying or instilling your data collection solutions into as many marketing applications as possible. Agencies and consultants should maintain an agnostic approach to Web analytics tools and focus less on which solution and more on applying the right metrics, reporting quality (actionable) information and uniting data from disparate marketing functions (like advertising and site-side information). Organizations should be asking themselves how their Web analytics solution is supporting their entire marketing efforts. Not just in the data that the tools are producing, but in their ability to generate insight and automate marketing processes. Practitioners, it’s your time to shine. As I mentioned, the job market is ripe and your skills and talents are more in need now than ever.


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