One has to start somewhere in getting one’s act together in a down economy, so I suggest the first thing to get in order is online metrics. You must measure the heck out of what you do. Hunches are for people who can afford to be sloppy.
If you are a dour marketer in a small or medium business, online metrics means Google Analytics because it is free. Deal with it, learn it, read the book, become a disciple of Avinash. Sure, when your moving $50 million in ad spend a year though an ecommerce engine generating $500 million in revenue, then you can worry yourself with industrial strength measurement systems like Omniture (which in full disclosure we use). But before you get all revved up to go do something because action is better than inaction, get yourself to Amazon and buy these two books:
- Web Analytics: An Hour A Day, Avinash Kaushik. Avinash is the best analytics blogger out there. He works at Google. His blog, Occam’s Razor has been in my blogroll since, well, since it started.
- Advanced Web Metrics With Google Analytics: Brian Clifton. I don’t know Brian, but I do known enough about Google Analytics to know it can be a very powerful tool in the right hands.
Good buddy and thrifty marketer Mark Cahill turned me onto Google Analytics and it runs in the background of this blog. I want to underscore – I am a retarded web analytics person; the true practitioners I know like Jim Hazen, Ranjit Kulkarni, Esteban Panzeri, are extremely insightful, well trained and inspired in their mastery of the tools and the strange world of first party cookies, EVARs, tags and conjoint analysis.
There are a ton of good metrics resources — if, as I suspect, you are a protean dour marketer and wearing several hats — or, at the very least, interested in learning all aspects of digital from SEM to SEO to WOM to SMM, then you won’t have the time to become a metrics ninja. But it is the first step on the road to enlightenment as everything needs to get “tagged” at some point.
Next post, I’ll expand the reading list to include more titles.