Twitter And My Spring 2010 Schedule

I was traveling for the past couple weeks in the United Kingdom to meet with clients.  Following a set of very successful meetings I ran into a bit of trouble.  Just as I was planning to return home a volcano in Iceland erupted and brought air travel in Europe to a standing halt.  I had to spend an additional 6 days in London. I never thought I would utter that combination of words, it just goes to show that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

(picture credited to AP Photo/Icelandic Coast Guard)

All things considered I can't complain too much.  Obviously it is never fun to have travel plans disrupted or to be away from family longer than anticipated.  But there are far worse places to be stranded than London!  It's a wonderful city.  And I have many clients, colleagues and friends there, so I kept quite busy, and was able to work from Forrester's London office while awaiting the green light to come home.  About a dozen Forrester employees were in a similar situation, and the company did a great job of making sure we were ok and provided much needed support; I'm sure many travelers were not so fortunate.

It is interesting how the web became my constant companion as I made my best efforts to stay productive during the crisis and find my way home.  I frequented the travel websites (American Airlines, Marriott), the UK and EU air transport authorities (NATS), news sites (BBC and Sky), and most of all Twitter (#ashtag) to stay up to date on the volcano news and ensure that I had a place to sleep every night, and a seat reserved on the earliest flight home.  Turning to Twitter for real-time, crowdsourced news was a real revelation: they often scooped the big news websites; and it provided a sense of community, a lot of us were stuck in this mess together!

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Web Analytics Will Emerge As A Cornerstone Of Customer Intelligence

Last week I hit a major personal milestone.  My first report as a Forrester analyst went live!

As thrilling as this is for me, I hope it will be even more exciting for Customer Intelligence professionals.

The report is titled How Web Analytics will Emerge As A Cornerstone of Customer Intelligence, and is based on the premise that the web is the common demoninator for customer experiences and that this information can be harnessed and subsequently applied throughout the enteprise. This report outlines the future trajectory of Web analytics technology and gives CI professionals pragmatic advice about how to use that technology as a foundational component for customer intelligence that fuels multichannel marketing effectiveness.

Marketers today have a dizzying array of online and offline touchpoints at their disposal, but without a doubt all roads lead through the Web. For most organizations, Web sites, microsites, landing pages, communities, and other interactive properties are mission-critical for acquiring, retaining, and nurturing customers and other target audiences. By definition this reality makes the Web one of the most crucial sources of insight for Customer Intelligence (CI) professionals. To put that insight into action, firms must leverage Web analytics beyond isolated Web site marketing and operations to feed analysis, decision support, and execution for the entire marketing function.

I believe that Web analytics will extend beyond the Web site in two phases. 

First - Web analytics platforms will cement their position as the nucleus of online measurement by continuing their current diversification efforts to extend beyond core Web analytics capabilities.

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Google announces plans to offer Google Analytics Opt-Out

I was on client calls most of the day, and when I came up for air in the afternoon to check my RSS reader and Tweetdeck to see what what going on in the world I made a fascinating discovery.  Like many of you I came across the following post from the Google Analytics Blog:

http://analytics.blogspot.com/2010/03/more-choice-for-users-browser-based-opt.html

This was most unexpected, and my Thursday suddenly got alot more interesting.

Before we go any further let me state that I have not been briefed by Google on this news item.  This post is purely based on my own initial thoughts on the matter.

The blog post announces Google's plans to release a browser plug-in that would allow consumers to opt-out of Google Analytics tracking.  This offering is still in development, and the post offers no specifics on the release date, although it implies that this is only weeks away.

(Side note: It is also interesting to note the language used in the post.  The post leads with "As an enterprise-class web analytics solution..."  This isn't a surprising or entirely inappropriate assertion, but it strongly implies Google's aspirations for GA.)

There are many reasons why Google's course of action is counterintuitive.  Naturally, the marketer in me recoils at the idea of voluntarily allowing measurable data to slip through our hands.  Rationalizing web analytics data is already hard enough, and now this?  And we can certainly debate the true privacy impact of web analytics on consumers. 

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Online Testing and Targeting Platforms - We want your input!

Greetings from beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah, where I'm at the 2010 Omniture Summit. It's been a good week, I must say that my favorite part has been the opportunity to meet with so many web analytics practitioners, friends, Forrester clients and the Omniture team.  If you didn't attend but are interested in getting a feel for the event, check out the Twitter hashtag, #omtrsummit.

I am pleased to announce that this week we are initiating the research process for the inaugural Forrester Wave™ evaluation of Online Testing and Targeting platforms.  We plan to publish this Wave report in the third quarter of 2010. Upon completion this research will be distributed to senior marketing executives at hundreds of large marketing organizations globally.

The first phase of the process is to determine the field of vendors who comprise the Online Testing and Targeting landscape.  We have already identified and contacted a number of companies who participate in the market via previous research efforts.

Forrester is actively innovating our use of social media, and this extends to the research process.  I would like to solicit your input through two modes of participation:

1. If you are a practitioner, please share which Online Testing and Targeting vendors you currently or have previously used.  Also please let me know if you would be interested in receiving followup communications to discuss your experiences with vendors and online testing in general.

2. If you represent a vendor in the Online Testing and Targeting space and would like to be considered for inclusion in the Wave report please let me know and we'll send you  our preliminary vendor survey to complete and submit.

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Exciting times in Web Intelligence!

Hello everyone, welcome to my first blog post as a Forrester Analyst.

I joined Forrester in late January after nearly six years at Alterian, an Enterprise Marketing software company, where I was Vice President of Platform Strategy, supporting Product Marketing, Analyst Relations and Corporate Development.

First and foremost, I’m thrilled to be on board at Forrester and I’m looking forward to getting to work!  Many thanks to the Forrester team and our clients who have been so supportive. 

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