Organizations are still struggling to get to grips with online marketing, and by failing to provide marketers with the tools they need are missing out on business opportunities, concludes web analytics provider Coremetrics Inc following a survey into online marketing in the UK.
Although the results are hardly surprising given the survey was carried out by a vendor in the revivalist market for web analytics, they do highlight growing demand for analytics within marketing.
Having collapsed following the dot-com crash, web analytics is the focus of fresh interest, with vendors like Coremetrics, WebSideStory, Omniture, and WebTrends all experiencing fast growth aided by the SaaS model.
Coremetrics CEO Joe Davis said the company is set to grow by 100% or more this year through a combination of organic and acquisition-based growth. However, he said growth will spring from a low base. With two acquisitions under its belt, the San Mateo, California-based vendor expects to make another within the next nine to 12 months.
According to Coremetrics, 71% of marketers do not feel that traditional education methods prepare them for today’s information-led organizations. They feel they lack information, and over half want to improve their analysis and measurement skills, while 42% want a better understanding of user behavior and habits.
The technology-resistant marketing function has been identified as a growth area because it evolves from basic database marketing into marketing resource management and enterprise marketing management. According to Davis there is a mind shift occurring within the marketing function as it transitions from being something akin to an art form that is dominated by creative people, to more of a science. There is a shift within marketing to scientific marketing, he said, there is a shift from right brain to left brain marketing.
Web analytics ought to be able to help the due to its ability to track and measure millions of online customer actions and responses, to determine not only what a customer bought but how and why.
Although the on-demand model is helping drive the market for web analytics, Davis believes timing is also an important factor. He said that in the past, marketing vendors tried to force automation, and did so at a time when there was not sufficient online sales activity to provide the volume of data needed for web analytics. He maintains that technology has been so far in front of marketers for so long that there is a need for simple tools.
He also cautioned against trying to do too much. There is much to be gained from doing less complicated things, he said, such as looking at enterprise searches to see what customers are searching for and what they do and do not buy, and optimizing landing pages. Organizations should be looking to refine and improve. There is so much low hanging fruit that it does not have to be complicated, he said.
Web analytics vendors are expected to have a finite period of independent glory however. Davis believes that web analytics will become embedded into applications and that the vendors will be absorbed into broad marketing suites. However, it is not clear whether the owners of those suites will be marketing software vendors, marketing agencies, credit reporting agencies like Experian, or the large broad suite suppliers like SAP and Oracle.