Jim Sterne Interview Transcript

 In Archives, Live on 65

Pt 2

Mike:               So, here we are back again, live at eMetrics in Boston. Which is the 64th eMetrics and the series around the planet. With me is Jim Sterne. So, we touched on how this all came together, how eMetrics came together, Digital Analytics Association. I guess there was some conversation, in the early days, are we metrics or analytics, or … cause you had the whole thing going on then. What kind of impact initially has Digital Analytics Association had on the industry? I mean, does it make it more credible, is it?

Jim:                  Well… so, yes, because we have certification now. So, we’ve got several hundred certified web analysts. And that’s absolute… I mean, this is a very difficult test. It is… you have to have 3 years of experience before you’re allowed to take it. It has a 50% pass rate. So, we are, as an association, saying, “Yeah, the people who pass this test, they are qualified.” We stand behind that. So yes, it’s raised credibility. But, it’s also been the bringing together of the community to help each other learn more. So, we’re creating content, and we’ve got the member forum. We are member directed and volunteer powered. So it is the community of analysts who are helping the rest of us. The impact that we’ve had is … we’ve done some work on standards, we’ve got on-line training with over 1,000 people graduating from the University of British Columbia on-line course. Yeah, so it’s had huge effect on our ability to learn more beyond just what you can learn at a conference.

Mike:               So, the content for this conference, obviously I went through and had a look to see how much of it changed, and it has changed dramatically since the early shows. The one of the things in particular is the way that the tracks split out. And of them is the web track, which I was doing today. Talk a little about the difference that we have in looking at an audience now, which is multi-device. They wake up in the morning and look at an iPad, go and look at a monitor over here, look at an iPhone there, an X-Box here. I mean it is becoming, you know, different times of the day across different devices …

Jim:                  … for different purposes. And this is the primary challenge for all digital analysts. Is instead of how many pages and how many click-throughs, it’s what did the individual do? Well, that’s across omni-channel. So, it’s a mobile device, it’s a tablet, it’s a desktop, a laptop, it’s a kiosk, it’s my set top box on my television, it’s now my wrist watch … So, how do we follow somebody on what we used to call a customer journey toward purchase. Now it’s an always-on, always gathering information, and when they decide to buy us. We learned yesterday morning, when somebody decides to buy they already know what brand they want. So it’s not like, “I think I’ll go shopping.” I’m always shopping. And when I see the example of the one verbatim example was, “Well, there was this iPad case with a keyboard in it and it was a banner ad for $29. And I know that’s a $99 item, so I just bought it.” Because, she wasn’t shopping for that, she wasn’t going to buy it, but she’s so aware of what’s available, that she recognized it to be a good value and just said, “Yeah, well.. Amazon Prime. One click. Done.”

Mike:               Yes. That’s a bargain, I could do that. So, I think that we definitely take, or pay a lot more attention to this engagement. The opportunities that we have to have a conversation with the customer. And back in the day when e-mail was the major app, that was it, that was what we could do with that. There are so many ways, social media included, of being able to engage with the customer. And I was looking at … IBM had a conference last year in New York and they brought 90 CIOs and 90 CEOs to get CMOs together. And said get in to the room and duke it out guys, to see what comes out of that. And one of the things that was quite astounding is that, the guy who was the CMO with American Express was asked, “How many customers do you have?” And he said, “We have 100,000,000.” And the guy says, “That’s a lot of personal relationships to have.” So given that we talk about, I’m getting quite futuristic here, but given that we talk about this first engagement. And we re-market and re-target to people and we have marketing automation and it’s all supposed to fit together. Are we getting anywhere near closer to having that kind of direct relationship, or do you think we might be scaring the few customers off?

Jim:                  Yes, we scare people off if you do it wrong. The classic story is Target store. Who said, “Gee, people who, women who are expecting babies shop for these kinds of things. And we know that because they have told us. They’ve opted in to our I’m Expecting a Baby. Well, let’s look at women who buy those things who haven’t told us and then we’ll offer those things to them.” Did a direct mail piece, got a very upset father saying, “You’re sending baby stuff to my 16 year old daughter. That’s not proper.” They apologized. He came back the next day and said, “Well, actually, it turns out I’m going to be a granddad.” That was too far. That was creepy. So, what they learned is, back off, if they see that behavior in a woman who’s not announced that she’s pregnant, they put a few of those items in. Not a whole bunch, but just scattered among the lawn mowers and the picnic tables, and sales go up. So, so, yes. Be personal. But, you don’t have to get really pers… Be personalized, but don’t be personal. And creepy is … creepiness is in the eye of the creepy. So … I will opt in for anything. I’m happy to get the discount. I’m happy to get the free shipping. Other people will not put pictures of their babies on Facebook because that’s a privacy issue for them. So you have to know your audience.

Mike:               So, re-targeting … and I had this conversation with Abernash as well, and I guess everybody says the same thing if it’s done correctly. But, you know, the more I think about that, Jim, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody doing it correctly, because …

Jim:                  I agree.

Mike:               I do, I mean, I buy something and 3 days later they’re still sticking in front of me, you know?

Jim:                  But, the solution to that is so simple. I bought a camera from Amazon. Amazon. They’re the paragon of this stuff. For 3 weeks they’re trying to sell me the same camera. Guys, you know I bought it from you … Sell me accessories. I need a tripod. I need a carrying case. I need a flash. I need … there’s all kinds of stuff. I will buy and you know this … Because, people who bought this also bought that. Sell me that stuff. Why are you selling me the same thing I already bought. What are they thinking?

Mike:               I mean it has its … there’s pros and cons with everything, but I think that’s still kind of a fairly unrefined way of following up. There are other ways and means of doing it. So, let’s come back to the conference again. Here you are, 64th?

Jim:                  64.

Mike:               64th? What are the take-a-ways from the 64th eMetrics so far?

Jim:                  I’m seeing a tip toward, yes, we are doing integrated marketing, integrated data, from all of these channels and it’s extremely difficult. So, there’s less talk about, “How do I specifically analyze data from mobile or data from social?” Which is still there, that’s sort of the training side. But the thought leadership side is, “OK, that’s coming along, now how am I going to integrate it? So that I can derive insight from it.” Which leads us to a conversation about data governance, which is becoming an adult. Somebody has to be responsible for the data at the source. Somebody has to be responsible for its cleansing. There have to be policies in place. There are legal issues about how long you keep it. And this is now, has been a thing for a long time in business intelligence. But, we’re a young industry, 15 years old. We’re now realizing, that yeah, we need to get involved in that as well. So, more conversations about, how do I use this? How do I display an insight to a business decision maker rather than just throw them a spreadsheet or a pie chart. How do I use business terms rather than trying to explain to them what a click-through and a page-view and viewer or a visit, and about proxy-servers and cookie deletion and … don’t go there. Don’t tell me how the sausage is made, just tell me what the recommendation is. The data suggests that the probability is that we are more likely to achieve our goals if we try this. And here’s a test. And that works.

Mike:               And I think that’s the most important thing, as I said this morning. It’s about helping us make decisions. Smarter and faster.

Jim:                  Yes.

Mike:               Than we’ve been able to do it before. So, my guess is we’ll probably be doing this on the 128th eMetrics, if I add it up. But, I hope we have a chance to do it a few more times before then.

Jim:                  Here, here.

Mike:               Thanks for the taking the time to join us, Jim.

Jim:                  Thank you. It was fun.

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