Friday, February 14, 2014

Social Media Is No Longer An Option

Are you still in doubt of the importance of a solid and integrated social media strategy? Neil Patel of does a great job putting together some really insightful infographics. Take a look below and see if you still doubt the power of social media.

Social media is not a fad, it is here to stay. The individual channels may change over time as some fall out of favor and others enter the market place. Either way you need a consistent and engaging presence.

--The Ninja

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Sweet Spot For Optimization

Over the past several months I have been trying to figure out what my ideal client would look like. So then I started to think about the different clients I have had the opportunity to work with and put together a list of characteristics that I enjoyed and would look for in future clients.

During this time of musing, I developed the above diagram. I now know that my ideal client has what I would call the critical 3:

1) eCommerce: lets face it, online commerce is only going to get bigger not smaller. Its my favorite business model, because everything is measurable.

2) Digital Analytics: if you are doing business online and are not using analytics, you are doing yourself a disservice. WE SHOULD PROBABLY TALK! (leave me a comment below and we will get in touch).

3) Digital Marketing: gone are the days of if you build it they will come. You need to attract people to your site if you want any chance to sell to them. Without prospects/visitors your site will produce no economic value. You need digital marketing to create demand. 

In my opinion, integration of all three of these critical components form the sweet spot for this business model. Integration is the linchpin to a thriving online business. Integration allows you to tease out insights that would otherwise be lost in a mountain of disparate data sources.

"Integration is the linchpin to a thriving online business"
The sweet spot is where your optimizations come from. In a siloed world you would be optimizing for clicks in your digital marketing efforts, but that's not the case when you link up analytics and eCommerce tracking. Now you can optimize for conversions. Lets be honest, conversion drive revenue, NOT clicks!

Integration also allows you to solve the age old marketing problem that exists in the offline world. There was a famous marketing executive who was once quoted saying "half of my marketing budget is wasted, the only problem is that I don't know which half".

This is easily solved online when you integrate.

So what are you waiting for? Get integrated and start optimizing your online business. And if you don't know where to start that reach out to me and I would be more than happy to point you in the right direction. Who knows, maybe we can work on it together.

--The Ninja


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Customer Life Time Value

Do you have any idea how much a customer is worth to you over their customer lifecycle? I see so many people out there setting arbitrary "cost per acquisition" targets with no clue as to what the actual customer is worth. How do you know if you will make money in the long run?

KISSmetrics put together a great infographic on calculating LTV:

So give it a read and then go figure out the LTV for your own customers and see how that compares with your CPA. Are you spending too much? Or do you have a little room to spend a bit more and be more competitive?

-The Ninja

Saturday, December 14, 2013

31 Questions to Ask your Data

Below is my attempt to present some questions that you can ask your data. These are questions that can provide valuable insights that will allow you to make more informed decisions. For example, how do you know how much you can spend to acquire a customer if you have no idea how much your average customer is worth to you? This list is just a small sample of the types of questions that you can ask your data. 

  1. Where is the traffic from my site coming from?
  2. How long to people stay on my site?
  3. How many pages to people look at while they are on my site in a given session?
  4. Where are the most active spots on my site? (think mouse traffic)
  5. Why do people come to my site?
  6. What is the conversion rate for my site? 
  7. What is the average order value?
  8. How much is a customer worth? Think Life Time Value.
  9. What is the cost of acquisition?
  10. What is my ROI on marketing spend?
  11. How many touch points does a prospect make until conversion? Are there common paths?
  12. How well did my promotion due?
  13. What percent of my customers are loyal? Think repeat customers.
  14. Who are my customers?
  15. What are people searching for on my site?
  16. What kind of keywords bring the most traffic to my site?
  17. How do channels of acquisition compare against each other in terms of conversion, aov, traffic, acquisition cost, ROI?
  18. Where are people falling out of the conversion funnel?
  19. What percentage of the people start the checkout process but don't complete it? Think cart abandonment.
  20. Will a minimum order value drive consumer behavior in a way that is accretive to my business?
  21. What is the most popular content on my site?
  22. Where in the world are my customer located?
  23. What days of the week are better for sales? Weekdays vs Weekends?
  24. What is my hourly sales average?
  25. What are the top selling categors or products?
  26. What devices are people using to reach my website?
  27. If my conversion rate is 2%, what are the other 98% people coming to my site for that don't end up buying?
  28. How many visits does it take before someone actually makes a purchase?
  29. What is the AOV of my loyal customers? Customers who have purchased more than 1 time.
  30. What are people saying about my company on social media channels?
  31. Who are my brand advocates?

When you aske your data questions, come at it from an angle of how the answer is going to help you make decisions to optimize your business. And when I say optimize I am referring to either maximizing revenue, decreasing cost, or a combination of both that leads to bottom line accretion. 

-The Ninja

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Analytics: It's NOT people vs technology

Success = People + Technology

Don't get lost or lured into the conversation of people vs technology, because the moment you do is the moment you lose. Lets get real for a moment, technology has made leaps and bounds in its ability to share the burden of our workload. Our lives have been changed for ever and our relationship with technology will continue to evolve as innovations continue to take place. But the fact of the matter is that people NOT technology are the lynchpin to SUCCESS

The questions should not be "People or Technology?"... Instead leaders need to recognize that the solution is actually PEOPLE + TECHNOLOGY! To fully leverage technology, you need the right people with the right talent.

Think about that for a second and let it sync and make sense. Technology frees us (people, real human beings) up from the mundane and repetitive tasks. It can be programmed (albeit by people) to follow logical rules. But as far as technology has advanced, it has not been able to replace humans gift of creativity, imagination, and the ability to think outside the BOX. 

As companies, it is important to be cognizant of the fact that to leverage world class technology, we need to employ world class talent. Without the right people, the technology is likely worthless to the organization.

Although technology has made huge strides, we have not come to a point where it can be relied upon to deliver actionable insights without the intervention of skilled labor of talented people. Avinash Kaushik has done a great job in his post about what he calls the 90/10 principle. He suggest that in order to get the most out of an analytics team you should spend 90% of your resources on the people and the other 10% on the technology itself.

In real estate the mantra is "Location, Location, Location".

Therefore, the mantra for analytics is "People, People, People".

--The Ninja

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Are you an Analytics Ninja?

Do you have the characteristics to be an analytics ninja? I don't know if any of you have ever seen Jeff Foxworthey and heard any of his "you might be a redneck if" jokes. But this post is going to be a spin off of that very same idea.


10 reasons you might be a Analytics Ninja:

1) You absolutely Love Data! Your facination with data is a bit obsessive and most people have a hard time understanding this fascination. You believe that data is gods gift to man.

2) Your Excel Wizardry is unmatched. If there was a Hogwarts for Ninja Analysts, you would be its Gumbledorf. People might actually believe that you have the ability to solve world hunger with a spreadsheet, a few formulas, and a macro.

3) You have an Un-satiated Curiosity. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but your curiosity drives analysis that leads to actionable insights, that ultimately leads to bottom line results.

4) You are part Scientist and part Artist. Analytics is a science as much as it is an art. You strictly follow the scientific method with your approach to problem solving. But you are artistic in your articulation of your findings through insightful visualizations and presentations.

5) You are Multi-Lingual. You might not speak a foreign language like Spanish or Italian. However, you have a strong business acumen and understand the languages of: Marketing, Operations, Finance, Customer Service, etc. 

6) You Evangelize Fact Based Decision Making. In today's day in age there is no excuse not to leverage the data that is at our fingertips to make informed decisions. Gone are the days of the highest paid person in the room getting away with making gut decisions.

7) You are Data Driven. Nuff said! Check out the uburn dictionary if you are still unclear on what "nuff said" means.

8) You are Customer Centric.Yep, that right! If you want NINJA status, then you need to have a healthy balance between bottom line results and the customer experience. 

9) You are System Savvy. New tools don't scare you, they excite you. Staying on the bleeding edge is what gives you a competitive advantage.

10) You are Inately Analytical. You can't help yourself, it just come naturally. It is instinct for you to tease out actionable insights from data. It is in your DNA. It pulses through your entire body!

Are you an analytics ninja?

What would you add to the list? How long did it take you to achieve this status? How many of us do you think exist in the world. My bet is that there is a shortage and the gap is only getting bigger.

-- The Ninja

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Solution Focused

Today I want to discuss an inportant approach to both analytics and business in general. This post has been a long time coming. Here is the deal, I have been working in the corporate world for the past 7 years and my biggest pet pieve is whiners. You know the people I am talking about, they are the ones that always focus and complain about the problem. They waste a lot of time and mental energy. Yet they never come prepared with any solutions. 

Whiners say things like:

- I don't have the time to get that last minute promo email out...

- No one taught me how to use the analytics tool...

- Meetings are a waste of time...

- Thats not my job...

Whiners are a problem because by being problem focused, nothing ever gets done or changed. But a slight shift in mindset could make all the difference. 

In Analytics and in Business we all need to be Solution Focused. Its okay to identify the problem, but also identify solutions that will rectify or dis-lodge the cog from the wheel. Turn the problem into an opportunity and everyone including yourself will be better for it. Lets circle back to the 4 examples I gave above and possible solutions:

1) I don't have the time to get that last minute promo email out...but I do have the number of a really great contract email marketeer that I have used in the past. Or if contract labor is not an option, I need a little help priortizing whats is on my plate in order to fit this in and move it to the top of the list.

2) No one taught me how to use the analytics tool...however, I found some resources online and have taught myself the basics. Additionally I found a training offered by the vendor that I would like to take in order to fully utilize the tool for the benefit of the business and my own personal development. Would the company be willing to pay for the class?

3) Meetings are a waste of time...when they are called with no agenda. I would like to propose that the purpose of the meetings is thought of and summarized with every meeting request. We all have a lot on our plate and this will help keep meetings efficient and productive.

4) Thats not my job...but I am a team player and have some extra bandwitdth. Just let me know how I can help.

See how easy it is to shift a problem into a solution/opportunity? 

Now its your turn. Next time you find yourself "whining", think about this post and become a problem solver and not a problem whiner.

-- The Ninja