21 Takeaways from Analytics Thought Leaders in 2018

November 1, 2018

It’s a hectic world out there. And there’s only one way to face the challenge.


Our ability to measure defines our ability to improve. But as companies mature their measurement strategies, the complexity of it all can become overwhelming.

And with the not-so-quiet whispers of machine learning, artificial intelligence, advanced analytics and empowered content marketing, navigating that complexity isn’t getting easier. It’s getting harder.

To face the increasingly complex analytics landscape, you must choose your role models wisely.

Start now. Here are the insights from the 21 industry leaders who spoke at the 2018 Analytics Summit.

Data Governance is Data Strategy

Michele Goetz Principal Analyst, Forrester Research

“Today’s CDOs and data professionals can’t pick and choose between offense and defense when it comes to data. Focus on data control and regulations and the benefits of data to the business are stifled. Go all in on initiatives to get outcomes from data and insight and suffer the consequences of regulatory fines and data quality issues affecting key decisions. Unfortunately, the disconnect between data strategy and data governance has been the norm for enterprises. But, in today’s digital, insight and hyper-competitive landscape, data strategy and data governance need to converge for businesses to thrive.”

Data Governance is Data Strategy

Eric Dumain VP Product, ObservePoint

“In order to implement long-term, sustainable data governance, what really matters is defining what you want to do with data. But there are various aspects of digital data collection that make tracking these use cases highly complex, including the speed of changing content, campaigns, and releases, the ambiguity of interactions across multiple devices from unauthenticated users, and the sheer amount of data being collected. But the real challenge to face is that as your digital capabilities increase in scale and scope, so must your data governance practices."

Google Analytics 360 & Data Governance Features

Charles Farina Manager of Digital Analytics, Analytics Pros

“Many companies struggle with getting the data and insights they need, which often is a result of poor data governance. Google Analytics has many powerful features built for marketers that are readily available and just need to be activated to help in these areas. However, Google Analytics can’t be managed by any one person anymore. Often, this is still the case, but the continued struggles in product quality and actionable data make it more clear than ever that data is a team effort.”

Marketing & the Era of Data Privacy

David Booth Chief Commercial Officer, Cardinal Path

“It’s not 100 percent clear how GDPR and other regulations will impact different organizations, and each will need to interpret and decide what they want to do in response. But regulation or no regulation, the time is now to fully understand your organization’s martech footprint that may span dozens or hundreds of vendors.”

Data Driven Mobile App Product Design

Chris Peters Analytics Manager, Cognetik

“Data-driven product design can be easier said than done in the world of mobile apps. Waiting for the perfect set of circumstances is not an option. With data-driven prioritization, a long-term testing plan, and disciplined pre-post analysis, we can cut through the limitations and deliver impactful results. By acting rather than reacting we can elevate the importance of data in any product organization.”

Introducing the Tag Governance Framework

Chris Baird VP Marketing, ObservePoint

“Tag governance is a newly categorized subdiscipline within data governance that focuses specifically on data collected digitally via tags. The general pattern we’ve seen among large enterprises is that the most successful analytics teams are able to implement tag governance by deploying the right tools and best practices to govern the deployment of technologies across all their different channels. While tag governance adds a new layer of organizational complexity, the net increase in efficiency drastically offsets that.”

You Know How to Audit Your Data, But How Do You Measure Your Org’s Ability to Act on the Data?

Jennifer Kunz Principal Architect, 33 Sticks

“There is a barrier keeping most companies from really getting value out of their analytics investment, and it isn’t just data quality issues or limitations in the tools. It’s getting the wider org (not just the analytics team) to adopt a data-driven mindset, in a way that actually changes the way folks go about their day-to-day business. While both individual practitioners and company leadership may see this gap, so few know what practical next steps to take to fix it.”

Data Quality and the Digital World

Eric Peterson Founder & CEO, Analytics Demystified

“Our increasingly complicated websites create an increasing number of opportunities for data leakage and unwanted access to information. In the age of GDPR, enterprise business owners have a mandate to prevent those leaks whenever possible, ensuring highest quality data collection in the process. During the course of my research on the topic I was shocked at how many companies had gaping holes in their data collection attributed to no longer used technologies, agencies no longer under contract, and just plain sloppiness on the part of multiple lines of business. Take a long, hard look at who is collecting data via your website...you may be shocked too!”

Measurement for Growth

Krista Seiden Product Manager, Google Analytics

“Growing a digital business and proving the ROI of your digital efforts can be tough. Learning and putting growth methodologies and tactics into practice can help your business get ahead of the curve.”

Data & Analytics Ecosystem and the Marketing Cloud

Kara Bellin VP Data & Analytics, Mirum Agency

“The tools that we have to measure and manage data have never been better and continue to evolve. More and more organizations are realizing the potential that those same data (and tools) have to be applied to development cycles, sparking creation of new products and value streams to differentiate and compete. The revenue gains from this sort of innovation can far exceed other uses of the data when data and analytics practitioners successfully adapt their processes to product-centric measurement frameworks and data models.”

Tag Governance Tips and Best Practices

Matt Maddox Director of Education, ObservePoint

“Less than half of an organization’s structured data is used in decisions. That data can be very expensive to collect, and when it goes unused, it essentially becomes a digital paperweight. If we can’t justify a data point with some sort of business value, then we shouldn’t collect it.”

ROI vs. ROAS: Understand the Value of Your Marketing Efforts

Lara Fisher Senior Analytics Strategist, Blast Analytics & Marketing

“Who can afford to spend money these days without truly understanding its value? Return on investment (ROI) is useful for measuring success over time, and it can take the guesswork out of your business decisions.”

Governing Digital Marketing: Spend Practically and Reliably

Colin Temple Director of Analytics Solutions, Napkyn Analytics

“There are huge opportunities to expand market reach by employing a range of martech offerings and advertising platforms in your activities. Keeping track of it all, on the other hand, makes managing that activity challenging and leaves you vulnerable to overhead, waste, and incomplete data. There’s no reason it has to be that way, and if marketers make careful but simple adjustments to tool selection and data strategy the pay-off can be staggering.”

The Perfect Dashboard Rocks

Till Buettner Senior Data Analyst, Deutsche Post DHL Group

“Dashboards are our daily business in data analytics, but most times they are not built for the related audience. Therefore, most stakeholders do not use them as resources to gain insights, regardless of whether these stakeholders are C-level, IT, marketing, or auditors. But if dashboards are built in the right way, they are able to provide more than just facts and figures, they can help to drive business. Remember: it is not the layout which makes a dashboard perfect. It‘s how it helps businesses to get fast insights and leads to the right actions.”

7 Cases Where You Can’t Afford to Skip Analytics Testing

Patrick Hillery Director of Consulting and Solutions Engineering, ObservePoint

“What people usually want to test after an update to their website are the elements directly impacted by the release. But something that happens less often is testing any other element or process that could have been inadvertently affected by the change. Because the elements of a website are all connected, a change to one thing can affect many others. This is why automating your analytics test plan is so important—so you can scale testing to look for inadvertent breaks in your implementation that affect the data you’re using to make business decisions.”

Predicting Tag Compliance Using Machine Learning

Judah Phillips Founder, Vizadata

“Machine learning can ladder up tag auditing and monitoring in new ways you haven’t seen before. It moves the modern enterprise beyond describing what tags are on your site, what data is being collected, and what could be fixed, to identifying where to look next to prevent compliance and governance issues and also to drive performance.”

Customer-Centered Experiences Through Data

Chris Slovak VP Global Sales Solutions, Tealium

“Customer experience is rapidly becoming as critical to business as the services they provide. In the new dynamic, data is the language of customer relationships. Brands must utilize, protect, and listen to the signals in data to be successful.”

Content Marketing that Drives Results

Ali Haeri Director of Product Marketing, Steelhouse

“Many marketers face the need to transition away from a reliance on paid efforts while still needing to deliver measurable results. And there’s always credit to be given to marketing, but until you have a measurable marketing program implemented, you can’t take it.”

Content Marketing that Drives Results

David Simon Chief Marketing Officer, Steelhouse

“Many brands undervalue the impact of well executed and measured content marketing. But marketers don’t get to choose one channel or method anymore. They have to do everything to make an impact. We found that creating relevant, valuable content and positioning it properly had a profound impact on our brand and actually drove measurable business.”

Escape Manual Purgatory: Dive into WebAssurance

Chris O’Neill Solutions Consultant, ObservePoint

“Analysts are charged with a variety of tasks, such as gathering analytics requirements, deploying tags, and generating reports. But the fundamental activities of an analyst are compromised if the integrity of their implementation fails. Addressing this challenge with manual processes is inefficient and ineffective, so analysts need to automate the process of scanning their websites and apps for tagging errors.

Data, Data Everywhere: Leveraging and Actionable Data Strategy to Understand your Marketing ROI

John Lovett Senior Director of Data Strategy, Search Discovery

“It’s important to know how your data strategy can align your business to work toward common goals and help evolve a culture of data-based decisions. Many companies today are generating data at an astounding rate, but they’re scrambling to catch a data wave that’s likely going to swamp them. Companies need to strengthen their data practices to collect data with purpose and integrate their multi-sourced data into a coherent strategy that delivers insights, efficiency, and opportunity.”

Watch the 2018 Analytics Summit on Demand Today

The above insights were just some of many uncovered during this year’s Analytics Summit. Weren’t able to attend the Summit? You can view all the sessions on demand on our event site.

Ensure Accurate Data Collection with ObservePoint

Data drives business decisions, and accurate data ensures confidence in your most important strategies. To see how ObservePoint can help you ensure data quality, optimize customer experience, and drive growth, schedule a free website audit today. 

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