Analytics Best Practices to Drive Value During Uncertain Times

April 27, 2020

During uncertain economic times the cost of missing customer opportunities because of inaccurate analytics data and poor customer insights is even greater than ever and leaves no room for guesswork.

Watch the on-demand recording of the virtual conversation and Q&A session with:

  • Krista Seiden, Founder & Principal Consultant at KS Digital
  • Eric Matisoff, Director of Product Management at Adobe
  • John Pestana, CEO & Co-founder at ObservePoint

To discuss best practices and ask questions about how to:

  • Analyze and reprioritize your team's data projects and marketing objectives
  • Use data to engage with your customers during difficult times
  • Shift employee and martech resources to do more with less
  • And more

John Pestana (00:04):
Welcome everybody to our event today. Glad that everybody could join us and get in on this discussion that we're going to have. Today we're going to be discussing analytics best practices and how to drive value during these uncertain times. And I'm super happy to have some great guests with me. So, first off we have Eric Matisoff, who's the senior evangelist for analytics and data science at Adobe. Eric has over 15 years of experience working with data and visualizations and Eric works with Adobe's customers and partners to help align their businesses and their strategies with Adobe's vision for data ingestion, analysts, analysis and action. He has recently written and released Adobe Analytics For Dummies and you can find recent content of his on Adobe Summit website along with Adobe Analytics YouTube channel. So, welcome Eric.

Eric Matisoff (01:04):
Thank you so much, John. Great to be here.

John Pestana (01:07):
Yeah, I'm so glad that you could take your time to join us. And, we also have Krista Seiden who is the Principal Digital Analytics Consultant with KS Digital (wonder what that stands for), which is actually her analytics consulting agency that she founded in 2019 and she helps businesses make the most of their investments in digital marketing analytics. Previously, Krista was VP of Product Marketing and Growth at Quantcast and prior to that she was at Google for seven years where she led Product Management efforts across the Google Marketing Platform and served as the external evangelist for the Google Analytics suite of products. Krista is a keynote speaker, practitioner, writer on analytics and optimization, and passionate supporter of #WomenInAnalytics. Glad to have you here, and actually you guys can follow her at her blog at www.kristaseiden.com also on Twitter @kristaseiden.

John Pestana (02:02):
So, welcome, welcome. Glad that you're here.

Krista Seiden (02:06):
Thanks so much for having me. I'm excited to be here.

John Pestana (02:10):
And, I am John Pestana. I'm the CEO of ObservePoint and have been in this analytics world for a long, long time. I was also the Co-founder of a company called Omniture, which was purchased by Adobe, which became Adobe Analytics and all that stuff. So, I've been doing this analytics world since about 1995, so just a little bit of time. So, I'm so glad you guys are here. We're going to dive into a lot, but for all of those who are watching, be sure to type questions into the Q&A form here and we'll answer questions. And, this is going to be kind of an interactive session, even though we're going be talking a lot amongst the three of us. But, we want to have you guys engaged too, and we appreciate you taking the time to attend with us today. So, make sure you submit those questions through the platform here on WebinarJam. So, should we dive into the first question, what do you guys think? See if we can solve all the world's problems right now?

Eric Matisoff (03:25):
As many as we can.

John Pestana (03:26):
Yeah, it's been a really challenging time, right? For a lot of us, as we're trying to navigate this world and the changes that are happening. Maybe we can each just take a moment, take a couple minutes, and just talk about what are some of the challenges that we're personally seeing in the industry and with the market conditions? Krista, do you want to kick us off with that?

Krista Seiden (03:53):
Yea, sure. So, as you mentioned, John, I have recently made the switch to a consultant, which is kind of a whole new take on the industry, previously being in house. You know, you approach things from one way and you try to serve your customers. And, on the other end of it, I'm now serving customers, but I'm doing so in a much different way. And, I actually have firsthand seen a lot of the struggles that people have been having over the past few months with everything going on. You know, just customers struggling to even find the budgets to be able to focus on analytics efforts or digital marketing efforts. You know, whole campaigns being completely cut due to restrictions on funding. And, I think there's a lot of things that have really been hurting businesses recently, but I do think that there is some light in that as well. I think people have started to get much scrappier. They've started to reallocate their head count or the funding that they do have to really try to make the most of their digital marketing and digital analytics efforts. So, I think that there's light within the darkness that we're seeing right now.

John Pestana (05:03):
Yeah. Eric, what are your thoughts?

Eric Matisoff (05:07):
Yeah, I have seen a couple of things that I thought were interesting. One is how there've been a couple of layoffs that I've seen across the community, which makes me very sad. And, it reminds me of my days in the agency and consulting world, where we had the account people that were trying to sell websites and all that kind of stuff. And, I always felt like analytics was just a line item at the bottom of the contract that they would cross off the day before the contract was to be signed in order to save the customer some money. And then, you know, lo and behold, a couple of months later, we would get that phone call from the same account person that would say, "Hey, so we need you to kind of do this for free and still manage to figure out how to do analytics." And, that makes me think of all the opportunity that the brilliant analysts that are in the chat pod and watching the panel today have in order to over communicate the information that they're learning and share and share and share and derive insights and take action. And, if they happen to find themselves in a position where they have to find a new gig, then take that as an opportunity, rather than the alternative.

John Pestana (06:22):
Yeah, I think we've seen actually a lot of the industry circling the wagons together a bit. You know, I think we saw the Digital Analytics Association, the DAA, doing some town halls and other things to really help people find some of those resources and kind of gathered together to help one another. And, that's been a great effort from a community standpoint. And, when you think about the things that you would do or wouldn't do, maybe that's a good question. You know, what do you think are some of those things that you need to make sure that you keep doing during these uncertain times? Because I think a lot of us are challenged right now by the higher ups sometimes in the organization, like what can you cut? What can you cut? What can you cut? But, what are those things that we need to make sure that we keep doing during these times? Eric, you want to take that one?

Eric Matisoff (07:16):
Sure. Yeah. So, I think there's one thing, there's a few things in particular that we need to continue doing and perhaps do now more than ever. I mentioned it briefly, but finding ways to over communicate the success that you're doing, whether the success that you're having, whether that means managing up to your superior or beyond or managing horizontally to your stakeholders that you're speaking to. And, maybe you used to only speak to them in monthly meetings, where you would share data and recommendations. But, now perhaps is a great time to make recommendations of, "Just as a reminder, here is the list of all of the recommendations I've made and here are the ones that were followed and the successes that were driven by them." So, I think it's a good time to look back in at your previous successes and how those can drive learning in the future. You know, something to stop certainly is multitasking in video conferencing. I've seen way too many meetings where I noticed someone is just, you know, kind of going back and forth and back and forth and it's not the kind of person that I know is known for taking great notes. So, think about something to start--it's perhaps looking at your history; and something to stop--is maybe multitasking and instead focusing in on the conversation at hand.

John Pestana (08:46):
Yeah. Krista, what are your thoughts?

Krista Seiden (08:48):
Yeah. I think that those are really great points. I think, you know, in this new world where everything is a video meeting, it does become very difficult to concentrate sometimes. I find myself struggling and reminding myself, no, no, no, I need to be focused on this conversation. It's a different dynamic when you're not in the room. And then when we think about even some of the more tactical things that people would want to continue doing right now, or even focus more on, you know, your whole workforce is working from home right now. You probably want to ensure that you're doing things like excluding home IP addresses from your analytics data so that you can really ensure that data quality. And, having that focus on data quality right now is going to be more important than ever, because you want to ensure that the data that you're making decisions on is as strong as possible. Because, those decisions to some companies right now, are really life and death, and so you really have to be very sure of the data that you are looking at. And, I think as analysts, one of the things that we absolutely can and should be doing is just taking, more of a fine tooth comb to that data, really looking for those nuggets in there, areas to optimize, areas to really expand upon. As well as what we can stop doing? I think that there's probably a lot of one off or ad hoc reporting that might be important for various campaigns, but maybe those campaigns have stopped. And so, we can put that off of our plate for now and really focus on the bigger picture of how do you really help the organization get through this? What are some of the potentially large nuggets that we can find in the data to really help cover the bases that we're losing potentially in other areas?

John Pestana (10:38):
Yeah, I like what you're talking about there. I always, you know, believe it or not, when I used to do actually implementations of solutions, everybody always wanted kind of everything and tracking too much stuff, which normally becomes just overwhelming for anybody. And, really making sure that you're identifying your key results that you want, I think, because once you have less resources, the more that you can get rid of the noise and focus on the key results that you're trying to measure, you're going to have a lot more success, and actually not even feel overwhelmed. It will actually feel a little easier. I like how times like this shine lights in the crevices of your business and your operations, right? Because you now have to be so attentive to every resource that you have, and I think that also gives us an incredible opportunity to be smarter, right? To, look at the resources that we have and okay, is this really justified? Is this important? And, what's going to help me focus on those key resources? Eric, I loved your comments on managing up. When I think about at least, you know, I've had thousands of employees over my career and the that are really successful are the ones who manage up really well. Lots of people like to manage down. And, making sure that those people are hearing your successes and know how you're solving real problems for them is important at this time too. So, I love that comment that you had about that.

Eric Matisoff (12:10):
Yeah, I think that ties really well to Krista's comment about, you know, there are some campaigns that maybe don't make sense right now. You don't want to be convincing people to go to your brick and mortar store if it's closed. But, in the same vein, I think it's a good opportunity to perhaps brainstorm on how those can be shifted and use data to inform them. I was talking with a friend the other day that if prior to the pandemic, you were selling Purell on your website, then your paid search copy was probably pretty boring. It was like, all right, "we got the Purell that totally cleans your hands." But, now if you can instead shift that to "guess what folks, we've got Purell and it's in stock and we'll ship it to you today," that's such a wild difference! So, I think thinking a little outside of the box and using data to inform how people are getting to your website, what they're searching, what the products that they're adding to cart that they're not able to check out with because of whatever kind of issues they're having along the way, use that to inform how your business can shift in a nimble way.

John Pestana (13:27):
Yeah. I'm going to address some of these questions as we're going through, because I think they're kind of relevant while we're talking. One of the questions was talking about, Krista, you had mentioned excluding IP addresses. Do you know of a good way to exclude IP addresses of tons of people working from home?

Krista Seiden (13:47):
I would love for somebody to tell me a better way. For me, it's really like look up your IP address and add it to the exclusion list, but I'm sure there is a better way. So, if somebody wants to volunteer what that might be, that'd be great. I don't know, Eric, if you have any ideas.

Eric Matisoff (14:04):
Well, one solution that I've seen work somewhat well is instead of making it IP based, is using basically a cookie that is set on your internet. So you set an intranet cookie there so that then when you're browsing your own site, you can in your tag management system recognize, oh, okay, I know this is John or Krista from my company and now I know to filter them out. So at least you've got it pulled into some type of custom dimension. So I think that's a hack around it. Aside from forcing all employees to only use VPN, which is absolutely not a good recommendation.

Krista Seiden (14:53):
Yeah, I definitely have a client that it's all VPN, which I mean, that helps with that solution. But I think the number of problems that they've had being, you know, just logging on from home is that that whole industry has had a lot to figure out over the last two months. But I love your suggestion. I think that's a great one. You know, in Google analytics you could just do a custom dimension that's employee versus customer or something like that and then exclude anything that might be an employee. So great suggestion.

John Pestana (15:21):
Yeah. Anything automated is always the best, especially if you're talking about businesses that are much larger. I mean, some of the questions that we've had come through tier two, they have to do with people being smaller startups and things like that, and how do they necessarily do a data driven approach? Is your advice different in this situation for a smaller company versus a larger company?

Eric Matisoff (15:51):
So, I think there's an interesting dynamic for smaller companies right now. You know, everyone is not only spending tons of time trying to figure out all the paperwork to get their small business loans and all of that kind of stuff, but in the same vein, they've also got some limitations on the amount of people that they can scale to. It's harder and harder for a small business to say, you know what, we're going to call up agency X or consultancy Y in order to expand my staff that isn't feeling well or is taking care of family members that are not feeling well. So what I think should be changed for the small business versus the large is the amount of time that is being dedicated to, again, it kind of goes back to perhaps my overall theme, which is communication. And then as you were saying earlier, Krista, data accuracy and scalability. So that if you're going from today, you're here and then all of a sudden for whatever reason, whether it's a change in the news, which apparently is happening a lot these days then you need to be ready for it. And so the more comfortable you are with the quality of your data and how much it will scale, the better.

Krista Seiden (17:16):
Yeah, I agree with all that. And I would add that small businesses, especially startups, you are often wearing so many hats and especially right now and taking on a lot of the stress and pain of potentially having to pivot or figure out how to actually survive right now. And I think data and analytics is a really important part of that. But I also want to remind you to breathe because larger organizations tend to have a lot more resources to be able to do all of this. And if you can't do it all at the same time, that's okay. We're only human. You just gotta do what you can do. So, I would focus on scalable efforts. So, I would focus on scalable dashboards and various things that you can monitor while you are juggling 15 other things at the same time.

John Pestana (18:05):
You know, I think that might also bring up kind of an interesting thing about just even education, you know, and like you're a small business. What are those resources on getting more familiar with things right now? I mean that, and actually I guess that can even apply to people who potentially are furloughed or other things like that. What can we be doing to gain more knowledge during this time too?

Krista Seiden (18:30):
Yeah, I'll jump in here. I know Eric and I have both done a lot of video, a lot of education in our time about analytics. You know, specifically on the Google Analytics side, there's the Google Analytics Academy, Google's free resources for learning Google Analytics and all of their different products. And it's actually been really interesting to me. So, as an instructor for those courses even, you know, no longer being at Google, I get messages all the time from people on LinkedIn who are saying like, "Hey, I just completed this course. Thanks so much." And you know, I think before everything started, I would get a handful a week. And now I'm getting probably 10, 15, 20 a day of those. So, I actually think that's really amazing that people are actually taking this time to uplevel their knowledge and their experience and really start to learn some of the things that can hopefully carry them through or give them an additional skillset so that when we get through this and job opportunities open up, they'll be ready to take them.

Eric Matisoff (19:31):
Yeah. Oh, I totally agree. I think it's a great opportunity for both the new or relatively green analysts to teach themselves using self service training modules, as well as the pros that are out there that have been doing this for decades. If they feel, you know, I don't need to waste my time, I'm on the Academy or the Adobe Analytics YouTube channel or whatever. Instead, use that time they would normally spend commuting. Or you know, sitting in meetings that you don't think are useful anyway. Take that time to offer the opportunity to share your knowledge with others. Talk about an opportunity to scale if you're a small business or a large business, look for the users that are always asking you questions and are technically adept, but don't necessarily have the skills yet to make a dent in your analytics platform of choice. That's a great opportunity to have a Lunch & Learn. Or a Coffee & Learn, whatever the timing is, figure out a way to teach those specific, you know, broaden the analytics expertise at your company, therefore making yourself even more of a linchpin. It's like, "Oh yeah, Eric, I remember him. He not only knows this stuff really well, but he's even teaching others within the organization how to do it."

John Pestana (20:57):
Well, it's interesting when you teach, that's normally one of the very best ways to learn yourself, right? You seem to get in a lot more when you have to regurgitate it to other people and help people actually understand things. I believe there's also quite a few companies that are making a lot of resources that are normally paid resources available for free right now too, so just starting to use some of the educational resources that are out there that people are trying to help those in this time.

Krista Seiden (21:35):
And, I would add there, too, it's not just about kind of the academic resources, you have to take care of ourselves as whole human beings as well. My husband and I just got a subscription to Masterclass and we're going to watch some cooking tutorials, and various other things to, you know, learn things that are outside of my normal comfort zone. Well, actually I love cooking, so that's not outside of my comfort zone, but you know, just broader perspective than classes that I might normally take on. I think now is a great time for that too. You know, we spend all day now more so than ever looking at our computers and being on virtual meetings. And at the end of the day while I'd love to read a book or learn something technical. Sometimes I need a change of pace and have something a little bit lighter that I still feel that I'm enriching myself with. So I think that's an important thing to call out too.

John Pestana (22:30):
Yeah, there's been a lot of talk about just not having a lot of work/life balance right now because there is just more work life. It's like this one entity in our lives, especially not being able to get out for any reasons in some places. That's tough. And actually, Eric, you're dealing with that a lot more in New York right now where you guys are a lot more hunkered down than we have been in Utah where I can still go out in my backyard and enjoy a little bit of sunlight.

Eric Matisoff (22:59):
Yeah. It's been interesting, especially with a three year old and a 10 month old. But you know, once they go down for bed you know, you have to find ways to shut the laptop or at least turn off the work. And yeah, actually a friend of mine just sent me a copy of his book, Humankind. I wasn't planning on giving him....if I was going to talk about anybody's book, you would think it would be Adobe Analytics For Dummies. But what I love, what I've been loving about his book is, it's all just stories of how people across the country and across the world have been kind to each other for no reason at all. And then how that little act of kindness can completely change someone's life. And it made me kind of rethink, you know, once we're allowed to leave our apartments again, how to spend time not at work and how to spend time on commutes and you know, when I'm not not talking to brilliant folks like John and Krista here.

John Pestana (24:11):
Let's get to some great questions here. In the Q&A right now, one of the questions asked is what do you think about companies that offer identifying visitors to your sites that you can approach them and try to convert them into customers? What are your thoughts on this analytic usage and privacy concerns? Krista, you want to tackle that one?

Krista Seiden (24:37):
Yeah, sure. I think that there are you know, various vendors out there that do this in a privacy safe way. You know, something like a demand-based or something like that where it's not necessarily a personal identification, but you get information about the company, the size, et cetera that can help you personalize that interaction. I think that there's some players out there that do this a bit more sketchy. I would personally avoid those, you know, I don't want to be sending any sort of PII into my analytics system. But, it really depends on kind of how you approach it as a business and as long as you're not breaking the terms and conditions of your analytics provider then I think it's really up to you. But I think the important thing is how you actually take that information and then use it for personalization for really driving a more thoughtful interaction with that customer.

John Pestana (25:27):
Yeah. What I always tell people is like, just don't be creepy. And then also understand what countries you're working in too, and their laws. Yeah.

Eric Matisoff (25:41):
Yeah. Be proactive about consent. That creepiness line is tough because it's a wavering line. You know, it wasn't that long ago that we would never think about giving our personal information online and certainly not having a stranger pick us up in a car, you know, but as that creepiness factor sort of curves around, be aware of the industry and be aware of who you're talking to. In B2B, perhaps it makes a little bit more sense to take advantage of a tool like that.

John Pestana (26:16):
Well, and it's interesting, you know, I think industries have ways to make things better too, overtime. You gave the example of a stranger picking us up in a car, where really the Ubers and the Lyfts have actually now even improved that so much where we at least know the picture. We know their rating. You know, we see some feedback about that person, where when a taxi used to pick you up, literally you had no idea who was picking you up. It's where we can learn, we can improve and just make sure we're not doing you know, like you said, the super creepy things with people. What are you guys' thoughts? Because I think the other thing that we need to be attentive in our businesses is that the business is shifting within the companies, right? They're now trying to figure out how am I doing things more online? I'm sure so many of you have seen the ads of like the car saying, "Hey look, we'll deliver. Just order a car, we'll deliver it to you, hands-free right to your house," you know, things like that. And maybe we need to be paying attention to what are those real initiatives happening in the company and how we can make sure that we're measuring and monitoring those to the best of our abilities. What are some thoughts on that?

Eric Matisoff (27:34):
I'm happy to jump in here. I think that the shelter in place is causing everyone to rethink the way that they normally do business. Unless you already do business completely digitally with zero interactions. And even then, you know, you're still seeing some changes because of difficulties of delivery and changes in paychecks of your prospects and customers. But for the example of like the car delivery, you know, there was car delivery through online retailers for some time, but now pushing that to dealers, I actually saw an ad for it for the first time yesterday when I was watching SNL at home which, has been pretty funny this week. I gotta get some of that low sodium Dasani water. But, I think that it's interesting because there's a chance to rethink the way that you serve your customers and to push forward, which is what really what we've been talking about since we first opened up the panel, thinking about how can you rethink your business to align with the new normal or at least the current normal. And then being able to be nimble enough to change quickly again, states start to open up again too. I forgot to mention that the data side of it is that, you know, I've always been of the opinion that there's this like bs concept of the 360 degree view of a customer doesn't truly exist. You know John, if you were to recommend a car to me right now even though this is digital and we've got hundreds of attendees listening, there's no way for any attribution system to recognize that you made that recommendation to me right now. So that concept of the 360 degree customer is like the 360 degrees of as much as you can see. And so start thinking about the other datasets that power your business and getting them more and more integrated, whether it's using products like Adobe Experience Platform or Analytics or any kind of identifier that you can use. Now's a great time that, you know, if, when a meeting is canceled, start thinking about, "Well, what's a way that we'd even be able to accomplish this?" So I think it's a great opportunity from that perspective as well.

Krista Seiden (30:23):
No, I think that those are really great points. I was going to jump in and kind of iterate on that and just mention, you know, so many businesses are having to change their strategy right now, and you could look at entire industries and there's some really big winners right now. You think about e-commerce and as Eric mentioned, anything that was purely online before, as long as that is still something that people are meeting right now is doing really well. And then there's other businesses that are not doing as well. But I've seen some really creative ways in which businesses have started to pivot. Even if you just think about all of the restaurants who are now touting takeout and delivery. Actually this is probably embarrassing, last night, my husband and I, for the very first time ever did a food delivery order. We used Uber Eats and I know, right? Well we live in the suburbs. We used to live in San Francisco where it was a five minute walk to everything. Actually my husband worked for Postmates for a year, so it was really funny. We never used Postmates. But even within that app, they have a new option saying that you can just try it. And it encouraged me to try and leave it at the door so that you have no interaction with the person bringing you food so that, you know, everybody was safer. And I thought that was really interesting that even, you know, a large company like Uber who has had Uber Eats for awhile is now pushing new ways of even using their product in light of everything going on. But when you look at smaller businesses, I saw a story the other day of a woman who owns a child's clothing store and normally it's all foot traffic coming in. It's a small brick and mortar business with no online presence. And they've had to completely shut their doors. And what she's done is she's literally multiple times a week having a little fashion show that she's filming on Facebook Live and doing almost like a QVC, like, "We're taking orders for the next hour of this or this." And it's actually proven to be very beneficial for her to the point where she's almost making the same amount of income that she had made with just her brick and mortar business previously. So, it's how can you get creative and use the resources you have, even if you're not an online business? How can you pivot right now and really take advantage of how people can interact with you at this time?

Eric Matisoff (32:50):
Yeah. And, that first pivot may not be perfect. So plan on iterating. Like, it's been now two episodes of Saturday Night Live at home and the second one was so much better than the first because they had one under their belt. And it's the same thing with all of the businesses that are listening in right now.

John Pestana (33:11):
I think we have a lot that we can learn from just basically even like the lean startup methodology, right? Which is mainly used in actually starting a company, but even for every person in their own individual lives, it's like constantly testing, making improvement, gathering feedback, right. We're always improving. We have a question here, it says, "What about routines for actually checking the data gathered and try to extract insight? Should this be done on a daily, weekly, monthly basis? I'm thinking of a small company really focused on implementation, not losing data, but not so much on really doing something with the data afterwards?" One thing actually just to add some insight a little bit to this is just remember, no data is perfect. You know, I think what Eric was talking about is that we're trying to get the best data we can, but if you ever have ideas in your company that like data is somehow perfect, that's a dangerous place to be in. So, just as a precursor to a lot of that, we want to try and measure and monitor and track all these data implementations and track these things. I mean, that's all ObservePoint does, right? Try and help with your data, but it's also important to make sure that everybody realizes that there's a little bit of art to all of this too. Krista, what do you think on that?

Krista Seiden (34:38):
Yeah, the question asks, "Should we be analyzing daily, weekly, monthly?" I think that really depends on the resources that you have to do that analysis, how your teams are currently set up or how you can potentially restructure them. You know, based on the times we're in. I think it's less about having a standard sequence of when you're analyzing data and more about having the creativity to actually look into that data and find the nuggets that you're looking for. You know, people will often ask me, "What are the skill sets that you look for in an analyst or, you know, what's that one thing that they need to have when you're, when you're hiring somebody for an analyst role?" My answer is always you know, creativity and that desire to keep digging. I think a lot of people will spend a lot of time, effort, and money on getting a good implementation. That's one of the businesses I'm in right now. And I see companies putting all that focus there, my question always to them is, "Okay, what's next?" You have the analysts to actually do this. If not, you know, maybe let's not even engage right now because I want you to be able to take full advantage of the efforts that you're doing here to be able to use this data to drive your business. So I guess, you know, long answer short, is it's not so much about the frequency. It's really about the questions that you're asking and what you're trying to solve and find out for your business and then how you're going to use that information going forward.

John Pestana (36:01):
Yeah, that's great thoughts. Eric, anything else to add?

Eric Matisoff (36:05):
But to summarize, Krista has a great answer. I think that the three super important things to always be thinking about whether when you're in the implementation phase is, is the data accurate? If so, if you want to keep that data accurate John has a good product to recommend to help ensure it stays well-governed. Right? Should I switch my camera back to just the plain yellow? So, the accuracy, scalability, which we talked about a little bit earlier. So as your business grows, make sure that your solution design, your implementation plan, the KPIs that you have, your metrics are going to scale as that business grows as well. And then last but not least, certainly not least is actionable. You know, you were talking a little bit earlier John, about like, let's track everything. Let's track how many times someone hovers over this button for more than three and a third seconds. Okay, great. What are we going to do with that information? And so that, that actionability perhaps is the most important. And those are the three I'm always thinking about when I'm talking implementations is accuracy, scalability and actionability.

John Pestana (37:26):
It's interesting too. I actually have found that many times the companies that actually can do something with that information, you know, like the hovering is sometimes it's actually only the smaller companies that can do that because they actually can be nimble enough to even act on something like that where big companies, they need to be really basic metrics, know exactly what they need because you know, you have these bigger processes to try and even do anything with the data that you have. You know, one of the reasons I even started ObservePoint in the very beginning is when I, when I sold Omniture to Adobe I felt like literally 90% of the time a customer called and would be like angry at us about whatever data was going on. It was always their fault in some way. Some implementation issue that, you know, they would say, "You're broken, you're not tracking data." And it always ties back to something that they had done wrong in JavaScript or things like that. So I do think that just making sure that the basis of your implementations are accurate. Otherwise, it doesn't matter like what Krista was talking about, all these analysts looking at data. If all of a sudden the homepage is being double tracked, then how are all these other things? It's definitely an interesting balance between all that as you're trying to have accurate data but then also have the resources to analyze it.

Eric Matisoff (38:52):
Yeah, I think now is a great time to start thinking about what's a good process to make sure that data gets more accurate or is well-governed or continues to be if you just finished your implementation yesterday. So, start thinking about, well, how often should I be looking at my data quality? At Adobe we have a free tool called the Analytics Health Dashboard, which just simply says we're gonna use the APIs and we're gonna pull in all of the metrics and dimensions across your whole report suite so that you can then see what are the top 100 dimensional values and how have they been and how have they been trending over time. So if you can set yourself a reminder every Monday morning or the first and 15th of every month to click run on a health dashboard like that, so that, you know, okay, all right, nothing, everything's looking good. I can continue about my day job. It's little things like that little processes that can make a huge, huge difference in terms of data quality.

John Pestana (39:59):
So one of the things that I've always found super useful in my life is having great mentors.People that I look to and get help from. Krista, tell me how did you do that? Like in your life? When you've been trying to better yourself and that, where have you gone for mentors and maybe what's been some of the good influences for you?

Krista Seiden (40:23):
Yeah, for sure. I'm a big fan of informal mentors. And more specifically, I classify this as people that I stalk online to learn everything from them. So if I think back to my early analytics days when I was working at Adobe and I was, you know, just learning Omniture and all that, I went to my first Adobe Summit and I remember going to several talks where I was just like, wow, those people are so smart. I want to learn from them. I want to be them, I want to be their friends. And you know, I started following them on Twitter and trying to interact with them and, you know, reading their blogs and reading, their Tweets. And I think Twitter you know, still is, but it was at one point really, really great with the hashtag for measure to learn and share ideas. I think now we have Measure Slack and other things that are great resources there too. But, I've done that a number of times over my career. When I went to Google you know, I used Google Analytics in an enterprise setting for only about a year prior to joining Google and then owning a whole you know, enterprise setup of analytics and it was completely broken and I had to figure it out across six different business units and 12 websites and I had to dig in and I was like, Oh my God, I don't, I've never done this type of thing with Google Analytics. And what did I do? I spent a lot of time on Twitter and reading blogs and reading documentation and I figured it out, but I figured it out because I stalked a lot of people online.

John Pestana (41:57):
And now people are stalking you.

Krista Seiden (41:58):
Funny how the tables turn, right? But I think, you know, when it comes to mentors, I've had some. I don't know that I've ever had like a formal mentor. I've had people that I know definitely have conversations with throughout my career who've pushed me. But, I think it's those informal mentors, people who don't even know that you look up to them and are really learning from them that have made the most impact on my career.

John Pestana (42:26):
Yeah. Eric, how about you?

Eric Matisoff (42:29):
Yeah. I really liked that concept of the informal mentor, of the mentor that doesn't know he or she is a mentor. I think that's a fun way to learn. I also have to throw out a recommendation for the DAA mentorship program as well. It's one that I've been a part of for a little while and I know a number of folks that have gotten great value out of it also. Then for me personally, whenever I start a new job or have been at a company for a little while, I tend to like look around and see who's doing a job that is so cool and so interesting and they're so good at it that, that I'll just decide, okay, they're the person, they're like my North star. One of my one of my managers at Razorfish who actually now is at Adobe, he was one of those guys when I was at Search Discovery, Michael Helbling, on the podcast, absolutely continues to be one of them. And now at Adobe, Steve Hammond, who runs the Sneaks program on stage. I love just sitting in meetings with him because he does such a great job of articulating his point, making sure that it's aligned with the understanding of the audience and all of those things. So I think looking not only externally at folks beyond your company, but looking internally as well is a great suggestion and a great way to continue to grow your career in the direction that you want it to grow.

John Pestana (44:19):
Yeah, those are great. You know, I would definitely encourage you not necessarily to be just stalkers, you know, I think that you can reach out to people. Like obviously my role is a little different where I'm CEO of a company. One of the goals I set for myself is that once a week I reach out to another CEO here in Utah and I just go to lunch with them and, you know, learn and try and see what they see as a success. I love that you mentioned the Digital Analytics Association and their mentor program, things like that. There's ways that we can meet people. The next time that you're at some kind of conference or things like that, you know, get people's cards and call them and try and share things. Because I think when you can build more of a group that you can get together and discuss things, it definitely helps you. I personally learn by just talking with people and trying to pick up that knowledge.

Krista Seiden (45:22):
There's not a lot that can beat some of those conversations that you have at conferences and various places. I know a lot of the people that I have informally stalked over the years have actually become some of my closest friends. You know, which has been really helpful when we have a chat group where we're just, you know, nerding out on analytics things and then, you know, the next moment we're talking about when we're going to plan a trip to Napa or something like that.

John Pestana (45:47):
No, that's awesome. Well, thanks for taking some time here with me today to discuss some things. Let's do one last thing here to kind of wrap up. I'd love to hear kind of what is something positive right now? What is that one thing that during this time is positive for you? And it can be about anything. Anything that you think is going well or going in the right direction or just something positive. And let's start with Eric.

Eric Matisoff (46:17):
Okay. Great. So for me personally it's been incredible to spend so much time at home with my family where I have a nine month old daughter named Eden and an almost three year old named Nolan who you know, wake me up early and keep me tired on the weekends at least. But it's been so nice to just spend so much time, day to day, hour to hour, seeing the little moments when, you know, your nine month old suddenly decides that she wants to grab onto things and stand up and hold herself up a little bit or start talking and clapping and waving at the neighbors. So personally, just the extra time with family has been really nice, especially now that that my hard work on Adobe Summit is over. I've got even more time to spend with them.

John Pestana (47:14):
Yeah. That's awesome.

Krista Seiden (47:15):
That's awesome. Yeah, for me personally, my husband and I have spent a whole lot of time working on our garden in our backyard. We've built a new shed and a couple of retaining walls. Something I never in my life that I would say until we find ourselves at home every day and needing to get out of the house and do some projects in the backyard. And I think professionally, you know, I've seen some some really cool things. You know, people just really taking the time to learn and expand their skill set and making lemonade out of lemons. I have a client who you know, a lot of their marketing campaigns got put on hold because of everything going on. And so they're like, "Well, we have some extra cycles. We have some free time and some developer resources. What can we do?" And they came to me and they're like, "Well, we'd really like to get a jump on things and let's use this time and these extra resources to implement the new Google Analytics App and Web." And I was like, "Great, I love that you're using your extra cycles to actually get ahead of the curve here." And so, I think, you know, there's a lot of positivity that is coming out if this time as well. And, we all just need to focus on first and foremost, taking care of ourselves and our families and then, you know, how we can make the most of the situation that we have, the resources that we have.

John Pestana (48:45):
Yeah. I've personally loved, like from a business standpoint, I've loved the clarity that it's helped me. And you know, as I've worked with all my vice presidents in the company and trying to set priorities, it's just brought a lot of clarity. We now know what our goals are better, and in defining what really needs to get done versus not get done. It's like a little bit of a breath of fresh air in some ways, for me personally. I've only been at this role as CEO of ObservePoint since November, so I had a lot that I was balancing and juggling and it just kind of brought it all into focus, you know, instantaneously. And that is one of the goods that I've gotten out of the crisis. And then of course, always the time with family. And my kids were already fairly spoiled with me being around quite a bit. So if anything now in the last few months, they wonder where I've gone. But thanks for taking some time with me today and just having the discussion. I appreciate everybody who tuned in and listened. It was really fun taking some time to think about how we can be improving, how we can be learning, and how we can be moving forward in this this era that we're in. So thank you, Eric. Thank you, Krista, for coming in and talking with us.

Eric Matisoff (50:14):

Thank you.

Krista Seiden (50:15):
Definitely, thank you.

John Pestana (50:17):
Alright, we'll see everybody else next time. Thanks everybody for tuning in

 

 

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