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09 Nov Fun Facts about Adobe Analytics and Campaign Dimensions

It’s not every day that I learn something new about Adobe Classifications. I was an Omniture employee when this technology (originally called SAINT) came hot off the press in 2002, and I’ve spent the better part of two decades working under its hood. I didn’t think it had any surprises left for me. Ask the pros how many Classifications you can set up for a report in Adobe Analytics, and the common answer you’ll hear is 30. But I discovered this week that this is categorically untrue. I don’t know if there’s a real cap, but I got tired of testing somewhere in the mid 100’s. I concede that the 30-cap myth is grounded in actual experience. Almost everybody sends and receives classification data manually using the SiteCatalyst Admin interface, and when you try to download the data in that way Adobe inexplicably truncates the output at 31 columns: the tracking code (Key) value, plus your first 30 classifications.
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01 Nov Why modern marketing is a Tough Job

Decision Fatigue. You’ve all heard of it, right? It’s the reason that people like Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama severely limit their wardrobe choices. In Obama’s case, a blue or gray suit, in Zuckerberg’s, jeans and a gray t-shirt. For each, it’s an attempt to preserve his most precious resource -- the decision-making capacity of the quickly-depleted prefrontal cortex. To that end, limiting to as few as possible the number of choices that must be made in a given day makes perfect sense. Now think of that reality in the context of the modern marketer’s job. In any given day, how many decisions are you called upon to make? And it’s not just one kind of decision. You might need to exercise high-level, strategic judgment: Is this new company a potential threat to our brand? How should we assess it? Or you might need to decide at the level of the mind-numbingly granular: excluding exogenous factors like time of day/week, is there a meaningful difference in response rates for campaign message A vs. message B? All of that? It’s your job. I have this theory (does it resonate? I’d love your feedback) that for most jobs, decision-making tasks fall into a handful of different categories. I’ve charted them here:
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25 Oct This time, bring Good News

In the 2017 world of IT and systems engineering, Test-driven development (TDD) is the new mantra. No one writes a line of code these days without the intent to have that code check/test itself. If there is a bug in that code, it gets caught and fixed before it goes live, reducing any risk of breakage. This kind of system has not traditionally been employed in analytics, contributing to a perception among some marketers and executives that marketing analytics isn’t always a reliable enterprise. Bringing a more rigorous approach to analytics could change that. A TDD method would require that whenever you make any change to your analytics, you make sure the change is fully tested -- and the change is recorded -- before it’s deployed. This method takes more time, and may frustrate management, but will result in better quality control. Let’s use an example. There are a number of good products on the market (Observepoint, Hubscan, QA2L) that crawl an organization’s website, testing for broken links or missing tracking data, and alerting the team when data tags need to be fixed.
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19 Oct Marketing and Analytics – Part 3: Analytics is the Future

Recently, I sat down with one of our newer clients, the customer intelligence director for a global hospitality brand, to find out more about the data challenges faced by his organization. In Part 1, we discussed the chief data challenges faced by his organization, and in Part 2 we discussed the value of data quality more generally.   Q: I’d like your sense of what’s next for the Future structure of the marketing organization. A:  I started saying this about five years ago: “Give it 10 to 20 years, and we won’t be talking about analytics anymore, we’ll just be talking about business.” I think that’s where we’re slowly going, and where we need to go -- a world where intelligence drives business. The purpose of analytics is to know our customers better, so we can serve them better. And really, that should be everyone’s goal. We just use different tools in pursuit of that.
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16 Oct Marketing and Analytics – Part 2: The Value of Data Quality

Recently, I sat down with one of our newer clients, the customer intelligence director for a global hospitality brand, to find out more about the data challenges faced by his organization. In Part 1, we discussed the chief data challenges faced by his organization, and the disconnect between knowing that things are “trackable,” and knowing what that actually means.   Q: In defense of marketers who are struggling to keep up: the marketing/tech landscape is moving very quickly. A lot of marketers are feeling like they’ve been caught with their pants down, with all they’re expected to suddenly know. A: Things have moved really fast, especially in the tracking space. The funny thing is, we take all this tracking for granted now. But if you actually look around at the number of companies that are effectively using tracking, and how long they’ve been doing it, there aren’t many companies that are truly using tracking codes the way they’re intended to work. They’re not truly using tracking code data, they’re using these long strings instead.
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11 Oct Marketing and Analytics – Part 1: Are we there yet?

Recently, I sat down with one of our newer clients, the customer intelligence director for a global hospitality brand, to find out more about the data challenges faced by his organization. Our conversation covered a range of topics. It’s a candid picture of the current marketing/analytics landscape, and we present it here in three parts.   Q: Thanks for taking the time to talk! Let’s get right into it. What are the major challenges you face, with regard to marketing data analytics? A: The biggest challenge right now is data integration, which has two main aspects. There’s an issue with being able to track data accurately across time -- in other words, setting things up so that newer data can be consistently compared to older data -- and there’s the chief challenge, being able to integrate the data generated by various platforms: DCM, AdWords, Facebook.
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27 Sep We are All Publishers Now

I spent 15 years working in the online publishing industry. One of the last professional events I attended while still on the media was an IAB-affiliated event about the “future of media and advertising.” I recall one of the speakers ignoring the publishers in the room completely. He directed his remarks toward the vendors and big brand players in the room. His advice to them was “work toward a future where your organization produces content that is so good, you’ll put the Industry Trade Magazine in your market right out of business...” Since I worked for a big B2B trade publisher at the time, I found this idea kind of out there. But it definitely stuck with me.
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14 Sep Tracking First’s New Product Release Goes Live

In September 2017, Tracking First released its first major product enhancement, a connector that allows clients to port data from any source to any target. I sat down with founder Craig Scribner to learn more.   JR: What was the impetus for the recent product development? CS: More and more our clients are having a less hands-on experience with the tracking codes produced inside their analytics systems. Back in the old days you could manage all your tracking codes with spreadsheets, and you could have different breakdowns, from the most granular to the most abstract, that were comprehensible for a human.
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