Break on Through: 5 Things You Need to Stop Doing Now.

Nothing in this world is perfect and that couldn't be more true for organizations struggling to become data-driven. As you strive to improve the customer journey across your owned channels, there are so many things you probably wish you could do with the data. Conversely, there are so many things you probably wish you could stop doing. I'd like to focus on things everyone should stop doing immediately. I grew up listening to The Doors with my dad, so in the immortal words of Jim Morrison it is time to "break on through to the other side."

If you find yourself on the lower spectrum of the analytics 'maturity curve,' it is probably because you are wasting your time on one or many of the items I'm about to discuss.

The Top 5 things all organizations should stop doing immediately:
1. Stop fretting about the keyword availability for organic search from Google
2. Stop blindly sending out reports like a robot
3. Stop worrying about exact numbers and sampling
4. Stop doing large-scale redesigns of your digital presence
5. Stop spending your entire day in meetings
1. Stop fretting about the keyword availability for organic search from Google 
I want you to do me a favor: access your analytics and look at the number of conversions that come from organic search as the last campaign interaction. What you’ll find is that it is a strikingly low number for most organizations. Do you see what I'm getting at? Yes, organic search is important and it is part of the journey, but rarely is it the final step for a customer.
Most potential customers are using organic search for research purposes or because they use the search bar to input URLs (like my parents). You don't need the actual keywords to know for what they were searching. You have the landing pages they arrived on, their behavior on your owned channels and you have access to things like Google's Webmaster Tools - that's all you need. Change is tough for some, but you can get through this!
2. Stop blindly sending out reports like a robot
This is one of the largest time wasters in any organization. Most likely there are more reports than you care to admit on the "Weekly Deliverable List." Most of those reports are probably just a data puke of anything and everything, with no analysis or insight.
Here are a few ways to fix this:
  • Give the executives what they ask for, but make it more valuable than just a bunch of data. Don't settle for the "executives want what they want and I can't change it" mentality; save yourself the headache and stand up for the data you believe in and the best way to present it.
  • If you have people in your organization that are receiving the data puke reports, give them custom access to your analytics tool instead that gives them exactly what they need. Stop hoarding the data that you're confident in. If you're sending it out anyways, then you might as well give them access to view the data on their own or set up scheduled reports right from the tool.
  • If there are reports that are providing little to no value and you know they are awful, then stop sending them all together. Yes, literally stop sending them. If anyone speaks up, then set up conversations with those people to give them what they really need. I'll tell you this though: I bet you that you hear crickets for many of the reports you stop sending.

Analytics should not be robotic; let's not let the machines win this one. Shift your time from reports to analysis.


3. Stop worrying about exact numbers and sampling
This is very close to being as much of a time waster as the reporting, the only difference is that a solution does not exist for this problem. Your data will never match completely, especially if you're trying to reconcile an off-line system with your analytics data. Even worse, none of the technology you use to track your digital channels will ever match. To take it a step further, even metrics with the same names mean different things across the systems. There are no standards and that makes it nearly impossible to make it all match.
However, I have good news for you:  it doesn't matter! I used to tell an old joke that it's called ‘web trends’ not ‘web accuracy’. You collect data to make business decisions on trends and on the best possible data you can gather. Who cares if numbers are off by an acceptable standard deviation? Focus on listening to the story within the data you're collecting and take action.  
Taking it a step further:  don't be scared of sampling, provided the methodology for that sampling is statistically sound. When sampling is done right, it is representative of your visitors. You can feel comfortable with making decisions in those situations. Always pay attention to what "sampling" is defined as in the tools you are using.
4. Stop doing large-scale redesigns of your digital presence
If you are still doing large-scale redesigns of your user experience, then I'm 99% sure that you are wasting your money. You want to know why mobile app usage continues to increase significantly month to month? It's because the apps are constantly being updated and improving the experience for customers. It's an agile development process.
When you invest in a large-scale redesign, you are causing (at least) two issues:
  • You're making the runway to completion way too long, which most likely will result in replacing one out-dated experience with another out-dated experience
  • You've most likely removed some of the features, functionality and design that your high-value customers enjoyed which will cause unnecessary dissatisfaction with your brand
You have a surplus of technology options, from cheap to expensive, available to you for testing and personalizing the customer experience. Use them. Instead of redesigning the entire site, try different variations of pages or experiences. If you have some ideas on new enhancements for some of your key processes on your digital presence, test them against each other.
You don't need to build one cohesive experience with all of the latest and greatest features. In fact, you may find that a mix of old and new is what generates the best results for your business or that specific segments prefer different experiences. Focus on the results, not the aesthetics. Measure everything.
5. Stop spending your entire day in meetings
This one amazes me; I have seen so many large organizations who spend all of their time in meetings and ultimately never getting anything done. You have a limited amount of time during the day and for every hour you are in a meeting you are missing out on an opportunity to be an agent of change for your organization. Sometimes, you just have to take a step back and ask yourself, "is this meeting even worth it?"
I live by certain notions, one being:  it's better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission. It’s important to make optimal use of your time and if your entire analytics team is handcuffed by meetings all day then there is no room for innovation. Meanwhile, customers are interacting with your brand and you are missing opportunities to convert them. So start being stricter with your schedule and decline those less-than essential meetings.
Here's a trick:  schedule 'meetings' with yourself every day that are merely placeholders for you to focus on moving your program forward. Build yourself a roadmap for your analytics program, or get some help from outside sources and use that to fill in how you use these 'meeting' time slots. You need another mindless meeting like you need another hole in your head.
My goal is to help each of our clients to become empowered and therefore, successful within their analytics program. We need to create a culture of innovation and be willing to challenge the status quo within our respective organizations. There are many opportunities for improvement out there and if you want to move yourself along the analytics 'maturity curve' then you need to start empowering yourself by eliminating the 5 things I've outlined here.  
By Bill Bruno
About the Author:

Bill Bruno is the CEO - North America, Ebiquity.

Contact Us Now