I just came across this somewhat humorous post on ClickZ by Andrew Edwards about a company’s IT department mucking up the web analytics project that was successfully run by the marketing team for years… So, it begs to ask the question: “Who should run web analytics at your company?”
The answer is marketing.
- Marketing’s role is to generate revenue opportunities for the company. The metrics for measuring these opportunities and the success of generating them are defined by marketing. They understand the objectives and therefore should be tasked with measuring the outcome. Having someone else do this who is less familiar with objectives and the outcomes inserts and element of risk.
- Access to web analytics should be democratized. In other words, the system should be central, and business analysts and marketing executives should be able to access the system at will, create reports, collaborate on metrics and dashboards, and so on.
- In my experience, marketing teams are collaborative by their very nature of having to communicate across departments to further the corporate objectives and coordinate consistent messaging, branding and awareness.
- Conversely, IT departments (in my experience) often govern by limiting access, creating policy and strive to eliminate risk. This is okay perhaps for tech stuff (though I would argue that it isn’t, but that’s for another day). But for data and analysis, this is bad.
- Blocking access to insight restricts a business’s ability to leverage it and make good decisions.
However, it is EXTREMELY important for the two shops (marketing and IT) to collaborate. For example, there is much insight in the data that would benefit IT with regards to planning downtime, fixing errors, load balancing, hosting and correcting errors. These are all issues critical to a business’s success. IT and marketing should work together on identifying these issues, the necessary metrics, and the course of action needed to further the business objectives.
Above all, decisions about which platform to use and how to measure the business should be a collaboration between IT and marketing. As I have always preached, the most successful marketers are those with IT know-how and insight, as technology often is the genesis of marketing innovation. So why is it that these two groups at most companies often remain in silos?