Browsing posts in: Analytics

Have we hit “peak marketing cloud?”

It was probably inevitable, but the “marketing cloud” blowback has officially begun.

Citing inevitable challenges to integrating complex software solutions, and a little bit of stereotyping about large companies, doubts have been raised about the strategic vision – if not the viability – of the “big marketing suite” model. Gartner’s Marty Kihn recently wrote a compelling critique, followed in short order by no less esteemed an observer of the marketing technology field than Scott Brinker, who also explored the alternative vision of an “open marketing platform” offered by Marketo at their Marketing Nation Summit. Obviously, these were not the first criticisms to the “suite” approach, but they were certainly some of the most interesting to date.

So – is the future of marketing technology in big, modular suites, or open platforms relying on lots of partners? Deep down, we all know the answer is that both will of course coexist – but today, I’m going to explain three specific reasons why I think the marketing suite model is here to stay, and likely succeed.

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Fingerprinting: the tracking that dare not speak its name


Full disclosure: just by seeing this image, I can tell you about the whole episode.

One of the cool parts of my job as a product manager is identifying which new trends in marketing analytics technology are most promising for supporting our primary mission as a digital analytics vendor: to help companies better understand their customers and use that understanding to make more money. Today I’m going to focus on that first half – online visitor measurement. Specifically, I want to discuss “digital fingerprinting” technology – what it is, how it works, and why I think it’s important.

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Book report: what the history of the shipping container can teach us about analytics


I find these ships truly awe-inspiring.

Fifty years ago, the notion that it would be possible – let alone cost-competitive – to produce enormous quantities of consumer goods in far-flung corners of the globe, ship them thousands of miles, in bulk, to their eventual consumers and then sell them at razor-thin margins would have been rightly laughable. “Globalization” is the term we’ve adopted to describe this system today, but that hugely simplified term obscures the incredibly intricate and interlocking systems of manufacturing, shipping, trade and infrastructure that developed over decades to bring us to today, when I can walk into any Target or Wal-Mart in the land and interact with supply chains touching almost every country in the world.

A few nights ago, I finished “The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger” by Marc Levinson. Through the history of the basic, standardized shipping container, Levinson (a former editor at The Economist) tells a much larger story about the integration of the world economy and emergence of globalization in the last half of the twentieth century. In doing so, the book is also a case study in how the innovative application of new ideas, combined with the right leadership, can be transformative to industry and the world. After mulling it over, I’ve come to some first thoughts about how these lessons also directly apply to the marketing function and analytics industry – so follow along and let me know what you think!

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How to build a great analytics solution

So you’re thinking to yourself: there just aren’t nearly enough hosted analytics vendors out there today. I think I’ll go start my own! Well, I applaud your fortitude, young man/woman. This is going to be great!


I would go to a conference session only in dogespeak.

Before you buy some Red Bull and pistachios (I always preferred Mr. Pibb and carrots, but whatever) and get down to coding, let’s talk about what should go into this new product of yours. You have some pretty strong competition, after all: Google (Free/Premium), Adobe, IBM, Webtrends – each one has very mature, high-quality solutions that have been around the market for quite a while. So your product will need to be very, very good to carve out a niche.

In my opinion, this starts with two fundamental choices: identifying your target market, and deciding what problem you’re going to solve there.

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