Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Assaignment #1: Web Analytics and CRM Integration



Web Analytics and CRM Integration:

Last week I was looking for a pair boots on backcountry.com, next day almost every web site I went to have a banner ad with the boots on it. Initially, I thought this was a great capability, however, even after I ordered the boots the banner ads didn’t change. At that point, backcountry was marketing me something I had already bought from their website. Probably it is not a trivial task to link web analytics and CRM data but in an era of marginal gains it seems like an important area to focus on to “optimize” optimization.

The main issue is Web Analytics do not have customer data and CRM systems do not have web traffic behavior information. In a perfect world, we could tie a user’s behavior to who they are. In the recent WebTrends (a) conference some of these topics were covered in depth:

 

Highlights of conference were:

 

Interest: in the Q&A session, one of the common themes were, why having an understanding of the users’ intent is the key which should be available through web analytics content reports. For example, users visiting FAQ page for a product are probably interested for a solution on that product rather than making a purchase. Pages report could be a powerful data when integrating with CRM.

 

Timing: How recent and frequent a user visit the page can tell us how urgent and the amount of interest they have on our product. More recent visitors coming to the product page could mean that they have a higher interest in the product than some of the older visits, but the next natural question is who are these users and how can we reach them. This is where integrating web analytics with CRM data could pay off dividends.

 

Region: Knowing where the user is based is valuable information. Did he/she purchase our product during a radio promotion that ran in his/her region? Region also tells us other important attributes about the users reside in a particular area. Marketing effort to users live next to beach or ski resorts are very different.

 

Relationships: What is our transaction history with these customers visiting our page? Are they returning clients or just interested in learning more about a product they might buy down the road? This is a key variable since it allows us to focus on these factors where it could potentially make impact on “controllable factors than the fuzzy factors like “likelihood” (b).

In a nut shell, the more we know about our potential clients we already work with the better we can adjust our marketing.

After doing some more research on the topic, it seems like there are number of tools in the market that will help organizations to establish a robust CRM and web analytics integration. According to PublicInsite (c) there are number of key requirements that companies need to be aware of.

APIs: This is an ideal way to link directly to the software engine and extract information based on pre-set criteria. This is usually accomplished by in house developed back-end tools. Even though, this is not a must for basic integration, it could be critical for more robust implementations.

Flexibility to customize: For successful integration of CRM and the web analytics, we need to have a permanent cookie that is not deleted when the browser is closed or and permits for tracking the client as they move from website to website. This permanent cookie is the key to identify the customer within analytics that should be identified and added in the CRM data. For example, a unique custom attribute should be in the ‘potential lead” section of the CRM system. This can regularly gather and maintain the cookie information by issued to your unique visitors –their unique identifier.

Linking Data between CRM and Web Analytics: Tying CRM to the web analytics requires us to extract complete CRM dataset for us to link it with analytics data. Tying these two is not a trivial task and probably robust use data integration tools is needed to accomplish this.

References:

a. Web Trends Seminar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMrhxmCiAng

c. PublicInsite: http://www.publicinsite.com/integrating-crm-and-analytics-data/