Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Benchmarking - A Live Experiment in Co-Creation - Are you ready for this?

Last week as we were batting around our "Web Analytics" integration strategy (Omniture, Google Analytics) - we thought up of an interesting concept that I'd like to share with all our readers and more importantly, get you to comment and discuss this.


Problem Statement:
We were talking to WebTrends about integrating surveys (stated-choice data) with behavioral data. We already do this with Google Analytics and Omniture SiteCatalyst. The folks from WebTrends asked us an obvious quesiton - How many customers/users do we have who have WebTrends deployed? - Good Question. So obviously, we thought, we can simply post a survey on the blog and get at least an idea (the blog in general represents our early adopters and more engaged customer base) - of how the distribution of the Web Analytics solutions is. Google Analytics, Vs. Omniture Vs. Webtrends Vs. Clicky Vs. Hitwise

Easy enough - we can get this done. Hell we don't even have to pay for Survey Software!

Then something dawns on us:

As I was getting ready to put the survey together, we thought - "I wonder what some of my other blogger friends have to say about this? - i.e. Would they want to find out the same information about their own readers? I knew Ivana on her DIYMarketers blog would find that interesting - The Web Analytics solutions her readers are using. I also contacted Paul Dunay one of the most prolific B2B and Integrated Marketing bloggers out there to get his take - he seemed intrigued.

The brain expansion continues...
We then started thinking - how about we let anyone syndicate/republish the survey? In theory, if Ivana or Paul wants to collect the _exact_ same data, she should be able to use my survey - instead of copying and creating a new survey - and having a disparate data-set, she (or for that matter anyone) should be able to syndicate/republish the survey that I am doing. Not only that - anyone (including you) can take the survey and republish it with a new encoded URL - for your own website. Sort of a benchmarking profile. Now, this introduces some challenges and some advantages:

Challenges:
  • I am probably not interested in intermingling my data with other's - After all the reason I am doing this exercise is to find the the answer to a specific question - How many of my users could be using WebTrends, Omniture, Google Analytics?
  • If I consider the survey to be a competitive advantage - the structure, questions etc. - I would not want to give that away to anyone else (without fair compensation.)
Advantages:
  • I can do "comparative analysis" - my reader profile vs. Ivana's reader profile vs. anyone else that has chosen to a part of this benchmarking/syndication experiment.
  • By letting anyone syndicate/republish the survey, the data I collect from other blogs can actually be interesting - maybe there are patterns that can be discerned that group B2B blogs vs. B2C blogs vs. Product Blogs Vs. Marketing Blogs etc.
  • Ivana/Other bloggers can promote the survey and extend its reach (far beyond the QuestionPro blog)
  • The data that is collected can actually be VERY interesting to Omniture, WebTrends and Google Analytics.
  • If there is enough data, it could then be sold (and revenue could be shared) amongst the participants of the experiment.
Co-Creation:
Here is where you come in. Now we know (based on the commentary above) what we need to do. But like all good things, "we don't know what we don't know" --  I've decided to blog about this Benchmarking tool/offering and make it as open as possible. As part of this benchmarking experiment, I also decided to follow another model for development. I am going to do two things:

a) Blog in detail about the co-creation experiment.
b) Update and modify the software based on recommendations and consensus opinions (yes I know this is subjective - but this is not a democracy - it's a meritocracy.)

Please use the comments (below) on this blog to post on:
a) What do you think about this Benchmarking/Republishing Concept?
b) Would you use it? Be a part of the pilot? If not why not?
c) What are the pitfalls?
d) What updates/enhancements can we make to the model to make it more attractive.

I'll be posting a series of blog posts on our Benchmarking solution and as it evolves...

Next Post : The Web Analytics Benchmarking Survey itself.

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