#027: Digital Transformation with Gary Angel

January 5, 2016

What better time to ask Big Questions about analytics than the start of a new year? In this episode, Gary Angel from EY joins us to talk just a little bit about his new book, and to talk a lot about digital transformation: what it means, what’s holding large enterprises back, where digital analysts fit in the effort… and a whole-whole lot of thoughts and ideas that aren’t nearly as lofty and nebulous as the first part of this description sounds! This is our longest show to date. It’s a power hour transformed into 59 minutes (or 39:20 if you play it at 1.5x speed).

People, places, and things referenced in this episode include:

Show Transcript

The following is a straight-up machine translation. It has not been human-reviewed or human-corrected. We apologize on behalf of the machines for any text that winds up being incorrect, nonsensical, or offensive. We have asked the machine to do better, but it simply responds with, “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

[00:00:21] Our. Hi everyone. Welcome to the digital analytics power hour.

[00:00:28] This is Episode 27 it’s a new year and I want you to think think about your analytics. Think about your company. Are they really connected. All too often analysts feel as if their work isn’t making an impact. And all too often business leaders aren’t using analytics to actually run the business. Someone wise once said enterprises do analytics. They just don’t use analytics. When you do see analytics in action across the business it’s an amazing thing and it’s the quest for this digital transformation. Certainly keeps this analyst going. If there was one person who could really shine light on this topic it’s our guest it’s Gary angel. Gary is a partner and practice leader of E wise digital analytics Center of Excellence. And before that he founded symphonic. He’s the guy you read when you’re ready to get good in this industry. Welcome Gary.

[00:01:28] Thanks guys. Great to be here.

[00:01:30] And of course as always joined by my two co host Tim Wilson senior partner analytics demystified driving down the bar for this episode. And right there with me is so it’s it’s a good start to 2016 already. And also joined by the CEO CEO of napkin and Babbitts systems Jim Kane.

[00:01:57] Can you guys imagine me being a CEO at a company that burned to the ground something C-level executive.

[00:02:05] We always thought about having a C level executive on this show.

[00:02:08] I don’t know why Tang Wei finally get there anyway.

[00:02:20] It’s a distinct pleasure. You know Gary you’re making me super jealous of millennials right now and that’s because all the wisdom and thinking that I’ve labored so hard. Reading your blogs over the years has now been distilled into your new book measuring the digital world by both excited about that and of course upset because you know I spent long hours parsing all those blog posts trying to distill it out into the wisdom I could use as an analyst. But that is coming it has come out. So it’s available on Amazon. I reading it right now and really enjoying it. So congratulations on that milestone.

[00:02:59] Thank you. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. So all I can say about that is I think I’ve been in three different fields I think over the course of my life and in each case I saw them go from people who weren’t credentialed to people who were credentialed. I think in every case of the people who weren’t credentialed and came to it randomly inorganically we’re better at it and more interesting so probably better to learn it on your own and do it randomly than to pick it up out of a textbook in a college class.

[00:03:27] Well I’m an experienced learner so I guess that’s working OK.

[00:03:32] So let’s dive in here and really what we’re talking about on this show is really the concept of digital transformation and it’s about evolving an organization into using analytics to really transform how they go to market and edge in digital. So let’s dive in on that. So what does that mean. And you know how is digital analytics kind of core to the concept of digital transformation.

[00:03:56] You know it’s funny because in some respects this whole topic of digital transformation is a little unusual for me. I mean my background is as Neil as it’s what I do. It’s really what I like about what we do. And in some ways I’ve always been very suspicious of this broader business orientation and business process management and all these self-help books for business. I don’t really like them. I don’t think they do much as I look at most enterprise enterprises that we work with. We tend to work with really large companies. I can see how challenging it is to take any set of ideas and adapt them and make them work. So in some respects I’ve always been formed more interested in the actual hands on practice of analytics but I have come to see in the last couple of years that most of our clients fail not because they can’t do analytics it’s not so much the practice that’s holding them back. I think there is some of that. I think people still struggle sometimes to do good analytics. People still struggle sometimes to figure digital out but more often what I see is companies that have invested in analytics that have fairly smart people doing it. They have a b testing capabilities they have voice the customer capabilities they do all the things and it’s not like the people doing them are fairly good at what they’re doing but they don’t put the pieces together in a way that actually makes a difference to the organization.

[00:05:18] So I think like all of us who do this stuff when we see that it’s really frustrating writing feel like we’re doing really interesting work. We feel like we’re delivering value but somehow that value is getting lost in translation. So I have to say if it is true in the last year or so a lot of my focus has switched to really thinking about why don’t companies do this better. What can they do it to do it better and how do they put those pieces in place which I guess is a long answer around doesn’t really explain how digital analytics is at the core of this. But there was enough. They are on this stuff anyway and kick it back to you guys. But I will say you know from my perspective as I look at large enterprise and the way they do analytics I become convinced that it’s less about the analytics itself although God knows I think the analytics itself is more fun but more about how it gets applied and the rest of the organization if you’re actually thinking about where the value comes from.

[00:06:07] So why why is it not getting applied. I feel like a lot of there’s a lot of misperceptions. When we were talking earlier about sometimes it’s better to be coming in not credentialed an experience because maybe you’ll think about things kind of rationally or logically is it partly because in some ways we’ve grown up kind of the wrong way and the people the senior leadership has misperceptions about how analytics data should be applied or kind of like what’s the root idea theories on why. Why do we get into this boat. Why is that not clicking.

[00:06:46] Better more off theories and I’ll emphasize that theories because I’m not really that confident about it.

[00:06:53] But I think one of the big reasons is the digital challenges and the sort of classical organisation of large enterprise. If you’re a large enterprise and you want to add capabilities traditionally the way you do it is you add siloed departments.

[00:07:08] So if you’re a big company and you don’t have digital analytics you create digital analytics department if you then realize you don’t have a customer you created voice the customer department. You don’t realize you’re not very good at customer experience you create a customer experience department. Each of those departments ends up being siloed in ways that I think are incredibly harmful to the overall process of digital transformation. From my perspective what people haven’t realized is that all of those capabilities are part of the same thing which is optimizing the digital experience and the more you silo them the worse you make all of them. And I think see our clients siloing down to the level of separating digital analytics and digital reporting and digital implementation.

[00:07:48] Mean they’ve got these other capabilities over here and they’ve got customer capabilities over here. It’s all the same thing. And I think when I look at the companies who do this really well what strikes me as they function is a far more integrated unit. They don’t have these artificial barriers and what they put together so that the analytics people are talking to the voice the customer they are the voice of customer people that they’re using customer experience. When I try to describe this people I talk about maybe like five core things that I think are really important to do digital well and that’s you know exhaustive customer research customer experience engineering and really understanding the journey putting new analytics into every phase of what you’re doing and treating experimentation not as a separate capability but as something you do to make decisions on a continuous basis and then really taking seriously the idea of continuous improvement and all wrapped that up with the idea of agile virtually all of our clients have going to agile in terms of I.T.. But I see agile as a lot more about the way the business works. It’s really about creating teams that are integrated that have these analytic capabilities directly within them. So the content folks the decision makers the analytics folks the customer folks they’re all on the same team and they’re all tackling a project on a on an ongoing non-stop basis and I think that to me is the difference between what works.

[00:09:06] When you look at Internet pure plays and what doesn’t work when we get into the enterprise level it was a lot of other reasons too there’s reasons around methodology there’s reasons around technology. There’s reason around people but the more I think about it the more I think that a lot of the problems we have are structural and come from the way big companies have traditionally been built a way that I think digital not just digital analytics but digital really challenges as a paradigm.

[00:09:29] That’s one of the things that I like about some of the stuff that post on your new blog and also the emphasis of the book. It’s one of the first time that I haven’t seen someone who has been a measurement going hey hey take me seriously let’s talk about analytics. The approach here seems to me and I’d love to hear if that was the intent is that digital as a discipline and that’s marketing that your website that’s that’s everything you’re doing that touches the Web. Here’s how to do that properly and to do it properly measurement need to be a first class item somewhere near the steering wheel. But it’s not measurement for the sake of measurement you know.

[00:10:00] Well I definitely think that’s true and I guess to me in one sense the blogs that I’ve been posting recently on the new site and the book are two pretty different exercises and it’s interesting. I won’t say they didn’t flow out of each other and I won’t say they’re not related but they are different. The book is really intended to be a textbook isn’t it. It’s my attempt to say this is what digital analytics is as a field and to treat it not as a set of tips or tricks but as a discipline that has an intellectual theory behind it a reason why it’s disdained and a set of approaches that match the fact that is distinct that’s the book and the book is really intended for people who want to understand how to do digital analytics. The recent set of posts I’ve been doing I think build on that but it really fundamentally differ. They’re not how to do digital Elex they’re not even in one sense how digital analytics fits although that’s a court that’s a part of the theme. But they’re really about how do digital how as an enterprise you can build these capabilities together to do digital that is sort of a it is a very new focus in mind a lot of the stuff I’m writing is new. I’m still thinking it through. I’m not far from confident that what I’m saying even makes a heck of a lot of sense. But I am pretty confident that when I look at a lot of large enterprise and see how they do digital that they don’t do it very well.

[00:11:19] Now if I’ve got the right I may not have the right diagnosis for that I may not understand why that is and I certainly may not have the right cure but I am at least pretty confident that there’s a real problem there that that despite pouring a lot of money into digital. When I compare most large enterprise clients who aren’t traditional pure play digital guys with the guys who really come up in digital. There seems to be a vast chasm in their effectiveness and the way they approach it.

[00:11:44] Yeah I would add to that that when you do see inroads being made in positive ways in those enterprises it’s the work of years usually years and years of effort by very dedicated people. It’s very difficult. And I wonder and you know I’ll throw this out to everybody you know to what extent is it the lack of senior executive leadership who really gets sort of digital and digital analytics and how it’s uses in your enterprise are supposed to be done. That’s at the root of this. Or could it could potentially be solved by this.

[00:12:21] I do think it’s one where I watch you know the classic of brick and mortar and then they stand up a Web site and they start selling e-commerce and e-commerce winds up has its own little waying and maybe they wind up with digital analytics as part of them and that’s totally separate from marketing but then marketing starts to get oh you need to be doing you know paid search and this other stuff and it takes so long for somebody to say wait a minute the customer journey is starting with exposure to you moving all the way through the site. And the fact that in 2016 I’m still running into clients that say No no no that’s marketing. No that’s e-commerce. And those are separate and analytics may live. Who knows where but that conversation isn’t that hasn’t been integrated or what’s almost the worst is that some senior leader comes in and says I have the solution. It’s all about omni channel now and they rejigger the org chart and they’re still operating in silos and I’m not going to say that I totally get digital but it does seem like there’s if you’re C-level to really have been ingrained in digital enough not just as a consumer but as a business to say I get it it’s clicked enough that I can figure out how to orient and set the direction and say go that’s really really hard.

[00:13:44] If you go kind of a level or two down you have somebody who’s gotten you know opposed from some other from Amazon or Google or somewhere that maybe comes from a pure play digital and they last for a couple years and then they are like I can’t do this I’m surrounded by people who no matter how much I talk I can’t get them to click. You keep going down the organization and you may be getting more and more to people who digital clicks but their clout is low. Like I don’t know sort of where where the level is for it to start. For somebody to say this is the direction and I’m going to stick with it long enough and do all the hard work of kind of maintaining my credibility and hard work to slowly get people on board. I mean it gets back to what Michael was saying that it’s kind of you know of years it’s not a it’s not a slap omni channel on it. It’s not a you know just rejigger the org chart. I mean the same thing like the pure play Internet they just seem like they’re a little more wired to it and the bloated enterprise long standing companies. I just it is so hard for them to make that pivot it seems.

[00:14:55] You know I imagine it’s frustrating if you’re a big enterprise in the sense that I think even they tend to think of themselves that ways bloated and slow. And I think that realistically it’s not like analytics is different than anything else. If you look at large enterprise regardless of what they’re trying to accomplish when you have a big ship it’s hard to steer. And I think that when we talk about and I agree I think it is a journey of years. We don’t see companies get suddenly analytically mature we don’t see them leapfrog generationally. It’s a journey you have to slog through it takes time it takes a lot of work. But I think and getting through that process is a challenge for a lot of organizations and a lot of them don’t seem to be making even the sort of methodical process you might progress you might hope they’re making on it. But I do think that I guess if I had to highlight to me three things that stand out as maybe drivers behind this one I talked to a lot of executives who support analytics they talk the talk when it comes to analytics and they talk the talk in a fairly fundamental way and that they’re willing to fund it in the organization which is money talking but where I see organizations really make rapid progress and analytics. One thing is executives go beyond talking the talk and they actually start walking the walk of using analytics and that makes a huge difference in the organization if you want to build culture in a large enterprise.

[00:16:18] The easiest way is from the top down and building culture from the top down doesn’t mean building budgets for analytics it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t just mean that it also means being analytic forcing people to bring you numbers forcing people to make their decisions on the basis pushing them to understand hey what’s the view of the customer. Why. Why do you think this. What numbers are you bringing to the table to convince me that this is right. When I see senior people start to do that I see much more dramatic change in the organization and I do agree I think generationally we just have a love we just have a group of Suite leaders right now who we’re really trying to do that and I think that’s that’s a challenge. I think the flip side of that is from the bottom up side of this as analytics professionals we’ve mostly done an incredibly crappy job of giving people strategic analytics. Right. I think most of the stuff we produce is very tactical very low level. It’s the wrong kind of stuff to put in front of a senior decision maker to help them make those strategic decisions. So I think if I’m a sweet guy in most organizations not only am I not trained to think analytically the people who are supposed to be trained to think analytically are putting the right stuff in front of me to help me make better decisions. And I guess I’ll go back to the third point.

[00:17:30] I still believe that in a lot of ways big companies work well because they’ve siloed core activities but that methodology of building silos of expertise to sort of execute against what you’re doing is really challenged by digital where digital works best when you integrate a lot of different capabilities and just like agile has been I think a big challenge but a challenge that a lot of I.T. organizations have kind of met but I think if you take those agile principles and you apply them out to a broader business you can see both why it’s hard why it’s really hard for organizations to do but why it’s really important. I know one thing I’ve been talking about people is this idea of continuous improvement and taking it seriously where if you build a website you don’t disband the team and you don’t go onto the next project if you build a website you keep building that you keep tuning in developing you if you build a mobile app you don’t go on to building the next thing you keep that team in place. But that really challenges not just the organization of the way most enterprises are set up but the way the budget right everything’s done on a project basis. We put this team together. We had this team for this budget the budget goes way those people go on to other stuff. And I think if you think if you take seriously this idea of continuous improvement and agile in how to do digital you can see where it’s hard it’s really hard at a big enterprise level it really challenges the way most people are organized.

[00:18:46] If you take an organization that has outsourced outsourced a lot of their digital so we’re going to outsource the web development there’s that same structure of you’ve you’ve got you’ve got a statement of work that is you know redesign the site and there’s no incentive for the agency to say hey we stood up this side and now we need to keep making it better because there are a lot of people who are going to say well that means that it’s not perfect and we want to have our quarterly touch base with the client and tell them you know this thing is the greatest thing ever and we’re kind of wired to not say we should keep tuning it.

[00:19:22] Totally agree totally. I think that’s a real challenge for a lot of people and I know that despite the fact that hey I worked for. I’m a consultant. I work for a consultancy but I’m not a big fan of people who think they can outsource their analytics or you know or other creative. I mean you can you can use consultants to help you build capabilities. They can help you do that more quickly more efficiently and at a higher level and maybe you could build if you bootstrapped and you’re out.

[00:19:49] But if you don’t bring these capabilities in-house you’re not taking them seriously in my view. I think that companies who look to outsource analytics are making a terrible mistake or misunderstanding the point and potential of it.

[00:20:00] I get shocked looks sometimes when I tell clients the best thing you can do is go find a good analyst and then we can work better together. Yeah I could take all your money but at the end of the day you’ll be more successful if you start building this competency now. But it makes a difference doesn’t it. Huge fugitive friends and I know there’ll be a happier more successful client in the long run but then that go to one of the bottom up where you were talking about the bottom up thing.

[00:20:27] We’ve done a crappy job of being strategic when we’ve got this I think legitimate talent gap. So we’re casting broad hey we’re going to bring this in-house. We need to get some analytics talent. And to me one of a couple of things happen you either get somebody who’s really green. And so they come in and then you’ve got the people who are telling them what to do and how to do it. Are the people who haven’t made that leap to you know they don’t necessarily know how to use it strategically so they owe you’re the new analysts you can pull this report for me. So it seems like there’s a little bit of a quandary there and that you need to build it in-house but maybe it’s more of a catch 22 that you need to build it but you need to have somebody who’s there to build it like you need to have that seed and even that I think is sometimes tough to outsource because it takes it takes time to actually kind of shift the organization.

[00:21:25] If you think about it we often refer to ourselves as change agents. You know the digital analytics community you know we personally did that.

[00:21:34] You go after the low hanging fruit and help people to find their kiddos as a change agent.

[00:21:39] No I got that from John loveth thank you very much. I will not stand by while you besmirch his fine character.

[00:21:46] I think of you as a level 7 1/2 elven rainmaker. No that’s you for sure. I’m still at work did you closing a gate.

[00:21:58] No but I mean it’s sort of corer almost to how we define ourselves as analysts sometimes to be going in from the bottom up trying to organize change inside of organizations to achieve the same end. When you first started writing about digital transformation Gary was when I when it suddenly clicked in my mind what I had been trying to do in the organizations over the years where I had been an analyst was trying to do the same thing but from the bottom up. And so it’s very interesting and a lot of our listeners will find themselves in the organization without control of the organization. How did they act in a strategic manner to begin that transformation from where they’re at. Because I think that’s another aspect that is going to potentially help drive this forward in the long run as those people become more strategic they will become the leaders that then define those organizations in the future.

[00:22:57] The thing I’m taking away because the scenario that Gary was talking about he led by saying I speak to very senior executives I’ve earned the right to do it and I get to talk.

[00:23:06] But if you’re the analyst inside an organization you don’t even get to park near those people that are really just saying that because he’s on he’s on a podcast with you as a senior executive Jim.

[00:23:18] I mean really our CDC director has really hope for or deal with the senior executive and. The second thing.

[00:23:29] So my quota of being able to finish a full sentence this year is still not at one right track. I just just for those of you keeping score for the home game carry on. Fine sir. But the people that are asking the analyst for stuff that they could be talents or reports like what happened last week as opposed to help me do something next week. You know we’ve always said that thing you can possibly do is get a senior executive sponsor. I think is really underlining if you don’t have someone that sits in the boardroom supporting your efforts then a lot of your effort will be wasted until those lights go on and that’s why I like the concept of not treating analytics as a standalone discipline but as a if it doesn’t live as a part of everything everyone is doing you’re going to fuck up your budget.

[00:24:10] But do you. I mean if you have a senior product manager who’s no different organization they’re cutting across sort of groups to with what they’re doing. I’m going to get people who are maybe not that high up but they own a product they own something and I or the analysts that I work with like figure out a way to support them to try to be a little bit more strategic. Now there’s still if they’re going upstream and it’s getting shot down then you’re still stuck. But I feel like you can work a little bit in the middle and you’re going to help them be more successful to work a little smarter you know and kind of walk the walk there. And I have seen potential there plus there help a lot more fun to work with. I agree with that in a couple respects.

[00:25:01] I mean it’s great when you have C-level sponsorship and I think it’s true too that if you don’t you are likely into a large enterprise to have a rough go of it. That’s just reality. I mean I think that’s the way it works in large enterprise. But having said that it is hard to get those people’s attention it’s hard to convince them it’s hard to get their time and sometimes they’re not on the same wavelength. They don’t have the same the same way of thinking. We might.

[00:25:31] So what do you do. Well I do agree I think that at that mid level there are a lot of interesting strategic decisions to be made. Those people are much more attuned potentially to what we do and if you can find allies there you can often drive really good analytics out into the organization. A couple things that I tell people about when I talk about being more strategic. I do have in mind a couple of things that I think actually make a difference to analytics in terms of being a more strategic asset. One thing I talk about a lot is that most of us come out of a world where we focus on behavioral stuff behavioral analytics is what we do. We look at the way people navigate websites we look at the way people now became mobile applications. There are strategic learnings to be had in that. But if you want an easy path to true to strategic learnings. One thing I think you can do is really focus on voice the customer voice the customer allows you to be more strategic across the organization. It allows you to tell the organization things that are inherently at a higher level about customers that are really important to a lot of different stakeholders important product managers important to marketing managers and important in a way that’s different than just is campaign x outperforming campaign y or if I if I swap this image with this image will I improve my clickthrough rates.

[00:26:48] When you understand what’s driving customers to make decisions about your products when you understand the different core customer segments you have when you understand the key things that are making customers choose your competitors over you. Those are inherently strategic kinds of facts that we can put in front of people and I think focusing on voice to customer and even better focusing on the integration of voice the customer behavioral behavioral science to sort of integrate those kinds of findings into what you’re doing. That’s a different kind of knowledge that you can give to the organization. And I think it lends itself to being a lot more strategic. And if we focus on those kinds of things instead of doing you know click reports and campaign reports are in addition to doing those things. I think we make ourselves a lot more strategic and we can find an audience in the organization. So it is yes it is about getting decision makers on your side. It is about going up the chain of the organization. Those are political things that we have to do. But I think it’s also about changing the focus of some of our analytics and doing analytics that are actually targeted toward maybe a different set of questions and a lot of us and not put myself in that boat because frankly Mike I was listening to what you were saying. I was thinking you know for most for most of my career I’ve been focused on totally tactical problems. I think as I look at what I’ve done analytically most of the problems that I’ve really focused on are how to optimize Web sites and how to optimize campaigns into websites and those are important problems. The problem is frankly that we get hired to solve on a regular basis but they’re not strategic problems.

[00:28:17] They’re tactical problems and really for most of my career what I’ve been doing and I think this is wrong or bad or anything else those are important problems but I haven’t been working on strategic problems and I think most of us are the same kind of thing where we’ve gotten very used to thinking about a problem set that frankly is tactical.

[00:28:32] Yeah it’s almost you get hired into the silo but you have to learn quickly to see beyond it if you want to get beyond it.

[00:28:40] I mean if you don’t live in that silo you got it you got to go outside of it and you’re thinking too and I think that’s something that has analysts a lot of us miss. We complain about being in the silo but our thinking is still revolving around that little silo.

[00:28:52] Yeah that’s why I was curious about how effective you can be by thinking about different departments working outside the silo finding mid to senior mid level stakeholders to support with measurement. People that do that make me lots of money because what happens is that people don’t think measurement is a Tier 1 practice in this business. They think Steve over in the marketing department is a bad ass. I love that guy. Now when Steve leaves because of a recruiter he or she has not brought the practice to the next level. They’ve just shown their value to the Oregon everything goes and then they go Wow I missed that let’s call it consultant or something like that.

[00:29:31] That is absolutely true and I do see that all the time to where organizations confuse the value behind what the person is doing with the person and it’s not that the people don’t deliver value ultimately it is all about people. People are the ones driving value but when you when you’ve mistaken the capability for the person that I see that all the time and you’re right. I think a lot of organizations end up doing a kind of two staff where they make some progress on analytics and they give it all out when people leave. And that’s that’s a bad policy for an enterprise that that’s not where you want to be if you’re a big company.

[00:30:02] I just I didn’t want to lose the train on the voice of customer thing because it’s something that I’ve early been conceptually pitching for as long as there’s has been a napkin and you know you’re not the first person to say as an analyst to take that stuff seriously and I’d struggle to figure out because I like to do when I’m getting a new discipline into a customer is the high value low effort quick when you know you have any of those is there. Is there a window there is there a listen up kid Garry says do these three things for fun and profit.

[00:30:33] Here’s a couple of things that I guess I would say are quick potentially easy wins when it comes to voice of customer.

[00:30:39] People ask the wrong questions most of the time and it’s not that. There are some potentially interesting things you can do with the traditional questions we ask things like you know were you satisfied with your visit. Would you recommend us as to other people so those net promoter score a CSI type scores. Those aren’t uninteresting and particularly when paired with behavioral analysis they can tell you something but they’re by no means the richest and easiest kinds of things that you can get out of way said customer. A couple of things that I think are really powerful from voice to customer perspective are instead of focusing on whether people accomplish their task. Focus on how easy it was for them so that ease of task accomplishment that often will highlight for you things on your website that are actually on your mobile apps that are more challenging for people to get through and maybe never realized it. One thing we find is that there’s a huge amount of self selection on the Web and people who are committed to getting through the process will get through it. So oftentimes behavioral metrics aren’t that revealing about where you’re actually putting up barriers or making things harder slow for people. So focusing on task accomplishment is one thing that’s borne fruit for us from a customer standpoint. Second thing that I think is really interesting from Voice of Customer something we call prequalification really just asking people a couple questions upfront about how serious they are about buying you’re getting at their intent to buy the product knowledge and their commitment to the existing brand.

[00:32:04] And if you understand those three things how much they like us right now coming in how much they know about the product and where they are in their shopping cycle. You can categorize them in terms of how qualified they are as a shopper. And I think a couple of really interesting things often flow out of that. One is you can get a sense right away whether you have digital marketing campaigns that are steering you vastly different qualification levels of visitors. So that’s often interesting and it’s stupid but a lot of our customers have never actually looked at anything on their campaigns except how much they convert. So they don’t understand the deeper qualification levels that are coming out of the campaigns of very poor converter but sourcing a lot of people were just up funnel but are very qualified in terms of how serious they are about the brand. So I think that qualification kind of voice that customer often makes it a lot easier for people to start applying voice to customer and then the third thing that I think is really interesting. We use this technique all the time we call it Reserva.

[00:32:58] And the idea is that when you first survey people online you ask them at the end of the survey can we have your email address and we contact you again if they say yes depending on the sales cycle of your product and this is particularly valuable for non e-commerce players you survey those people again three weeks four weeks six weeks eight weeks downstream and you ask them Did you buy anything. Who did you buy from. How much did you spend. Why did you make those decisions. You tie that back to their behavior. And one thing you can start to do is show which digital campaigns in which types of behavior on the Web site are actually valuable not necessarily driving value value but which ones are actually valuable where am I getting good customers from customers who end up converting. And I think for a lot of our customers who are not e-commerce oriented where they don’t have it simple easy path to understanding the digital marketing and the conversion that’s a huge win out of voice the customer they can take almost everything you do and make it a lot more actionable because you close the loop not on every visitor but enough visitors to really get a sense of what’s working and what isn’t both on the campaign side and on the web content side. So those are a couple different takes I think on Voice of Customer that are really powerful. One other thing I’ll say that I think is useful if you’re really selling this concept out a lot of what I pitched these days to clients around voice a customer is creating a voice to customer dashboard.

[00:34:16] In other words taking his voice to customer data and for the first time putting it together building tableau visualizations around it so that people can actually slice and dice it and making it a standard dashboard for people in the companies that everybody has the state to the customer dashboard that they’re looking at. And I think that’s really impactful in terms of making measurement more strategic and getting visibility for analytics in the organization. The truth about the customer data and this is something I don’t see most people even the people who are doing a fairly good job with their surveys do a really piss poor job of disseminating it and the organization. All they do is standard no slicing and dicing reports about what we’re finding voice customer data like behavioral data. But even more so if it’s not segmented it’s useless. So if you don’t cross tab those questions and avoid the customer survey not getting much value out of it and most of the organizations we work with have not given any of the decision makers any kind of real access to the voice of customer data so they can’t play with it. They can’t slice this type of customer by what they like or what they don’t like or where they’re having problems or whether or not they’re really not taking advantage of the organization.

[00:35:22] So I think there’s even a traditional B.I reporting opportunity here of voice of customer that just isn’t well exploited by most enterprises.

[00:35:30] So when you said earlier you were talking about the senior executives who walk the walk. Does that mean does that to the point. Because part of it is they’re asking for numbers. They’re demanding they’re requiring it’s all you know almost in God we trust all others bring data.

[00:35:45] I can go back 50 years and I had I had an experience with an executive who twice a week he would sit down with a group of people and he would just kind of riff on kind of random questions. And it pretty much would spawn two weeks of chasing stuff that wasn’t actually going to be useful. So it was one where I was like This is where an executive can say oh I’m just going to show them that I can ask a bunch of questions and that goes basically half of his organization’s time was kind of chasing random things that really you know rarely panned out out. But on the flipside the executives like his voice of the customer one that that an executive will actually if you build a good you know some interactivity into it because they especially if they are wired to think about who is our customer where’s our opportunity where can we grow where might we be struggling that they’ll actually get.

[00:36:38] And to some extent and play with the data and kind of generate smart questions or I don’t know I’m kind of like torn on the I can see executives in the organization in the wrong direction.

[00:36:50] You know I hear you and that is always a risk I will say. I think that the voice of customer data is more assessable than behavioral data. It’s it’s really hard to democratize the behavioral data. We work with all the time and I think that certainly that’s been a big challenge in a lot of organizations I work with where you package up nice reports but you really have to work to make sure people understand what they’re looking at. And a lot of times I’ve said before but it’s really true. I think we fail at reporting more often than we fail at anything else. Far more often that we fail in analytics and add to the list customer is more assessable can’t be misused. Sure yeah. It’s like any other piece of data. It I think it’s easier to understand for executives the cross tabulations are cleaner less likely to be misleading and I do think it’s more actionable for them getting back to that whole conversation about you know setting the table for strategic decisions.

[00:37:45] You’re not really going to make strategic decisions for people.

[00:37:48] In some ways you can hope to make tactical decisions for people but strategic decisions almost never come down to a binary Yes No there’s they’re almost always shaded and there’s always intuition involved but you can certainly give them data that helps them make those decisions in a more informed fashion. And I think that starts with understanding what customers care about and how they’re deciding and why they’re deciding on your competitors and why they’re deciding on a particular product set for you or why they’re deciding on the channels they’re deciding on. Those are the things that I think the customer can really do a good job on and is sorely underutilized in the in our industry. And I guess one other thing I would say and I hear about executives sending people in wagons chases and shoot up a lot of time.

[00:38:28] But you are I guess what I would say is I like it when executives have that back and forth and one thing I think is a sign of a healthy voice the customer program is when a senior decision maker has a decision. They go to their analytics folks and they say I don’t want to run a survey to find out what customers think. You know I’m trying to decide if we’re going to go responsible for going into a mobile application can we find out from our customers which is more important to them or which would be better. Can you frame up something that will help me make this decision about if I will if I build a mobile app. Will people actually download it and use it or will it just be another thing that nobody cares about. Those are questions you can legitimately explore with the customer. And I think it’s great if people have set it up so that when senior people are making decisions they’re thinking about not just the information they have but what the questions they ask and they assume that hey in a week I can I can roll out this survey and get the data back and then I can maybe do a controlled experiment about it right and if you’ve got that kind of organization I think you’re getting to that uses the analytics in a strategic fashion that we all kind of want.

[00:39:34] They’re not wringing their hands about oh but if I get new data I won’t have a two year historical trend of it because they recognize they don’t need that much. But the other thing I think with voice the customer it’s a great point if they can if they filter down to a point where very quickly they see three out of 10 open ends that are complaining about product availability or the shipping price being revealed very late in the process. I mean it starts to I mean just the whole open ends right. It’s kind of the classic voice of customer statement that if you the open ends are the things that carry the weight because that’s a real person in their own words. And if you’re cross tabbing you can wind up where you can say I’ve got 50 comments that I’m reading and it doesn’t take a big number to say huh. These he’s completely unrelated people had a very similar very similar negative reaction. And it’s kind of a might be a more strategic reaction. It’s more of a brand response even though there it’s in the middle of you know their their website experience the they’re providing that gets also to where the danger is voice the customer in some way.

[00:40:34] The fact is the fact that people get it and that it can be very impactful is also where the danger is because obviously people will pick up on that antidotal stuff and assume that just because six customers say it’s a problem it’s a huge problem and if you look at the kinds of interpretation errors we see that’s the one that plagues voice the customer the most.

[00:40:51] But the solution to that is they don’t run with it. Say you’ve got it so now you’ve got an idea. So let’s now let’s now formally go and ask an explicit question throw that out for a week and say how really big is this. So.

[00:41:04] Exactly. I agree. If you can train them to think that way I think you really have a good program.

[00:41:09] I was just going to say something in support of basically what I just said but it kind of is a best practice to a listener that boys have customer data is valuable. It can be sentimental but it’s also an unbelievably dangerous or powerful executive management tool. You can spend six weeks doing really really good analysis. Or you could spend 30 seconds finding a paragraph from Wilma from Idaho saying exactly the same thing and that person feeling something who’s also a customer will kick the crap out of all of your Axelle every single time. So if you can use it as a supporting argument for something you’ve proven with data your likelihood of winning in the boardroom is way up. Use it on its own. You can just screw up your life for the next six months.

[00:41:51] You know but it’s very very powerful stuff will ensure that we’re behavioral data has a part to play in helping prove or disprove the voice of customer data or you know the programs that have run usability testing and behavioral data combined made a very powerful case for for site enhancements and improvements. So yeah that’s really good. All right well we can either go to the light side of the dark side. Your choice. Carry it let’s do dark side is awesome. Let’s talk about large agencies and why they fail at analytics.

[00:42:26] It’s an interesting question. And you know I I’m going to kick back on that and say that that large agencies fail about as much as smaller agencies which is nearly all the time. And I think that’s size does come a burden. I’ll admit that guys frankly that’s true. I think that just as we’ve been talking about the fact that large enterprise struggle to be agile struggled to adapt to the digital paradigm.

[00:42:51] Well it’s no different when you talk about scale in the consulting side of the business and obviously I’ve seen both sides of that. You get advantages with scale but it would be a flat out lie to say that that scale you don’t come with serious disadvantages. You know I think as a client you’re always having to pick your poison and you ought to be thinking about it intelligently about what exactly do you need. Because there are things you are going to get out of a small agency that frankly you’re never going to get out of a large consultancy. There are some things you can get out of a large consultancy that small agencies can’t deliver. I think we’re a lot of a lot of companies don’t do a good job is thinking about that very strategically and actually make sure that they make a judgment about what they actually need from people and I think and I say that that will benefit me and hurt me from time to time so that’s a really fair question actually. And I know you’ve written in the past about this you know.

[00:43:48] So you know that’s kind of what it. But you know Mindich Florian’s are really off the chart here so just. All right so let’s let’s wrap up here let’s go around the horn and maybe just share one take away your last deep thought with our listeners and will as we start to wrap up. You know it’s too hard. We need to do this show when you’re our guest. Gary we need really need this show to kind of go for about three and a half four hours to really get any good mileage. But certainly it’s been a pleasure but let’s let’s let’s start around the Horn who wants to go first.

[00:44:26] How about I go first. I love it. It’s the first time all day Tim didn’t speak for us. They just didn’t know what to do. I think the first thing I say. So you know this is our first podcast of the year which means the most recent one that our listeners have had with the year in review we got a lot. We’ve got a lot of listeners. Easily 70 or 80 easily. Global you’re counting friends and family or family specifically my mom downloads 75 times who get five listeners easy. But you know there’s there’s people who are on the Facebook page in particular saying I am a new analyst. I am looking to you guys as a place to learn best practices and get some direction. And I wanted to give a real clear heads up. We’ve had some really great guests on this show. But Gary represents one of a very small group of people who are the people that I was reading when I was starting my career. So you know when you when you go to not just the new blog but his his old blog like I could list probably five to 10 people that I was reading religiously whenever something new came out. And then there was that Yahoo for. And that’s literally how I started my career like I will be buying this book. This will not be like a we have a guest and we’re plugging whatever crap he thinks is interesting.

[00:45:37] The thing is that there’s a strong recommend and the other thing is is that I’m actually starting to adopt some of the concepts like treating digital first is almost like an assumptive close for measurement to use my terminology. And I think that as an analyst going into a business trying to sell my analytics is great is really friggin hard and why trying to sell. Here’s how I’ll help you get your bonus. That may be included in small font on the bottom is a really good way to drive change. I really like that emphasis I really kind of dug that piece of today’s conversation. It wasn’t about measurement it was about winning. But of course you need numbers to do it.

[00:46:18] I’ll say I’ll echo that on the you know what has been read. I’m not sure we’ve actually said measuring the digital world. Dotcom is the new location where we’ll link. We’ll definitely linked in the in the show notes the book as well as as the site. But same thing I would say. I’ve got a ton. I love the kind of takeaways about how to think about voice the customer and kind of the voice and voice of customer imperative. But I think kind of stepping back a little bit. Just the fact to hear Gary here you kind of introspecting on saying wow the lightbulb kind of went on that I’ve really been doing a bunch of tactical stuff and there’s nothing wrong with that and b there are levels of tactical non-value add stuff there’s tactical stuff that is very valuable. And so you can do tactical very smartly and with an eye to the strategic my takeaway is there aren’t simple answers. It’s not flipping a switch. And to me part of what I love about the field is continue to have that kind of guidepost. I know I have a general sense of what Nirvana looks like. I’ve recognized that I’m probably never going to achieve it but I love having that is kind of that’s what I’m striving towards across all of the frustration that you know if you’re an analyst and you’re doing this yes you’re still going to do stuff that is you know frustrating and annoying but if you actually kind of kind of grok some of this stuff you know get the book read it and say that’s where I’m heading.

[00:47:51] And probably not going to get there next week or next month or next year. But if you’re marching in that direction you’ll start to recognize it and have a you know absolutely fantastic career because I’m deathly afraid about the people that don’t even realize they’re they’re not marching in any sort of meaningful direction. They’re like yep yep I’m the ghetto dude. Yep yep pull the weekly report and that to me I think is like this insidious danger to our industry is we don’t have enough people enough analysts at any level who are recognizing that there is this bigger opportunity and they’re going to kind of try to keep pushing in that direction. So there were things you were saying where I was kind of hearing them I always said if Gary’s kind of thinking the same thing. I’m not there but I’m kind of trying to figure it out and drive in that direction. I think that that’s a big big takeaway for me.

[00:48:43] I guess all clothes making two points. Well when I wrote measuring the digital world I mean I think my goal was to try to create something that described a discipline that showed people that digital analytics is not running a bunch of reports not a bunch of tips and tricks. It’s not a bunch of clever little practices.

[00:49:05] It’s a formal approach to measuring something that’s really unique and unusual and different from everything else we do. When we measured digital we’re measuring with a different set of measurements than we’ve all grown up to that we use as humans all the time there’s no link there’s no weight there’s no measure you know time is distinctly different all the core things we’ve always thought about fly out the window.

[00:49:28] And I don’t think it’s ever been formalized as to how you actually do this. And so I try to distill you know all the stuff I’ve written into a practice about here’s how you go about doing that. But that is when you get right down to it a tactical approach to measurement. Here’s how you do digital analytics on a tactical basis. What I’ve realized and I think were the book really helped me writing sitting down and doing all that work to write the book really helped me is it got me thinking about what it didn’t cover all the things that even if you do all of this you may still fail and you still fail a lot on the enterprise level and I’ve certainly I’ve had that experience. The one strange thing about being a consultant is you work for a lot of different clients. You’re bound to have some successes you’re bound to have some failures. So you do get that experience of failing you get that experience of feeling pretty regularly and sitting down and really writing about here’s all the methods. It also made me think about all the things that go wrong that are outside of those methods. I think that’s where this broader conversation about digital transformation and comes in in some ways. I’ve always been very reluctant to tackle these kinds of issues. I feel like culture can be such a squishy discussion business process can be so so goody two shoes and so raw raw. Here’s how you do it. And this is the only way it works.

[00:50:45] But I do think that we can all recognize that there are different ways of structuring things that if you approach things a certain way you’re more likely to be successful is not necessarily going to solve all your problems. You still have to have those methods you still have to know what you’re doing. You still have to know how to do the analytics. But if you know how to do the analytics and you put it together with good structure maybe you can actually be successful and God knows for all of us it’s it’s hit or miss.

[00:51:11] When I think of the words of one of the greatest analysts of our time you got to know when to hold them know when to fold them. You know when KPI some like that I forget.

[00:51:24] That is your knowledge right now.

[00:51:28] Now I think you know my my head is exploding and heading into many different directions. And frankly Gary this is one of the things that I have against you is that in my career as I’ve started to like pull out something I think is really core and started to finally sort of formulate some sort of I see your blog or something and you’ll be dancing all over the topic with this amazingly well elegance that really like is well beyond where I’m I think he was but I’m like yes that that’s what I meant. That’s where I was headed. Thank you Gary for getting me over the hump there. But it’s been great so personally just I’ve always appreciated what you’ve had to say and found you a deeper thinker and a more full thinker in this space than than many and so your book is one that I also will be making required reading for anybody that happens within 20 metres of me. So yeah. Couple of things that I was thinking about is it seems like we danced around a little bit but in terms of this concept of digital transformation specifically in the area of digital analytics we so often sort of fail at these key points First around translation of it into our data into something meaningful. You know the business believe you want to take it. Pay attention to secondarily. Once we start getting there the people that own that can be swept away out of the organization so easily and we lose all of our progress.

[00:53:03] And thirdly and more importantly the process and methodology that organizations can build is the way to cement that knowledge into place so that the shifting of people and time doesn’t take all that away and as I look at 2016 and the clients I’m most excited about working with are the ones where we’re in that space and we’re really driving towards this common goal of really setting up these kinds of capabilities. And it’s it’s energizing. It’s very exciting but yeah I just can’t thank you enough Gary for coming on measuring the digital world is Curie’s book. It’s available on Amazon and other places where books of high quality are sold.

[00:53:48] And you know Gary any other announcements you want to make about you know anything. Conferences any. No nope not specifically helping just desperate one conference they might want to talk about that was happening in the fall but it didn’t happen. But now that might happen.

[00:54:09] Yes sir I’d say one thing. So I have as probably you guys you guys all know of course. But maybe other people don’t for a long time ran a conference call exchange which is really one of my favorite things on a year in and year out basis. And what I liked about it is I guess in some ways just like this conversation right it’s just people sitting around talking. And I think from that perspective hey the best parts of every conference are the conversations you have in between right and exchange really was meant to capture that. I had a hard time with the last year actually putting that together logistically. I’ve actually been talking with Michael Feiner and Mathias Betar who runs a similar version of a conference in Europe called Digital Analytics hub. And they’re going to be bringing it over here in the United States which I’m really excited about actually I think that’s going to be scheduled in September. It’s Xchange in every way almost byname and I’m certainly going to be involved with it I love those guys I think they’ve done a great job with it in Europe and excited that despite my terrible logistical challenges they’re actually going to go ahead and do it. I’m going to work with them on that and I got to say if you’ve never been to an exchange or if you have been to an exchange definitely consider the digital analytics hub in September of 2016.

[00:55:25] And I think will be a great conference and I think I’ll give you a taste of that conversational experience so that’s Michael that’s that’s the only thing I have that I think is really worth pointing out.

[00:55:36] That’s what he was looking for. That’s what I was looking for. Yeah a TS has been a guest also on the podcast and an outstanding practitioner from the EU. So that’s awesome.

[00:55:48] He’s a great guy. Those guys are done. I really like what they’ve done. It’s been so frustrating for me logistically to to not be able to do it. So I’m really excited that it’s going to be coming here.

[00:55:57] Well and a whole generation of talented analytics people share that excitement I’m sure. So that’s awesome. Anyway you know it’s been such a pleasure obviously as you’ve been listening you might have questions and we would love to hear from you. You can reach us on our Facebook page Facebook dot com slash analytics our or on Twitter or on the measure slack which instructions on how to get added to that are on our Facebook page. So we’d love to hear from you. We’d love to hear your questions your thoughts around this topic. It’s certainly one that I think you know the four of us have a great deal of passion about. And like all of these episodes we never feel like we’ve done more than just scratched the surface. So there’s a great book for you to get a hold of. Now that will help you get that itch scratched. So for all of us here at the Digital Analytics power our Jim Kane and Tim Wilson I am Michael Holbein. Keep analyzing.

[00:57:04] Things for listening and time to get to join the conversation on Facebook. We welcome your comments and questions. Facebook dot com slash and on. Now I don’t know on Twitter. I want to make up. For. What we call it Earnestine young masterpiece theater featuring Gary Angell.

[00:57:34] The squirrels and Ottowa are getting more vividly is and I look out my window in it. Nothing like that at Texas State Fair squirrels falling all over the city. I don’t think it’s actually a thing. You are experience here. I like that but I can see that I cannot confirm nor deny that Gary Angell has had to fight.

[00:58:00] Hey good angel. Remember that time. You remember that time you were with symphonic. Well I got to say you gone up to cheer segmentation.

[00:58:19] I have to go out more if you’re actually going to go down this route. Boring as fuck. Cole and a presentation no one will attend. I might complain about that. I was in the room and I was pretty sure I wasn’t high. And might kill me. I that thinking. Guy could be at the bar right now. Robert flag transformation.

 

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