Managing data is now paramount for building businesses effectively – A Perspective

This image is just notes from my pad, but one comment is a crucial aspect that is really important in business today – the idea that the team that manages all its sources of value has a significant advantage.   Those resources are become digitalized, represented as data.

The end result is that analytics becomes central in building a strategic advantage.  For probably the most dramatic example of what analytics can potentially do, check out my CMSWire post on the Amazon-Whole Foods merger.   The grocery retail industry has operated on thin margins. Whole Foods Market has been the noted exception for years, thanks to its emphasis on organic foods. Organic foods have traditionally carried a higher price, so its contribution margin is higher than common goods.

But during 2016, Whole Foods saw competitors begin to also offer organic foods. The most notable is Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart has offered groceries at lower prices, putting earning pressure on Whole Foods.  It experienced 6 financial quarters of declining earnings, due in part to the increased competition.

Analytics can not fix a bad business model, but it can make an effective one better.  Whole Foods has an effective model, and Amazon’s ability to leverage wholistic analytics on its cloud technology and operations can offer new ways to Whole Foods to cut costs where possible.

–Pierre DeBois

Analytics Tips: Using Affinity Reports and Second Dimensions In Google Analytics to Learn Consumer Interests and Mobile Strategy

Google Analytics Affinity Report

Segmentation has always been the raison d’être for analyzing data. After all, analytics is greek for “breakdown”, and businesses are trying to breakdown data into segments that can reveal ideas to serve customers easily. Understanding data segments reveal the kind of customers who are discovering your online media…and thus, discovering if your business is a good one to do business with.

But when it comes to data segments created from traffic sources to a site or app, mobile data drives the heart of the analysis especially if there is an Internet of Things influence in the strategy, such as beacons in a retail location.

So how can a business direct its analysis to make an IoT strategy better?

The best answer comes from combining Affinity reports and second dimension to know where people are coming from when they arrive to your site and to learn how people journey in general.

Affinity reports are useful in discovering new sites and topics that customers hold an interest.The Affinity and In-Market Reports offer lifestyle (Affinity) and purchase-intent (In-Market) topics that attracted an audience to a measured site or app.

But sometimes reviewing Affinity report results on one dimension does not reveal a pattern or a trend that tells the user something meaningful.   Selecting a relevant second dimension can help reveal more information to help the user see a pattern and make decisions.  (This Zimana post talks about second dimension selection in more detail.)

So where to start first?

Go to an Affinity Report and determine what topics are typically of interest to your site traffic.

Next set the Second Dimension in Affinity Reports to one of the following, based on the purpose of what associated information appears with the results in the Affinity Report:

Device

  • Devices highlight  the topics are accessed through a tablet or smartphone.  The highlights can spark ideas for planning AdWord campaigns for mobile versus desktop/laptop.

Time

  • The time selection highlights if the topics in the affinity report are accessed at a particular time.  The highlights can spark ideas for planning adword campaigns for when people view the ads the most.  You can examine time to see if people are arriving during a particular part of the day, or if there is some variation in topics between time periods.

Age Range

  • Can give an ideas of topics and source sites that are age appropriate  – useful for sites contain content suitable for children, young people, or a certain age demographic for the site owner. Use age range to know you are seeing activity from the intended group.

Verifying attribution can help you see if your media usage is in step with an target audience or within your industry.  You can do so with the Google Customer Journey Tool (I explain how the tool works in my CMSWire post – Pierre). The purpose of the tool is to see how customers general use different channels in a sequence before they purchase.

After planning the strategy marketers can set the reports that will be accessed frequently. Dashboards permit a view the most important reports in a glance, while Shortcuts permit faster access to the reports you use most often.  Dashboards can be viewed in the Google Analytics app easily.

 

Pierre DeBois in the Chicago Sun Times
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Zimana founder Pierre DeBois profiled in the Chicago Sun Times

Pierre DeBois in the Chicago Sun Times
Zimana founder Pierre DeBois was featured in Chicago Sun Times
On January 1st, the Chicago Sun Times published an interview with Zimana founder Pierre DeBois.  The interview covers how Pierre made a transition from his early automotive career to a leader in the analytics field.
You can read the interview at this link, and can check out the accompanying video below.

Infographic: What Your App Should Do For Customers via Small Business Trends @smallbiztrends

Our friends at Small Business Trends had a great idea for an infographic – note what customers want from an app.  That idea is shown below, with a number of themes on how an app serves customer needs.

Many business launch an app, but not sure how to integrate the app’s purpose into a cohesive strategy or business model. reviewing the tips on this infographic should spark ideas as to how to improve your strategy or business model with an app.

Here’s What Customers Want Your Mobile App to Do

This infographic first appeared in Small Business Trends.

 

Tips To Improve Your WebSite (or Web App) Pages

Ok, so you are ready to update your website pages, or these days, a web-based app page. Well planning content is critical for making the most of your site pages. Here are several tips that should be included in refining a site or app page.

  • Layout a wireframe for a site – a wireframe needs to show how a page is laid out, so you can plan what is related to it.
  • Select content and images that tell how you will solve a problem,. not just your “life story” . It is good to know something about how a business is established for credibility, but keep stories to three paragraphs when starting out. And be ready to update your story over time.
  • Have a focal point of a page – an image that conveys what the site is ultimately about
  • Balance the white space – make sure that a pages does not crowd with a lot of text. People read differently online than they do offline.
  • Avoid using grey or any light-colors for fonts.  In many instances, words in dark definitive colors against a background is easier to read at a glance.
  • Remove flash pages – they are not only dated as of 2017 (and earlier), but flash pages also can hinder loading the key material visitors want to see on a page.  With mobile and tablets being the first tool used to view sites, a flash page can hinder mobile access if there is no mobile page….
  • ….Which, by the way, there should be a mobile page for your site. Make it with simple features, such as a simple bullet list of offered products/ services and a large button which users can click to dial to your store or office.
  • For showing important details on your business offers, ask designers how to highlight that information. Sometimes a slight contrast in the background can show importance
  • Despite better text editors and code frameworks, it is important to verify the appearance of webpage and web app pages appearance across browsers. To do so use Browsershots, an online site that checks pages for browser/site compatibility
  • Make sure there is a privacy statement indicating the use of analytics, where applicable, and how data is handled within your organization.
  • Consider examining how navigation usage occurs within a session that last 190 seconds (190 seconds is a typical average for a webpage). Note what is clicked and loaded easily within that time frame.
  • Decide on social media platform and memberships to be displayed – links, badges, and widgets that shows a window of the activity on that platform.  Sometimes these can add to page load time if the images are not optimized.
  • Plan footer content – the latest website designs have a footer that works across each page.  For apps consider what elements appear in the navigation – can any of it be arranged to simplify the loading of the app.
  • For websites, gather recommendations of products and service – show on a page or every page where possible.

Finally, remember to optimize for search engines – i.e. use SEO to rank your site in a search query.  Without this, your website has not guidance for search or even for a paid search marketing plan.

The most critical mistake with websites is to make delays to deliver your content to a developer or designer – more than a few months to code and finalize function can be problematic for your designer to organize and revise code with quality. Those delays can also cost your business sales, because your business’ updating of a site reflects how well it is operating.  Gather essential changes so you can share your concerns upfront, and make any changes in an organized fashion.