Toronto is a very interesting place right now. There’s an energy here, roiling away at the lower level. I’m hearing good things coming out of the data mining community. I’m hearing good things at MaRS, and a few interesting web analytics projects that are emerging around pub tables across the downtown core. There are developers, statisticians, search professionals, ecommerce directors, data miners, entrepreuneurs, social scientists and hard scientists – working away on different implementations, on different levels, in different sectors. It’s hard for me to know what’s happening in the other analytical capitals – Hong Kong, London, San Fran, and the New York – Baltimore – Washington corridor. But it’s finally happening here.

Do you know a restaurant owner? I have an analytical optimization idea, and I need a case study to prove it. The best thing you can ever do is to work on real data and measure real results. If you could throw me an email: if you know one, that would help a lot. Thanks!

An example of a copy analytics questions is: which call to action works better? “Buy now!” “Learn more…” The answer, maddeningly, is: “it depends”. That’s why we have a methodology for testing. It’s the scientific method. Just because we have Google Website Optimizer that can, in theory, answer that question very easily, that doesn’t mean that we throw away the scientific method altogether. Just because it’s so easy – that doesn’t mean that we should be sloppy, either. For instance, let’s assume that you have direct ability to go in and edit your HTML with the Google Website Optimizer code. Assume that you can do this yourself, and you have the know-how. Also assume that you’re disciplined enough to keep[…]

Jim Novo asks: Are you are Marketer, or are you really just all about Advertising? You should read it. Go on, I’ll wait. I’m a marketer. Marketing involves examining the lifecycle and being really smart about it. There’s so much hype over this white whale called “CRM”, and it’s to the point where I don’t even want to call it CRM anymore. I’d much rather call it lifecycle management or lifecycle optimization or lifecycle hummingbird than call it CRM. Novo’s pioneering work around lifecycle management – doing it in a spreadsheet, was really inspiring. Most businesses don’t have more than 65000 customers and 256 pieces of data on them. I took some of his techniques and applied them to SPSS[…]

Dave Hamel, friend of the show, wrote: “The problem arises when a company or product has no differentiating feature. If your product is producing websites, then you’re screwed. Sorry but you’re totally hosed because there are lots of places that produce websites. There is a library of software that can produce websites. There is an army of developers in India who will create exactly what they are told. Many digital marketing agencies are just that, website producers. They may talk about being innovative, and cutting edge but they’re not. Innovation takes risk and “cutting edge” cuts both ways. They have a profit margin to meet or angry share-holders to deal with.” And he makes valid points. It’s all about profit.[…]

In response to the post on The Productivity Trilemma, Maciek went replied with another, focusing on Productivity, Niches, and Aesthetes. Maciek’s first point – that most people associate gains in productivity as a deliberately cheapening of the inputs, resulting in a crappy, cheap output, is quite apt. Any trip to a big box retail outlet will confirm that link for you. And that sort of productivity gain is just fine if you’re in a race to the bottom. The implicit assumption running through Maciek’s post, I’m happy to say, is a race to the top. How does one go about producing artisan products, of high quality, for niche markets, in a manner that is highly productive? This culminates in the[…]

Continuing the themes coming out of the last Web Analytics Wednesday in Toronto – I now turn to Design Patterns in Organizational Behavior. A great director, Matt Milan, once gave a presentation on design patterns – it revolved around some World War 1 pilot whose name I can’t remember. A design pattern is a fundamental pattern that repeats or can be used again. It’s a chunklet, if you would. In Information Architecture, a design pattern might be what we describe now as a form field with a button to the right of it that reads “search”. It’s what we now know as a search box. While the size of the box and button might vary, the general pattern of a[…]