All 3, web analytics, business intelligence, and marketing measurement, fit together.
Most businesses have disparate departments responsible for each though. The team that’s responsible for eMarketing (or eCommerce) typically has some form of web analytics software on their site. Web analytics traces its evolution from the IT space back in the early 1990’s. You had IT folk who were the first people who set up websites. Then marketing started to take it over. Then IT realized, through the magic of log file analysis, they could measure some of the effectiveness of websites. (This was back during the era of ‘hits’). Chaos ensued. Then the .bust. And now we have a number of options for web analytics – including Google Analytics, Omniture, WebTrends, CoreMetrics (and so on). Web analytic data suffers from a number of obscure precision and accuracy issues.
It’s for this reason that Business Intelligence folk don’t touch it. Business Intelligence in part grew out of the direct marketing science of the late 1960’s. Effectively, with the advent of ‘machine readable data’, you could start maintaining customer databases. Out of these databases emerged the first forms of marketing science testing, specifically, A/B and multivariate testing.
Many of these lessons were imported from the Business Intelligence space out to the Web Analytics space, though, the actual number of real tests that are happening is quite low (especially in Canada).
And then we have the overarching reality of marketing measurement, including the oft-quoted ‘marketing mix modelling’ industry that has probably always existed. Lately though, with the advent of the eMarketing channel as being so important, you’re seeing the digital channels starting to get mixed in with radio, television, and print. The goal is to figure out, in a scientific way (not political) how much to spend on each channel so as to maximize the efficiency of your marketing dollar. The result, though, is typically a mess. There are very well established predictive measurement models in place for print, television and radio…the Nielsen Ratings and the various auditing processes…but of course, there has always been channel-conversion disconnects. I think that most of us think we know much more than we think we know.
It’s in this way that all 3 fields fit together. Web analytics is a field that focuses on website measurement. Business Intelligence, traditionally, is about managing a customer relationship in a one to one manner (though, typically, Business Intelligence projects end up failing in a pit of money), and then you have marketing measurement as a whole.
If it sounds complex, it’s because it is.