The Dude’s Guide to Analytics: How Jeff Lebowski Would Use Analytics to Drive Customer Insights

Do you think dealing with data is painful? Are you getting FOMO attacks because you think everyone is getting great insights and you’re just looking at a bunch of numbers that don’t really “say” anything? Are you getting tired of all the hype around “data driven digital transformation” and other such corporate speak?

If you answer yes, or even let yourself think of answering yes to at least one of those questions, then, take a breath, sit back, get yourself a White Russian, and let’s get some friendly advice from none other than our good friend, the Dude – that’s right, Jeff Lebowski.

Why? Well “the Dude abides” and he always brings the right amount of chill to stressful situations. So, you might be asking yourself – what does The Dude have to do with anaytics? Good question and one that I pondered when preparing for the webinar I did for CMSWire. So, I channeled my inner Dude and here are the 5 golden lines from The Big Lebowski that will lead to analytics goodness…

1 “That rug really tied the room together.”

Analytics translation: Knit together insights to understand your customer’s digital journey and make it better.

Our goal is to improve the experience that we give to customers, so you’d want to use at least 2-3 customer analytics methods to get as full a picture as you can. What you get might be an “analytics rug” that looks something like this:

Your “analytics rug” is really an integrated analytics framework. Each method illustrated here is a heady concoction of software for data collection, reporting to understand what customers are doing, and insights that can drive improvement. And let’s not forget, there’s probably a team that “owns” these analytics practices. You’ve got to make sure that people, processes and technology are all aligned to get the full benefit of customer insights that are waiting to be extracted from all that great data!

2 “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

Analytics translation: There is no shortage of data on which to base your decisions.

It’s been my experience that folks get very attached to the types of analytics they are most familiar with. You’ve got user experience people that swear by user experience testing and going through use cases and scenarios with potential website users. You’ve got data scientists and analysts who believe that it all comes down to clicks and behavioral segments. You have marketing teams that put all of their focus on voice of customer surveys. And then there are executives who consider feedback on social media channels to be the guiding light of customer experience.

Well, taking the Dude’s point of view, I’ve got to say that it’s all good – you just need to make sure that you have an organized way to complement and integrate the data. Here’s one way you can include all of the data into a really usable framework that starts to move you to a complete customer journey perspective:

– Start with digital data from web and mobile to understand what customers are doing

– Add data from campaigns, like email and digital advertising to understand how you’re acquiring customers

– Review data from user experience tools to see at the page level how content and visuals are impacting customer engagement

– Add data from surveys to understand why customers are doing what they’re doing on your web and mobile sites and why they are (or are not) responding to promotions

– Add data from your social media channels to understand the impact of these channels in driving acquisition and content engagement

– Add data from CRM to integrate demographic and purchasing data so you can combine offline characteristics and online behavior into targeted marketing segments

3 “Obviously, you’re not a golfer.”

Analytics translation: Conduct content and marketing tests to understand the online characteristics of your customer and what they find most interesting.

Data is not absolute. There are lots of factors that impact the final numbers that get into the reports that you use to make decisions. One of those factors is who are you trying to speak to. I had a client that was a regional hospital and they wanted to get more patients from the local area. They hired a content syndication company that put up a ton of really good informational content and visitors to the site jumped…but incoming patients didn’t. Why? Well that content was so good at attracting search engine traffic, nearly 75% of the visits were coming from across the US and overseas. The point is that the data was showing what was happening, but it wasn’t drawing the right audience.

You can get great insights from analytics…but this is only the first step. What’s the next step?, Testing new content and new marketing campaigns based on the recommendations that you develop from your analytics insights.

How do you do this? Start by defining segments by their digital behavior, such as campaign and geographic origin, visit frequency, or whether they are registered or non-registered. Analyze their engagement with the type of content you’ve developed. When you see how segments are responding to content, you then have guidance on the type of content to create in order to increase engagement with your most valuable segments.

For example, if you want to speak to golfers only, make sure that you aren’t putting the same content in front of fishermen – unless of course, they’re golfers too.

4 “Just take it easy, man!”

Analytics translation: Relax and take time to set up analytics you can trust.

No one really wants to talk about data quality because it isn’t exciting. Dealing with data can be tedious. On the other hand, if you don’t spend time on data quality, your insights are going to be terrible. What’s worse, your insights won’t be trusted because people won’t believe that the data is accurate.

You’ve got to have a   where you understand what your organization’s goals are from a business perspective. Take the time to configure and customize your analytics platform, whether it’s Google, Adobe, or another one. Be sure to do QA – run different test scripts and develop real standards around data collection moving forward. Perform audits on a quarterly basis to ensure that when you’ve added new content, everything is being collected correctly.

And a word to the wise – this gets even more complicated when you want to capture more customer engagement touch points, such as form submission, content sharing, or interaction with videos. I’ve found that these important touch points are often not collected correctly or not collected at all – especially if you’re doing a “check the box” analytics implementation along with your CMS configuration – so be sure to pay close attention.

5 “This is not ‘Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.”

Analytics translation: If you want people to use the insights and not cause a Tower of Babel situation, you need to have everyone using data the same way.

Have you ever shown an analytics report to a few people without explanation and then asked them what it meant? Maybe you got blank stares. Maybe you got them to say what you wanted. Maybe they came up with a bunch of interpretations that were just completely wrong. Maybe they just left you standing there. Well, you can change all of that.  You can set up a process where everyone speaks the same analytics and insights language. That means the language, terminology, definitions, and how people are creating insights. I’m not saying it’s easy, but you’ve got to “keep on keepin’ on.”  Here’s how the Dude would do it:

1. Start with a on understanding how to use analytics to make business decisions.

2. Set up an affinity group, or a community of practice, with people who have taken the class and will be applying such learnings.

3. The community begins to share what they’ve learned, and you put together common terminology, language, definitions, use cases and processes.

4. Grow the community, invite more people and create a practice for people to share stories.

5. Individuals adopt analytics and can use insights to increase customer engagement.

Who would have thought The Dude could set the stage for how to best tackle analytics? Well – he is the man who always knows what to say in tense situations, finds a higher purpose in bowling, and knows that the time is always right for a White Russian cocktail!

Got any other lines to live by from The Big Lebowski?

Shoot me an email.

And once you’ve done all of that, don’t forget to sit back and have yourself another beverage!

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