As I march towards the end of my business program, I thought of arming myself with some of the trends in technology that are playing a vital role in improving business results. So as part of this effort, I took an offering in Business Analytics, a round up of frameworks, tools and technologies that empower businesses to intelligently mine and analyze various sources of data, profile, segment, look for emerging trends, model, score, target, measure, predict and monitor key statistics for executive decision making and achieving optimal business results. I credit the content and images to Prof. Demirhan Yenigun, an accomplished web analytics expert who has taught us this class. Businesses are always competing offering comparable technologies, products and services, so the only differentiation would be high-performing business processes that will help frame and execute smart business decisions with maximum efficiency and effectiveness. At a basic level, companies need to transform their analytical capabilities from standard, drill down, ad-hoc reporting to predictive analytics – statistical, forecasting and predictive modeling and gradually progress towards prescriptive analytics – stochastic optimization.  These abilities will help businesses create better products and services, determine optimal marketing strategies and develop effective communication strategies. The key to developing such competencies must involve –

a. collection of data from transactional (transactional, customer response and prospect data) and non-transactional sources (demographic, behavioral and attitudinal)

b. organization of data (cleanse [missing values/noisy data – bin, cluster & regress], standardize, transform [smoothing, normalize – max-min, z-score & logarthmic, attribute construction] , match,  integrate and reduce [aggregate, dimensiona & numerosity reduction,discreatization/concept hierarchy generation] data – complete, accurate and consistent)

c. analysis of data (profile [Mean, Median, SD, Indices, Graphical – Pie, Bar, Line, Scatter & Box plots, correlation coefficient), segment [Descriptive – RFM, Demographic & Behavioral, Lifestage & Statistical Clustering – Hierarchical – divisive & agglomerative & Non-Hierarchical – K-means; Predictive Segmentation – simple, multiple regression, decision trees [CART, CHAID, logistic regression & Neural networks], analyze, model, score, target and measure performance)

d. warehouse disparate data from various function areas (datawarehouse, datamarts & OLAP)

e. mine knowledge to discover meaningful patterns and rules

f. measurement, collection, analysis & reporting of internet data for optimizing web usage (Web Analytics – clickstream [Google Analytics, Omniture SiteCatalyst, IBM Coremetrics & Web Trends)

  1. Perform Site Audit (site, tag, online strategy, marketing channels & domain structure)
  2. Prepare web assessment report (current state & structural recommendations)
  3. Develop new functional requirements (data extraction analysis, visitor segmentation, campaign tracking, on/offline interaction, user experience optimization & competitive intelligence analysis
  4. Determination of KPIs (site goal optimization, KPI trackinmg, KPI projections & KPI indices)
  5. Solution design (site data mapping, admin console)
  6. Tag generation (dynamic variable implementation, automated mapping & tag documentation)
  7. QA/Testing (tag validation & QA – A/B Testing & Multivariate Testing [DOE Taguchi  Dynamic content serving & implementation/results analysis)
  8. Production deployment
  9. Dashboard setup &  Ad-hoc reporting

Formula for successful online business performance (Key Insight Analysis) –

start with outcomes, evolve to behavior and then strive for the experience. Integral to the above web analytics strategy is the SEM and Online display advertising both of which are illustrated by their respective campaign and targeting processes below:

The course rounded off with a diverse listing of methods/activities for SEM optimization and the captivating presentation on social media and marketing.  The areas covered gave us great insighnts into the social media landscape, the use of demographics in the social context, best practices, marketing opportunities and social media analytics. It was astounding to know how much of influence social sites such as facebook, twitter, youtube, linkedin and myspace had on digital marketing. Full gamut of marketing tools are being used to leverage the power of social media and I am happy to have been exposed to such a cutting edge dynamic through this course.