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A Note on Web Analytics and the “Age of the Customer”

The Forrester White Paper on Web Analytics compares and contrasts the top software providers in the world: Google, Adobe, IBM, etc. in areas such as strategy, data handling, analysis, usability, market presence and more. All of these providers are obviously huge, innovative, and constantly updating and changing the way our world and computers operate (I get those little update pop-ups from Adobe like once a week, I swear. Maybe I’m not as innovative and pro-change as I like to think).  Forrester touches on Google in the beginning of the article, emphasizing its various products (Google Analytics, in particular) simple usability and time-to-value. This seems like a no-brainer to me. “The Google”, as my mom likes to say (semi-jokingly?), is probably the most-user friendly product out there. Even us simpletons know what Google is! I love me some Google, and boy oh boy am I excited for Google Analytics. Apparently, though, I don’t do enough research because I hadn’t even heard of AT Internet and Webtrends before this – but I guess that’s what school’s for, right? Am I allowed to be sad that Google isn’t as big of a leader as Adobe? Because I am. But maybe I’m just naive and didn’t realize everything Adobe was actually capable of outside Photoshop and Flash. You learn something new every day! And oh boy, did I learn a lot!

Say whaaa?! Adobe created a marketing cloud?! “Marketing evolves quickly. We help you stay in front.” Clearly Adobe and I are could form a wonderful relationship because we both definitely agree on that, and I love the idea of a ginormous conglomerate of social media, big data, and mobile analytics all in one. Talk about convenience and extra productivity on the marketing side. So clearly I’m pro-Google, but Adobe beat out IBM, Oracle, and SAS too! Badass! Brad Rencher, who’s head of Adobe’s Digital Marketing sector, said this in an AdAge interview: “I think brands need someone or a group — preferably the entire organization — that is capable of taking a step back and thinking about that wholistic customer experience”. THIS GUY GETS IT. This concept by far interested me the most out of everything else discussed in the entire White Paper, and I agree with Forrester that Adobe is definitely the top contender in the category for various reasons.

After some serious internet exploration, I’ve decided Forrester definitely got it right by saying Adobe is the leader, which definitely changes a lot of my opinions on web analytical softwares. I think usability is absolutely huge (which is why I’ve enjoyed my experiences with IBM SPSS and learning about Google Analytics thus far), but caring about your customer is so insanely important. Maybe it’s just because I’ve spent so much time working for companies that value the customer above all else (i.e. Nordstrom), but I do truly believe this is the “age of the customer” (as discussed in my previous post). As consumers nowadays, we look for absolute customization and a company’s full attention above all else when buying or using a product. The best way for a company to not only survive, not just thrive, in the digital age is to cater to each individual customer’s needs and wants – and companies like Adobe as well as others discussed in Forrester’s paper understand this, which is why they’re obviously doing well. The digital age and big data allow us marketers to do this, and creating software that allows us to cater to the customer makes it so much easier. It’s important to recognize this idea and utilize it to our full ability. It goes far beyond just the target market, and reaches each individual person, especially with certain softwares (like Adobe): “Differentiation is mostly found in the vendor tools’ ability to recognize individual visitors and associate them with previously unrecognized interactions trails”(Forrester).

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