At a client I was surprised by one of the concerns they have with measuring web traffic in general. Their concern is not with technology, manpower or budget, the concern is with culture. Their culture is highly innovative and creative and there are hints of resistance to web measurement. This has created concerns that web measurement will not be fully embraced. I was actually a bit surprised by this. I see measurement and innovation, done well, as the next innovation focused disruptor. One of my favorite subjects during my MBA was innovation; culture was always stressed as important for enabling innovation and implementing strategy. Of course, changing culture is akin to turning a large cruise liner. It is a large effort that takes a lot of time. The more I thought about this client, the more I could see the reasons for the resistance. Organization and innovation are polar opposites. The dark side of innovation is free movement, but utter chaos. The dark side of organization is complete organization with no movement. These two sides need each other to operate properly, but leaning to one side or the other depends on the state of the market. Anything with the web, mobile, cloud, etc. as a market needs to lean heavily to the innovative side. Otherwise, as we continue to see in this ever changing world, companies focused on organization bite the dust. My hope is that this client can stop seeing web measurement as another form of measurement and accountability, but as a tool for learning.
We’ve all heard the mantras, “You don’t know what you can’t measure”, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”, etc. These are valid statements that are more on the organization side (needed to take advantage of innovation). They are like the brakes on a car. If you drive a car without brakes how fast are you really going to drive? But any innovative company should be concerned, if these brakes are misused; they freeze up, the car stops moving and the competition passes by. So, yes, there is a dark side to measurement. Measurement is organization, plain and simple. If measurement is used as a way to just show reports and ensure some incremental improvement to the status quo, there is reason for concern. If reports are used in this way the company is merely policing the status quo. The big question should always be, “Am I Learning Something?”. If there is no learning there is no way to challenge the status quo which is necessary for small to big innovations. If measurement is used as a learning tool, it can empower innovation and further accelerate innovation. If used as a learning tool the incremental and LARGE improvements will come because you know your market and your customers. That is what I love about Tealeaf’s set of tools. Yes, you can create some great reports and measure incremental improvements, but the most powerful piece is understanding the customer experience. This puts a real story behind the numbers and empowers innovation. Being able to drill in to individual sessions based on abandonments, voice-of-customer, time-to-complete, customer-struggle, etc. moves it from numbers on a report to a learning experience. My hope here is that eventually this company I am working with will see Tealeaf as an accelerator to innovation and not just another reporting tool. In that way, turning that cruise-liner of a culture doesn’t need to happen. Innovation can move forward accelerated with customer experience learning.