Are you a Triple Threat?

Are you a Triple Threat?

In the show business, a “triple threat” is someone who can sing, dance and act.

I recently met a marketing triple threat, Joy Boyson*, a skillful practitioner of the 3D’s of marketing – Direct, Digital and Database Marketing.

Is there a Web Analytics Triple Threat? Yes!

The blogosphere has been active with posts about web analyst requirements and skills (Anil, Stephane, Avinash…). The requirements list is long and probably quite daunting to many. So let’s step back and take this to a more aggregate level, using the Triple Threat metaphor.

Successful and effective web analysts have these Triple Threat characteristics:

  • Tech savvy
  • Business savvy
  • Politically savvy

What the heck is savvy? A combination of skill, knowledge & capability to execute accompanied by exceptional judgement. Savvy typically comes with experience & can be accelerated by education. It is that nebulous capability of just “getting it”. This from-the-gut response is well described by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Blink, as an ability to “thin slice”.

Tech savvy includes being able to grasp the logfile, javascript, cookie, packet sniffing, tagging process, Ajax/flash/rss/video tracking complexities as well as A/B testing, statistics, and how to best use visitor feedback and usability studies. See earlier post.

  • Every tool and technique has its place. The analyst doesn’t have to be an expert in executing every single method but they have to know when to use and not to use the tool/technique, and who to get help from.

Business savvy includes the ability to understand the way communications, PR, & how direct/ digital/database/cross-channel/e-mail/search engine marketing works, analyze the data and make recommendations.

  • When analysts come up with “what’s happening”, they are then frequently asked “so what do we do now?” Can’t very well say, I don’t know, I just analyze, go ask a marketer.
  • Once again, the analyst doesn’t have to be an expert in marketing execution. Provide advice, and know where/who to get help from if you need it (Attend events such as the emetrics Marketing Optimization summit).

Political savvy is the toughest. The analyst has to assess the situation and position recommendations for success.

  • Recommendations should align with the client’s goals. The analyst needs to analyze the likelihood of success of their client in executing change, and help their client move forward.
  • Whether you are an external consultant or an internal consultant within an organization, the core situation is no different. The is a big difference though in the scale of the effort. The analysts who have the easiest time are those who work directly with the top of the house. The internal analyst in middle management typically has the most difficult time and experiences the greatest frustration. Yes, I agree with Jacques Warren that getting quick wins is the best way to sell web analytics. However, identifying quick win possibilities and executing them is unfortunately easier said than done. The analyst is typically NOT the person executing (if you are, you don’t know how lucky you are!) And that’s when the quick win approach grinds to a halt. You typically have to convince someone else to DO IT!
  • The reality is that analysts often have to manage across, down and up their organization to productively catalyze change and progress. This is what makes web analytics difficult. If you are not ready to for this, you will be frustrated. (To alleviate frustration, attend Web Analytics Wednesdays to share war stories.)

Since customer are cross-channel, analytics worlds continue to overlap. How much can one person support? As Jim Novo mentioned in this post, “…we’re already seeing web analytics job postings with phrases like ‘strong knowledge of SAS and SPSS highly desirable’ meaning employers are looking for cross-platform, cross-tool, cross-channel analysts.” These organizations have evolved from the early days of analytics, and there is likely more than one web analyst. In this situation, only the “Director of Analytics” or the “Manager” of an organization needs to have Triple Threat capabilities. Supporting this position will be specialized web analysts with deep knowledge.


June Li


*Destination page no longer exists

By |2022-05-27T12:47:39-04:00August 18th, 2007|3 Comments
Categories: Analyst Capability


  1. S.Hamel 2007-08-18 at 18:46 - Reply

    Finding a single person that would excel in those three essential elements would be like finding the Bermuda Triangle. Most of the time, web analysts have a stronger bias toward 2 of the 3 elements (I would say Tech + Business, or Business + Political). In a way, it’s just like the traditional triple constraints of project management, you have to decide on which aspect you can compromise without jeopardizing the ultimate goal. And that’s also why a multidisciplinary team has the most chances of success! Great post!

  2. June Li 2007-08-21 at 09:22 - Reply

    …and when you have to compromise, that’s when “web analytics” gets difficult! It’s not the analysis of web analytics that is most difficult, it’s the supporting structure.

    Thanks for commenting, Stephane.

  3. Nyvaeh 2012-09-09 at 09:13 - Reply

    My hat is off to your astute cmomnad over this topic-bravo!

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