Jim Sterne on eMetrics, Must-Have KPI’s and Cocktail Parties of the Future
Susan Bratton

Episode 85 - Jim Sterne on eMetrics, Must-Have KPI’s and Cocktail Parties of the Future

Jim Sterne, eMetrics expert and darling of the web analytics industry answers DishyMix listener questions about:

Bounce Rate
Must - Have Key Performance Indicators
Promotional Attribution
Landing Page Optimization
Tracking the Right ROI Metrics

Learn about the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summits, the Web Analytics Association the new event, Predictive Analytics World and who Jim Sterne says are the "gods of the web intelligence industry" and how YOU can get a piece of them.

Jim asks listener questions from Scott Fasser, CEO of Domain Strategies; Adam Boettiger, Internet Advertising Thought Leader and creator of the i-Advertising List; John Ardis, VP Corp Strategy for ValueClick and David Baker, VP Email Solutions for Avenue A/Razor Fish. These smarties pose great questions from which you can learn volumes!

Jim, author of six books himself, recommends his favorite book, "How the Best Get Better," by Dan Sullivan. He gives us lessons learned from 28 years of marriage, his worst year ever and how he feeds his rampant intellectual curiousity.

Hear Jim's idea of the perfect "cocktail party of the future." Get a drink in hand and enjoy this amazing man.



Female: This program is brought to you by PersonalLifeMedia.com.

Susan Bratton: Welcome to DishyMix.  I’m your host, Susan Bratton.  And on today’s show you’re going to get to meet, if you haven’t already yet, Jim Sterne.  Jim is a really good friend of mine, he’s here live in studio with me today.

Jim Sterne: Hi Susan.

Susan Bratton: Hi Jim.  Jim is a really amazing speaker.  You’ve probably heard him speak at any number of events either his own.  He’s the founder and producer of the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summits.  He’s also the founding president and current chairman of the Web Analytics Association.  But he’s spoken at almost everything including as many adTechs as I could possibly get him to.  He’s a web metrics expert.  He’s also the author of six books on internet marketing.  And you know what Jim, I was thinking about you were on DishyMix two years ago.

Jim Sterne: Um-hmm.

Susan Bratton: You’re back by popular demand ---

Jim Sterne: Okay.

Susan Bratton: --- my demand.  Jim, come back to DishyMix.

Jim Sterne: Whatever you want Susan.

Susan Bratton: And I remember that one of the things I asked you because you have written a lot of books ---

Jim Sterne: Um-hmm.

Susan Bratton: --- was your process for writing books and ---

Jim Sterne: Um-hmm.

Susan Bratton: --- I want to revisit that latter on in the show because I think that was really valuable.

Jim Sterne: Great.

Susan Bratton: And I don’t want to have to have my current DishyMix listeners go shift through that old stuff.  We’ll give him -- we’ll give it to him all over again.  So on today’s show we’re going to talk about “Web Analytics: Must-have KPIs”, which are “Key Performance Indicators”, managing promotional attribution, you’ll find out what that even means if you don’t know, how the best get better.  Jim is definitely one of the best.  We’re going to talk about “Cocktail Parties of the Future” and “Shaggy Dogs and Fiction Writers”.  So let’s get on with that Jim.  Welcome to the show.

Jim Sterne: Thank you very much.  I’m -- I really am delighted to be here, this is great.

Susan Bratton: Well, I’m just glad we got to do it in person, it’s a lot more fun because any -- I just love spending time with you in general ---

Jim Sterne: Thank you so much.

Susan Bratton: --- so to be able to get to do with DishyMix, is super fun.

Jim Sterne: Well, you know after listening to so many, it’s great to, to visit the studio, the view is unbelievable from here and I like the office dog too.

Susan Bratton: Thank you, right I know Prince Pearly of Prancerland.  Luckily, he doesn’t bark too much, which is good.  So, eMetrics Summits that’s really one of the places where most people have interaction with you ---

Jim Sterne: Um-hm.

Susan Bratton: --- you lead those, you’ve programmed those -- you invented it really.

Jim Sterne: Um-hm.

Susan Bratton: You have two coming up in the US this year but you have so many now ---

Jim Sterne: Yeah.

Susan Bratton: --- so I know the first one it’s coming up for US DishyMix listeners is in May ---

Jim Sterne: Um-hm.

Susan Bratton: --- in San Jose.  And then you have another one in October in DC ---

Jim Sterne: Um-hm.

Susan Bratton: --- but I can’t keep them all in the head, fill me in on how all the places because we do have global listeners.

Jim Sterne: We -- oh good, well ---

Susan Bratton: Yeah.

Jim Sterne: --- greetings to global listeners.  The very next one is in Toronto ---

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Jim Sterne: --- at the end of March beginning of April.

Susan Bratton: All right.

Jim Sterne: And then comes New -- San Jose ---

Susan Bratton: Um-hm.

Jim Sterne: --- then we do London, then we do Munich.  We’ve also got Madrid, Sao Paolo, Mexico City, Stockholm and then Washington DC.  So, eMetrics.org and see the lists.

Susan Bratton: Do you go to them all?

Jim Sterne: I so far.

Susan Bratton: Wow!  So you are traveling all over the place this year.

Jim Sterne: You know that the airline likes me.

Susan Bratton: I bet they do. Do you ever use Dopplr, D-O-P-P-L-R?

Jim Sterne: I have a couple of times ---

Susan Bratton: Yeah.

Jim Sterne: --- but my schedule is just so full that it’s an extra thing to have to do ---

Susan Bratton: Yeah.

Jim Sterne: --- and it adds things on the other end, which normally would be fun.  You know someday, I’m going to have enough time that when I’m going to go to some other city I can say, “Hey, I’m going to be in town, does anybody want to get together for ---”

Susan Bratton: Right.

Jim Sterne: --- but it’s just -- it’s pillar to post most time so.

Susan Bratton: So if they want to -- if they want to be with you they need to just go to the summit?

Jim Sterne: That would be grand.

Susan Bratton: Well, tell us about the summits, I mean obviously it’s eMetrics, it’s about web analytics mostly website analytic ---

Jim Sterne: Well that’s how it started.

Susan Bratton: --- but also landing pages, tell us what the whole ---

Jim Sterne: Well, so the big picture is ---

Jim Sterne: --- it started out as eMetrics Summit, the web analytics conference.

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Jim Sterne: And that after a few years I realized was really too narrow, that’s why it’s not the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit because it’s about using web data to improve all of your marketing.

Susan Bratton: Ad campaigns and websites and landing pages and email.

Jim Sterne: And search and email and ---

Susan Bratton: Yeah.

Jim Sterne: --- and all of them ---

Susan Bratton: Affiliate.

Jim Sterne: And all by the way ---

Susan Bratton: Yeah.

Jim Sterne: --- what you’re learning on your website can be applied to your offline marketing as well.  So, which messaging is really working, which – what messages are people clicking on that’s what you should put in your radio ads and in your newspaper ads and in your direct mail.

Susan Bratton: Right.

Jim Sterne: If you do a radio spot and a direct mail piece, you can see the behavior on your website change; we’re now starting to have a way to measure all of our marketing.  That’s what’s new.

Susan Bratton: Well, and that brings me to another point, which is that before you came to do the show, I used linked-in answers and I went out to my community and I said, “Hey, Jim’s coming on the show, what are a couple of really good questions that I can ask him on the show because I don’t know so much about web analytics?”

Jim Sterne: Crowd sourcing.

Susan Bratton: I did crowd sourcing.  And so, on a little bit latter on the show, Jim is going to answer some of the most wonderful questions that we got, which are -- they’re very contemporary questions.  I was really pleased with how sophisticated the questions were that we got from some listeners.  So, stay tuned for that because you’re going to get to know Jim and you’re also going to learn something about web analytics and web marketing.  So, the Web Analytics Association, which I like to called WAA http://www.webanalyticsassociation.org/---

Jim Sterne: Yeah, we get that a lot.

Susan Bratton: You founded that too.  You’re the founder although Seth Romanow , runs it now right?
Jim Sterne: Well he’s president ---

Susan Bratton: Yeah.

Jim Sterne: --- I am chairman.

Susan Bratton: Yeah.

Jim Sterne: The short story is the audience from eMetrics wanted to continue to commune with each other.

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Jim Sterne: So, I got a phone call from Bryan Eisenberg, Future Now, Inc. ---

Susan Bratton: I love Bryan.

Jim Sterne: --- and Andrew Edwards from Technology Leaders and they said, the association is starting and you’re going to be a part of it, so there.

Susan Bratton: Got it.

Jim Sterne: And I said okay.

Susan Bratton: Yeah.

Jim Sterne: So, I became president, Bryan was the first chairman, I became chairman now, Seth is president ---

Susan Bratton: Got it.

Jim Sterne: --- and we are 1,700 people ---

Susan Bratton: Wow!

Jim Sterne: --- 300 of them are actively volunteering doing stuff ---

Susan Bratton: Yeah.

Jim Sterne: --- it’s the largest organization I’ve ever been a member of.

Susan Bratton: Usually organizations like that industry associations are focused on standards and other kinds of initiatives.  What are some of the initiatives that you’re working on right now that would be interesting to my listeners?

Jim Sterne: Standards is number one and it’s standard definition ---

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Jim Sterne: --- it’s, we have to have a place to start the conversation.

Susan Bratton: Vocabulary.

Jim Sterne: And then we’ll get to specific calculations and technology when we get there.

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Jim Sterne: But right now is what is a page view, what is a visit, who is a visitor, what’s a unique, all of those have to have clear definitions.  And currently on the Web Analytics Association website, http://www.webanalyticsassociation.org/.

Susan Bratton: Thank you.

Jim Sterne: We have a set of definitions that are out for comment.  So, we’re looking for people to tell us that they were right on the money or we’re crazy as a loon or whatever it takes.

Susan Bratton: And what do you use, do you use a wiki so people can comment or?

Jim Sterne: Wiki, blog, email ---

Susan Bratton: You name it.

Jim Sterne: --- some for flashlights whatever.  And –that, so standards is a big piece, education is probably the most important bit because there is no place to go to learn web analytics except from the tool vendors.

Susan Bratton: Yeah.

Jim Sterne: So, two years ago, we put an online course together with University of British Columbia.  And that’s now been picked up by University of California at Irvine and it’s now a certificate course.  Now so, university certificate is different from certification, which is what we’re working on currently.

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Jim Sterne: It will be a test so you can become a certified web analyst.

Susan Bratton: Wow!  That’s fantastic.

Jim Sterne: Yeah.

Susan Bratton: So, it reminds me of things that SEMPO did as well Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization.

Jim Sterne: Right, yes.

Susan Bratton: And how much does it cost you know, I might be putting you on the spot but how much does it cost to join the Web Analytics Association?

Jim Sterne: Professionals, individuals, $199.00 a year.

Susan Bratton: Great.  So, anybody can join.  This is something that you -- if you’re at all in internet marketing, you should be part of that organization just for picking up some of the data that’s coming out and having access to other people.

Jim Sterne: Hmm, right.

Susan Bratton: It’s very inexpensive, very approachable to be part of that.

Jim Sterne: Yeah.

Susan Bratton: Yeah, I love that.  That’s great.  You’re no rest for the wicked, you are also kind of co-creating another event, you’re involved in another kind of extension to your business.

Jim Sterne: Right.

Susan Bratton: Tell us about that.

Jim Sterne: Well, the eMetrics conferences, there’s now nine of them around the world in 2009 ---

Susan Bratton: Um-hm.

Jim Sterne: --- and we’re also starting to produce other things so, at eMetrics we had Eric Segal do a two-day long workshop on Predictive Analytics.  And in February of this year in San Francisco, he’s doing Predictive Analytics World.  So, we’re taking that from workshop to full-on conference.

Susan Bratton: Um-hm.

Jim Sterne: And for those who are the more technically and statically inclined, this thing is really cool, so quick example.

Susan Bratton: Yeah.

Jim Sterne: Netflix had a contest for who could increase the recommendation engine relevancy by 10 percent, there was a $1 million prize.

Susan Bratton: Yeah, I read about that.  Did someone win?

Jim Sterne: Well, the winner is one of our keynote speakers.

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Jim Sterne: So come and find out how the real serious math people do serious predictive analytics February, and so that’s predictiveanalyticsworld.com.

Susan Bratton: Where is it again?

Jim Sterne: At the Hotel Nikko.

Susan Bratton: Oh in San Francisco.

Jim Sterne: In San Francisco, in the city.

Susan Bratton: Okay perfect.  Oh yeah, I like that hotel.

Jim Sterne: And we’re also now, we joined ranks with two consultants who are producing business rules forum.  A conference that’s being going on seven years now about building business rules around decision support systems and, I’m just delighted to find these kinds of topics because I’m all about measurement, I’m all about let’s test something and see if it works, let’s try something else and see if it works and now we’ve got proof in our hands.  So, the eMetrics conferences, true to their name, their eMetrics marketing optimization

Susan Bratton: Um-hum.

Jim Sterne: By the way, we can also use predictive analytics for a lot of other things, we can use business rules for a lot of other thing so the milieu is growing, and we’re maintaining focus on each of the conferences.

Susan Bratton: How many other rational thought processes are there?  I think your next show is going to be the Socratic thought process summit, right?  Learn how to apply Socratic thought to your business decision making.

Jim Sterne: No, you laugh.

Susan Bratton: I’m not, that’s -- we’re going to find that one together now.

Jim Sterne: Well, so I do a one-day workshop in advance of the eMetrics conference.

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Jim Sterne: I did one that was eMetric’s insights day.

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Jim Sterne: Let’s just bring smart people together and see what smart things they have to say.

Susan Bratton: Nice.

Jim Sterne: And that was fascinating.  But okay, now it needs to be something else and not fleshed out yet, but I’m playing with the idea of the eMetrics analytics symposium, where I’m going to ask people who I think really are good at analysis and ask them, what does it mean to analyze?

Susan Bratton: Yes.

Jim Sterne: This is not about tools ---

Susan Bratton: The fundamentals of rational process?

Jim Sterne: Some of the fundamentals, but also the real-life business how do you hire an analyst.

Susan Bratton: Yes.

Jim Sterne: How do you interview an analyst?  How do you train people to become analyst?

Susan Bratton: Yes.

Jim Sterne: What is that creative impulse that says I can synthesize two disparate pieces and come up with a correlation.  Give us some insights.  So, I’m going to ask a dozen smart people to come and present really short, here is the best thing I could tell you into a room full of people that will then converse and come up with, maybe, the top ten things to do or the rules of engagement, I’m not sure yet.

Susan Bratton: Nice.

Jim Sterne: But that’s my data to explore.

Susan Bratton: Well, not only are you a good speaker, you’re a really good facilitator too.

Jim Sterne: Thank you.

Susan Bratton: And I think that if you can find those gems of people who – a lot of them live in, you know, dark little closets in corporations and do amazing work, and so if you can pull them out and bring them together, I think that will be great.

Jim Sterne: So, the last SES conference I was at, they had me do moderation and somebody from the audience put out a tweet that called me that “ALT tag of moderators.”

Susan Bratton: What’s that mean?

Jim Sterne: I loved it.  It means that everybody had their say and I kind of encapsulated each one of their statements and said, well if those things are true, where does that take us.  And I just though “the ALT tag of moderator” was.

Susan Bratton: I like it.

Jim Sterne: I’ll stick with that.

Susan Bratton: I like it too.  Well, you told me that there were a couple of people in your industry, you know, you are a curator of quality thinkers and that’s what we’re really talking about here.

Jim Sterne: Wow!  Can I have it on my business card?  I love it.

Susan Bratton: There you go, you can have that one too.  And two people that you really follow in track, and of course that’s who we want to follow in track, he said that two of the gods of the web intelligence industry were Eric Peterson and Avinash Kaushik.

Jim Sterne: Right.

Susan Bratton: Avinash came from Intuit and now he’s gone off on his own.  Eric I know was with the Jupiter, right?  And then went off on his own.

Jim Sterne: Yes.

Susan Bratton: They’re both doing their -- tell us how we find then, what we can learn from them and why you think they are the gods of the intelligence industry?

Jim Sterne: So, they’re gods for two reasons.  One, they’ve actually done the work, okay?

Susan Bratton: Yes.

Jim Sterne: I’m a gadfly, I’m a thought leader, I like looking over the horizon, that’s the fun part for me.  Eric and Avinash are, they’re gods because they have actually done the work.  They have – Avinash did web analytics for Intuit, Eric did web analytics at – well, he was working for a couple of web analytics vendors in their professional services, helping other companies do web analytic.  So, they actually are in the guts of it and then they wrote books.  So, I wrote web metrics back in 2002.

Susan Bratton: Yes.

Jim Sterne: Okay.  That’s ancient history.  These guys continue to put out stuff about how to make it happen, technically from a business perspective, from a people, process technology perspective, but then they’ve done something far beyond that, which is, well I’ve been focused on the conference world, they’ve been focused on the online community.  So, Avinash has an astonishing blog at kaushik.net and if you can’t spell it, it’s Occam’s Razor, and/or just actually, just Google Avinash.  He’s that popular.  He’s brilliant at the long blog post and lots of comments and really thoughtful and you could read if you just read all of his blogposts, you would be set to manage web analytics.

Susan Bratton: Wow!

Jim Sterne: Eric got into the nuts and bolts, and this is – and if you read all of his stuff, you understand all the technology and how to make it actually work.  Oh, by the way, also the philosophy, Oh, by the way, also the business side, and then he did the web community.  So, Eric Peterson created the Web Analytics Wednesday, which is a distributed meet up, one Wednesday a month, anybody who wants to can put on a WAW, Web Analytics Wednesday event at a bar.

Susan Bratton: Oh, that’s great.

Jim Sterne: And invites people to come.  So, if you go to – and okay, I should identify Eric at webanalyticsdemystified.com.

Susan Bratton: Um-hmm, thank you.

Jim Sterne: Click on community.  There is the list of the upcoming social meetings of web analysts around the world.

Susan Bratton: Nice.

Jim Sterne: And so, that’s brilliant, and the biggest ones of course happen in conjunction with the eMetrics summits where we’re happy to work together him on that.

Susan Bratton: Yes.

Jim Sterne: The other thing he did is he created a Yahoo! Group.  It’s the Yahoo! Web Analytics Forum, which is now moderated by the web analytics association, Eric kind of ceded it to us to manage.  He’s still an active moderator.

Susan Bratton: Um-hmm.

Jim Sterne: It is a very active discussion forum, it is people who are brand new to it, how do I get started.  People been in it a long time, I have this technical issue.  People had been in it a long time, I have this philosophical issue.  There’s probably 10 or 12 posts a day and it is strictly moderated, in other words, there are a team of moderators who read everything before it gets posted.  This is good solid stuff.

Susan Bratton: That’s great.

Jim Sterne: So, between Eric and Avinash.

Susan Bratton: You can learn so much.

Jim Sterne: Okay.

Susan Bratton: And joining the WAA too?

Jim Sterne: Yes.

Susan Bratton: We’re going to go back through this, all of this great list and these links that you’ve given us and I’ll make sure that they are attached to your show at personallifemedia.com, so ---

Jim Sterne: Great.

Susan Bratton: --- anybody who’s listening and driving in the car and can’t write all these down, I’ll have all the links available next to Jim’s episode.  Thank you for that.  That was really helpful.  I posted a request for questions and we got a lot of them.  The first one was, from Scott Fasser.  Scott is the president and the cheap -- the cheap -- he’s a cheap operating officer, sorry.  I know you’re not, you’re not a ---

Jim Sterne: But many of us would want one, an operating officer who’s -- for a whole is a good thing.

Susan Bratton: Scott is the president and Chief Operating Officer at Domain Strategies, and he asked about KPIs.  He said, “What are the four or five must-have website KPI’s or Key Performance Indicators?”  And then first he wants to understand, “What is bounce rate and why is that important?”  So, he had a double question for you.

Jim Sterne: Okay.  Well, let’s do the easy one first.  The bounce rate is somebody comes to your website and then disappears.  They look at one page, they don’t click on anything.

Susan Bratton: So, it’s not an email thing, it’s a website thing?

Jim Sterne: It’s a website thing.

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Jim Sterne: It is -- it’s a tough one because a lot of it is errand traffic.  Things -- people clicked on the wrong thing, and they shouldn’t be there.  People expected ---

Susan Bratton: So, you’ll always have some of that?

Jim Sterne: Oh, a lot.

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Jim Sterne: People clicked on it and thought it was something else and said, “Oh no, this isn’t what I wanted.”  Spiders and robots will come.

Susan Bratton: Oh yes.

Jim Sterne: So, your bounce rate is important for two reasons.  One is, just so that you can get a baseline to know if things changed.  The other is, it’s a real good indicator if you match it up with your – when your campaigns run, if your campaigns really suck, if you offer – make an incredible offer and you get a lot of click throughs and people look at and go, “That’s not what you offered”, and then run away ---

Susan Bratton: Yes.

Jim Sterne: --- it’s a real good indication that your campaign is wrong.

Susan Bratton: Makes sense.

Jim Sterne: Now, KPIs, the correct answer is, it depends.

Susan Bratton: Yes, I knew you were going to say that.

Jim Sterne: It is all about your business model.

Susan Bratton: There are no four or five KPIs that everyone should have.

Jim Sterne: Well ---

Susan Bratton: Are there a couple that are a really good place to start?

Jim Sterne: Sure, sure.  How many people come to your website in general?

Susan Bratton: Yes.

Jim Sterne: So, that means, can I ---

Susan Bratton: Show traffic.

Jim Sterne: Can I boost it?  Does it drop?  Do I lose it to my competition?

Susan Bratton: Got it.

Jim Sterne: Business outcome.  So, if it’s e-commerce, do they buy something?  If it’s business to business, did they click on the “Contact Us” page?  Did they register for the newsletter?  Did they join the discussion?  It’s the events, it’s what the people actually do on the website.

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Jim Sterne: And then it’s things like all of the above by cost, or all of the above by day, week, month.  But it’s totally dependant on what your business goals are.

Susan Bratton: Okay.  Are there any things that you’ve seen people tracking that are new that are -- there’s always these little things, like, I want to track that and then it kind of spreads to everybody, one person shows it on the slide, then everybody starts tracking it because it’s kind of shiny new thing.

Jim Sterne: Sure.

Susan Bratton: Do you see anything like that in the market place?

Jim Sterne: Oh yes.  Well, the thing that everybody is talking about right now and whether they’ll be talking about it next week is another question is, how do I measure the value of Twitter and what’s the level of influence and the impact that people have and who rates higher in Twitter for their follow to follower ratio and how many times they posts.  And it’s a bunch of numbers and everybody’s having a good time talking about it and it will be weeks before somebody like, Avinash or Eric Peterson or Bryan Eisenberg, a third one important to mention comes out with a definitive statement of, “You know, I think it should look like this” and everybody will go, “Oh, that’s useful” instead of just interesting.

Susan Bratton: Got it.  That’s a good one.  Twitter of course is just the darling right now.

Jim Sterne: Absolutely.

Susan Bratton: It was Facebook six months ago ---

Jim Sterne: Yes.

Susan Bratton: --- before, you know, it’s so funny how we just -- it’s faddish, what we do is faddish, isn't it?

Jim Sterne: Yes.

Susan Bratton: We’re going to go to a break and when we come back, we’re going to talk about a couple of other questions including this promotional attribution idea and about other things that we can technically measure.  So, you are with Jim Sterne.  He is the founder of the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summits and I am your host Susan Bratton.  We’ll be right back after we thank the DishyMix sponsors.

Female: Listen to “Coaching the Life Coach – Business & Marketing Strategies for Growth of Transformational Practices”, your guide in the 21st Century marketplace on personallifemedia.com.

Susan Bratton: And we’re back with Jim Sterne.  So Jim, another question from a DishyMix listener.  Now, this same question really came in three different ways from three different people but all kind of about the same thing.  Adam Boettiger, the internet advertising thought leader, he runs the I-Advertising mail list and he has done a number of things in the agency world.  John Ardis, who is of course, VP Corporate Strategy, Valueclick.  Many people have seen him out on the speaking circuit.  He’s a great speaker.  And David Baker, VP of eMail Solutions at Avenue A/Razorfish, also an incredible speaker.  He is doing his own e-mail conferences and he is really kind of the de facto leader about e-mail optimization and analytics.

Jim Sterne: Um-hmm.

Susan Bratton: They all wanted to know this same kind of thing, how should companies manage promotional attribution?  Can you calculate how much each promotional effort contributed to a sale and how much credit do you give an ad a search term, a landing page, how are you seeing people work this out?  Explain this promotional attribution.

Jim Sterne: So, imagine a conference room and the chief marketing officer is figuring out his budget and there is the head of e-mail and there is the head of display and there is the head of search and they are all saying, “Oh, give me more money.  No, give me more money.”  So, how do I invest?  So, somebody buys something, I’m going to try to go back and look through the data to see how they found us and what finally convinced them to buy.  Okay now, it gets tricky. 

Susan Bratton: Right, it’s all dovetailed.

Jim Sterne: So, it very ---

Susan Bratton: It’s nesting like little Russian dolls.

Jim Sterne: Absolutely.

Susan Bratton: Yes.

Jim Sterne: Would you, if you clicked on this and this and this, would you still have bought if you had not seen the poster on the side of the bus ----

Susan Bratton: Right.

Jim Sterne: That’s’ a tough one so ---

Susan Bratton: Media mix modeling.

Jim Sterne: The way – that’s exactly what it is.

Susan Bratton: Um-hmm.

Jim Sterne: But it’s trickier now because we have too much data.

Susan Bratton: Yes.

Jim Sterne: So, there are several ways people are going about doing it.  One is just spread it evenly.  Everybody gets credit because it’s just too hard, I can’t think about it.

Susan Bratton: Sure.

Jim Sterne: The other is the last click gets all the credit.

Susan Bratton: Oh, that’s interesting, okay.

Jim Sterne: Whatever you clicked on from which you actually purchased, that’s the one that puts you over the edge.

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Jim Sterne: Other say, well, wait a minute.  The very first click is the most important because that’s what brought you to us in the first place.

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Jim Sterne: So, you wouldn’t have purchased at all if you hadn’t shown up once.

Susan Bratton: Um-hmm.

Jim Sterne: Some try to wait it by time so, if you’ve been coming back to the website for months and months and months, six months ago, it might have been the first click but it was so long ago, we’re just going to give it a penny out of the dollar.  And your visit last week will get 50 cents out of the dollar.  Others waited well by budget.  We have this much, you know, that boils down to really the two things that really it works on, religion and politics.

Susan Bratton: What do you mean?

Jim Sterne: This is how money gets allocated

Susan Bratton: Yes.

Jim Sterne: Either it’s religion, your CMO got to be CMO because 15 years ago, he was good at buying television.  So, television gets all the money because that’s what he knows.  Or she was really a brilliant search marketing person and that’s everything – it’s the hammer and everything looks like a nail.

Susan Bratton: Yes.

Jim Sterne: So that’s the religion.  I think this is the best thing since [xx] it’s going to get all the money.  The next one is politics.  The search guy is going to get more money because he has known the CMO longer or ---

Susan Bratton: Right, I was thinking ---

Jim Sterne: --- has more power or ---

Susan Bratton: Yes, you were going to do – take the web analytics personnel to lunch a lot ---

Jim Sterne: Yes.

Susan Bratton: --- if you’re the search person.

Jim Sterne: Hello.

Susan Bratton: And you want the attribution ---

Jim Sterne: Right.

Susan Bratton: That’s the politics.

Jim Sterne: So ---

Susan Bratton: Yes, that’s what I ---

Jim Sterne: You know its religion if they say, “You know, I’ve always done it this way and it has worked for me” and you know its politics when they say, “Gees, we just don’t have enough resources and this seems like the best way to”.

Susan Bratton: Got it.

Jim Sterne: Its real life, sorry.

Susan Bratton: I like the last click one the best.  If I were going to do it, I think I would just choose that.  It seems like a straightforward way to do it.

Jim Sterne: I would argue with you.

Susan Bratton: You would argue with me?

Jim Sterne: Sure, because ---

Susan Bratton: Yes.

Jim Sterne: Because you made a decision to buy two clicks ago.

Susan Bratton: Yes.

Jim Sterne: And then, you came back because you had another question.  So, how did you find this?  Oh, I remember I searched on this.

Susan Bratton: Yes.

Jim Sterne: And I click through.  Okay.  So, there is another three cents that got paid to bring you back.  You answered your question, then you talked to your husband, then you came back and made the purchase finally.  Well, it was actually three clicks ago where the decision was made.

Susan Bratton: Um-hmm.

Jim Sterne: So, this is a really almost unanswerable question.

Susan Bratton: Well, I have another unanswerable question for you.

Jim Sterne: Oh good, I love them.

Susan Bratton: Another one from Adam Boettiger.  Just because we can measure something technically, should we, isn’t it true that some things are just a given?  What’s the ROI of putting on your pants in the morning?  Now Jim, Adam is after my own heart.  I have always wanted to know what the ROI is if you’re putting on your pants in the morning.

Jim Sterne: It’s called risk avoidance.

Susan Bratton: What do you mean?

Jim Sterne: One is not getting arrested for indecent exposure and the other is not catching a cold.  So, I want to measure stuff because I want to make sure I’m not wasting my money.

Susan Bratton: Um-hmm.

Jim Sterne: Is there an investment that you can make that is beyond the level of return?  Absolutely, you can spend too much money measuring stuff, guaranteed.  Are there things that are given?  Well, now we’re [xx] it depends what is your business model, what are you selling, to whom, etc.

Susan Bratton: I bet you could get a lot of these answers on the web analytics forums too, it strikes me?

Jim Sterne: Yes, but the great thing about a forum is you’ll get a different answer each week.

Susan Bratton: Yes, yes, that’s true.

Jim Sterne: It’s a discussion.

Susan Bratton: So, you’ve given us a lot of good food for thought on those kinds of things.  What are the other things that I – I wanted to ask you about was your favorite book.

Jim Sterne: Um-hmm.

Susan Bratton: You told me your favorite book you really had to, but the one I want to focus on is how the best get better.

Jim Sterne: Um-hmm.

Susan Bratton: Because a lot of web analytics and the people who are interested in this particular show are always trying to make their work better.  But how do they make themselves better?  This book by Dan Sullivan, and thank you so much for bringing me a copy today.

Jim Sterne: My pleasure.

Susan Bratton: I look forward to both listening ---

Jim Sterne: You are one of the best.  I don’t know how you can get better but if there is a way, Dan Sullivan can help.  This is a book for entrepreneurs.

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Jim Sterne: It’s a book for – you’re busy doing it and you’re doing it really well, you’ve got a brilliant idea, you found a great way to get it done and you find you’re spending more of your time running the business than running the great idea.  Here are some techniques to get you back to what you do best.

Susan Bratton: Well, even if you are not an entrepreneur, you get driven – you get dragged around in your company and you don’t get ---

Jim Sterne: Yes.

Susan Bratton: --- to do the thing you do best.  So, it probably would be applicable to everyone.  I look forward to reading that.

Jim Sterne: Good.

Susan Bratton: I wanted to go back to something I promised earlier in the show and that was the fact that you’ve written six books.

Jim Sterne: Um-hmm.

Susan Bratton: And, maybe your last book that you wrote is out of date because web marketing changes all the time.  I’ll give you that.  But the process for creating that book doesn’t go out of date and I loved your process.  Will you just quickly share with our listeners?

Jim Sterne: Well, the process is, it turns out to be the same for a book as it is for a conference agenda.

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Jim Sterne: So, something you know very well.

Susan Bratton: I do.

Jim Sterne: It is, okay, what’s the big broad picture, if I divide it up into 10 things, then chapters.  What are the different headings that it would have to be? 

Susan Bratton: Yes.

Jim Sterne: And then, the research you pay attention, once you’ve got those 10 buckets, then, you can start paying attention to everything you read.  Does it apply to one of those 10 and I literally take manilla folders and I tear something out of a magazine, I’ll print out something from the website, I’ll printout an e-mail, put it in the envelope or in the manilla folder and then, eventually go through and say, okay, one at a time.  Lets’ take this subject; look at all of this rich information.  How do we break that into 10 different areas that flow logically?

Susan Bratton: Um-hmm.

Jim Sterne: What’s the most basic thing you need to understand in order to understand the most complex thing at the end of that?  Well, that’s a chapter.

Susan Bratton: Um-hmm.

Jim Sterne: Or, it’s tracks in an agenda and which speaker should be on first.

Susan Bratton: Yes.  That makes sense.  I liked your organizational approach to that.  It was funny.  I was telling a friend of mine that he should write an ebook and he said, “Well, how do I even go about that?”  And I said, just start writing down every single thing you know about the subject in question.  I don’t want to give away the subject yet but just start writing down every little thing you know.  Any time you think about something, just -- how much could you write down about what you know about that subject?  Start writing them down anywhere and then just toss them into a folder.

Jim Sterne: Um-hmm.

Susan Bratton: And then you will have the bones of your ebook and it’s the same kind of a thing.

Jim Sterne: The frightening part is that even – the fun thing is that if you’re interested in the subject, writing a book is a great way to focus you on it.

Susan Bratton: Yes.

Jim Sterne: And then what you find out though is that you are able to mention everything, each chapter is a whole another book.

Susan Bratton: Right.

Jim Sterne: And if we only had time.

Susan Bratton: Yes, I know that’s the thing we don’t have.  It reminded me that I wanted to ask you another question too about landing pages specifically.

Jim Sterne: Um-hmm.

Susan Bratton: I have hired you a number of times to come in and look at a company that I have been doing the marketing for and look at our website and critique it and tell me what I was doing wrong with the, you know, with that particular website.  You know, okay, Sus, here are the 73 things you’re doing wrong, but they’re also actionable.  Do you know those landing pages that they use in information product marketing where you go to a page and it’s this really, really, really long page ---

Jim Sterne: Um-hmm.

Susan Bratton: --- that usually has video and check boxes and testimonials and they are kind of formulaic.  Are -- are they doing it right, Jim.  Do they -- have they cracked the code on how to get the highest conversion because it seems like there are so many cookie cutter info product landing pages out there.  Why are they all exactly the same or aren’t they?  Tell me.

Jim Sterne: So to answer your question directly ---

Susan Bratton: Um-hmm.

Jim Sterne: --- it depends ---

Susan Bratton: Yes.  Okay.  Are you ---

Jim Sterne: --- what you are selling, to whom ---

Susan Bratton : I got to cut you off on that one, but I can’t.

Jim Sterne: So the reason that they all look alike is that they all copy each other.  If Amazon does that it must be the right thing to do.  Well, Amazon is testing stuff all the time so whether that’s the right version or not who knows, copy and paste this is simplest, easiest thing to do.  So if Best Buy is doing it, it must be right.  They have a bunch of people there, right.  Well, it depends on the landing page intend.  So for me there is a product page that’s all about the product but a landing page is the second thing you see after the ad or after the search term.  It’s where you land and then you drill down, now give me product page.  So it connects the offer to the product page.  And landing page testing has gotten very sophisticated and it’s actually a lot of fun and if you are technically inclined, it’s really cool.

Susan Bratton: Okay.  So you think that it’s promulgated the structure because it’s just copycat and they don’t actually know what the hell they are doing and they haven’t tested it 43 different times and optimize for conversion that much?

Jim Sterne: Well, some have.

Susan Bratton: Yes.

Jim Sterne: Now, here is where Bryan Eisenberg comes in.

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Jim Sterne: He is the conversion master and he will look at your stuff and say, well here are the seven things to test and now get very serious about who are you selling to, not just a demographic of woman 18 to 35 but let’s talk about seven different personas you are selling to and where are they in their sales process – sorry in their buying process and it gets sophisticated quickly but the results are not just, oh we got a 5% lift but we got a 30% lift or we got a double up conversion.

Susan Bratton: I want to switch channels here.

Jim Sterne: Um-hmm.

Susan Bratton: One of the things that you told me was your worst fork in the road was a time when you were doing a hellacious commute and I think there are lot of people who are really worried about losing their jobs and having to take a job that isn’t their dream job this year.  What lessons did you learn from your worst fork in the road?

Jim Sterne: So that was the time when I, living in Santa Barbara, decided I had been in hi-tech marketing if I was really going to be a hi-tech marketing executive I had to come up to the Bay Area where hi-tech is.  So I spent a year working for a company, public company with a company apartment and I go home on some weekends and my wife would come up some weekends and some weekends we couldn’t and after a year it was really obvious I would rather be unemployed than unmarried.  So what I learn was the importance of being married, the importance of not doing a job you hate.  That was probably the most important thing.

Susan Bratton: And you’ve been married coming this February, next month February 2009 for those people who will be listening to this many years from now because it’s a classic DishyMix, you will be married to Colleen 28 years?

Jim Sterne: Um-hmm.

Susan Bratton: Tell me the best thing about that and the thing that you think would help all of us who haven’t hit that beautiful mark.

Jim Sterne: Well, the best thing is that when somebody talks about their better half that is absolutely true.

Susan Bratton: I can’t imagine anybody better than you Jim.

Jim Sterne: Yes.  You can work on it.  It’s not that hard.  You got to get out more.  When I am not around I still have her thought patterns in my head.  I can still have a conversation with her.  I can still make a decision with, well literally with her in mind.  It makes whole.  And it provides purpose so, you know, the what’s the important thing people can learn, gee if you can find somebody that you can think you can stick with, do absolutely everything in your power to make that happen because the shared history is the gold. 

Susan Bratton: Yes, yes.  It’s just like the fact that your friends from when you were a child or your brothers and sisters ---

Jim Sterne: Um-hmm, yes.

Susan Bratton: --- that they know you so deeply.  It is very meaningful.

Jim Sterne: --- and able to finish your sentences and that great line from broadcast news where Holly Hunter is on the phone and says, “we’ve got to get together right away” and the guy says, “where shall we meet” and she says, “you know down by that place where we saw that thing”.  Okay, I will meet you right there.  That’s what it means.

Susan Bratton: I like that too.  I’m with you.  So a last silly question.  I had asked you where social networking was going, you know, I always asked that you know where is evolving, we are talking about Twitter earlier and everyone is measuring that now.  You came up with a funny idea.  Tell us that story.

Jim Sterne: Well, you know social networking has always been around.  It’s -- we had e-mail list, we had newsgroups and then the World Wide Web came along.  So we’ve been using the internet for communication a lot from the beginning.  It’s a communication tool.  So what is it that’s really great is that you can pick a narrow subject, left-handed seamstresses have a place that they can get together and there may only be two of them in all of Boston and three of them in all of New York but there is 150 of them on the same website because they can gather.  So, social media what does it mean.  It means we all have high definition television walls and you can pick a subject matter and say, gee I would like to talk about hypothetical physics tonight.  And suddenly your wall is filled with people who also want to talk about hypothetical physics also in their own living rooms but now all sharing the same space and let’s have a conversation.

Susan Bratton: So virtual communities around subject matter passion interest areas.

Jim Sterne: Right, yes.

Susan Bratton: I like that.  I’m picturing you in kind of a La-Z-Boy lounger with a nice glass of wine, would that be?

Jim Sterne: Actually, I was – no, that’s not me.  I’m on my feet.

Susan Bratton: Oh, you like to standup and talk.

Jim Sterne: Yes and to be able to move around and wave my arms and go get another drink and --

Susan Bratton: More like a holodeck experience for you.

Jim Sterne: Yes, sure.

Susan Bratton: That would be good, right.

Jim Sterne: Yes.

Susan Bratton: Very Star Trekky.  I like that too.  Well, that’s fun.  We’ll all meet you on the holodeck.  But I am still glad to have you here in the flesh today.

Jim Sterne: In the studio, thank you.

Susan Bratton: I know it’s been good to have you right here in the flesh in the studio.

Jim Sterne: It’s been great to have been had.

Susan Bratton: And not the holodeck but the next time I see you I hope it won’t be this long but if it will be this long I will see you at the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit in San Jose ---

Jim Sterne: Yes, yes.

Susan Bratton: May, what is it?

Jim Sterne: 4 through 7.

Susan Bratton: 4 through 7.  So we will see you there and come check out this amazing conference that you have been growing.  I would like to go to Sao Paulo and Toronto and ---

Jim Sterne: Madrid.

Susan Bratton: Madrid and all these great places but I don’t think I will make those.

Jim Sterne: Well, San Jose is looking forward to having you there.

Susan Bratton: Thank you.  All right.  Well, you’ve gotten to meet Jim Sterne and thank you so much for tuning into DishyMix today.  I am your host Susan Bratton.  And I hope I’ll get to connect to with your next week.  Have a great day.