Q&A: Barry Parshall, SVP of product management, iJento
Barry Parshall, SVP of product management at Web analytics company iJento discusses channel integration and the benefits of online catalogs.
Direct Marketing News (DMN): Every analytics services company claims to be able to track consumer engagements across all channels. Is this really possible? And if so, what are the main challenges?
Parshall (iJento): There's no magic here. It is largely the burden of the individual organization to establish that connection between the offline and online world. The user has to opt in to uniquely identify them, whether an email address, phone number, account number, or something unique. In the offline world, it should be a loyalty card or call center ID. Once you've done that, now you have that relationship formed between the data storage. You must make sure your online data store is capturing and maintaining every unique thing the consumer is doing at the individual consumer level. A lot of systems aggregate the data, they count hits, but they throw away that detail record so we don't know who did it.
DMN: Your company provides catalog services for clients. What sorts of insights can companies glean from online catalogs that can't be derived from e-commerce sites?
Parshall: Ultimately, you are still trying to understand what individuals are doing and understand the segments and behavior so you can interact with them in an engaging way. What we're trying to do is provide a holistic understanding of what individual consumers care about as indicated by what they're doing on the catalog or on e-commerce.
DMN: How important will privacy legislation be in the upcoming years? Are we nearing a data doomsday scenario or is there little cause for alarm?
Parshall: I am not yet seeing reason to be alarmed, except possibly in Europe. Data privacy laws will affect advertisers. Those trying to understand which ads are being looked at and responded to will have problems because they're using third party cookies. First party cookies still feel safe. At the end of the day, even if we require explicit permission to be tracked, legitimate organizations will find a way to capture that by making a compelling offer.
DMN: What can clients learn about their customers by analyzing mobile analytics? Is this area still too ripe or is there good information out there?
Parshall: There's lot of good information. It's getting to the point now where we can't talk about mobile devices as the exception to the rule. A lot of people are using mobile as their primary interaction with the Web. They're looking for products, services and restaurants. Days have passed when mobile was a novel little thing. Now it is a standard way people interact. The big thing I'd say for the developers of mobile sites is to make sure the form factor and response time consumers are getting is delightful or they'll stop trying to engage.