As a long form of a bio and my inability to discover if blogger allows for an about me subpage, what follows is my first post, documenting my long and winding road to a career in web analytics.
I arrived at college with the simple plans of becoming a mechanical engineer, getting an R&D job at Ford or GM, creating a revolutionary powertrain system, and then eventually working for Aston Martin or Ferrari. Simple enough, right? Fast forward three years into my grand plan and I was nearly certain that if I continued my career path, I would soon be admitted to the nearest sanitarium. I had found out first hand that the passion I had while driving and working on cars didn't exactly translate to the amount of passion required to get a degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech.
What happened next was a semester of exploration. Not the, "I'm fresh out of living with my parents for the past 18 years, let's do the dumbest stuff ever imagined!" type of exploration, but the "I'm taking classes in multiple disciplines to see what it is that truly interests me, what it is that I'm truly passionate about because I haven't a clue!" type of exploration. The answer I discovered was quite a surprise to me. I found myself in Marketing 1101 completely entranced in the "why" and the "what". I had to know why people were choosing a certain product and what was influencing their decision. I decided to continue my path in marketing to see if my new found passion would soon fizzle. It didn't.
After graduation I started my marketing career at a corporation that sells a service/product to ad agencies and corporate marketers. It was here that I received my first taste of search engine marketing. Search marketing was fascinating to me. From performing research into customer's behavior and their expected intent, I could create a campaign and see results in nearly real time. This new medium of marketing (new to me at least) was amazing, it had a mix of all the different aspects of marketing that I loved. And then I began to use Google Analytics.
The sheer power of Google Analytics almost seemed a little unfair to me. It allowed me to see how people were coming to the website, what keywords they were using, what content they liked, what content they hated... It allowed me a glimpse into the "why" and the "what" that I was always searching for and refine my campaigns for greater results.
After completing a number of extremely stressful "marketing miracles" that nearly every corporate marketer is presented with at one point in their careers, double leads while halving the cost month after month while increasing the quality of lead (yes, I was able to pull this off three months in a row using Google AdWords and Google Analytics, however I'm still not exactly sure how), I decided it was time to see what it was like on the other side of marketing. The agency side.
Working within an agency has been, and still is, a tremendous experience. Not because of the awesome perks like beer Fridays, a relaxed (read non-existent) dress code, or less structured work hours. The greatest part of woking in an agency is the ability to impact such a vast amount of people. Early on as a corporate marketer I quickly learned a basic formula first hand. The higher amount of qualified leads = a higher amount of employed people within the company, the lower the amount of qualified leads = a higher amount of salespeople getting their belongings mailed to them after they were fired at lunch. Working for an agency has allowed me to impact all of my clients with the same equation (except on the agency side, it's an email or phone call from the client instead of a lunch meeting). What resulted was more contact requests, more appointments scheduled, and more ecommerce transactions across the board. I was doing what I discovered I loved, making an impact, at what I was good at, search marketing.
But as my experience grew and I became more knowledgable about the web and the different avenues of marketing, I discovered that while the impact I could make within paid search was great, the impact I could make across all avenues was so much greater. The application of insights on a broader scale meant the ability to touch more people and make a much larger impact across all sources of web traffic.
While I have used web analytics in a lesser magnitude throughout my career, I am now a devoted student of web analytics. I hope for this blog to serve as a way to document my path to becoming a true "analysis ninja" and even further. I also hope Mining for Insights is a place where I can share my experiences in growing my career and just maybe influence a search marketer or two to join the great world of web analytics to make a real impact.