How can I fend off the boss with data while I do my job of building a great website?
February 23, 2008 11:48 AM Subscribe
What kind of web stats can I provide my bosses, to satisfy their hunger for "measurable stats" but avoid going down a rathole and losing focus?
posted by anonymous to work & money (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I joined a very old line company mid-way through last year as the manager of the web team. The company is a few hundred years old, and is roughly in the retail business. The company's clients are generally older, well-heeled, and relatively technophobic. The website itself is mainly brochure ware for the company, but has extensive and detailed on-line product catalogues. There is no e-commerce component. My hiring was coincident with the re-launch of its website. There's little interactive "2.0" functionality to it, but some pretty cool stuff with regard to displaying items for sale.
When I was hired, I knew all of this, and basically took the challenge on to, over time, redo the website and bring it into the 21st century (employer user-centered design techniques, rich interfaces, etc... make the whole experience a lot more engaging). I have built out a product roadmap with a lot of this functionality, but my boss and the CEO (his boss) don't want to hear any of it, until we can establish some benchmarks for success and some reasonable goals. The first thing they are looking to show is the adoption rate, i.e.: how have the traditional customers taken to the new platform? Has this led to additional sales activity, has it lessened costs (i.e.: do we need to do shorter runs of print catalogues because more customers are now exclusively doing product research with us on-line?), and so on.
Those are worthy pursuits, but the problem is that we have not even been through a full business cycle, and the site's functionality is so basic, I cannot think of anything past basic stats like pageviews/customer or unique visits by each customer trended over time (however, until we get through a business cycle or two, these data will be skewed). Just the most basis stuff.
Problem here is that the CEO has a monomaniacal focus on everything being data-driven and my boss seems unable to push back on him, if he even wants to. My viewpoint, based on all of the above is that if we build a state of the art site and make elegant, engaging and highly useful, we will attract a new generation of customer. Any attempts now to justify what's been done, or what we're going to do (other than focus groups), I think might be premature or misleading.
Can anyone offer any help?