If your vendor is a public company, listening to the quarterly earnings calls are a great way to get some insight into what to expect from the vendor in the short and long term -- something you won't hear from your account manager.
Take the recent Omniture Q4 Earnings Call.
To the investor community, Omniture portrays itself, (rightly so, I think) as a marketing machine - company that is poised to sell you on its growing product suite. Not just analytics, but behavioral targeting and search engine marketing management, as well as its Genesis integrations.So what does it matter? If you own SiteCatalyst, you'll likely hear from your reps more frequently and probably meet some new ones, too. This could be a hassle.
Your approach may depend on the traction web analytics has in your organization. If analytics is still relegated to the gulag, then the idea of integrating analytics with third-party marketing data may seem like a remote concept. You need to do some serious evangelizing and business case development for the importance of analytics. Need help? Read Part 3 of the Web Analytics Report.
On the other hand, if your enterprise is ready to get to the "next level" in analytics - to have it help you drive decision support - you'll want to learn more about the web analytics' vendors ability to integrate with other data and systems.
This is the how Web analytics can provide real business value for your enterprise. If you are selecting a vendor now, you should be looking at analytics as part of you online optimization strategy and broader vendor requirements. If you have a current installation, you should be conducting an audit to determine how best to integrate analytics with offline data and marketing programs.
While Omniture may get most of the press, they are not the only game in town. Also look at WebTrends, Unica, Coremetrics, ClickTracks, Fireclick, IndexTools and Nedstat. All offer adjacent tools or some level of partner integrations that are worth evaluating. My advice: Listen and learn from the pitches. Separate the fact (that integrations take work), from fiction (integrations are never "plug and play"), then move your web analytics program to the next level.If your enterprise is ready to get to the "next level" in analytics - to have it help you drive decision support - you'll want to learn more about the Web analytics' vendors ability to integrate with other data and systems. This is the how web analytics can provide real business value for your enterprise.