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Saturday, 22 November 2014

The future is 'now'

Martin Doettling says it’s a good time to be joining Webtrends. The company, perhaps best known for its web analytics technology, has reported double-digit growth for the most recent financial year - but it’s the future prospects for the business that most excite the newly appointed chief marketing officer.

Doettling joins the firm from IBM, where he was vice president of marketing for the Coremetrics product line - a competitor to Webtrends. Speaking to Research, he outlines his vision for where the next few years will take the company, and the marketing business in general.

Research: So it seems the past twelve months have been good for Webtrends.
Martin Doettling:
Yes, year-over-year growth is double-digit. In a global economy that’s still somewhat constrained this is definitely a fantastic performance.

Where are you seeing your growth coming from?
MD:
The real outliers for us definitely point to where the industry is heading. Growth in mobile of almost 60% is just spectacular, but it’s no surprise really. What businesses have realised is that being online and providing an online experience is not sufficient any more because the online experience has migrated rapidly to become a mobile experience. The key challenge for marketers is to provide a seamless experience between a regular online site and a mobile site. Consumers expect this level of experience, but for marketers who work in that world it is both an opportunity and a challenge.

How does Webtrends position itself to help? What products do you offer in the mobile space?
MD:
First of all, as a solution suite there’s mobile analytics, which provides all the different metrics that are relevant to mobile. But we also have Optimize, a solution set that allows customers to test and target their web performance through AB tests or multivariate testing. Basically, our focus is on helping companies create insight and use insight from analytics to drive marketing investments and marketing focus.

Getting data isn’t so much of a problem now for companies, is it? The issue is how you make the most effective use of it.
MD:
That’s right. For us and our customers, it’s really about surfacing relevant insight, visualising insight and using as much data as is possible to drive marketing action. It’s part of a whole transformation of the marketing space.

Ten or fifteen years ago, the creative was the most critical part of a marketing strategy. Creative is still important, but the real value-driver for businesses is to have data, understand data and use data to provide customers with a compelling, always relevant and highly personalised experience in a digital environment. Only if you have data, if you have insight to personalise that experience, can you succeed and get through the digital noise.

How customers and consumers engage with brands is so fragmented and diversified now that a marketer has to be 100% sure that the investment they are making - whether it’s in an app, a microsite or an ad campaign - will drive a return. Flying blind is wasting money. Marketing dollars have not increased, they are just being redistributed.

So where do you see the market going? What products will companies need next from a company like Webtrends?
MD:
Companies need a complete understanding of the marketing cycle: starting with analytics, but then really using the right tools around visualisation, optimising the web experience, etc. The future will be in areas where, instead of aggregating data and looking at data to draw conclusions, marketers will be in a position to react to real-time events. Being able to understand in real-time what is happening in your business and being able to impact that with very focused marketing investments and initiatives to influence and effect consumer behaviour… that can only happen with the arrival of big data, and this is where we will see investments in the next two to three years.

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