The most important skill in web analytics

What is the most important skill and greatest determiner of your success in web analytics, out of the list below?

  • Statistics
  • Modeling
  • Tool implementation
  • Tool use
  • Data visualization
  • Reporting
  • Teasing insight out of the data
  • Marketing channel expertise
  • Usability
  • Information Architecture
  • A deep understanding of your business
  • Sales

If you guessed “sales,” you are right. If you can’t sell yourself, sell your ideas, sell the need to implement well, measure, report, analyze, test, and optimize, you will be a servant to your organization and its various stakeholders, pushy personalities, and its operational issues. You will be infinitely more likely to be less productive, less impactful, frustrated, unhappy, unfulfilled, and paid nowhere near what you are worth. One skill can fix that.

Start with some good books:

These are going to feel cheesy to you. They may feel weak on facts. They may feel lame or even a little manipulative. It’s up to you to decide what you will put into practice. I’m not suggesting you read any of these books (or any book, for that matter) without a healthy dose of skepticism or desire to challenge the thinking, but you won’t be worse off for reading them. You will find things you will put into practice that will wow you.

After you start selling internally, the next step is to find various internal partners. People who can teach you the ropes of what gets things done, get you to the right people with the right context, and make your selling and influence life infinitely easier.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking irrefutable evidence does its own selling. We spend our days building cases, and really good ones. But everything we do and everything we find needs a sale or it will be sidelined by other, sexier ideas that were sold better.

You need to be competent in the other skills, but if you’re not working hard on improving the one skill that will make you happer, earn you more money, and make you feel more valuable, it might be worth a second look.

Have a great weekend, hopefully with some good reading!


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2 Comments

  1. Eric Richter

    You made some great points in such a relatively short post. You should add Tell to Win by Peter Guber to the list of books to read. I recently picked it up from the library and am really enjoying it a lot.

    Posted July 29, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Permalink
  2. I think being a “seller” is mandatory for a lot of jobs :). If you don’t know how to spread your ideas then your ideas are useless…

    Posted August 2, 2011 at 4:42 am | Permalink