Lack Management Support or Buy-in? Embarrass Them!

center of attentionYou know exactly what is necessary in order for your company to achieve Web Analytics 2.0 greatness. You attend a conference and hear all the speakers share deep insights – that ends up depressing you rather than exciting you.

At the end of one of my speaking engagements you come up and say "Thanks Avinash, that was really great, you've opened our eyes. But."

I know that's coming next. . . .

"Our Senior Management won't let us do that."

Or "We have been banging out heads on this one for six years."

Or "I proposed testing / surveys / competitive intelligence / Analysts but I was shot down."

Or sometimes "My manager simply does not get it / Analytics / Web / Me / Anything."

Or one of many such variations.

the always right boss 1 Bottom line: It is not my fault, it is their fault.

Since I don't want to upset my loyal readers I'll agree that it is really not Us. It is just that we are too low on the totem pole or that our management is ignorant / opinionated / close minded / other things. We have tried but failed. We are great, sadly they would not know greatness if it hit them smack on the face.

(There, there. . . feel better? I am on your side! :)

So what do you do to move the ball forward? Certainly not buckle in and put in another five years on the job doing mediocre things and adding no value (you would never do that!).

Here is what you do: Embarrass your management!

Yes that does sound like career suicide. But stick with me.

Most of the time I have observed that we try to bring about change by trying to argue with our Management. Or we are insulted that they won't accept our recommendations, after all we are the experts here and that's why they hired us!!

Often no amount of our own credibility can drive change. You need to take you out of the equation.

That's because the HiPPO, highest paid person's opinion, at the table has her/his own priorities and experiences and context and opinions. They get priority over your experience, context and opinion.

While most HiPPO's won't yield to your Chinese Torture, they don't have to, there are two things that they will almost always yield to:

    Customers & Competitors.

When I say embarrass your senior management that's what I mean.

Use your customers and competitors to help you move the ball forward (buy a new tool, hire another analyst, kill hideous home pages, spend right amounts on SEM and SEO, publish rich media on your site, implement feedburner, or whatever else you want).

Senior Managers are biased towards themselves, but they bow to customer data and competitive opportunities.

Here are 6 strategies you can use to bring the voice of the customer and perspective from competitors to the table, and win big (!!). . . .

# 1: Implement a Experimentation & Testing Program.

# 2: Capture Voice of Customer. Surveys, Remote Usability, Whatever.

# 3: Deploy the Benchmarks I Say, Deploy 'em Now!

# 4: Competitive Intelligence is Your New Best Friend.

# 5: Hijack a Friendly Website (/ Earn Your Right to be Heard).

# 6: If All Else Fails. . . . .

Of course I'll be glad to share detailed execution tips with you, keep an eye out for real stories from my own experience. . .

# 1: Implement a Experimentation & Testing Program.

This is the biggest no brainer, and the killer of most stupid ideas. It is the best way to take yourself out of the game: "It is not my opinion that dancing monkeys, or grey text on black background, don't work. Here is data from our latest test."

It is hard to say no to a Executive idea. But it is easy to say: "Excellent idea, why don't we split traffic and send 50% of the home page traffic to your idea and get customer feedback on a no calls to action only video home page."

a b testing

Testing is great because you can get the most important person's opinion: The Customer's.

After a few times of being proven wrong even the biggest HiPPO will back off and give you all the support you need.

And now you have no excuse to avoid testing.

The Google Website Optimizer is free! It takes approximately six minutes to set up a A/B test with it (if your content is ready). Slightly longer to set up a multivariate test.

If you are looking for paid options then I like Offermatica a lot and Optimost gets good reviews too.

Want to learn about testing?

# 2: Capture Voice of Customer. Surveys, Remote Usability, Whatever.

Another excellent way to remove your opinion from the table and get the customer's to get your Senior Management to change.

Do something simple: implement my The Three Greatest Questions Ever survey.

In one shot you'll get Primary Purpose and help your Decision Makers understand that people don't come to your website to look at your worst selling highest margin products. You'll also get Task Completion Rate – how much your site is failing your customers.

know satisfaction

Quick story: The first time we got the task completion and customer satisfaction scores for a Support website the score was 21. Out of a 100. Yes 100.

Essentially it was saying that the site purely existed to create Net Detractors, not Net Promoters (as was the intent). The company would have been better served by shutting the site. Yes some Customers would be upset that the company did not have a support site. But atleast they would not be actively pissed off after experiencing the site.

Root cause? I.T. owned the site. Yes a site for helping customers was owned and run by I.T.! Not the support team. Not Marketing. It was I.T.

As soon as the first survey responses were reported to the Senior Management they were so embarrassed that they immediately appointed a Director level person to exclusively own the site, on the business side, and gave him a small staff to create a best in class support website (and of course reduce support phone calls).

See what I mean by embarrassing management? That site had existed as is for five years. Then a small effort by some rouge surveyors changed it all.

Do that.

Want to learn more?

# 3: Deploy the Benchmarks I Say, Deploy 'em Now!

You want time / money / attention / people for your website. Yet you get none. Time to benchmark against your competition (and hoping that they are doing better!).

Benchmarks can come in handy as a perfect way to set context around your own performance. Be it for in vogue metrics like Conversion Rates or for metrics that should be in vogue like Abandonment Rates. Sometimes this means being aware of how crappy your site is performing, and other times it means having the ammo you need to get a bonus.

You can use benchmarks such as the one dutifully provided by the Fireclick Index. . . .

conversion rate benchmarks fireclick index

Or from associations such as shop.org.

Or from your survey vendors such as the ACSI or the iPSI benchmarks for Customer Satisfaction for various companies / industry verticals.

Often with benchmarks we get into silly arguments like how do they measure this and that etc. Remember comparing for one point in time is usually sub optimal. But trended over time some of the vagaries of time, seasonality, formulas etc can be reduced. So understand how the benchmark is computed, make sure you have access to the best possible data and then go compare trends.

So when you use the Fireclick index Last Week, above, might be less useful. But that trend for the year is very helpful. Just lay your own performance line on top of that. Better still you are in the Electronics sector, compare it to the same sector.

It can be amazing to step outside your own web analytics tool data, your little silo, and look outside and compare. You may be considered tall in China but not in the Holland.

With benchmarks we are solving for the same thing as above: Providing a external opinion that is often easier to digest by our Managers.

# 4: Competitive Intelligence is Your New Best Friend.

I love this one, nothing like specific reality to hit you on the face like cold water.

Here is a example. Our company "owned" a category term. There were only two companies essentially competing and this was the Category key term. We were happy to have our web analytics tool show it all the time in our top referring keyword report. Bunch of traffic too.

The first time I logged into a CI tool and looked at our "share of search" I was dumb founded. We had 6% share of all the searches coming under that key phrase and, this made me cry, the top five sites that were getting traffic for "our" keyword were ones we had never heard of! Someone was eating our lunch and we had no idea!!

That's what I mean.

After that I got all the money I wanted, and had been begging for, to do SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Here is another example. Say I work at LowesCompetitor.Com. I have been confident and happy. And my trends look nice.

home depot and lowes visits trend compete

But recently I have been learning a lot about changes to the site's acquisition strategy, we are also having trouble getting support to make the site better and execute on our multichannel strategy.

Sadly I simply can't get my executives to listen. Ahh but I have a friend, my competitive intelligence data! I locate it and show my executives this:

home depot and lowes pages per visits trend compete

Whoa!!

Something is potentially dramatically wrong with LowesCompetitor.Com and potentially right with www.lowes.com. 11.8 pages per visit compared to 28.6! (Did I read that right 28! God I wish I owned lowes.com!!)

You can see how the second graph would be helpful to me in my battle to get the Management team's attention. I bet no LowesCompetitor.Com Senior Executive would want the red trend to continue.

See what I mean? Embarrass your executives, in a good way.

Both examples above from www.compete.com a service with a ton of free competitive intelligence, and really really affordable deep search CI data.

There are other wonderful sets of data out there. I was trying to pull some from my HitWise login, which also has great data, but I kept getting access denied. See seven specific ideas in the first link below (tips & best practices).

Want more ideas of how to use Competitive Intelligence?

# 5: Hijack a Friendly Website (/ Earn Your Right to be Heard).

This was one of my early strategies when I kept getting resistance from "high levels". I could not convert Them with words ("evangelizing" :) so I tried to show them that I deserved to be heard (/ listened to).

I went around the company meeting various website owners and making a judgment call on their need for data, their willingness to cooperate and take action. Then I picked a small site where the owner wanted to drive change and more importantly was open to our help. Then we gave that site all our love. Tagged it right, integrated their humble campaigns, shared insights with them that they could action (vs. reports that were data pukes), did a few A/B tests and so on and so forth.

In three months the site's performance by every measure improved dramatically. Conversion went up, CPC and CPA's went down, ROI went up, Bounce Rate went down and what not. In short we made the website owner a hero in the company.

Here was the amazing outcome: He went around presenting to Executives and other Business Unit Leaders and even the CEO to show how great his little site was doing (and yes a little bit of how great he was doing).

When people asked him how did you do that? He told the data story and working with our team.

That was priceless. Now everyone wanted to work with us.

So here is my advice to you: Make someone else a hero (and the center of attention). Not you.

Stop beating your head against a brick wall. Three years of that is enough. Find a willing partner, inside your direct responsibility or outside. Find a small site (or a big one) where you can make progress.

Then show 'em what you can do.

www.missionbeachforrent.com might be a small site for some sweet condo rentals when you are in San Diego. . . .

mission beach for rent

. . . . but it is full of tracking possibilities. Outbound link tracking, form submissions, non-ecommerce tracking, downloads, offline conversions and on and on. If I can do all that with this, imagine what you can do with your business!

Here is a worst case scenario: If no one in your company wants to work with you then go outside.

Start a blog and go crazy with analytics (tools are free!). Here is what my blog has taught me (just one small blog!): Blog Analytics.

Show them what you have learned, reports and insights. They will listen because you would have not just been begging / griping / bitching / gnawing but rather you would have actioned things.

Earn the right to be heard.

# 6: If All Else Fails. . . . . Call Me!!

This one's not as cheezy as it sounds.

Sometimes you need someone from the outside to show the vision, to throw some cold water on people's faces, to hold up a mirror, to bring credibility and gravitas, help create a roadmap, be a ally, to charge you large sums of money so your CEO will take them seriously (if you are in this camp definitely call ME!).

Yes I can poke fun at myself. From the absolutely brilliant www.despair.com . . . .

despair consultant

So true!!!

It can seem that many Consultants / Consulting Companies operate on the Despair poster mindset. But there some who can meet the criteria of tip #6, here is how you'll know who they are:

    They are battle hardened from years of being a Practitioner, not stuffed with non empathetic only looking from the outside experience, and they have their feet firmly planted in the future not the past.

If tips 1 through 5 don't work for you find the right Outsider and she/he can help, in case all of them are busy you can call me as a last resort.

That's it. Post over.

Ok quick summary: The problem with Management support is not that you have not tried hard enough of that your ideas are not good enough. The problem is you have not tried to leverage your optimal weapons: Customers, Competitors & taking action to earn the right to be heard.

Go forth and "embarrass them". I mean that in the kindest, gentlest way.

Good luck.

Now its your turn.

Please share your own lessons, perspectives, critique, bouquets and brickbats via comments. What works for you? What does not? Please add your voice. Thank you.

[Like this post? For more posts like this please click here, if it might be of interest please check out my book: Web Analytics: An Hour A Day.]

Comments

  1. 1
    Joe Teixeira says:

    Posts like this are why you are THE man, Avinash!

    I'd like to add that items like this in this post – you know, the whole "change the culture" thing – isn't something that is going to happen in a 30-minute meeting with your executive team (trust me I tried). You have to win tiny tiny skirmishes and gain an inch at a time, over a long period of time.

    I wish I could say that magic word or write that magic email that would make everyone "see the light", but realistically, people who have been doing things for so long a certain way won't just "snap out of it". You have to play a game of chess where you're already down 3 pawns and a knight against your opponent. Patience, subtlety, hard work, and knowing the exact moments when to strike are your tools of the trade here.

    In the end, you'll win. It's just as simple as that. You're the smart one, the knowledgeable one, the most intelligent one. Over time, you will prevail and make progress and help propel your business to the next level.

    Rock on Avinash!

  2. 2
    JW says:

    If your personalizing interactions as win/loose, then your involving ego's and hippo's have the advantage…if you leverage facts in a compelling nature, intelligence should prevail. I guess its as easy as it is difficult. :)

    What is interesting about 'magic' (Joe) is the magician always knew the outcome and skillfully guides an audience to it. The presentation pales in comparison to the preparation; but that's all the audience sees.

  3. 3
    eusebio says:

    Great post!

    This post is a lesson for life on projects.

    Very good

  4. 4
    Jim Anderson says:

    Avinash,

    Wow, you continue to provide insightful nuggets into the world of web analytics, thank you!

    We have been able to introduce management here to the value of Testing, VOC (yes, primary purpose) and KPI based benchmarks. However, we still have a way to go on optimizing the customer experience and you have just given me some great ideas on some new pitches…

    Here's to letting the Hippo run free (outside of the decision making circle) and to using the competition to 'nudge' management in the optimal direction.

  5. 5
    Glen Lipka says:

    One suggestion that will help you "embarrass" related to A/B testing. Educate your designers! Not all tests are created equally. If you explain clearly to a designer what metrics you want to improve, they can do a better job of moving the needle. Don't just ask for something "better" or force them to do it how YOU think it will work. Educate them in the way you are measuring and hold them accountable to success.

    A good designer will be able to move the needle MUCH further than you could do on your own.

    Once you educate your designers, do not micromanage them. They know better than you how to design. Just like you don't like to be micromanaged and shot down by the HiPPO, the designer hates to be shot down by you (or others on the team). If you partner with (and protect!) the designer, you will be able to embarrass the HiPPO with real needle moving results.

    Great advice all around Avinash!

  6. 6

    I love option 5. For the simple reason when it comes off, everyone else looks at it they tend to say 'Wow' and then suddenly you have everyone wanting to do the same thing.

    Of course your friendly website doesn't even have to be the small one or the one that is in most need of the change, it just so happens to be the most susceptible to change at that particular time. Working out which site will give you the best ROI for change might involve looking at how much time you have to spend doing the analysis and persuasion to the site owner to do something about it. And then the benefits that you get out of the back of it might not just be the change to the site, but also the ability to make the changes to other sites with less persuasion.

  7. 7
    Jim Anderson says:

    To add to Glen's suggestion which I agree with 101%…

    Prior to running a test or redesigning a page, put up a survey asking your customers about their primary purpose on the page, etc. Then summarize this info along with your key metrics for improvement and let the smart creative folks do their job!

  8. 8
    Steven says:

    Avinash,

    Another great entry. The basic principals here (and in many other posts) can apply beyond web analytics to other parts of the business that need to use data. There are a few executives I'm planning to embarrass! :)

    -Steven

  9. 9

    I think you summed it up beautifully when you said "leverage your optimal weapons". However, it takes time and experience to recognize those in any organization – which people, which tools, which information.

    Also just assembling your arsenal of free tools and getting them under your belt takes a little time and experience – because you never see a squirrel use a throwing star ;). Every time I read your post I pick up another throwing star to add to this arsenal.

  10. 10
    Reid Carr says:

    This is perfect for so many people. We've always contended that conversion-oriented sites need analytics and capable analysts like businesses need accounting and finance people.

    Keep fighting the good fight.

  11. 11

    Great post Avinash!

    Oddly enough the problem we sometimes have as a media company isn't the willingness or even buy-in of senior management but rather the available resources to execute!

    From most people I've spoken to, media sites are in a bit of a class of their own. We often own many many properties and expect to run them all on skeleton crews.

    This is when standardized low-cost approaches come in handy (like Website Optimizer!).

    Watch out though, might just call you to come into the office one day to "have my back". :)

    Mike

  12. 12
    Judd Exley says:

    Absolutely BRILLIANT, simply bloody brilliant. Joe's right, you are The Man.

    While I've never tried all of these strategies, I've done some of them, and they work, BOY do they work.

    The most effective one that I ever did though, was as simple as it gets.

    "Here's how much money we make now… here's how much we WILL be making when we do my idea."

    Hit 'em in their egos, yes this is highly effective.

    Hitting 'em in their wallets though, in my opinion, will get you results much faster.

  13. 13

    So true.

    Being fairly new in the web analytics business (less than 2 years), I realize how hard it is to "create a web analytics culture" where I work. I know this will be a slow process but I also believe it is our responsibility to convince HiPPO. The fact is, we have answers to questions they didn't even know they have. WA is a great tool and HiPPO need to be educate. It is our responsibility to make them see the light.

    I was lucky to convince my boss of the need to have a full-time analyst after some talks with him. How I convince him? By my passion when I explain to him what can WA do.

  14. 14

    "In three months the site’s performance by every measure improved dramatically. Conversion went up, CPC and CPA’s went up, Bounce Rate went down and what not. In short we made the website owner a hero in the company."

    I think it should be "CPC and CPA’s went DWON". :-) If CPC and CPA’s went up, no one will be hero.

  15. 15

    Joe : You are of course right about the time it takes to change, I should have stressed that in the article a little bit. Nothing happens overnight and hopefully people will not give up without trying several times! Excellent add, thanks.

    JW : I hope that the post does not come across as a win/lose, it was not meant to be. If it comes across at that then I have failed. My goal was to give some tips to people who have been beating their head against a brick wall for a while. In the end it will be a win-win, the company wins, the Management looks good and the humble WA person gets a bonus!

    Jeremy / Reid : Yes there is the little matter of the "90" in our famous 10/90 rule! :)

    Mike : I have your back! A trip to beautiful Canada is always a nice distraction! Please call!

    Judd : You've put forth a classic, I should have remembered to add it. Reminds me of Jason Burby's famous monetization models that are to die for.

    Sébastien : You are a hero to so many of us! You managed to convince your management to support you in getting resources. Congratulations and Good Luck!

    Proactive PPC : Oops! You are absolutely right, I have fixed it in the post now. But you have given me encouragement, atleast some of the readers are kind enough to read everything I write!!
    Also: Note to self – stop posting at 0100 hrs in the night!

    Thanks for all the great comments everyone, much appreciated.

    -Avinash.

  16. 16
    David Jaeger says:

    Avinash,

    I Got your book, and am looking forward the great read.

    I've used Google Optimizer, and Compete for presentations, and they are both really powerful. I guess I have another 4 methods of pitching concepts to employers and clients – and the "bring in Avinash if all else fails" :)

    Google Optimizer – ("C'mon, let's just test whether this 'must-have-because-our-competitor-has-it-gadget' really does help. You spend a week,can find out solid numbers on whether it's really 'the-best-thing-since-sliced-bread', or useless!, and best of all; it's FREE!")

    Compete is really easy to use, and the graphs give non-techies the at-a-glance data. No more excel graphs for that!

  17. 17

    Wow, a hero?!? Should I buy a cape? I don't think I would look good in spandex? :-)

    I blush when I read your comment. I'm no hero, I'm just passionate about WA and was lucky enough to have a boss who trust me.

    The hardest part is still ahead, make the magic happen.

  18. 18
    Gavin Doolan says:

    Hi Avinash,

    Thanks for the great article. I have been sitting in my office hanging my head against the wall in rage! :) Well not quite, but I've been sitting here thinking how can I convince them, how can I show them what I know and how I can make them more money.

    Your post came at the perfect time. I'm putting together some competitive analysis data and am planning to show it to them and get some action.

    We have a big Hippo or 2 here because its a family run business in many respects so there is the trust factor also.

    I'll definitely be blogging about this myself.

  19. 19
    Stacy Hyde says:

    Great post Avinash! You consistently have a unique perspective.

    Can I make a request for a future post?

    Tips for choosing a web analytics consultant.

    Your summary observation at the end was great and I would love to hear more. I am sure it will be unique.

  20. 20
    Dan says:

    wow, great post, you just got another subscriber…

  21. 21
    Minjae says:

    I will share my own lessons, perspectives, critique, bouquets and brickbats.

    Not for now, 'cause I am preparing a strategy.

    Thank you for guiding me.

  22. 22
    Sue Sweet says:

    Awesome post, Avinash! These are great insights in here. I am forwarding this to my whole team – even though they mostly don't work on web analytics, there are great insights in here for everyone.

  23. 23
    Mike Chipman says:

    Nice work Avinash. I especially like the example with the Mission Beach condo…how fortunate you are to have met the site owner!

  24. 24
    Robbin Steif says:

    I absolutely love that despair website.

  25. 25
    Alex -S- says:

    As always -great!!!! I'm in exactly the same boat as so many others – thankfully one of the "hippos" (love that term BTW) is beginning to see the light.

    I implimented analytics to our current site, even though its going to be completely made over within 2 months -just to be able to (gulp-hopefully) show the value of the recommendations i made to the new site.

    Keep up the good work!!! (Btw -added this to delish and tweeted it too!)

  26. 26
    Gab says:

    After reading this, I almost wish I worked in a big company and had this problem! I'm passing it on to my friends in larger companies where this is an issue though. Keep up the sweet writing Avinash!

  27. 27
    Dr. Pete says:

    I balked a bit at the word "embarrass" (actually embarrassing your boss can be really dangerous), but I completely agree with your points. I was VP for a small company, and even though the owner listened to me, his basic attitude was "put your money where your mouth is". If I was willing to champion something and show that it could work, he'd almost always support it. If I just complained about it, I'd usually get nowhere.

    As a boss, I started seeing the same things with employees. If they really believed in something and would go out of their way to convince me (do some research, present some evidence, etc.), I'd be on board. If they just came in every day with something different to harp about, they weren't going to get my buy-in.

  28. 28
    Nicolas says:

    This is good. As a user myself who went through the painful process with my management, I can only agree to all this.

    One item that really helped me for your first point (Implement a Experimentation & Testing Program), is that I showed my management many systems that were not too impressive (the ones you mentioned above). The feedback then was worse and I was getting really discouraged. However, when I discovered one solution that allowed great testing, experimentation and fantastic results, the feedback from management became so positive that they bought into it. So yes some solutions are free but they can really work against you. Go for the solutions that have impressive results. Our system is XiTi (www.xiti.com) if anyone is interested. We have been using it for 2 years and the service (amongst other things) is superb!

    Thank you again for your great help in this market.

  29. 29
    Kat says:

    Great post, I totally agree with everything you said. I learned a while ago that a good credibility strategy (like the one in this post) is needed to get people to listen to new concepts. Personally, I believe that any person with an ounce of reason can be convinced using these methods (or some modification of them).

  30. 30
    Kyle M. Brown says:

    Wow. Another great post. I do believe its is possible to convince some HIPPOS using this method but I'll play devils advocate.

    This post makes it seem like this happens overnight. Gather and serve the data and doors will open. I guess that depends.

    I recommend that one should consider the time this will likely take in a large company to accomplish.

    Even after the data is gathered, you still have to get buy in from a committee of other organizations that may be impacted.

    For some. this has to be something your willing to carry on your back for the duration of time needed to push it through. Oh, and by the way, be prepared to continue doing all of the other things that your responsible for in addition to proving your case.

    If your really believe in it, this shouldn't matter. You'll find out once you start the journey if you Really believe in it.

    Kyle

  31. 31

    Kyle : Thank you for playing devil's advocate, it is always welcome!

    My intent was not to imply, overtly or covertly, that this could happen overnight. There are some things that can dramatically drive change, like testing or surveys.

    In the former you need one good test to have a huge impact and for the latter you just need couple interesting insights and the management will yield (after all they can argue about web analytics data but not VOC!).

    Other things will take time, like the hijack a site and prove your worth. That will clearly need patience and hard work, lots of it.

    The concern you mention below is I think more emblematic of a web analytics only approach. "Here's the click data, please pay attention to it, no, then ok I will try again" etc. :) Then you and I have to go back and try and try again and again.

    Thanks again so much.

    -Avinash.

  32. 32
    Mitch says:

    When doing A/B testing you don't want to route your traffic 50/50. Try 95/5 — with 5% going to the new design (B). This way if B performs worse than A, traffic is not going drop like a rock. Plus, if your allocating just 5% to B, only a small portion of visitors will see it, and fewer will be left wondering what you are doing messing with their site.

  33. 33
    Suzanne says:

    Excellent post! It's almost as if you were speaking directly about my situation.

    I work for a small local daily newspaper. We also offer website development for other small businesses in the area. This aspect of our company is handled by another branch at a different office. For now, I am the online advertising sales co-ordinator.

    The problem I have is I am way more interested in the website development and marketing aspect of our company. But no one will listen. The person in this position of power (the HiPPO, if you will) has very little experience with Analytics at all! He just started reading about it a few months ago! When I first started this job, I mentioned SEO for our website customers and was told by him that SEO is "snake oil"!!

    Prior to this company, I was heavily involved with the development and analytics of my previous company. That was almost two years ago!

    So I have a lot more knowledge and experience with this then the present HiPPO!

    As I go out and talk to people about our online advertising, I often get into converstations about how people are using their website and if they are gaining the necessary info from it that they should. Often they have no idea of what I am talking about. So in turn, people have offered to hire me on the side to help them.

    This would be frowned upon since we have someone else that's supposed to be doing that but honestly, I think I could help them.

    What a better way to show I can bring more results than to HiJack a friendly website and show the other higher-ups that we need to be paying more attention to this for our customers.

    Thank you for your insight. I am very glad I have found your blog and will be a faithful reader from now on.

  34. 34

    Thank you so very much for responding and pointing out this post. It is fantastic and I have identified easy implementation of 3 of these strategies right now starting with finding sites that I can hijack. Once more thank you for great insight and being a great mentor and teacher. I will keep the post updated of my progress and story

  35. 35
    Phil Buckley says:

    I have been fighting the HIPPO for the last 2 years, I'm exhausted. I want to give up.

    Then I read a post like this and it gives me a bit of hope.

    Thanks.

  36. 36
    Ranjan Jena says:

    Hi Avanish,

    Thanks for all the valuable ideas and tips that you have been sharing. I'm a regular follower and reader of all your articles and videos.

    To convey, "One is learning by my own ways, and 2nd is through Kaushik.net, which have been so helpful to improve my career stand in the market." Atlast You and Your Details are the best.

    Call you Soon!

  37. 37
    Greg Moore says:

    Beginners are often afraid. They like simple explanations and lots of encouragement. They shy away from a challenge because it scares them.

    "Advanced" people are the opposite. Simple ideas and encouragement bore them. They may even think you are being condescending, find this approach offensive and refuse to cooperate.

    Yet if you offer up a challenge the "advanced" people will take the bait.

    So we could ask a HIPPO, "Hypothetically, if we wanted to increase sales by 10%, what type of person should we focus on, and how could we identify this type of person by looking at the way they use our site?" Also, "Once we've isolated this group, how can we come up with five or ten ideas to test on them, to see which one they respond to best?"

    They may take the bait and start working with you on advanced segmentation of visitors and A/B testing optimization.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Lack Management Support or Buy-in? Embarrass Them! – "Must read!" You will find a list of ways to embarrass management in this post – and it's not the humiliating kind of embarrassment either, it's constructive. [...]

  2. [...] Analytics: Great (and funny!) article by Avinash Kaushik on getting buy-in from your superiors by embarrassing them. [...]

  3. [...] Lack Management Support or Buy-in? Embarrass Them! – Highly recommended read! The problem with Management support is not that you have not tried hard enough of that your ideas are not good enough. The problem is you have not tried to leverage your optimal weapons: Customers, Competitors & taking action to… [...]

  4. [...] 1.) Educate internal stakeholders about the ROI of Analytics and what it really takes to become a data driven organization: In-depth analytics skill; collaboration across departments; a culture of testing and experimentation; an Analytics strategy and well-defined metrics; established methodology; plus infrastructure and policy to ensure that data is successfully translated into action. (If senior management resists, you might try embarassing them into action.) [...]

  5. [...]
    I particularly liked two examples of managing upward. He mentioned Avinash Kaushik’s reference to the “HIghest Paid Person’s Opinion,” or “HIPPO.” While Avinash’s post is beautifully written, Glen summed it up by saying that it comes down to figuring out what’s important to the HIPPO and driving your responses so they make the right decisions. Bring the voice of the customer to your arguments to help shape the HIPPO’s opinion. But don’t ever fall in love with your own work, as the HIPPO has the final say.
    [...]

  6. [...]
    The reality is that some ideas are very bad, and the morons who managed to get them green-lighted often had to go around the grown ups in the room who end up getting dragged along for the ride. But how do they do that? Well it’s not that hard – because everyone wants to back a winner, because the competition has one (even though it also has no ROI), because it’s impolite to point out that the emperor has no clothes, there are a myriad of reasons. And hey – as long as it starts off well, with a big marketing budget, some Shock and Awe, then why make a fuss?But I think the scarier thing might be that these machivellian weasels have figured out, really you just have to get hippo in the room on your side and everyone else will fall into line…
    [...]

  7. [...]
    I’m not case study bashing, we’ve covered several on this blog. But I believe case studies should be taken as food-for-though, not proof-text.
    Case studies can help you build your case to your upper management/C level executives who may be on the fence about testing or skeptical about testing. (You know, the win-over-your-HiPPO-thing.)
    They can also spur you on to challenge the “sacred cows” on your site, and give you ideas for testing. For example, you may be married to your one-page checkout process — everyone believes it’s “best practice,” but it’s never been tested against alternatives. A case study that found multi-step outperformed one-page could open your mind.
    [...]

  8. [...]
    4. Use competitive intelligence
    5. Hijack a “friendly” website (optimize a friend or co-worker’s side project site and use as a case)
    6. Call Avinash or other industry expert who can lend objective support
    For fleshed out details of these strategies, check out the entire post.
    [...]

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