I recently had the chance to sit down and speak with Yarin Negri, Director of Marketing at marketing automation software company Intlock. In this interview we dive deep into web analytics, and we discuss Intlock’s use of integrated survey questions in their technology tool.
Dana Stanley: Good afternoon, Yarin. Please tell me in a nutshell what it is that Intlock does that’s unique.
Yarin Negri: Good afternoon. Sure. So our bottom line, our goal, is to take the product SharePoint and make it better. And we kind of divide that in two areas.
One, if you’re talking about SharePoint as an internal portal, then we use our tools, which are web analytics. And we help identify how those portals are being used, what’s not being used, what’s being searched for. And they did it to really take the goals of that portal, which usually is collaboration, and making employees more efficient, and really making sure that those goals are being achieved.
So if someone is not using the portal, we can go back and offer them training because they might not know how it’s used. If we know that everyone is searching for the same content, we can kind of surface that content to make it more accessible. And that way make them more efficient. So that’s the intranet part of it. And now we’re talking about a public facing website.
Also there are keys to improve the site. And we do that by some of the tools that we offer. So beyond just web analytics, as I mentioned earlier, we have additional tools like campaign tracking, SEO tools, A/B testing, visitor profiling, behavioral targeting, and so forth.
And what we did is we packaged all these tools into one product, called the SharePoint Marketing Suite. And that really allows our customers to use SharePoint as their websites, to enhance their websites, optimize it, and really get the highest ROI that they can from their investment in that site.
So if somebody’s using SharePoint– do a lot of your customers already use SharePoint when you work with them? Or do you kind of work with them to use SharePoint for both their intranet and their website?
Many do already use SharePoint. But in some cases what we see is that they’re using it internally. And then after they see the features that we can provide on top of SharePoint, will also expand and use it for their website, as well.
And is there an advantage to using the same system for both the internet and the external website?
Well there are two advantages in that scenario. One is the fact that you only need a single tool to monitor all your environments. That might be an intranet, an extranet, and a public facing website.
Now, I keep saying SharePoint, but we’re not limited to that. So another example would be, we have customers who use SharePoint for their internal portal, their extranet. Might be some kind of .net or Drupal or some other CMS platform for their public facing website
And then we can use under this one umbrella, this one tool, to monitor all those environments. And what that does is allow IT to only use a single tool. Instead of deploying an analytical tool on their intranet, something else on their internet site and so forth, there’s only one tool to manage. And it certainly makes IT’s life much easier.
So we definitely see that our customers do see this as an advantage. And the one umbrella tool, with all the features that they need, for all the platforms that they use.
OK. Research access readers are people that tend to be very interested in things like analytics. So definitely want to ask you about analytics. If a customer were to work with you, what kind of analytics would they have, both on an intranet, and on an external website, or on an extranet?
So I think one of the key goals, before I dive into the details is that one of our key goals is to allow our users to be independent of IT. So in many cases we’re talking about a internal portal.
The business owners who want analytics are human resources, they’re internal communications, they’re the owners of the portal. In the public facing website it’s often the marketers, of course, who own the website.
And what we’ve see up till now with many tools, is that if a marketer wants to see a dashboard of what’s going on on a campaign she just launched today, she has to send an email to IT. IT has to create a dashboard for her. They’ll send it back to her. She’ll send it back with changes she wants, and so forth.
And so our goal is to allow these business owners to be independent. And so the first thing that people will see when using this tool is that it’s very intuitive, very easy to use. And bottom line, no need for IT to be involved in that.
And then drilling down into some of the capabilities that we offer, specifically around web analytics, or seem to be our advantages against other tools, is first of all, the fact that we provide information about aggregated users and also individuals. So, just give you some background, Google Analytics, their main motto is what the individual does is not important. What’s important is the trend over time. And so if over time we have more visitors and more conversions, that’s what we want to show. It’s very important.
But we also see it’s vital to be able to track what individuals are using and give them a unique experience around our website. And that way help to engage with them.
Just a few examples about how we can interact with individuals. Because we can collect all the data about what are users doing on the site, we can feed all that usage data into CRM. So this is a great tie between marketing and sales, it’s marketing on own this website, and own have to generate the leads, we can now hand over those leads to sales with a lot more information.
So up to now, I could handover, let’s say, the username and their email. Because that’s what they filled out in a form on the website. But with our tool, we can hand over the name and email with all the usage data this user made on the site.
So as a salesperson, if I know that user x has been on the site 20 times in the past month, they must be a very warm lead versus someone who just came one time. The find out that user x viewed page a, b, and c. I know exactly which products she’s interested in, and as a salesperson I would know exactly how to engage with her, which content I should provide her with. And things of that sort.
So that’s the first way that we can add some additional value because we know what individual users are doing, and also how we can connect between marketing and sales. And make a better flow of the data, and a better connection between those teams.
Another way that we can kind of interact with the individuals on our site is by using some more advanced tools like behavioral targeting. So there we can actually manipulate what the website is showing based on what your users have done on the website, where they’re coming from, and things of that sort.
So just as an example, I go to CNN every day to read the news. And I look up three main things. The headlines, business, and sports. And every day, I go back to CNN and they show me all the content that they’re showing everyone.
And I think to myself, they should tailor this for me based on what I’ve already told them in the past. Based on the fact that I’ve showed them that I like these three kind of topics, I expect that next time I come, I would have a tailored experience, and see mainly those three areas that I’m interested in.
So that’s where our web analytics comes into play, as well. As collect information about you, and then based on, in this case what you’ve done on the site, we can tailor that experience for you. So if this is a insurance company, and you visited all of our car insurances pages, when you come back next week to the site, on the home page, we’ll show you targeted content about car insurance. Because we know that’s what you’re interested in.
Same thing for search. When you go to Google or Bing, and you search for car insurance and you come to our website, we know what you searched for on that search engine. So why show you generic content on the home page when we can show you already targeted content about car insurance so that you don’t have to go and start looking for where the car insurance pages are, looking for where you get a quote, and so forth. It’s all on that home page based on the search that you made just a few seconds ago.
Sounds like you’re giving people a bit of the Amazon experience.
Right. So, Amazon is an amazing case study about that. You can see what products you saw a few days ago. You can see if you’re looking at this product, you might also want these products. And really tailoring their experience similar to what Amazon does.
Now in my experience, one of the biggest challenges for marketers is coming up with enough content. So the idea of having customized, dynamic content depending on people’s needs, while that may be what people should be doing– you ever get any people that find that daunting?
Yes and no. I’ll touch back onto SharePoint for a moment. And sometimes folks on my team get upset with me that I say SharePoint too often because we can really work with non SharePoint environments, as well. But one of the things that SharePoint use is Web Parts.
And so if you have a web part, let’s say, I’ll take that car insurance example again. As you have two different Web Parts showing content on the car insurance page, all you had to do with our tool is to find that for user x, who let’s say searched for car insurance in Bing, arrives at the home page. We’ll see there the Web Part that has already been created and is simply located on the car insurance page.
So it’s less of a matter of creating additional content, and more of simply searching content that already exists deeper in the website, on specific pages, and [? surging ?] them onto the homepage based on the user. What they viewed previously, and what they’re searching for, and things like that.
Got it. OK. And when you work with a new customer– how much of this is self-serve versus with the help of an account manager?
Sure. I would say the spectrum, for us, is pretty unbelievable. It’s very wide.
We have customers on one side of the spectrum that say, we simply want to buy the license. And we have folks internally who are going to create all the dashboards, the tests, the behavioral targeting, and so forth.
And then the other end of the spectrum, there are folks who say, we have no idea what to do. We don’t want to do anything. We want someone to step in and do this for us.
What I think is unique about our product is that that first part of the spectrum is possible. So it definitely is possible for customers to buy the tool, get some kind of minimum training, and then run with it on their own. Simply because things are really intuitive.
It’s very, very easy to create an A/B test. It’s very, very easy to create a dashboard with the specific metrics that a marketer wants. And each marketer can create their own dashboards. So we do give the possibility for that first part of the spectrum to be able to go and just run with the product on their own.
And as a marketer, I have to ask you about your use of questionnaires. See, right on your home page there’s a quick question that you’re asking people. Tell me about your use of questions and surveys.
Yeah, absolutely. So that’s part of our SharePoint marketing suite and a tool called Voice of Customer. And some of the feedback we got from our customers over the years, both for the intranet and internet– web analytics is great. It gives a lot of great numbers. How many people, what pages are being looked at, where they’re coming from.
But we can’t really get the information we want from our users. So it’s great that we have 100 users on the website, but are they able to achieve the goal that they define for themselves when coming. Did they find the content they’re looking for?
So this is really a tool that came from demands from the field from our customers. And so we’ve included this Voice of Customer tool. And the three things that I would say about that is, A, again the thing that I always emphasized, ease of use. It takes about three or four minutes for a complete non-IT person simply to find the question they want in the survey. To find the answers. Which page it will appear on. And that’s it. The tool is live.
The second, it goes back to the fact that all the components in this tool are connected. So if I create a segment within my web analytics tool, let’s call it segment. Returning user. So let’s say users who viewed page x, I can go to that server that I just created and to find that survey will only appear for a specific segment.
So I can ask different questions to different users on the same page based on who they are. So user a, who’s new, will get a welcome. But we can create another survey but on the same page for returning users.
And so for that, another example would be as a segment I can define, let’s say, anyone who’s been on the page more than x seconds. Anyone who’s been on the page 160 seconds, I can have a survey appear. And ask if they need any help, if they’re having any trouble. So not just surveys that appear out of no reason, but also ones that want to guide the user through the journey in the site.
Well that’s great. Now, I think people hear a lot about different marketing automation products out there. Help me understand who you sometimes get compared to and where you guys fit into the market.
Sure. So our base is web analytics. So we’d be compared to the usual suspects like Google Analytics, like Webtrends. I would say those are two very popular ones.
And the way we like to differentiate ourselves is in the fact that in our web analytics tools you’ll find a lot of similarities. So most of the reports that they have, we have, and vice versa.
But the place that we kind of are different is, first of all, in the fact that we show detailed information about individuals, as opposed to those tools that don’t. And we’ve taken one step above web analytics to things like the survey tool that you mentioned. Like behavioral targeting, which Google and Webtrends simply don’t provide. Like SEO tools that we have included out of the box. Campaign tracking tools, and so forth.
So these other tools are great analytics tools. They kind of stop short there. And then maybe two other examples of organizations that have this full fledged suite would be Omniture, so a tool by Adobe, of course. And then also IBM’s Unica are, I would say, the main two in that space. So those are the four different folks or companies that we hear about with our customers.
Yarin Negri, thank you so much for your time today.
Thank you, Dana. Thanks for having me.