“You only get one chance to do it right. Try not to screw it up.”

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Thus were the words that subtitled Bryan Cristina’s presentation (PPT) on campaign tracking at the December Web Analytics Wednesday in Columbus last Wednesday, sponsored by CoreMetrics, Web Analytics Demystified, and SiteSpect at BJ’s Restaurant in Powell.

 Columbus Web Analytics Wednesday - December 2008

When it comes to screwing things up, we certainly had our opportunities:

  • Originally, we had planned on meeting at O’Shaughnessy’s Pub down in the Arena District. After initially being told we were good to meet there, we got bumped by a private party (apparently, a private party that has been occurring for a number of years at O’Shaughnessy’s and that takes over the entire place; it’s understandable, but still a bit irksome).
  • When we started looking for nearby alternatives, we realized the Rockettes were performing at Nationwide Arena that night, which was likely to clog alternate venues. So, BJ’s it was.
  • I forgot my camera. I was 3/4 of the way home to pick it up en route from work to BJ’s, when Twitter came to the rescue — @heatherdee409 shot me a tweet that she had a camera in her purse and we could use that. Thanks, Heather!
  • BJ’s had told us that we would have “the back room.” Unfortunately, that just described a large area, rather than any sort of private/semi-private space.

Thanks, I assume, to some more proactive promotion of the event (Dave Culbertson of Lightbulb Interactive accounted for at least half of the first-timers), we had record attendance. Combine the turnout with the fact that we were in a shared space, and we had less-than-ideal conditions for Bryan’s presentation. He brought a handout (PPT) and managed to semi-holler for a few minutes to quickly walk people through it. That was unfortunate, but I do think we are at least learning that we may have to settle for lesser quality food and a limited beer selection (read: The Spaghetti Warehouse) when we have a presentation.

Nevertheless, the presentation had some great information. And, some great lines that are typical Bryan-funny-caustic:

  • “‘We want to see what people from this campaign do on the site’ is not a goal, it’s an excuse for those who don’t know what they want to measure or for campaigns that have no purpose”
  • (When setting the campaign up) “Never trust anyone, especially yourself”
  • “Know the last possible second you can get things taken care of. People will forget you were excluded from everything until the last minute and will just blame you for being stupid.”
  • “‘It’s not in test, but it will show up in production’ means they have no idea what you’re talking about, don’t care, and none of your tracking tags will ever make it onto your campaigns.”

That’s just a sampling. Good stuff!

We had some first-time attendees I was pretty excited about:

  • Mark Whitman and Jen Wells of TeamBuilder Search — a relatively new recruiting company focussed on interactive talent; I had a good talk with Mark and got him to tentatively agree to do a presentation on building a career in the interactive space at a future WAW.
  • Noe Garcia of WebTrends — all the way from Portland! Bryan and I both go wayyyyyy back with Noe, and, interestingly, had had dinner with him earlier in the year at the same restaurant when he was in town; he’d been hoping that his travel schedule would line up with a Columbus WAW, and it finally did! Noe’s a great guy, and he’s tentatively agreed to have WebTrends sponsor a WAW in the spring and provide a speaker. Unfortunately, Noe was also partway through Super Crunchers, which I thought was a horrible book. We had a good-natured debate at the end of the evening about it and parted on speaking terms.
  • There were a few people I didn’t actually get to speak to, but who were new faces. And, embarrassingly, I had quite a conversation with a gentleman who has a local SEO/SEM firm…and I didn’t capture/record his name or his company! But, he did point me to Laura Thieme of OSU and bizresearch.com, who seems like another good contact for future WAWs.

List of tweeters in attendance who I could identify:

And, finally, I learned that there is apparently a Monish Datta fan page. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it. So, I’m stuck just linking to Monish’s LinkedIn profile. But, hey, in the process of looking, I realized that last month’s post got me some serious Google Love on “Monish Datta” search results.

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