Books

Wrap up: Digital Strategy Conference Vancouver 2014

by Kelly Kubrick on May 2, 2014

From April 29 – May 1, 2014, I had the pleasure of watching our second Digital Strategy Conference Vancouver unfold. We returned to UBC Robson Square and expanded the content to offer two tracks per day for all three days; nearly twice as many sessions as 2013. As co-founder of the event, I was pleased to moderate two tracks as well as present the latest on digital maturity.

On the presentation side, Andrea Hadley and I presented the Six Dimensions of Digital Maturity and provided initial findings from our dStrategy Digital Maturity Benchmark Survey 2014. I also facilitated three “Mapping Your Digital Maturity” sessions, each one intended to help our attendees better understand the benefits and mechanics of mapping their organization’s digital maturity.

Digital Strategy Conference Vancouver 2014 Key Stats:

In anticipation of testing an experimental session format – a Google Hangout with a virtual panel of speakers scattered across North America, we published a series of “Future of Work” blog posts in advance of the panel, to introduce everyone to those speakers.

As a digital analyst, I thoroughly enjoyed the task of moderating our Data Strategy and Analytics track, especially as it brought together analytics friends and colleagues old and new:

  1. David Jenkins, VP Data Intelligence, Traction
  2. Bryan Robertson, Senior Analyst, OpenRoad Communications
  3. Brent Dykes, Evangelist for Customer Analytics, Adobe and Author, Web Analytics Action Hero
  4. A panel that tackle how to Drive Competitive Advantage with Analytics and Data

On a personal note, my favourite sessions included Tim Goudie for the intriguing way he deconstructed Coca-Cola’s sustainability efforts via our digital maturity model; Ann Handley of MarketingProfs, simply because I’ve been a fan for years (I have her and C.C. Chapman’s book Content Rules on the bookshelf behind me) and Eric Hellweg for his thoughtful presentation on the impact of digital on the Harvard Business Review‘s processes and organizations.

Mark your calendars for Digital Strategy Conference Ottawa 2014

It was another great gathering and I’m already excited for next year. However, before then, we’ll gather Canada’s digital strategy community here in Ottawa, from September 30 – October 1, 2014 at Carleton University. Be sure to mark your calendars and join us for Digital Strategy Conference Ottawa 2014!

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Kelly KubrickWrap up: Digital Strategy Conference Vancouver 2014

Critical tidbits from a Web (now Digital) Analytics bookshelf

by Kelly Kubrick on July 19, 2012

Online Authority's Digital and Web Analytics bookshelfLike many of us in the web analytics industry, I’m indebted to every colleague who has put fingers to keyboard and documented our ever-evolving world of (now) digital analytics. Over the years, as new books have released, I leap to them and have always found a critical tidbit or two (or ten). To express my gratitude, I’ve noted what I’ve found valuable about each book. I hope this helps as you consider additions to your analytics book collection. Enjoy!

Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics (Third Edition) by Brian Clifton, 2012

I love this book for the sheer amount of detail it contains; it’s been an invaluable resource to me and I’ve returned to it, and its earlier edition(s)* repeatedly. If you are looking for specifics on Google Analytics implementation, this one’s for you. Brian’s instructions and recommendations on customizing the Google Analytics Tracking Code are crystal clear, precisely detailed and very pragmatic. The fact that he also publishes the Advanced Web Metrics blog to support the (book’s) community, was Head of Web Analytics for Google EMEA for three years and was instrumental in creating the Google Analytics Individual Qualification program (making him a “Xoogler” – per Brian, pronounced “zoogler”, and it refers to ex-Google employee) is just icing on the learning cake.

* Previous editions: first edition published in 2008, and the second in 2010.

Google Analytics, by Justin Cutroni, 2010

Similarly, if you need implementation specifics for Google Analytics, you need to own this book. It covers the full range of questions you’ll bump into, from a great chapter on Must-Have Profiles right through to mobile application tracking. Hit the ground running by taking advantage of Justin‘s chapter on creating your analytics implementation plan and you’ll never look back. The book offers is a more detailed version of Justin’s 2007 Google Analytics eBook, also published by O’Reilly, but together, they reinforce the wealth of analytics insight Justin has shared that you will find immediately applicable.

Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability & Science of Customer Centricity, by Avinash Kaushik, 2010

I’ve long admired Avinash‘s accessible writing style – humorous, practical and laden with metaphors that illustrate and amuse. From the man who brought us HiPPOs (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) and Analysis Ninjas vs Reporting Squirrels, this book drew my attention in its consideration and treatment of emerging analytics: social, mobile and video. Further, every single analyst must read Chapter 2, Step 2: “Ten Questions to Ask Vendors Before You Marry Them”. Back in my Time Warner days, I learned how to interview potential vendors, and over the years, it has proven an invaluable skill. With Avinash’s help, you can now take crash course yourself. Go for it!

Actionable Web Analytics, by Jason Burby & Shane Atchison, 2007

This book is for those of you who face analytics issues relating to change management and organizational structure issues. There are two full chapters on addressing business culture landmines that analysts ignore at their peril and on the inside scoop on how to work successfully with analytics agencies (and the ZAAZ guys should know!). Finally, there’s also an incredibly useful section on how to staff your web team: the skills and roles you’ll need and the team structures you might want to consider. If you are responsible for building out an analytics area of practice at your organization, you can thank Jason and Shane for providing you with an instruction manual.

Web Analytics: An Hour A Day, written by Avinash Kaushik, 2007

Talk about an eagerly anticipated book! I was definitely a “pre-order” buyer and still think the hour-a-day format works. I’ve regularly recommended this book to managers trying to get new analysts up to speed because of how straightforward it makes the analytics learning path. An hour of web analytics a day? Talk about a simple instruction to give and receive. Within, you’ll find gems like Avinash‘s 10/90 rule: Allocate “10% of the budget on tools and 90% on people (brains) responsible for insights.” Gloriously helpful when budgeting. One of my favourite sections is a step by step guide to measuring PPC campaign cannibalization rate (vs. Organic). If you’ve ever had to go toe to toe with someone over the relative value of SEO vs. PPC and that person is unfamiliar with the concept of making decisions from data, Avinash has built your case for you.

Google Analytics, by Mary E. Tyler and Jerri L. Ledford, 2006

This book raced to hit the shelves very quickly after Google purchased Urchin and released the now ubiquitous Google Analytics. Unfortunately, due to how closely the book content adhered to the Urchin interface the screen shots feels dated (for a Google Analytics book). Although the next edition, Google Analytics 2.0, published quickly, the first edition remained helpful for analysts still working with Urchin. In particular, Part 3 of provides a thorough explanation of the old Executive, Marketer and Webmaster dashboards and the reports contained within, and frankly, provides more detail than the Urchin documentation ever did. Now that Google has elected to retire Urchin, this book may prove its value primarily as archival content, but nonetheless, if you must navigate Urchian-waters, you may still find it helpful.

The Big Book of Key Performance Indicators by Eric T. Peterson, 2006

Ahh – the memories. Thanks to Eric and his downloadable e-book and its companion spreadsheets, many of us were able to get a handle on what web analytics KPIs (key performance indicators) were, and what they were not. Eric gave us definitions, examples, and explained the value of thresholds and how colours would help communicate said thresholds. He raised awareness levels of non-maths how-did-I-become-a-web-analyst persons by clarifying the whys and wherefores of averages, percentages, rates and ratios. He helped us classify KPIs by business type. My personal epiphany related to the onsite search KPIs – Searches per Visit, Percent Zero Results, Percent Zero Yield, Search to Purchase Conversion Rate, Search Results to Site Exits Ratio. Sigh. Now I’m feeling nostalgic. Most importantly however, you can get your hands on this treasure trove  – free – due to Web Analytics Demystified’s very kind free book offer. Have fun!

Best of Web Analytics Guide: 12 Timeless Articles & Insights from Marketing Experts, by ClickZ Network, 2005

I could not resist including this little guidebook, as it serves as a reminder of the old saying “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” or “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. It’s a series of 2004 and 2005 articles from the ClickZ Network, compiled and sponsored by Webtrends (back when they were WebTrends!). It’s a great snapshot of early web analytics lessons that still apply in today’s world of digital analytics – how to improve A/B testing, why audits should precede redesigns and not being afraid to fail. Like I said…plus ça change!

Web Analytics Demystified, by Eric T. Peterson, 2004

As someone who grew up professionally on the ecommerce / transactional side of web, I was very clear on how my “offline” i.e. magazine circulation marketers measured success. At Time Inc, concepts around acceptable acquisition cost and lifetime value were drilled into us, and we were asked to explain how the web source might impact those numbers. However, as the web source became more critical, we web-folk needed to learn more about what to count online and how to count it. Enter Chapter 2 and 3 of Eric‘s book – talk about lightbulbs! If you need clarity on the techniques and technologies used in web analytics, read this book. Then, give a nod to our pre page tag data collection days and romp your way through Eric’s advantages and disadvantages of log files versus page tags. Seriously. We aren’t considered geeks without good reason.

Winning on the Web: The Executive Pocket Guide to Smarter Marketing by NetIQ Corporation, 2002

Who remembers when NetIQ owned WebTrends (now Webtrends!)? I do. Who remembers those early vendor conferences when swag ruled? I do! Wait. I guess that still happens. Long live swag! Which is why I must mention this little guide, which introduced me to R.A.D.A.R. or Report, Analyze, Decide, Act and React. As anyone who’s taken my Webtrends course knows, if you want to know how to apply web analytics to your work plan this year, that acronym still contains value. Although, I also still think it should be R.A.D.A.R.R (the last R being “repeat”). So – my thanks to Webtrends (WebTrends?). Your efforts were appreciated!

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Kelly KubrickCritical tidbits from a Web (now Digital) Analytics bookshelf

Grete Hale’s “Baker’s Daughter” book of memoirs available

by Kelly Kubrick on January 24, 2011

I’m extremely proud to announce the release of my aunt Grete Hale’s memoirs, entitled “Baker’s Daughter: The Story of a long, rich and very Canadian Life“. I have been reading my copy all weekend and savouring details of stories I’ve heard bits and pieces of throughout my life. I hope you’ll consider joining us at upcoming book signings or at the book launch itself.

Grete Hale holds a copy of her Bakers Daughter book

Grete Hale holds a copy of her Bakers Daughter book

Speaking not only as her niece, but as a fellow Ottawan, you’ll find the book is full of great stories that will amuse, entertain and inspire. As further incentive, please know that net proceeds from the sale of the book go to CANHAVE Children’s Centre, an organization Grete is deeply involved with. More specifically, your purchase will go to the construction of a dormitory that will provide a home for 96 young women learning a trade at the five-room trade school CANHAVE has built.

To learn more, I’ll let Grete to speak for herself – listen to Grete Hale’s interview with Hallie Cotnam of CBC Morning (8 minutes, 36 seconds). Or, read these stories published by the Ottawa Citizen newspaper:

  • Ottawa icon Grete Hale publishes life’s saga in Baker’s Daughter by Chris Macknie
  • ‘Horse sense’ and dedication: Grete Hale’s engaging memoir captures a tasty slice of Ottawa’s history by Bruce Ward
  • A life well-lived: Grete Hale forged her own path by Jennifer Campbell

Please feel free to read more by joining us on Facebook!

Upcoming Baker’s Daughter Book Signings with Grete Hale

  • International Women’s Day Celebration 2011, Thursday, March 10th, from 05:45 PM – 09:00 PM at the Library & Archives Canada, 395 Wellington St., Ottawa ON K1A 0N4
  • Perfect Books on Sunday, March 6th, 2011 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM
  • University of Ottawa Bookstore, Jock Turcot Building, 85 University Private, Ottawa, Ontario, on Thursday February 17th, from 2:30 to 4:30 PM. For information, tel: 613-562-5353, ext. 10.
  • Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeebar on Sunday, February 6th, 2011 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM
  • Books on Beechwood on Saturday, January 29th, 2011 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
  • Perfect Books on Sunday, January 22nd, 2011 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM

Purchase or Order Your Copy of Grete Hale’s “Baker’s Daughter”

The book is available at the following stores in Ottawa:

  • Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeebar at 1241 Wellington Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, (613) 722-1265
  • Books on Beechwood, 35 Beechwood Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, (613) 742-5030
  • Perfect Books, 258A Elgin Street, Ottawa, Ontario, (613) 231-6468
  • Nicholas Hoare Books, 419 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, (613) 562-2665

Or, you can order “Baker’s Daughter” from the Ottawa Citizen via email, by telephone at (613) 829-8093 (weekdays from 9-4pm EST) or by mail at 1101 Baxter Road, Ottawa Ontario. For book mail orders, the cost is $19.95 CAD plus shipping, handling and taxes. Please allow up to six weeks for delivery.

“Baker’s Daughter” in the words of others…

“If you have a treasured place where you keep precious delights, then you will experience an instant appreciation for the treats that Grete serves up in this delightful and heartwarming book.” -Jim Orban

“Reading these stories is much like being in Grete’s presence – having a thoroughly entertaining time while learning about the past and being inspired for the future. Generations after us will be grateful that she has taken the time to write down the tales she tells so well.” -Barbara McInnes, CM

“Grete Hale is a wonderful storyteller with a penchant for colourful detail that invites you to read on as she shares a unique perspective to the life of a city and the intrinsic family bond that has remained steadfast for nearly 100 years. Grete has worked hard for everything she has accomplished and she takes neither her family or the community for granted.” -Roger Greenberg

“I’ve always enjoyed the family stories that Grete has shared in her presentations over the years, and I am delighted that she has chosen to share those stories with all of us. Thanks Grete for the warm way you share the history of your family and of the many things you have done to make this a better world. Well done.”. – Shirley Westeinde, CM

“Baker’s Daughter” Book Launch Event Details

The official book launch was held Sunday February 13th, 2011 from 2-4pm at the Library and Archives of Canada at 395 Wellington Street (at Bay Street) in Ottawa, Ontario. There were refreshments — including the famed oatmeal cookies referred to in one of Grete’s stories — and the book itself was be available for sale — cash or cheques only — for $19.95 plus tax.

Thank you to everyone who attended — Grete was thrilled and thoroughly enjoyed herself!

Grete Hale Baker's Daughter" book announcement

Ordering Information for Grete Hale’s Baker’s Daughter book of memoirs

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Kelly KubrickGrete Hale’s “Baker’s Daughter” book of memoirs available