What is your favorite blog?
I'm biased because I think our own blog (http://maassmedia.com/blog) is pretty good, but the analytics industry blog I find to be the most helpful and engaging is Occam's Razor (http://www.kaushik.net/avinash) by Avinash Kaushik. Avinash gives great advice, plus he uses a really cool torn-sheet effect for many of his graphics.
How is big data impacting the industry?
"Big Data," and the idea that almost anything and everything about consumer behavior can be tracked, has been nothing but a big boon to the marketing analytics industry. You know it's big when the term graces the covers of almost every major magazine from Popular Science to Nature to The Economist and you overhear strangers in Whole Foods talking about "uniques." The trend towards big data effects our industry in so many ways, but in my view the most important impact will be new insights into why customers buy that were previously unimaginable.
What analytics tools do you find most useful?
In our business we use a lot of different tools for a wide variety of purposes and we are constantly experimenting with new ones. Obviously Google Analytics and Adobe SiteCatalyst are the analytics tools we use most frequently. But some other tools that I personally find to be very useful include WASP and ObservePoint for debugging tags, GeoEdge for QA testing by geography, Crazy Egg for click maps, Twitsprout for social metrics, Flurry for mobile app measurement and Tableau for cool and useful data visualizations.
What is the greatest challenge facing the industry?
There are many challenges facing the industry today (e.g., privacy, standards, education, etc.). But the biggest one for me is the shortage of analytics talent. The demand for marketing analytics expertise is far greater than the available supply of qualified candidates. To solve this issue, I think we all need to do a better job introducing new people, both young and old, into the digital analytics profession and training them to be not just number crunchers, but business problem solvers, as well.
What is the greatest opportunity facing the industry?
Actually, I believe that the analytics talent gap is also one of the greatest opportunities facing the industry. It's an opportunity for employers to think harder about who and how they recruit. It's an opportunity for aspiring analysts to learn the skills needed to excel in the digital marketing analytics field. And it's an opportunity for everyone to be smarter and more resourceful while a shortage continues to exist. More demand means more jobs, higher salaries, faster innovation, new technologies and ultimately more business for everyone.