“The most difficult part when leveraging analytics can be knowing what to change and what to leave alone; what to remove and what to add. “
On Marketing Technology
MTS: Tell us about your role and how you got here? What inspired you to start a web optimization platform?
I’m a ‘lifelong digital marketer’ and the founder and CEO of Concurra. The idea for Concurra came about while I was running a marketing organization at another company that I co-founded, SingleHop. One of my jobs was to maintain and grow the conversion rate of the website, and it dawned on me that I was using four separate tools to do that. What a mess. It further dawned on me that this was not just an expensive and inefficient process, but it was hampering my results. The answer, which I soon learned did not exist at the time, was an all-in-one, fully integrated suite which incorporated the observational features I needed (on-page interaction mapping, session recordings, goal tracking) with the ability to prototype changes and test ideas in real time and with real traffic in a scientific way. Since I couldn’t find anything to do it in the market, I decided to build it. After the MVP was built, it became clear that the technology that we had built had the potential to change the way websites are optimized, and we decided to bring it to market as a professional tool for digital agencies to use on their clients’ websites.
MTS: Despite a growing number of web analytics platforms, why do marketers still rely on Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a fantastic tool. Concurra doesn’t look at where website visitors are coming from or the statistics about visitor engagements. Concurra will give you the ability to visualize visitors’ actual interactions with a page: where they move their mouse, where they click, what drop down menus they expand and which they ignore, and so forth. Google Analytics paints a picture of the entire forest, Concurra shows the trees. That way, a user can re-arrange the trees to see if visitors react differently relative to the pre-defined goals. The combination of the two tools is extremely powerful and we encourage all of Concurra’s customers to use our platform in conjunction with Google Analytics.
MTS: How do you see the technology evolving around omnichannel webpage experience and analytics management in the coming years?
I believe that this revolution has already occurred and is just now accelerating. Users use a plethora of devices and mediums to interact with brands, and their attention span is becoming more and more limited as they get pulled in different directions. This just underlines the case for conversion rate and user experience optimization — if users are not engaged, they will simply move on to the next thing. Concurra gives agencies the ability to test and optimize while observing reactions. That is a powerful combination. More people are browsing on their phones and more and more websites are responsive and agencies hadn’t had a powerful testing solution optimized for omnichannel experiences.
MTS: What are the pain points for marketers in leveraging webpage analytics for refined content delivery and personalization?
The most difficult part when leveraging analytics can be knowing what to change and what to leave alone; what to remove and what to add. Marketers often resort to throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks – but so much spaghetti is being thrown today that they don’t even know what’s working and what’s not. Concurra provides a scientific way to test changes and see what works. That’s proving to be something that most businesses and agencies are not accustomed to. Learning to change behavior can be the biggest challenge.
MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?
Obviously, I’m watching ourselves, Concurra. I’m also a huge fan of marketing automation companies, especially HubSpot and Marketo. I’m also a huge fan of retargeting and have been closely following that space, including AdRoll and Retargeter. Finally, from an advertising tech perspective, I think El Toro and Terminus both have incredible products and I am a huge fan of the work they are doing.
MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
On Page Optimization Software, Marketing Automation (specifically retargeting and remarketing) and Analytics are the core areas that I am focused on and think other marketers should focus on as well.
MTS: Would you tell us about your standout digital campaign?
Concurra focuses on digital agencies and enhancing their toolkits with new capabilities that they can use to grow their businesses and help their clients. We’ve had remarkable success with this audience.
This Is How I Work
MTS: One word that best describes how you work.
Optimized.I take care of personal tasks early in the mornings, and spend the first half of each day cranking through whatever is pressing for the day. E-mails, customer phone calls, meetings with developers, etc!
I’m rarely successful at this, but when I can, I try to spend the second half of the day thinking, planning, and reflecting to get out of the weeds a bit.
MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Gmail, Slack, HipChat, Messenger, iMessage, Skype, Hangouts, notice a pattern here? I’m always on the go and keeping in touch is key to staying sane. Aside from chat tools, I’m a huge audiobook guy, so I could never give up Audible.
MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
I like to try to knock out personal tasks early in the day so they are not weighing me down later.
MTS: What are you currently reading?
Currently reading a fun book called “The Spaceship Next Door” by Gene Doucette. After that, I’ll be moving on to “500 Days” by Kurt Eichenwald. I tend to alternate between fiction/non-fiction, fun/serious books
MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Early in my career, I fell into the trap that a lot of young marketers fall into – falling in love with your own work – getting attached to a particular design or style. A mentor at the time turned me onto A/B testing and implored me to drop my assumptions and just test the possibilities. That was a lesson that stuck with me ever since. Just because it looks great to me does not mean it’s going to perform well. Never be afraid to test changes. I’ll add one more thing to that, but I can’t recall who to attribute it to: “you can’t impact what you can’t measure.” The way I interpret that is that if you don’t track the stats, you can’t see the trends. Concurra hits on these two points and that is one of the reasons why I am so passionate about what we’ve given the industry.
MTS: Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Ben Fisher, from Steady Demand
MTS: Thank you Dan! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Dan began his career in the internet infrastructure industry at midPhase Services, Inc., a shared hosting provider that grew to over 160,000 customers before being acquired by UK2 Group. At midPhase, Dan contributed heavily to its rise from a small company to one of the largest shared hosting providers in the United States with over 160,000 customers and $18 million in revenue. At SingleHop, Dan focuses on the company’s marketing strategy and operations, leading the company’s growing marketing team and working to bridge the gap between marketing, sales and technology. Dan believes heavily in differentiation, and focuses on highlighting SingleHop’s unique and powerful technology platform which helps it stand out from its competitors in a saturated and fragmented marketplace. Dan regularly attends and speaks at industry and marketing events. As a recognized thought leader in online marketing, Dan is one of the few internet marketing professionals to hold a Horizon Award for Marketing Innovation.
Your site can convert better. Concurra can help. Concurra gets website optimization down to a science. Observe, experiment, and improve like never before.
Concurra records everything that a website’s visitors do, from every mouse movement to every click to every time they highlight text, then visualizes the aggregate data in heatmaps, allows the admin to watch a recording of any particular session, and has fully integrated A/B testing and multivariate testing built right in.
It’s fast, easy, and powerful – and while there are lots of solutions that do bits and pieces of what Concurra does on the market, nothing integrates everything so seamlessly.
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.