Omniture Invents Fire – News at Eleven

6 March, 2008 (17:09) | Web Analytics | By: Michael

One of the nice things about having my own web site is that I can express my own opinions. Here is one of them.

I have been annoyed for a long time with Omniture’s sales methods. Omniture is having their extremely well attended Customer conference this week so, I figure this is as good a time as any to get a little critical of the world’s largest web analytics vendor.

First things first, kudos to them for doing an exceptional job leveraging their position in the market to become the largest web analytics vendor. They have some eye-popping stats.

  • 66% of the most innovative companies use Omniture
  • 40% of top 100 retailers use Omniture
  • Omniture process 8.2 billion transactions daily (events and page views?)

Now let’s go back in time a couple of years. I was sitting in a room with a group of Omniture people, and they were doing a presentation for a client of mine. As the presentation and demo kept going I was shocked that they kept promoting common features in their tool as the only vendor to provide that when it is common knowledge that the exact same feature is available in almost every other web analytics tool on the market. mugatuI felt like I was taking crazy pills. We ended up not going with Omniture in that particular instance, but obviously many, many other companies bought similar logic hook, line, and sinker.

It looks like this trend has only continued based on the recent press release for Omniture Fusion. Their “unique” approach is just a retread of what every web analytics consultancy worth its salt has been doing for many years. Sure, it continues to be a challenge. And sure, I am glad Omniture has decided to try this, but why act like you are the first people to slice bread. In the meantime, it looks as though doing a worthwhile implementation of their tool has been left to surrogates.

Why does Omniture do this? Well, obviously they are a vendor with a need to sell as much of their products and services as they can. And if they can get you to believe that they have introduced a true differentiation between their product and their competitors they will have leverage in the sales process. It is a strategy that has worked wonderfully well up to this point. The truth is that Omniture is selling its sameness as differentiation all over the place to resounding success. But how long can fooling some of the people some of the time continue to be a successful strategy in this industry that is getting smarter by the day?

Some people are going to read this and think that I dislike Omniture, and that is not true. Omniture deserves its place as the leading web analytics vendor, but their sales approach over the years annoys the crap out of me. Truthfully, if I had to do a vendor selection right now, they would be on the short list, but not because they have provided a truly differentiated offering.

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Comments

Comment from S.Hamel
Time March 7, 2008 at 1:47 am

Hi Michael, I would say that one has to look behind the marketing pitch and make his own judgment. I have seen sales pitch that looked more like a contest of who would come up with the best adjectives to describe their products. Individually, other products might offer some parts, but in my point of view, Omniture is the only one offering such a complete suite of products. Should you go for best of class or best of suite? Like so many things in web analytics, it depends…

As a freelance consultant, I have clients that use SiteCatalyst, HBX, Coremetrics, WebTrends and Google Analytics, each one has its merits, but I bet you weren’t at the Omniture Summit …

Comment from Chris
Time March 7, 2008 at 7:06 am

Gotta agree. A couple years ago I talked on the WA Demystified forum about the exact same thing with this company — the press releases and sales efforts touting unique, first, only, breakthrough kinda words that just were not true. All hell broke loose back then as a result, with some somewhat personal public comments (and a lot of supportive private emails).

Comment from Michael
Time March 7, 2008 at 9:58 am

@Stephane
I don’t disagree that Omniture has a great solutions suite. My main complaint is that they unnecessarily prejudice me against them because of their marketing tactics. And you are right I am not at the Omniture Summit this week. :)

Comment from Matt G
Time March 28, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Michael:

Interesting post sir. I would agree with you in principle, but say that I don’t think “O” is the only offender in this space. I was recently working on a tool evaluation and selection project for one of our clients and had a similar experience – From multiple companies.

The Phrase “First Party Cookies” comes up in multiple brochures as “we really do it” or “we were the first.” I would suggest all companies take the time to review their competition’s – and their own – marketing material to make sure it is 1) accurate and 2) up to date with the current state of affairs.

To your point, I think the “O” incident you described still happens a lot when you look at companies who are not familiar with the tools in general (enter folks like us who can try to keep them honest).

Let’s hope the mad dash to grab market share in today’s world leads to more thorough review of the claims and consistency of them with reality.

MPG

Comment from Julien Coquet
Time April 8, 2008 at 3:21 am

I like to think all vendors try to bend the rules of physics and alter reality to hold their own on a nearly saturated market.

I have seen vendors here in Europe blabbering total nonsense and throwing dirt on competitors just to get a foot in the door. Crazy and unethical.

Sales teams walk a fine, fine line on the way to ethical sales, but on the way across, they stagger on the dark side more than they’d like to admit.

Just my 2 cents from across the pond :)

Julien

Comment from Michael
Time April 8, 2008 at 8:22 am

@Julien, You are probably mostly correct. This post probably just goes to my own strong desire for people to just lay it out like it is, and let me make a decision. I agree that Omniture is not necessarily alone here. Their press release just reminded me of an old situation.

And your 2 cents are always welcome, because that is worth like 5 cents here.

Comment from Zach
Time June 26, 2008 at 3:45 pm

As someone who is also confused by the gap between marketing and reality, I was wondering if you know whether Omniture’s API is real and working. It was announced at the user conference, but it didn’t seem to be live when we played with it. I’d appreciate an e-mail if you have thoughts on this. Thanks.

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