Omniture Summit 2009 – Thoughts and Summary

Overall, I was very pleased with the Omniture Summit. Our company sent 3 people to the event.

  1. Me, VP of Internet Business and Technology
  2. Tim Munsell, Web Analyst
  3. Branden O’neil, Web Marketing and Test and Target

Just a quick tidbit about our team to provide a basis on my thoughts about the event. We have 55 web staff in our company. 50 of those report to me and consist of 30 programmers/technology, 11 marketers, 5 creatives and some admin people. Our web group combines the tech and marketing into one group and it works well for us.

Now for my take on the event.

1) Strategy and application
The Omniture Summit 2009 had a good balance of thought provoking keynotes for the strategists (like me) in attendence while also providing some good practical application for the analysts. The keynotes weighed more heavily with strategist related content while the breakout sessions were more focused on the analysts and actually using Omniture’s products to accomplish business goals.

Since I’m both a strategist and love numbers, I get a lot out of the keynotes as well as the breakout sessions. However, in some of the conversations with other attendees, I came to realize that the audience is largely composed of analysts a.k.a. “get it done/pull the numbers” types. One Sr. Analysts who leads a team mentioned that several of the Keynotes weren’t practical or needed for him or his team.

In planning for Omniture Summit 2010, it might be worthwhile to do try something…if it hasn’t been done yet. 😉 Survey  of the Omniture attendees of the 2009 event and let them “build their own event” via survey information for the 2010 event. If this is feasible, it could easily start via an online survey in a follow-up email to the event. “We hoped you enjoyed this year’s Omniture Summit. We value our customers…etc…etc. Please take a moment to provide us with feedback on the Summit and how we can make it even more valuable for  you in 2010.” Then provide a short survey followed by a long survey or serve them simultaneously. Perhaps approach it by sending the short form survey to collect some basic info. Then for those that complete the short form, ask them if they would also complete the long survey at their convenience.

Just my 2 cents.

The sessions were good, but for the newbie and experienced alike, it can be a little difficult to figure out which sessions you should attend. Honestly, its the same for any conference. I think the tracks work well in the agenda, but there may be some room for improvement. I’d love to see Omniture innovate in this area. I don’t have it figured out, but here are a couple of suggestions.

  1. On the Summit Agenda, add some more qualifiers for each session. Type 1 Difficulty – Basic, Intermediate, Advanced. Type 2 Appeals to – Implementers, Analyzers, Strategists
  2. The session format works and generally seems to follow (a) highlight problem or opportunity, (b) familiarize audience with Omniture product, (c) user case study. I personally like the format. Some of the presentations come off better than others which is typical at any conference. I’ve never walked out of an Omniture session due to it being lame or presented horrendously, however, I have walked out of sessions at virtually every other conference I’ve attended.

    A couple of suggestions, perhaps 2 screens could be utilized per session. 1 for current slide, 1 for the last slide. I frequently found myself trying to keep up with most of the speakers and missing some key points.Curiosity item. How scrutinized are the presentations and at what level? With most companies, workload impacts how heavily a presentation is reviewed and by whom. Are the best people looking over the material for quality and flow?

I was able to get something valuable out of all the sessions and keynotes I attended. I did jump from 1 session to a 2nd not finishing either.

2) Omniture Service and Accessibility
Omniture is second to none in serving their customers. That’s evident during the Summit at every turn. After being familiar with the company for 3 years, I honestly believe their drive for service excellence is only getting better. Of course it suffers occassionally due to growth, but they’ve adapted each time and maintained a high level of excellence.

I actually bumped in the one of their Sr. Execs during the last session on Thursday. John Mellor, EVP, Business Development and Corporate Strategy. Have you ever had one of those moments when you look at someone and know they look familiar, but you just can’t place them? It’s embarrasing. All I recall is walking over to John to say “hi” probably followed by, “you look familiar. Did we meet at the Summit last year?” The shock on John’s face…well…wasn’t priceless, but it did get an apology from me. 🙂 John was way too gracious in that moment. He politely struck up a conversation with me then extended his hand and a business card.

This is typical of all the Omniture Execs I’ve met. They are very personable and approachable. They genuinely care about their customers and want to be part of their success.

Another great example of this was at a Wednesday night mixer party. There were about 50 people in attendance with some coming and going each hour. Branden, one of our guys, was there and spent some time talking with Josh James. Now I don’t know about you, but I understand the typical M.O. of a $300 million CEO talking to a Mid-level web marketer who’s been using one of your products for less than 6 months to be “Don’t bother me. I don’t have time for you.” Josh and his executive team’s “serve the customer” attitude permeates the entire organization…at least all of the people we’ve dealt with. Omniture gets high marks from me in this area.

3) Sponsors Showcase
I didn’t spend as much time in the sponsors showcase this year, but I did inquire on 2 services that we’ve been interested in. Responsys and Bazaar Voice. The sponsors showcase was a quality deal. Not too showy, but very practical. In talking with the vendors, you can tell that the sponsors are tightly integrated in the Omniture system/culture. It wasn’t your typical tech event where you feel like meat and the vendors are doing everything possible to get your attention. Very low pressure at the Summit. Very informative, serving the attendees and useful.

4) The Food
What conference can you go to that provides not only knowledge, but also the food? Food was in abundance and variety. While this may not be the reason you come to the conference, it sure does help offset the budget when you make the pitch to get approval to attend. 3 guys x 3 days x $50 = $450. Not to mention you get to stay focused on learning rather than where to get your next meal. Omniture covers the food in style. Unfortunately, I gained 5 lbs.

5) Community
One of the biggest values of attending the Omniture Summit is meeting other professionals. If you’re a people person and an Omniture customer, there’s no better place to be. You’ll make tons of relationships that you can learn from and culture for years to come. Take Karl Rainhold from Nike for instance, this guy must be one of the gurus of the Omniture system. He’s been to at least 7 Summits. I met him 2 years ago in passing. I also have been fortunate to meet Paul Strupp of Sun Microsystems (2007 Interview). Paul has turned out to be a perennial Summit associate for me. He’s a die hard Omniture user and expert. I love seeing him at each Summit and covering the bases. My hope is that one day, I’ll be able to contribute some value for him on his projects. He’ll probably kill me for posting this link, but someone may find it useful. Basics of Analytics – 2005

Ending
I give the 2009 Omniture Summit high marks. Omniture is a solid company with a good vision, great employees, and a industry impacting culture. I’ll be a customer for years to come.

Omniture Summit 2009 – Ski Day

The conference ended Thursday night and I must admit that I’m a bit tired. No not due to the parties. I’ve been up late blogging about the event. I started blogging about the event on Tuesday Morning prior to the Mind Meld session. After running into Brian Watkins, Omniture’s Sr. PR manager over social media…fondly referred to as Chief Canary Officer for his affinity with Twitter, I came to the realization that I should cover the entire event. Finish what you start right?

For the die hards who can figure out some way to stay in Salt Lake City 1 more day, Omniture provides free lift tickets and ski rental discounts along with a $20 gift card for the Snowbird Resort. I  used some of my built up vacation time to enjoy the fresh powder.

The 2008 Summit was my first ever run at skiing, and it wasn’t pretty. I did learn some things though. This year, I was eager to try a snowboard. I’ve developed some proficiency with skateboarding and wakeboarding, so snowboarding seemed to be a natural progression. We had some errands to run this morning, and then finally got on the slopes around 11:00. Beth, Tim and I stayed on green trails today while our comrade Branden ran all the blue trails and a black diamond. We wrapped up around 5:00 and headed back into town. Thankfully, no broken bones or injuries, but we’ll have some sore spots tomorrow. Skiing was a wonderful way to close out the week.

Thanks Omniture for providing some time to relax at the end of a hard week.

Omniture Summit 2009 – Day 2

Wow! What a day! My day started at 8:30 AM and wrapped up around 8:00 PM. I met a ton of high quality movers and shakers with a lot of expertise, and I was able to listen and learn from people who are doing the deal. As I’ve come to expect Josh James (Omniture’s CEO) and company deliver another outstanding Summit.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this was my 3rd summit to attend. I was very impressed with the 2007 Summit, but the 2008 Summit didn’t hit me as well not by any fault of the Omniture staff. 2008 was more of an issue with the some of the speakers that were invited in by Omniture. Since it’s 2009, I won’t dwell on last year. Let me just say that 2009 has left me impressed. Gail Ennis (SVP Marketing) and team have done a fabulous job with the layout of the sessions, the support materials, the food, and the general vibe of the event is well…near perfect. They’ve added some tweaks and have raised the bar on the event yet again.

Overall, the keynotes have been the best that I’ve seen at the 3 Summits I’ve attended. Josh of course delivered the opening and was entertaining to listen to as he set the tone of the summit.  It’s not easy being a young CEO of a $300 million company. It’ll be interesting to see how he develops his leadership and delivery style over the next few years. Josh’s guest via video link from Europe was Sir Martin Sorrell, a very likeable and impressive figure. Being from a small business company, I didn’t know of Sir Martin Sorrell, but after learning that 20-25% of the world’s advertising spend funnels through one of his many company, I can say it was definitely worthwhile to hear him speak on the economy and future developments.

The sessions of the day were very informative, but the highlight of the day’s activities for me came with the closing session where Scott Williams (CMO of Morgans Hotels) and Martin Lindstrom (Buy ology) shared some thoughts. While the things Scott shared were not earth shattering for me, it was excellent to see the interative process in action and how it applied to his business. Not to mention I now want to take my wife to one of their hotels. I guess his marketing campaign worked.

This was the first time I’d heard Martin Lindstrom although I had seen his book during one of my frequent visits to the bookstore. One word…phenomenal. While I loved hearing Seth Godin along with Ted Cannis from Ford in 2008, Martin eclipsed both of them…and he gave me/us a copy of his book. Glad I waited for that one.

I’m looking forward to Thursday and my wife is flying in as well for a little skiing this weekend before heading home on Sunday. What a great week.

Some pics of the event. Enjoy.

Arriving at the 2009 Summit
Arriving at the 2009 Summit
Driving home the message of the Summit
Driving home the message of the Summit
Josh James kicking off the Mind Meld session
Josh James kicking off the Mind Meld session
The Bazaar Voice team. Hey they're going through our Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University materials!
The Bazaar Voice team. Hey they're going through our Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University materials!
Martin Lindstrom on stage. Great presentation. Would love to hear him again.
Martin Lindstrom on stage. Great presentation. Would love to hear him again.
Branden, my comrade, doing his I'm Important pose with Martin.
Branden my comrade doing his I'm important pose with Martin. He won't wash his hand for a week.
Maroon 5
Maroon 5
The crowd at the Maroon 5 concert. It was rockn.
The crowd at the Maroon 5 concert. It was rockn.