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Author: Alec Cochrane

Alec Cochrane

Alec is an experienced Business Consultant specialising in Web Analytics having worked at a variety of different types of organisations with different business models from financial services to media.

How government should do online marketing

The Central Office Of Information (COI) is being scrapped in a multimillion pound cost saving redevelopment, being replaced by the new Government Communications Centre (GCC).

The COI always had benefit in the past because it could collectively buy media in bulk at a preferential rate, giving Government departments net savings when advertising. However, that doesn't work in a digital environment as bulk offerings rarely offer additional savings. So what can the new GCC do to add value to the digital operations?


How DirectGov should measure success

Two months ago Martha Lane Fox published her review of DirectGov proposing that it was currently failing at its job of providing the best resources to the UK population. One of the reasons that it is failing is that it doesn't understand what its purpose is and has no measures of success.

One of the recommendations that Martha Lane Fox gave in her review was that there should be a CEO of Digital. Now that Chris Chant has been appointed as an interim, the first job he should do is work out how to measure success and imprint this across all stakeholders.

Here I am giving him a hand by making some recommendations...


How to measure the success of a Government website

Measuring a government website is very much different from measuring a commercial one, since a government website’s job isn’t to make money for the Government (well not directly).

This lack of a bottom line often makes it difficult to justify changes to the website because of the lack of direct profit for the owner. One way to get over this is to ensure you have a robust measuring process for the website to monitor the changes over time and attribute them correctly.


The UK needs to change its cookie policies

The UK is getting its online personal data protection wrong and it is harming businesses and consumers. New laws are being passed to conform to EU cookie regulations and existing data protection act is being ratified to ensure that the digital world is covered by data protection, but there is a long way to go.  

However, the internet is a global phenomenon so any damaging regulation for UK websites will result in users moving to overseas websites damaging our industry.


How you should set up your web analytics team

I think a common theme in companies is that there is a need for an 'expert' to come in and make use of the data that they are creating or to turn around an organisation that has managed to ignore its customers for too long. 

This is the start of the web analytics function in an organisation. Most people don't know where it belongs, let alone what it should look like. In my professional life I have been in e-commerce, IT, search, customer insight, and marketing teams, and I'm only 29 (even if the increasing grey hairs belie this fact).