As part of the Silly Series, several previously well-respected members of the web analytics community have consented to answer several foolish questions.

Today, it’s the turn of Michael Notté

Bonjour M. Notté.  Et vous êtes…?

I am Belgian, French-speaking and leave near Brussels, the capital of Europe.  I am working in Web Analytics for more than 6 years – as Web Analytics specialist at the European HQ of a big car manufacturer. I discovered the world of Web Analytics when I joined this company. It turned into a real passion for me, a passion that I try to share with others through my blog: Kaizen-analytics.

When I am not doing Web Analytics, I am a happy married man, father of 3 lovely kids.

If you were to write a book on Web Analytics, what would be its title and to whom would you dedicate it?

I think I would call it “A journey into Web Analytics – a practitioner perspective” or something like that – like the series I wrote last year on my blog.  There are plenty of great books on web analytics but all are from consultants, experts or gurus, not from practitioners. Maybe that’s because we (practitioners) do the hard work and don’t have time for writing books ;-)

I would dedicate it to my wife – for all the time she patiently listens to me talking about my work and passion, for supporting the geek that I am. Oh, and I would also dedicate it to Aurélie Pols and René Deschamps – they showed me the “way” when I started in this field.

Do you think there’s any difference in the application of web analytics in the automotive industry versus other industries?

Not really – Web Analytics serves the same ultimate goals as for other industries i.e. 1) Improve customer satisfaction, 2) Increase revenues and 3) Decrease costs.

Web analytics is crucial for the automotive industry as the role of online has become very important in the purchase process – from creating awareness to influencing consideration. While the actual sale is still happening in the real world (but for how long?), automotive websites are more and more becoming a “virtual salesman”.

When you consider the fierce competition and the amount of money spent by car manufacturers, understanding the customer expectations and optimizing the performances of online activities is critical.

Who is your superhero-sans-cape in the web analytics community and why?

I would name two without hesitation. First one is certainly not that original but well, I am huge fan of Avinash Kaushik. His blog and books are a continuous source of inspiration for me. I had the chance to meet him at my first eMetrics summit in London, back in 2007. Not only is he a true expert in our field but he’s a fantastic person.

My other hero-sans-cape would be Stéphane Hamel – he’s doing a lot for our community, for education in general and he has brought great contributions that helped me in my practitioner job – such as the WASP tool or his Online Analytics Maturity Model. The latest one is a great management tool. Can’t wait to see how he will continue to develop it.

What KPIs could you apply to your life?

I would say “Customer satisfaction” or should I call it “wife satisfaction”? Most important KPI ever!  And I am not referring to the “sex” part only J – I mean global satisfaction!  This is the KPI that every married analyst should keep an eye on – every single day! Don’t let it go down…

What is your wish for the remainder of 2011?

For the remainder of 2011? But we are only in February!? J Well, I wish I will continue to live my passion, to wake up everyday with the feeling that all the hard work I do is changing things where I work, that what I am doing is making a difference – even if a small one. I can tell you that for me, 2011 will be an important year – with new projects & challenges. More about these soon…

Do you prefer online advertising that is targeted to you, or do you find it a little bit seedy?

You cannot avoid advertising nowadays. It is everywhere. So, if I am to be bothered by it, I definitely prefer that it is targeted to me but correctly! Seems that in my case, there is work to be done in that area.  I rarely feel that I am being targeted appropriately. Or maybe it is so damned effective that I don’t realize it. One shouldn’t under estimate the evil power of advertising :)

A Toyota Avensis leaves the city at 5pm.  A Škoda Octavia is driving backwards up a hill in a forest.  How long will it take your Prius to race between their destinations?

Ah, ah… What a strange idea to drive a Skoda backwards and in the woods. Who would want to do that? Not sure it is meant for that. Anyway, the answer is that I will take more time than the two others.  I will drive slower but in more eco-friendly and sustainable style. I will be last to reach mid-destination but I will use between 5%-30% less fuel and will emit between 10-40% less CO2 – therefore preserving a bit more (or should I say polluting a bit less) our poor little planet. Now, I am not sure that the Skoda would make it through the woods anyway ;-)

500 years from now, an archaeologist digs up skeletal remains.  How does he identify this skeleton as a web analyst?

By the size of his brain of course! We all know how intelligent we all are. *choke* *choke* *choke* J.  Deeper investigations would certainly uncover the remains of a “Web Analytics 2.0” book in one of his hands and a WAA pin pinned in the chest.

Name a web analytics book you have read in full.

In full? That’s a tough question… The first Web Analytics book I ever read: Eric T. Peterson’s Measurement Hacks.  I got it offered by some of the nicest people of our community. I read it from first to last chapter. Okay, I skipped the programming bits – does that count?

I admit I have not read in full that many books – even both Avinash’s books, but I keep diving in these on a regular basis. That’s what’s great with his books – as said – a continuous source of ideas & inspiration. And it makes the pleasure of reading them last longer :)

Check out the full list of interviews in the Silly Series here!