We’re just a day away from the third Digital Analytics Association symposium in Boston. I’m looking forward to my own 100% participation rate, and hope many others are looking to do the same… or to start a new trend in their professional development lives!
What’s the DAA?
It’s not always the Digital Advertising Alliance, or the Dark Avengers Assembly. Here’s a brief rundown of my DAA’s history:
The DAA was founded as the Web Analytics Association in 2004. As more digital data streams became available, the responsibilities of the analyst broadened, and the term “web analytics” became known as the study of data collected exclusively on websites. The Board of Directors chose to change the name to the Digital Analytics Association in 2011 to account for the analyst’s changing role of weaving together data from multiple sources and channels.
For the first symposium in Boston, back in 2011, I was an attendee. I’ve now had the pleasure of helping with the planning of the most recent two symposiums, and can offer perspective on why I attend the events, as well as why I help plan them.
Why attend a DAA symposium
Same reasons why you might attend any digital marketing technology or analytics event, be it a full-fledged marketing technology conference, or a post-work MeetUp, etc. You attend for the exposure to other practitioners, to the tools of our trade, and to honest, open conversation about the state of digital analytics. This years event was set up with the intention that anyone who attends should be able to take something away that they can use in 2015 to move their analytics program, or analytics self, forward.
It’s not just networking
The word “networking” can have connotations unrelated to professional development. You can network just to find like-minded individuals or expand your network for various reasons. The principles of analytics hygiene included a reference to “outsiders”, and not networking… the idea was that through contact with outsiders, you can clean up what you’ve got going on inside.
Whether its process, organizational structure, strategies, or tactics… there are experienced, knowledgeable folks attending these events, and they’re generally willing to offer some insight into how they’re doing things in exchange for the same from you! Speaking to people in person! What an incredible way to get first hand information… before blogs and social media, this is how things were done, remember? Come tell some stories, listen to some stories, let it soak in and bring back some ideas to your own organization.
Why plan a DAA symposium
The planning more or less comes along with co-leading the Boston chapter of the DAA. Why do any of it at all? When I shifted from freelancing and running hosting businesses to full dedication to Web analytics in the mid-00s, the WAA was there (established in 2004). Throughout my professional career, now as the DAA, the organization gave me a digital place to call home and a carbon-based community that spans the globe, with thousands of members worldwide. Everywhere I go in professional life, there are digital analytics professionals (DAPs!) who are members of the DAA. This common ground makes for a nice ice breaker, and tells folks that we are indeed like-minded individuals to some degree.
The DAA is much more than a community. When introducing the Certified Web Analyst program back in the late 00’s, as far as I know they were the first such group offering an analytics certification of any kind… and the program was lauded by industry leaders for taking a hard line and separating folks who knew about Web analytics from the folks who were really “doing” Web analytics. More recently, the DAA has put a lot of effort into a competency framework which was just published in February 2015. I am looking forward to hearing and talking about this in person at the symposium. If you haven’t had a chance to take a look, give it a read. It is truly the result of some serious effort, crowdsourcing to the max (hundreds of DAPs chipping in). In the end, what you have is a thorough, descriptive take on the skills and roles that DAPs face every day. Whether you’re trying to break into the field, trying to hire someone into a related position, or structure an analytics organization, there is a lot of useful information within.
See you tomorrow?
If you’re in the Boston area, and can break free tomorrow afternoon, we need your participation and you need the collective wisdom of DAA Symposium speakers and attendees! Let’s go!