Was I there to bask in the legendary Las Vegas ambiance? Or was I there to learn about WebTrends' new product offerings? In all honesty, a little of both.
I've just returned home from the WebTrends Engage conference, held October 9th and 10th, in Las Vegas. I'd never been to a vendor-sponsored show before. It was a little odd to be surrounded by many (though not all) of the usual suspects in the field of web analytics - clients, vendors, consultants - but conspicuously absent were some of my favorite people who happen to work for (or are clients of) competing vendors. I enjoy events like X Change and eMetrics precisely because of the lack of tool focus - vendor neutrality makes it easier for participants to transcend the whole discussion of tools and talk about what really matters to us and the businesses our work supports.
BUT, as I said I was there to experience Vegas and learn about WebTrends products. Mission accomplished.
First things first: Vegas ambiance. WebTrends threw a fabulous party on Tuesday night at the Palms hotel. The club was totally over-the-top: retractable moon roof, smoke machine, cheesy cover band, guys from the conference dancing somewhat awkwardly while still wearing their name badges. Dave Navarro showed up later in the evening. Really.
And then there was my hotel room. Although I paid the normal room rate, hotel staff inexplicably (mistakenly?) upgraded me to a penthouse suite - 6 rooms, 4 couches, 3 TVs, panoramic view of the Strip, etc. Ha! I was hardly even there. I was out at the conference, as I said, learning about WebTrends products.
As the name of the conference suggests, WebTrends is pushing the concept of engagement. One of their new products, Score, makes it easier for marketers to create custom engagement metrics and then assign a score to every single visitor. How cool is that?! On Tuesday there was a panel discussion on engagement involving a great cast of thought leaders in our field, including Semphonic's own Gary Angel.
There's definitely some debate on whether or not we think engagement is real or fluff. Regardless, tools like Score will make it possible for practitioners to see if engagement is a useful thing to concentrate on in real life, not just in theory.
Score was actually the second-most interesting/useful product I learned about at the conference. The real reason I was there was to learn about Visitor Intelligence. You can bet I took notes. I will share some thoughts on Visitor Intelligence in another post. In the meantime, check out this thorough review written by my fellow conference attendee, Jacques Warren.