Conversation With Jason Widup

Following on to our post about the digital measurement services sector, I caught up with Jason Widup for a great conversation. Jason is the Director of the Digital Marketing Optimization (DMO) group at Webtrends.

This is a unique group in the #measure world. Although the group is obviously part of Webtrends, they operate much more like an independent, product agnostic, digital measurement consultancy. Allow me to explain:

Jason Widup and Brandon Ralls worked for Webtrends back in 2006 – Jason was the manager of the “Strategic Consulting” group and Brandon was a senior consultant. After a year in this role, Webtrends started to go through a lot of changes, and Jason was recruited by McCann Worldgroup in San Francisco to start a new Measurement Operations practice.

This was an unusual opportunity because Jason was tasked with conceiving, building and running an analytics organization from scratch. Brandon quickly joined Jason at McCann, and the two developed a structure and recruited talent into the five categories of the Measurement Operations lifecycle: Strategy, Implementation, Reporting, Analysis and Ongoing Optimization.

The group was very successful in terms of profitability, quality of work product, and ability to recruit top talent.

Jason and Brandon decided to leverage their experience at McCann and start up their own consultancy, focusing initially on a cutting edge data visualization product they had developed as the entry point into customers.

Right about this time, Alex Yoder was taking over the helm at Webtrends. Jason had a great relationship with Alex in his last go-around at Webtrends, and the new CEO started recruiting the duo.

Jason and Brandon decided that they could reach scale quicker, and do more interesting work, as part of a larger entity. They took their dashboarding product and handful of clients over to Webtrends and launched the DMO group.

The group is now based in Seattle offices of Webtrends, not the Portland, Oregon headquarters.

Two and a half years later the DMO group is eight people and will increase headcount considerably by the end of the year. They have been profitable every step of the way, grown purely organically (sold business, delivered, sold more, hired…). They have hit their numbers every quarter for the past year and a half.

They started as “the super cool Excel dashboarding guys” and now deliver a broad range of consulting services, including a newly expanded focus on social media measurement.

The group is winning business from top agencies and consultancies dealing with Omniture, Coremetrics, GA and yes, Webtrends data.

The group sells directly into clients, but Jason is constantly working the inside sale: to Webtrends salespeople. He presents case studies, client success stories, ideas and capabilities on a regular basis to the team – keeping his group on the top of their minds when they are talking to clients.

The sales team has come to recognize that whenever the DMO team engages with their client they are guaranteed a renewal.

Jason has implemented some unique management techniques that he has developed over the years that have enabled their retention rates to far exceed industry standards. The key seems to be to NOT burn people out.

The DMO team is managed against a team revenue target… not individual utilization rates. As a result, he can pull resources from heavy billing engagements and put them onto product development, sales pitches, wherever he needs them or wherever they want to focus.

This creates an environment that is more flexible, more team-oriented, more interesting for the consultant and more sustainable.

The Webtrends services organization also provides technical implementation and support for their customers along with additional practice groups focused on segmentation & targeting, mobile measurement & strategy, social marketing optimization and search marketing optimization.

Many thanks to Jason for sharing the details of his team. We wish them continued success, especially since they are an IQ Workforce client (that will serve as our disclosure statement).

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