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Paco Underhill's Why We Buy: The Science Of Shopping (Touchstone Books, 2000) illuminated the mysterious behavior of shoppers wandering around in retail stores.

The realization comes to marketers in a flash that the behavior of a website visitor is immeasurably more measurable. It's obvious. It's intuitive. It's exciting.

Then comes the hard part.

The marketing manager heads over to the IT department or the Web manager and asks, "What can you tell me about what's happening on my site?"

Web manager: "What do you need?"

Marketing manager: "What have you got?"

Web manager: "Whatdda ya need?"

Marketing manager: ""Whadda ya got?"

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image of Jim Sterne

Jim Sterne (jsterne@targeting.com) is the founder and director of Target Marketing (www.targeting.com), founder of the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, and the founding president and current chairman of the Web Analytics Association.