Earlier this year, Orbitz stirred up controversy by directing certain Mac users to costlier travel options than their Windows counterparts. While this tactic raised eyebrows, the role of a marketer is to use all of the information at your disposal to develop a solid customer profile and deliver the right content, at the right place, and at the right time.
Data from the Ecommerce Quarterly backs up the idea that customers visiting on different devices and operating systems exhibit different behavior while engaging with your brand online. Identifying the technographic characteristics of customers when they browse your website can provide a direct route to better understanding the customer and delivering them a more relevant online experience.
For years, sharp email marketers have been doing something similar by analyzing what percentage of traffic is driven from AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo, or Gmail accounts. The AOL user, for example, typically represented a more established household, while the Gmail user tended to be more technologically sophisticated. Considered a fundamental email marketing tactic, email marketers learn a lot about the customer this way and tailor messages based on that profile.
While some may view this as controversial, at the end of the day you have to identify ways to effectively use data to shape the customer experience or you run the risk of missing opportunities. This isn't black magic; instead you should be leveraging ways that identify technographic data to help give your customers what they want.
Here are three ways technographics can be incorporated into your marketing or CRM process in order to make the online experience more relevant for your customers.
Understanding whether customers are visiting your website from a Mac or Windows operating system, iPhone or Android smartphone, or iPad vs. Android-based tablet is one of the most fundamental ways you can use technographics to tailor the online experience.
As smartphones continue to account for a larger share of website visits, use what you know about the mobile user's device to your advantage. For example, you know that iPhone visitors are on a major wireless carrier vs. an Android user that may be on a month-to-month plan. Since the iPhone user is typically paying a higher monthly data rate, consider delivering a more relevant experience tailored to her economic situation.
The New Browser Wars
Similar to the email marketer paying attention to subscribers' service providers, identifying the web browser a customer is using when she visits your website will tell you a lot about her level of technical sophistication.
If a customer is visiting your website via Internet Explorer 6, for example, you can reasonably assume that she is less technically sophisticated than a visitor using a new version of Google Chrome. Although this piece of data doesn't provide a direct map to household income, it will give you strong insight into what type of consumer she is, which can impact the offers you present to her.
Viewport: The New Screen Resolution
Another important question to ask is what does the specific experience the customer is engaging with look like to her?
While display screen resolution is nothing new and can certainly help in customizing the user experience, if viewport isn't on your radar it needs to be. Viewport is the area of a web browser where users can see actual content of a web page.
As the desktop handles an increasing number of applications, the web browser's viewport size and not the display resolution will become increasingly important. In other words, regardless of whether someone's screen resolution is 1920x1080 or 1024x768, she's likely viewing your website much smaller.
The move to responsive web design can improve the user experience and address some of the challenges that viewport presents. At the same time, you'll be able to extend your user experience efforts to non-PC traffic like the increasingly popular tablet and smartphone devices mentioned earlier.
Focus first on your conversion path. For instance, test treatments such as site search, navigation, and image size layout before you go crazy with responsive design and relaunch your entire website.
Test Your Assumptions
Technographics provide you with a good starting point for getting to know your customers better, but depending on your product or service offerings, it is essential to test your assumptions. By testing you will validate whether these technographic behavior patterns are proven.
Listen to what your customers are telling you. By analyzing technographics such as the devices, browsers, screen resolutions, and viewports that your customers use, you will learn a lot more about them and can put this information to good use.
Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
Nathan Richter advises top enterprise clients including Best Buy, QVC, Urban Outfitters, Sports Authority, and PETCO on website optimization. A veteran of digital marketing and online retailing, Richter has extensive hands-on experience helping enterprise clients implement successful multichannel marketing campaigns. Richter has directed online marketing and site optimization programs for David’s Bridal, QVC, The Franklin Mint, and dELiA's.
March 19, 2014