I’m More Than an IP Address!

Every time I shop, my IP address shows up in the Web logs of the online stores I visit. I like to imagine some astute marketer analyzing that data to see what information it yields. Web logs can contribute greatly to marketing efforts if marketers understand the relationships. There’s always more to the story than the numbers.

Several weeks ago, I shopped online and again became a statistic. One company, CDW, knows I gave it almost $2,000 for a Sony VAIO notebook weighing about 3 lbs. Size and weight are important because I travel often to see clients and for speaking gigs that have gotten way out of control.

Here are some things CDW doesn’t know about the person behind that data:

  • I’ve been shopping for this PC for several months.

  • I’ve shopped for this product on at least a dozen Web sites.

  • I didn’t discover CDW on PriceGrabber.com.

  • A call to a CDW representative closed the sale, not the Web site.

  • I’m unhappy.

Here are some things CDW and its competitors could learn by thinking of me as a person instead of a statistic:

  • I visited the site several times without making a purchase. That’s normal. Many online shoppers make repeat visits before they buy. Recognize that and address it by messaging me differently after several visits.

  • I desperately wanted to buy, but no site sold me. Lead me into a sales funnel that starts with me qualifying why I need a PC or what problem I need to solve.

  • None of the sites I visited helped me see myself owning the product or enjoying its benefits. Hire a decent copywriter!

  • After arriving at CDW from PriceGrabber.com (not the least expensive option, but I recognized the name), there was no price acknowledgement. This is an important factor. CDW is a well-established brand, but it failed to capitalize on that to help me take action.

  • I abandoned my shopping cart during checkout. Then, I called with a question about the PC. Damon, a rep, answered my question and convinced me to complete the transaction online. I wanted to know the total travel weight with charger but without the external CD-ROM. Am I the only person interested in this? Spend time thinking about these details, then put a copywriter to work and watch sales improve.

  • I’m not unhappy with the product. I’m unhappy that after making a significant purchase, CDW never bothered to follow up after delivery. Not even to find out if I needed accessories. I did. I bought them elsewhere.

When evaluating marketing, set objectives up front to effectively determine a program’s success or return on investment (ROI). To successfully measure the overall success of a given marketing program, determine the key tangible and intangible measurements. Many marketers fail to measure intangibles, such as the effects of a program on brand consideration, purchase intent, and satisfaction. Ultimately, intangibles can be as important to your brand and the success of your marketing communications as the tangible attributes.

Conversion rate marketing is more complex than just gathering data. Everyone wants to sell more, but, as my friend Mike Sack of Inceptor says, “It’s easier to drive traffic since that just costs money than it is to drive conversions since that takes hard work and dedication.” Scott Laing of WebCriteria agrees. Mike’s, Scott’s, and my companies are all leaders in conversion rate marketing. Their companies offer technology solutions to help clients analyze and implement improvements. We provide advice and training regarding which improvements to make. Scott is only half-kidding when he says, “Clients really just want a black box they can attach to their server and automatically boost sales.”

Web metrics are important, but if you practice accidental marketing you aren’t practicing conversion rate marketing. Testing, measuring, and optimizing are scientific principles we can apply to disciplined marketing. Marketing is both art and science. If you overemphasize either the art or the science aspect, your marketing is not as powerful as it should be. Never forget: Behind every piece of data is an irrational, emotionally driven human being.

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