Strategy takes the stage

There’s a new Forrester report on interactive agencies in the US doing the rounds ( ) that tells us agencies (at least the ones Forrester reviewed) need to try harder to effect ‘proper’ marketing strategy for clients, despite the increased centre stage opportunities presented by the the seismic shift in advertising.

Encouraged though I am to read of pockets of excellence in actually changing client strategy and re-evaluation of the generally quite large budgets previously earmarked for TV, (this blog passim), I do agree that there is some way to go before we make the entire world of marketing our own. The Forrester analyst indicated that US marketers are looking increasingly to integrate interactive marketing, and are placing pressure on the agency networks to reorganise themselves to deliver that. I was mildly surprised of course as I thought that we had it all sorted already.

It is a big question for the experienced digital marketing community, though. Should we adjust the course of the mother ship holding companies/big agencies/traditional shop or happily bank the $6 billion investment from Microsoft as aQuantive has this year? Answers on a blogpost please…

I’m quite into Forrester at the moment. The European Interactive Agency Wave reviewed my agency recently too. We did pretty well, being described as a “strong performer” and “good fit for Clients with significant data who want to go to market on the web”. They liked the whole principle of participation marketing thinking (who doesn’t?) as an answer to how to combine the best of user experience and an understanding of technology platforms with a modern approach to brand communication. And we got mentioned in another study about Where to get help with Web Analytics too. Must be doing something right.

Shop and Becks

Remember the memory game from childhood? I went to market and bought a pig; a donkey; a packet of crisps; some cheese and so on. Educational psychologists may tell you that children can remember up to seven things quite well, beyond that each extra thing becomes harder to cope with. Rather like pints of lager. Now try playing the online version, as I did recently. I went online and bought a laptop computer; a club penguin subscription; a David Beckham Academy course for one of the boys, a quantity of books from Amazon and a Harry Potter audiobook from Woolworths, no less, (which took forever to arrive). Looking back on the varying experiences, which was hot, and which was not? Continue reading

Testing on the masses

As has been noted in these pages before, traditional marketing techniques are dead in the water. We can’t hold the hand of potential customers to take them from awareness through preference, purchase and eventually loyalty. They walk to their own tune. Yet, standard web metrics still replicate these old fashioned ideals. We rely too heavily on old school measurements to define online campaign success without really understanding what’s going on. This underlies a basic flaw in traditional online campaign analysis and optimisation unless you talk to your customers you will never know how to best serve them, thereby improving your relationship and hopefully make some money.

One of my favourite ways of talking to the customer is to do this without them even knowing!
Almost ten years ago, an employee at named Greg Linden developed a prototype recommendation engine. However, this was blocked by a senior marketing exec who thought it would distract users from the check out process. Linden did manage to setup a controlled test where the new system was tested on the users. It was such a success that the senior exec was overruled and these days the idea has been copied by several websites.
Online testing allows us analysts to put some of our hypothesis to the test. We can test on our users if they prefer a simple clean interface or not, or if that extra page in the check out process is really necessary.

The beauty of this online testing is that users aren’t asked directly for their data or opinions; to them it’s a seamless experience. They probably don’t even know they are part of a test, yet they are voting with their mouse clicks. Its online participation marketing analysis in its purest form!

Web Analytics has a new textbook

Google’s new Analytics Evangelist, Avinash Kaushik, has also been busy writing a book. Web Analytics an hour a day is a new resource to help us make sense of the masses of user data on the web.

Google has been making big news in this area. When they released their free tool Google Analytics it sent shock waves through the industry, suddenly any Tom, Dick or Harry could get involved and it significantly raised the industry’s profile. Of course many people are worried Google has increasingly too much data on us.

Continue reading