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 amazon.com 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!

I just don’t get it

Chocolate Gorilla

Cadbury’s are trying something a bit different. It’s got no obvious sales message. It doesn’t seem to be linked to any campaign. This is how they describe the activity on their site:

Well it just seemed like the right thing to do. There’s no clever science behind it – it’s just an effort to make you smile, in exactly the same way Cadbury Dairy Milk does. And that’s what we aim to continue to do; simply make you smile. So if a drumming gorilla’s not enough, wait until you see what else we have up our sleeves.

This is the way I see it:

• They are creating some films that they hope will go viral. This is an unbelievably difficult thing to do. They have to beat all the ridiculous inanity on YouTube and elsewhere.

• They are expecting people to come to a branded environment to watch them. Again – why would you try to attract an audience when you can go to where an audience is already?

• They are embedding the film in their page to stop it being passed around or re-edited. I know that since YouTube made it big no one passes films around any more – but it feels as if they are distrusting their audience.

• They don’t help their viewers pass it on. There’s no ‘send to a friend’ functionality. I know that good stuff will be passed on regardless but it doesn’t do any harm to suggest it to your viewers and make it easy for them.

• They have created something that I just don’t get. Nor do I find it funny.

Am I wrong? Am I missing something? Or am I the wrong audience, seeing as I’d prefer to dip some pitta bread into a tub of humous than eat a Cadbury’s chocolate bar?

For their sake, I hope I’m wrong. Good luck to them.