Rich Clark Marketing

Opinions from Rich Clark one of the UK's leading Marketing Professionals


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What Do You Think? – Beyond Web Analytics

On reading this title you may be forgiven for thinking I am going to criticise the use of web analytics. You would be wrong.  As everybody knows the appeal of online marketing for many businesses is the depth of data available to commercial leaders, the transparency of results and of course the ability to optimise as a result of triggers your web analytics provide.

Web analytics also support decisions across a whole range of departments, including marketing, merchants, tech & design teams and customer experience professionals.   However with ever complicated reports being generated and increased levels of analytical power being unleashed does web analytics provide all the answers?  My truthful response to that question is No.  What web analytics provide is a great foundation to inform discussions, however as online businesses have matured so have their needs.

In the past you could probably get away with employing a very analytical skilled online marketeer to run your analytics.  Partly because the primary use of web analytics was to measure campaign and SEO performance.  As e-Commerce matures so do the requirements of businesses.  e-Commerce is now core to most medium to large businesses.  Web analytics supplies a much wider audience with huge volumes of data to inform decisions.

Even if you have managed to employ a highly talented web analyst that understands your Omniture, Coremetrics or any other system you use, they may not understand the commercial ramifications.

Every business needs to set their objectives and then set their web analytics to help provide the data and modelling to assist in their decision and development plans.  Then the modern commercial leader whether from a marketing or trading background needs to be conversant in multi-channel business and how the web analytics assist in measuring their performance.

However that isn’t enough. The leader then needs to apply old fashioned inturpretation to those figures.  When doing so they need to do so with preconceptions or being blurred by their own view.  They need to use their commercial and technical experience and match it with instinct.

Web Analytics is still one of the most powerful tools a modern business has.  The more data you have the more you can base decisions on fact rather than gut.  Remember to utilise your web analytics with your other data, such as inventory data and customer research. Put it all together and what looks a great website might get ruined by poor stock availability or negative customer feedback.  Yet looking solely at web analytics could show a rosey picture.

I will follow this post up in the future looking at how web analytics can be used for different areas of a modern business.

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Blendtec – Will it Blend

Will it Blend?

Blendtec is not really unique. It isn’t a particularly inventive idea. It isn’t even particularly well produced (although that is the point).  So why am I featuring it?

The simple truth is that Blendtec founder, Tom Dickson, took one of the 5 F’s of Social Media and used it to bring to life, a quite frankly, dull subject, blenders.  While most manufacturers were trying to make the products either sound like a must-have or focussing on key features, Blendtec took the unprecedented step of trying to make the topic of blenders fun.

What is it?

Blendtec was created after Tom first tried to blend a box of matches.  The mess created, inspired Tom to kick-off his unusual marketing campaign, which has turned into a viral success.  Blendtec now has its own sites with regular videos being placed on the site.  Tom Dickson still stars and utilises his inane grin as he subjects the items to the blender.

The campaign took off from almost day one.  The fact that the episodes offered shock value was enough, but the fun factor hasn’t tired.  Each episode centres on an item that really shouldn’t be blended, lighters, cans of fizzy drink and even a 6ft garden rake.

Part of Will it Blend’s appeal however is the fact that Tom normally offers up a reason for things being blended.  A common request from fans of the show is to blend a crowbar.  In one episode which appeared to bow to viewer demand it appeared Tom was going to attempt to blend a crowbar.  Completely by chance, this was interupted by a mobile phone.  Tom’s response was to blend each and every phone of the crew.

He has also earned money by doing shows based around the superbowl, blending in relation to movie launches and a disc of GTA IV.  Perhaps the standout feature was when Tom blended his iPhone citing the reason that he needed to upgrade.  The shock value in one of the most in-demand products being destroyed in front of your eyes made this episode one of the most watched in the series.

Fun

For me this is a perfect example of a campaign that just works.  It strikes a chord with people as it demonstrates a rather dry subject and creates theatre, involving something that the general public wouldn’t consider.  The main underlying theme for me is that the deliberately cheesy set-up and low-cost production values make the whole thing, a lot of fun.  This is truly one of the most successful viral/social campaigns there has been.  Not purely because of the buzz created.  Not purely because of the sheer volumes of views it has received.  This campaign has delivered real commercial return.

It is rumoured this very low budget viral has delivered up to 500% sales growth.  Proving that impact campaigns can deliver real commercial benefit.


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I can’t hear for all the Tweeting

Twitter.  Tweeting. Twits.  Whatever vernacular you use, there is know denying Twitter is gaining prominence as a media channel.

Fuelled largely by the growing exposure given to the site from celebrities such as Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross, Philip Schofield and Chris Moyles.  Are you on Twitter?  What can you use it for?  What can you fit into 140 characters?

Whilst there is no doubt it is an easy to drop in and out of tool allowing you to communicate with friends are contacts, is it a really useful tool?  I have tried to keep my Twitter account  basic.  I don’t really want to add Tweet Decks, Twit Pics etc.  For me, that is the domain of Facebook.  I want to keep Twitter nice and simple.  Nice and tidy.  No doubt I am missing out and will probably take the plunge.

Does Twitter offer anything as a commercial medium?

In essence it can. It offers a free communication medium to enable brands to talk directly with target customers and prospects.  If a brand undertakes the correct strategy, it also enters into the realms of Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) – where users can choose which brands they like and endorse and share with friends.

However, if Twitter decides to charge (as has been mooted) is the channel strong enough to survive as a medium?  It will depend on how the charges are made and will the basics remain FOC?

My personal opinion is, although you can share latest offers, new releases, codes and discounts etc – you shouldn’t measure it on sales.  It should be measured on impact and shift in brand perception and opinion.

If anybody has any real success stories on Twitter or other Social Media, it would be great to hear from you.

Follow me on Twitter – Richard Clark

See what Dixons are doing on Twitter – DixonsOnline