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July 2011 Archives

Online Measurement and Strategy

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Online measurement and strategy is such a big focus for many companies and this trend is just going to increase as time goes by. I was interested to read Econsultancy's latest research on this topic  in association with Lynchpin.  The survey of 800 respondents took place in March and April this year and included a good split between in-house organisations (both b2b and b2c) and supply-side respondents such as agencies, vendors and consultants.

Some of the insights include:

A growing reliance on Google Analytics (GA), 44% of respondents now use GA exclusively for web analytics.
More companies are analysing data which sheds light on the interaction between online and offline.
38% of companies are planning to increase web analytics technology spend over the next year.
The proportion of companies who analyse reputation, buzz and social media metrics has increased significantly (+10%). Most companies are interested in listening to the voice of the customer and in measuring and benchmarking social media activity.
Lack of budget and resources remains the most significant barrier preventing companies from having an effective online measurement strategy.

Further information

To read a synopsis of the report

Customer-centric upselling

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Upselling and cross-selling are important contributors to business success, but it's important to get the balance right between offering additional value that will really help the customer and trying to sell them something they clearly don't want. I was reminded of this the other day after putting petrol in my car at a BP garage. The pleasant chap at the counter asked me whether I would like any danish pastries, pointing to the large pile on the counter. 'No thanks' I replied. He clearly was on some incentive plan to sell as many as he could, as he kept asking me the same question. In fact he asked me 6 times, by which point I was just a bit irritated....I don't even like danish pastries!

I read a short story on CatererSearch that shows how getting the approach right and being truly customer-focused leads to longer-term business benefits.

'I remember reading Nico Ladenis' book many years ago where he wrote about a lovely incident which sums up the difference between up selling and good hospitality - it was about a wintery cold night when a popular national food critic walked into his restaurant (unrecognised obviously). She asked the sommelier for a good wine suggestion, expecting him to 'up sell' the most expensive wine but to her surprise, he suggested one of the cheapest wines on the menu which he recommended would go well on the cold wintery night with her food. She left more than impressed by the modest and honest hospitality she received and in return, she wrote a glorious review in the national paper, earning the restaurant well deserved fame and lot of business.

This small story has stayed with me for many many years now and sums up my beliefs on this subject - 'right selling' for long term returns rather than pushy, untactful or bland up selling for short term gain.'

Optimizing the purchase funnel

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Much has been written about the purchase funnel,with many models appearing over the years. In simple terms, if you're goal is to promote and sell a product of some sort, it's going to be very useful understanding the stages a potential customer goes through on their decision-journey. With this knowledge, you can tailor your brand messages to be more personalized and more relevant. To do this well in the digital world, you are reliant on data from web analytics tools, surveys, social media platforms, ecommerce platforms, customer service and other sources.

I was interested to see the post from marketing-made-simple , which summarizes some of the different models of purchase funnel optimization that have been created.  A few of the key points made include:

1. The shape, number of stages and duration of the purchase will vary depending on the consumer and the nature of the product. What's important to identify the key stages in your funnel and work out how to maximise the chances of a progress to sale.

2. The purchase funnel focuses on the decision-making process of a typical buyer. This is different to the sales funnel which dictates the typical process a salesman can take to close a deal.

3. Whilst different models use different labelling, the stages will all be the same, moving from pre-awareness, to awareness, research, consideration, decision, action and then re-purchase.

4. The traditional purchase funnel may be too linear and a variety of complex factors are at work, with social media at the centre. In other words, you shouldn't think that purchase decisions are simple and that people are influenced by many different factors such as customer reviews.

5. The McKinsey model highlights the importance of understanding the trigger, appreciating that your brand is just one in the consideration (short list) and the importance of paying attention to all customer touch points.


Base One recently published the results of their Buyersphere report, asking 1k business buyers about the actions they took when making a purchase. It provides some useful insights to help b2b marketers evolve their practices to ensure their brands are promoted in the places that customers are looking today. A few of the highlights include:

1. Buyers are using an even greater variety of channels to form an opinion about a brand. 

2. Digital channels are playing an increasingly important role

3. More and more buyers are attending webinars

4. Buyers are becoming more cautious about sharing their data  

You can read the full article and download the Buyersphere report for free on the IDM blog.

If you need help to communicate your brand messages in an increasingly fragmented media world, then don't feel you have to do it all alone. Publishers and agencies can create content assets for you and then promote these across multiple channels, helping you focus on understanding your own customers and optimize your own funnel. 


Reed business information offers creative media solutions to help reach and influence the following business buyers: farmers, hospitality operators, hairdressers, aviation workers, commercial property agents and opticians. Find out more.

Six Greenwashing Sins to Avoid

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Here's a useful list of things to avoid doing unless you want your green marketing efforts to be labelled 'green washing'. The full list is from the Marketing Leadership blog and includes:

'Sin of Fibbing. This sin involves misleading customers about the actual environmental performance of a company's products.

Sin of No Proof. Also known as the sin of "just trust us;" this involves manufacturers being unable to provide proof of their environmental claims.

Sin of Irrelevance. Factually correct, but irrelevant, environmental assessments. Examples include "CFC-free".

Sin of the Hidden Trade-Off. Focusing on one or two environmental facts, but ignoring other significantly more important environmental concern.

Sin of Vagueness. Broad, poorly defined environmental claims (e.g., "100 percent natural"). In the U.S., where "organic" is a label without much regulatory heft, that can sometimes qualify, too.

Sin of Lesser of Two Evils. A product can be the most environmentally preferable product in its class, but still be an inappropriate choice (e.g., "organic cigarettes")'