I worked with a Dublin creative agency on a web strategy about two years ago for a large mobile phone retailer. The agency convened a focus group and interrogated them about what they thought would make the ideal mobile phone tariff .The young folk played the game for over an hour, trading one feature for another until they felt they reached the optimum setting that would satisfy them all.
At the end of the experiment, while debate was continuing on other topics, a faux mobile phone contract was prepared highlighting the optimum setting they had chosen. The twelve young adults were then asked if they would actually sign up to move to this new tariff. They all said no. They all had their reasons, but none of them valid.
July 1958, Sir Alec Issigonis wrote in Vogue magazine ‘A camel is a horse designed by committee’. This humorous term is often associated with group thinking that is formed in the absence of good leadership or the absence of fact.
Many businesses, in particular small businesses, act upon assumptions around customer expectations and build products and services that they want to deliver or that they think their customers desire. When the customer is faced with making a choice online, they have hundreds of alternatives. Regardless of what you think your customer wants, when it comes to online choice their actions almost always contradict your assumptions.
Google and others give businesses of all size a different set of tools to make decisions. ‘Fact Tools’ – not subjective pointers, but absolute fact based measurement – ‘There can be no ambiguity – this is what the customer wants’ tools, to help you make marketing decisions.
In most service businesses for example, we build websites extolling the virtues of how we offer value for money and business excellence in our sector. Most readers don’t care. They want to know about who is running the company they have been recommended to look up. This is fact in nearly every service business website. This can’t be disputed because Google Analytics says so. So why are you spending so much time perfecting your ‘products’ section of your website when customer want to know more about you?
Senior Director in Accenture, Stacy Blanchard wrote her opinion on the BBC website last week proclaiming that “Analytics must be put centre stage in decision making”. Although the article contains little that hasn’t already been said before, she does point out there is a knowledge gap in most businesses preventing the use of quantitative online data at board level.
This message has been promoted by iON for the past three years. We have seen massive transformation and business success with our customers who truly understanding the numbers and are linking them back with business planning, website design and digital marketing tactics. There are many innovative businesses in Ireland that have already followed Stacy Blanchard’s advice. It appears the cat is out of the bag and Analytics is going mainstream.
So now that Google and others have had their quantitative market research tools move to centre stage, what could be next? Never short of an innovation or two, Google has come up with an idea to act as a more acceptable pay wall to premium online content. Google Consumer Surveys provide access to premium online content in return for completion of custom market research surveys created by businesses who pay for the privilege. It’s super smart and may create a new wave of quantitative research, but it has its shortcomings – none more obvious than the fact that the skill of market research is not in the use of the tools, but in the questions you ask, how you ask them and how you analyse the results.
If you need a little help interpreting your bounce rate from your exit rate and understanding why it matters, get in touch with us at iON.
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