Sunday, January 27, 2008

mastercard parody :)

Getting expert advice on how to gather visitors to your website and increase traffic: 3000 $, with WebMasterCard.

Planning a full fledged web marketing campaign with web advertising so as to put banners and ads on Google Adsense and Yahoo search marketing: 8000 $, with WebMasterCard

Changing your website behavior, by continuously publishing updated content and periodically revamping its look and feel, 12000 $, with WebMasterCard

Installing customizable KPIs on Google Analytics and aggregating e-commerce sales data with website statistics: 2000 $, with WebMasterCard.

Watching your 5000 new visitors per day disperse everywhere and abandoning the online sales path like rats on a sinking boat, just to earn 1 purchase per day... priceless

Would you NOW consider some smart mechanism to engage your customers and keep them on your online shop?

I can help you: just call me, it's free!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The power of crowds:

It seems to me that there are more social networks than users. It's a joke, of course, but it's also partially true.
Indeed, each social network specializes on some kind of "environment". I am a passionate product manager with a focus on online communications, I like sailing and windsurfing, and I love torturing my family and neighbors with my clarinet.
That means that I belong to three environments, to the least:
  • Online techno geeks and community passionates
  • Sailing
  • Classical music
For each of these environment, I feel I belong to a network. It'l like the "networks" of Facebook, or the "communities" of Orkut, or the "tags" of Spock. Sometimes people (elements of the network) overlap, sometimes they don't. But they are, and will be, mostly the same elements. It's just a collection of people I won't improve my relationship with by using the social networking tool.

But then, how can I socialize with people that share an interest in common with me? How can I do this without pretending to add people to my network in the hope that he or she will be a good "network element" to be friend with?

The wise answer is: ask.
In you ask lots of questions. People ask lots of personal, political, religious questions.
Everybody has an opinion, you have to answer a simple "yes" or "no". It is addicting.
You can make a choice by asking the crowds, they will give you the results: like flocks protect themselves from predators using their collective behavior, we humans can use our common knowledge to empower our own decisions with the power of wisdom of crowds.

Moreover, the magic that's under the hood of computes an affinity score. People who think alike are matched and grouped. Clusters and "sub-flocks" form, and new groups with a strong cohesion on certain topics arise.

It's like the principle of cross-selling, isn't it?
What a pleasure for a marketing manager, all these profiles available... Even Google, with its immense archive of personal taster would be interested in this kind of data...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Customer care - who does *really* care?

My current focus is on customer support. Proactive customer support.
Pro-active: it means that I start doing something before somebody asks me. I do not react, I precede the other party. I would play the usual plot that shop assistants are so good at: "Hello sir, how can I help you? Would you like me to assist you?". This is acting before your customer (potential or acquired) falls into the pit of indecision.

Proactive customer support is going to be the future for online marketing, internet firms must be aware that they cannot lose more visitors on their websites. The definitive year 2008 resolution for online shops is: increase conversion.

OK, we are ready to give customer support, so we have equipped our e-commerce site with everything needed, our weapons loaded and shields up but...
(ahem, too much Star Wars during the holidays!)
...but what happens then?

Your customer starts a dialog with your "operator". Operator of what? Would she be just nice and well-prepared by reading the whole documentation about your products?
Does she know about all the possible technical questions?

Let's suppose you sell homebrewing products. Does Laura, your wery well prepared "online operator", have a passion for homebrewing? Is she the right person to talk to, when it comes to passionate technical questions? Would she advice adding hot acid water to the mash-out phase, to ease up the sparging phase and stop enzymes? There is somebody who takes it very seriously

Normally, she does not. But then, is she instructed to pass the call over an expert? What if experts were customer champions?

What if Dan, a passionate homebrewer and satisfied customer, agrees to offer expert advice (paid, of course) about your products for selected people? This behavior is overhyped, it would be called Web2.0, User Generated Content, WikiSupport. Fact is, human beings tend to cooperate. It's our nature.

Getting back to Dan... what if Dan does this expert advice job on his phone, without the hassles of installing CRM software or operator clients?