Optimize Online and Offline Sales and Marketing with Web Analytics

Information about online customer buying behavior and decision making can now be used to improve offline as well as online marketing. With web analytics, companies can test alternative sales messages, offers and promotions on their e-commerce websites, and then use the most successful message, offer or promotion in offline media (such as print publications or radio) and offline sales processes (such as direct sales, telesales or retail).

Jim Sterne, Chairman of the Web Analytics Association, has been promoting this approach in interviews, webinars and conference presentations since 2006, when he noted that a few companies were just beginning to get “insights coming out of their web analytics tools that were powerful enough to impact decisions the corporation made about offline marketing.”

The approach works like this:

  1. People search online for information on just about every product or service that they are thinking about buying, whether they intend to buy it online or offline. This means that companies can reach people online, even if their purchases will be offline.
  2. People’s responses to online information are very similar to their responses to the same information when it’s provided offline. This means that their responses to online information are excellent predictors of their responses to the same information provided offline.
  3. The information presented to them online can include choices between two or more alternatives, such as a “buy 1 get 2″ offer vs. a “50% off” offer. Even though these offers are mathematically the same, one offer will be selected by customers much more often than the other. Web analytics tools can identify the more popular offer from the customers’ online choices.
  4. For every group of alternatives, the most popular alternative online turns out to be the most compelling offline as well. The company should use that alternative online and offline.
  5. The most popular alternative then becomes the “control.” Other alternatives can be tested against it to find an even more popular and compelling offer.

In addition to testing alternative offers, companies have been using the Internet to test alternatives in marketing strategy, creative approaches, positioning, pricing and promotions. Online testing is quick. Hundreds or thousands of alternatives can be generated automatically and tested thoroughly in 24 hours, if a website has enough traffic. Web analytics tools can identify the most popular alternatives in minutes.

When I discussed this approach with Jim Young, Market Research Manager with BrandSolutions, he suggested that the most efficient and customer-friendly method for determining the optimum set of product features to meet customer preferences and maximize profitability, is conjoint analysis. This analytical technique obviates the need to test every combination of features, which would be daunting for customers to sort through.

With conjoint analysis, customers are asked to make price/feature tradeoff decisions as part of the product selection process on an existing e-commerce website, or via online surveys. In fact, the conjoint analysis solution works for situations where there are many variations in any of the alternatives in marketing strategies, creative approaches, positioning, pricing or promotions.

By using conjoint analysis in conjunction with web analytics tools, the most popular and profitable alternatives can be identified quickly, and they can be put to productive use online and offline immediately.

To optimize your online and offline sales and marketing, please contact Peter Raulerson.

Using RTM in a Marketing Life Cycle Process

In 2001 Adobe Systems executives made the Routes-to-Market methodology the cornerstone of their Marketing Life Cycle process. Their goal was to transform the company’s engineering culture to focus on customers. The results were exceptional — over the next 6 years Adobe’s sales grew 179%, profits increased 252% and its stock price rose 179%, more than 5 times the gain in the NASDAQ Composite Index and more than 6 times the S & P 500 Index. In the video below, Peter Raulerson interviews Mamta Shah, Adobe’s Director of Strategic Planning, about Adobe’s experience in adopting Routes-to-Market.

 

Using RTM with Distribution and Alliance Partners

The Routes-to-Market (RTM) methodology has been used extensively by product vendors and their distribution partners to develop and execute joint business and go-to-market plans. Using RTM in this way has generated significant incremental revenues and profits for the vendors and their channel partners. IBM, Microsoft and Cisco have done this with thousands of their resellers, distributors, independent software vendors (ISVs) and systems integrators. RTM has also been used by partners in strategic alliances to develop and execute joint go-to-market plans. Alliance partners that have used RTM in this way include IBM, SAP, Cisco, Wipro, Nortel and Sony.

In the video below, Peter Raulerson interviews Dhun Zwirble and John Skinner of the consulting firm Alliances & Channels, LLC, about using RTM with distribution and alliance partners.

Please see Dhun and John’s feedback about RTM and Building Routes to Customers.

800-CEO-READ carries our book

You can now order our book at 800-CEO-READ. They specialize in business books, and do a great job with bulk orders. Check out the Where to Buy the Book section in the sidebar (right column) on the About the Book page for a complete list of sources.

Crossing the Chasm with Wireless Scanners

Using the Routes-to-Market methodology, the management of technology start-up Baracoda changed the go-to-market strategy to take their innovative wireless barcode scanners across the chasm and became the leader of a new product category. Here’s a video interview and case study explaining how they did it.

 

Bluetooth Scanners

In 2002 Baracoda, a French start-up manufacturer of wireless data capture devices, introduced an innovative line of barcode scanners that used Bluetooth instead of physical wires to connect to data networks. Bluetooth is a standard for wireless communications between devices, widely used today to connect headsets wirelessly to mobile phones. Barcode scanners read barcodes printed on packages and manufactured goods, for applications such as managing inventory in a warehouse. Baracoda’s innovation was embedding Bluetooth technology in barcode scanners before the established barcode scanner manufacturers did that.

Hitting the Chasm

A few early customers bought Baracoda’s Bluetooth scanners, but Baracoda’s management was surprised that sales did not pick up as expected after they signed distribution agreements with barcode scanner distributors throughout Europe. Management thought that customers would buy Bluetooth scanners for their existing barcode projects because they were easier to use than scanners requiring wired connections. But the distributors were returning Baracoda’s scanners one after the other because they could not sell them.

RTM to the Rescue

In 2003, interviews with Baracoda’s early customers found that, instead of using Bluetooth scanners in traditional barcode applications, they were rolling out new applications which required data entry via barcode for mobile workers, such as field engineers recording part numbers when doing repairs, and delivery teams doing product replenishment. Baracoda’s early customers were enthusiasts and visionaries in phase 1 who invested in developing their own software to make Baracoda’s Bluetooth scanners work in their mobile environments. The reason that sales had stalled was that pragmatic customers in phase 2 could not buy scanners without software for their specific needs. The customer interviews also revealed that customers who had bought wired barcode scanners did not see the business benefit for replacing their existing scanners with wireless units.

Crossing the Chasm

With those insights, Baracoda’s approach changed radically. They started contacting independent software vendors who were developing solutions on mobile platforms, and gave them free scanners, technical training, support, and co-marketing help. Sales picked up as each software vendor completed development and their customers started buying Baracoda’s scanners.

Success in the Mainstream Market

In 2004 Baracoda’s US sales team closed a significant contract with Nextel (which later merged with Sprint) to distribute and support Baracoda’s Bluetooth barcode scanners to Nextel’s application partners, so that they could deploy mobile applications for Motorola and Blackberry handheld devices on the Nextel network. Nextel’s application partners did not want to deal with multiple vendors of Bluetooth scanners because that would greatly complicate their deployments. Nextel chose Baracoda and acted as a “value-added” distributor by providing an immediate physical point of presence across the US and access to all Nextel partners and customers. The result was a rapid increase in Baracoda’s sales as Nextel partners sold Baracoda scanners combined with mobile applications software in several industries including construction, field services, professional services and real estate.

Conclusions

Baracoda succeeded in navigating the transitions from phase 1 to phase 2, and from phase 2 to phrase 3. When management understood how phase 1 customers were actually using Baracoda’s product, they realized that it met different customer needs than they had originally thought, and they changed their approach to exploit that opportunity, bringing Baracoda’s product across the chasm. By showing Nextel management that they could accelerate the success of their applications partners by giving them a single, common product to deploy (instead of a variety of incompatible products), Baracoda drove the transition from phase 2 to phase 3 by triggering a tornado of orders.

Introduction to RTM

In the video below, Peter Raulerson gives a 2-minute introduction to the Routes-to-Market methodology and our book Building Routes to Customers: Proven Strategies for Profitable Growth. You can also watch this video on our book’s webpage on Amazon.com.

Pre-order at Amazon

Our book, Building Routes to Customers: Proven Strategies for Profitable Growth, can now be pre-ordered at Amazon’s country websites in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany and Japan, via the following links:

Testimonial from Eugene Lee, Cisco

“Trying to go to market without a detailed route map is like driving cross-country with no directions – the motion feels good until you realize it’s taking longer than you expected and the scenery looks familiar. RTM clarifies how marketing and sales can pivot from abstract segmentation and go-to-market planning to pragmatic and tangible implementation steps. Big impact on our marketing and sales results!”
— Eugene Lee, CEO, Socialtext, formerly VP Worldwide Marketing, Small/Medium Business Division, Cisco

Testimonial from Joan Jacobs, HP

“Technology innovation is not limited to the lab or the manufacturing process. Successfully marketing new technologies is about understanding change and helping customers adopt a new technology to create significant business value. RTM is a practical roadmap for maximizing revenue and profitability throughout the entire product life cycle. It’s the way to drive technology adoption in today’s evolving markets.”
— Joan Jacobs, President of Itanium Solutions Alliance, formerly Global Alliance Director, Hewlett-Packard

Testimonial from Ken Kannappan, Plantronics

“Routes-to-Market is a great tool for driving expansion into new markets and distribution channels. It also gets all of the management team on the same agenda. RTM has had a very positive impact at Plantronics.”
— Ken Kannappan, President & CEO, Plantronics

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