Monday, May 3, 2010

Bringing back the Selling advantage of Brick & Mortar

There is no question in anyone’s mind that the Internet has changed the whole shopping experience both for sellers and for buyers. More people browse, shop and buy online, and this trend will only increase.

While the Internet has enabled many small and medium companies to increase their sales reach, the Brick & Mortar salespeople have a distinct advantage: they can see the customer walk into the store, see them walk around, and approach them while they are still in the store to try and close the sale.

Now, most web sites can’t do that, they can’t react to specific visitors as if you had a salesperson on your site. And that’s what we were aiming at with The ReactiveWeb service: It provides you, the salesperson, the owner, even the one-man-show, the ability to sit in front of your computer and see, in real-time, everyone that “walks” into your store/site, you can see where they came from, (country, state) what they are looking for (search keywords), which pages (shelves?) they are looking at, and more, all in an easy-to-use screen.

Moreover, you don’t even have to sit in front of your computer, the idea is to let your web site work for you. You can set up your web site to react automatically while the visitors are still at your site, based on various scenarios that you define, and detect high potential visitors from specific countries, companies etc.

What The Reactive Web provides you are the “eyes” on the customers as they walk through your virtual door. This provides you the ability to react and address your customers’ needs while they are hot!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Think Reactive

One of the most amazing features of the human brain is its ability to recieve and analyze large amounts of data and react accordingly (ex. fight or flight). As analytical information systems evolved over time it seems that emphasis has always been on the ablity to process and analyze data rather then react to it. The result is a lot of information about what happened and even why it happened but little ability to effect and improve what is actually happening now.

So we always have explenations and excuses and perhaps ideas for improvements but we lack the ability to effect the present in order to change the future outcome.

Well, as you may have guessed, I think this should change. I think we should focus on what our applications can do with data rather then just displaying it in various manners. Dont get me wrong, the analysis offered by tools in the BI, web analytics and fraud detection fields is important but as a step towards action, not as a goal of its own. We should focus on predictive and reactive analysis to leverage the value of the data and the events around us.

I belive in "Turning Insight into Action" - and that is the heart of thinking Reactive. Nowadays, when there is so much information flying around, changing in an ever growing pace we should all think of how to turn this information and it analysis to actions that would help us achieve our goals whther they are selling more, securing better or improving service.

A report is really valuable if you have the means to turn its conclusions into actions while the relevant objective can still be reached. Here's an example: If I review daily reports of online trafic to my web site and can detect visitors location, organization and the pages they have viewed but cant interact with them (preferably automatically) to achieve my goals (get leads, sell, share...) based on these facts its not worth much since they are out of my web site by the time I read the report. They may or may not return and I might not recognize them if they do. Valuable data is waisted due to lack of ability to react on time.

Think Reactive! Dont waist your time on interesting insight that you cant turn into effective action.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Why Web Analytics Tools are Just Not Enough

We're all using them, some of us even drill down to their deepest functionality but for many critical goals in web marketing and especially in B2B marketing and sales Web analytics are just not enough.

Why is that?
Well, while Web Analytics tools are obviously important, they lack in some areas that are critical for effective sales and marketing over the web. They are very good at showing the big picture but lack the ability to pinpoint relevant, high potential visitors and more importantly then that, they lack the ability to do something about the data they supply.

I always used to end-up with a good feeling about all the new visitors and referrals to my company web site but could not really monetize on the traffic or the data I saw. Think about it this way, Web Analytics tools let you "see" your visitors but don't let you "touch" or "interact" with them and since your visitors are usually anonymous - thats where the story ends - nice statistics but few results.

Here's what I mean:
I guess were all using some kind of web analytics tool, whether its Google Analytics, PIWIK , Omniture, webtrends or any other web analytics tool, they are generally similar in their approach and the values that they offer. They are also quite similar in what they do not offer. So you can get a lot of info, trends, graphs, pie charts etc. You can get good information on your stronger traffic sources, content and visitor locations and track your online campaigns. But if you want to use your web site to get new leads and turn them into customers all of the above mentioned data can be quite frustrating since it gives you a "sense" of whats going on in general, but not much information about specific visitors or any direct means to convert them into leads.

To summarize, Web Analytics tools are a great first step to turn your web site to an effective marketing machine as they give you a sense of what comes in, which campaigns worked better etc. BUT, if you really want your web site to convert visitors into customers you have to think Reactive.