Online Marketing Strategies – EverEffect

Al Ries is Wrong, Part 2

Posted in Conversion by Thomas Heed on July 25, 2007

In my last post – on a dare to evaluate an Al Ries video – I launched into a rather lengthy rant about why the internet would lead to the eventual obsolescence of traditional TV. Leave it to one of my colleagues (thank you, Justin) to make my point much clearer: “It’s not about the convergence of technologies, but the convergence of mediums.”

The main thrust of the Ries Report video was not really about TV-PC convergence, but used it as an example of convergence hype gone awry. He mainly employed the concept of convergence to predict the failure of Apple’s iPhone. “All hype, all hot air, no sales in the long run.”

Let me explain. No, there’s no time. Let me sum up. Al Ries believes that divergence is good; convergence is bad.

To demonstrate divergence, Mr. Ries uses several examples, including telephones: first there were regular phones, then cordless phones, walkie-talkies, and cell phones. He forgot two cans with string stretched out between them …

Convergence? “Well, with all the hype, everyone in the world is running around trying to put two things together that don’t belong together.”

As examples of the dangers inherent in the urge to converge, Mr. Ries – and this was hilarious – runs down a list of convergence failures: a Refrigerator-TV, Radio-Binoculars, Radio-Toaster, Camera-Printer, a Hamburger Hotel (a personal favorite), and MP3 Sunglasses.

Mr. Ries compares Apple’s iPod (divergence) with the iPhone (convergence). The iPod is a divergence device because it was the first high-capacity MP3 player unlike the original, low-capacity, versions. He implies that the iPhone is just another cell phone, and is thus doomed to fail. And here is where – if we use his own thesis – he is wrong.

With the iPhone, Apple has created an interactive user experience that surpasses other smart (cell) phones. Its large, touch screen user interface and internet browsing feature represents true innovation (divergence). Every iPhone feature is a simple touch away, and its screen does not offer a menu bar or other confusing buttons.

If Apple’s iPhone fails – as Mr. Ries suggests – it will not be because it is a “convergence device,” but because of flaws in 1-3 of the 4 Ps (no one can argue with how Promotion has been handled):

  1. The Product does not live up to its hype, or it is not substantially different than other Smart Phones.
  2. The Price is too steep (Up to $599 is a little pricey for a unique fixer-upper).
  3. Placement becomes an issue due to the exclusivity deal with AT&T.

Despite all of its recent marketing coups, don’t forget some Apple blunders: the Apple Lisa (1983), or the more relevant point, their refusal to share the Apple operating system with generic (or other) PC manufacturers, which opened the door for Windows and the explosive Microsoft growth that nearly buried them! The AT&T deal could prove to be equally limiting to the product’s success.

In my opinion, the easy to use, interactive experience with fewer features make the iPhone a divergence device not, as Mr. Ries insists, a convergence one. Look for it to be a big hit.

A Click Too Far

Posted in Conversion by Thomas Heed on July 9, 2007

“We get (fill in the blank) visitors to our website every month, but our conversions are horrible.” When I hear this, my very first question is always, “When your customers are ready to buy, are you primed to sell?”

A careful investigation of the site in question often reveals that the answer is, “No.”

Recent case in point – my sons absolutely adore dinosaurs. Friends told them that a local museum was showing a 3D Dinosaur documentary in its theater, and the boys requested, begged, pleaded, beseeched, and implored that my wife and I take them to see it. So, I set out to buy us tickets online.

Credit Card in hand, I wound up at a cool-looking site that soon had me hot under the collar. Clicked on Trailer (nothing like a sneak peek to get everyone excited), and received an invitation to try an interactive quiz. Neat feature; not what I asked for. Clicked Enter, and found myself presented with six different options to choose from (two of which were broken links), and still no Trailer. At this point, I was empathizing with the dinosaurs; I might go extinct before finding what I was looking for.

Next, I tried to buy tickets, and kept receiving prompts to do anything but. Believe me, I could go on and on and on, but you wouldn’t be able to take it anymore than I could. I abandoned the ticket-buying try.

If you’re not getting the conversions you think you should, ask yourself a few simple questions. What kind of experience have you created for the User? How easy is it for the User to navigate through the site or, if you’re selling something, how easy have you made it for them to buy? Does everything on your site even work?

In my museum example, everything was just too hard. Poor navigation, broken links, information labeled one thing on the home page and something else on the sub-page(s), and finally, when I did find what I was looking for and wished to act on it, I was asked to take A Click Too Far.

All of the above added up to a poor User experience and a lost conversion. I had been ready to buy, but the website had not been primed to sell.

Find. Get. Keep. (Part 2 of 3)

Posted in Conversion by Jim Brown on June 11, 2007

GETting Prospects to become Customers

In Part 1 of this series I mentioned a phrase, “It’s not about you.” Guess what – that still hold true in the ‘Get’ portion of the cycle as well. You could have the best looking site in the world (in your opinion), but if it does not DO what you want it to do (in most cases convert prospects into customers) is it really that good?

When a prospect comes to your website there used to be an old statistic that said you had seven seconds to capture their attention in order for them to stay on your site. Today – you’re LUCKY if you get seven seconds. Prospects want information. However, they want it in ways that make sense to them. You might be thinking to yourself – “fine, we’ll figure out how they want it, and give to them that way.” That would be great if there were only one type of prospect. Unfortunately, you will have some that want to watch a video, some that will want to see an animated demonstration, others will want to read about your service.

Kind of makes things a little more complicated doesn’t it? Your website must be engaging. It should be clear and focused and provide as much information as a prospect would desire in a means that makes the most sense… to THEM.