People now the key hindrance to web conversion
By Mark Patron, CEO of behavioural email specialists RedEye International
9 Jan 2012: Before working in direct and digital marketing I was a project engineer with Mobil Oil, so I’ve always had a keen interest in how we use technology. In the 1980s most direct marketers were a fairly technology adverse lot. They saw the need for developers and analysts but did not let them out in polite company. With the advent of the internet there was a complete swing of the pendulum. Only technologists and engineers seemed to have the keys to the inner sanctum of how to make internet marketing work. Fortunately things have moved on making digital marketing much more accessible
Over the last three years Econsultancy and RedEye have surveyed thousands of client-side and agency digital marketers about conversion rate optimisation (CRO). We have found that the CRO market is rapidly maturing. Technology is no longer the major barrier preventing companies from improving their website conversion rates. The challenge is becoming one of people and processes.
Over the last three annual surveys, when answering the question “what are the biggest barriers preventing your organisation improving conversion rates?”, lack of resources and budget have consistently been cited as the two biggest barriers. Over the three years poor technology has moved down from third to seventh place, or 25% to 18%, and poor integration between systems has moved from fourth to eighth place, or 24% to 17%.
This indicates that technology is becoming less of a barrier to optimisation. However, while technology has declined in importance, people and process issues have increased. In the most recent survey when we analysed the variables most strongly correlated with improved website conversion we found the top four in order of importance were: perceived control over conversion rates; having a structured approach to CRO; having someone directly responsible for CRO; and incentivising staff based on conversion rates.
Companies with a structured approach to conversion were also twice as likely to have seen a large increase in sales over the previous 12 months. This is all well and good, but the problem lies in the amount of companies actually implementing these activities. Only 31% had a structured approach to conversion and only 25% bothered to incentive staff. On the plus side 73% of companies did have one or more person directly responsible for conversion, although this did leave almost a third of companies with no one responsible for conversion.
It could therefore be argued companies just aren’t using their staff or managing their processes as well as they could be, when it comes to improving conversion.So what is causing these people and processes barriers to success in digital marketing?The digital industry lacks enough experienced people. A lot of this is down to companies not investing enough in people and wasting too much on tools they don’t use or media that does not work. Sadly, when the cost of acquiring a customer online is much better than offline there is little incentive to change this.
Not enough digital marketers have the skill sets to analyse the masses of online data. Many simply make superficial use of Google Analytics to track numbers of visitors without getting underneath the data to understand why numbers have gone up or down. Knowing why makes it possible to do something about it. Avinash Kaushik’s 90:10 rule (that you should spend $90 on people for every $10 spent on analytics tools) is as relevant today as when he first said it in 2006.A lot of this comes down to working on the analytics problems that exist rather than running off reports when requests come in.
The people that best prove the value of analytics are those that can converse with senior managers and understand their problems, then provide solutions through analytics. Without this the senior managers would never have thought to ask the web analyst to help them. A lack of structure and process is more a reflection of the digital market’s immaturity. There has simply not been enough time for the more rigorous process disciplines we have offline to have developed online. As results for online marketing inevitably converge with offline results the incentive for companies to be more disciplined with their online marketing will drive change.
Technology is becoming less of the major barrier it was in preventing companies from improving their digital marketing. The challenge is becoming one of people and processes. After all, technology can only take you so far, it’s up to you how you use it. The next challenge perhaps is finding a successful way to make the most out of the people and processes available.
14 June 2013: Cloud-based marketing software platform provider Marketo has announced the availability of the Marketo Customer Engagement engine, which it claims is the first marketing solution that intelligently and automatically manages the timing and distribution of the right content, to the right person at the right time.
13 Jun 2013: Kognitio and Celebrus Technologies marke the anniversary of a strategic collaboration that provides one of the largest global manufacturers in the world with an innovative solution for digital marketing analytics.
12 Jun 2013: The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing has revealed that student teams from the University of Northumbria and University of Central Lancashire have made it to the top three in the prestigious IDM Student Marketing Competition 2013
7 Jun 2013: Salesforce.com, the world’s biggest CRM platform, has announced an agreement to acquire ExactTarget, the leading cloud marketing platform for around $2.5 bn.
7 Jun 2013: Whisbi, the lead management technology provider, has launches a new product designed to monetise Facebook.
6 Jun 2013: Database Marketing Award-winning customer engagement agency Indicia has expanded with the opening of a new London office.
5 Jun 2013: The London School of Marketing has announced a formal partnership with the Digital Marketing Institute.
1 Jun 2013: Experian insight reveals the location and characteristics of the UK’s growing number of single person households
22 May 2013: – D&B, the world's leading source of commercial information and insight on businesses, had made D&B360 available for Oracle CRM On Demand, Oracle's Siebel CRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and SAP CRM.
20 May 2013: In the third of our special series of articles profiling the database marketing industry, we catch up with Hopewiser, Alchemetrics, Callcredit and greenstone data solutions.
22 May 2013: Insurance provider Ageas has appointed Mark Hanson as Marketing Director for its two over 50s insurance brands, RIAS and Castle Cover.
20 May 2013: Comet Global Consulting, the customer interaction expert, has secured an additional two-year deal with Sky, to further develop and support the company’s customer relationship management and customer interaction systems and operations.
21 May 2013: — Experian has launched a new online credit risk and marketing portal putting a wealth of vital business information at the fingertips of UK SMEs.
8 May 2013: Hector Vass, former Systems Architect in the Customer Lifecycle and Optimisation team at the Lloyds Banking Group, has joined marketing analytics agency Metametrics as Chief Technology Officer.
8 May 2013: The Institute of Fundraising’s Special Interest Group for Insight in Fundraising has announced the shortlist of finalists for the Insight in Fundraising Awards 2013.
8 May 2013: ghd, the UK hair-straightening brand, has seen conversion rates soar as a result of improving the shopping experience on mobile devices using data gathered through Celebrus Technologies’ software.