I’ve seen the entire history of the Internet and Internet marketing unfold and it’s fun to compare selling and marketing techniques across media and over time.
Before the Internet, print was a very strong selling medium. Newspapers and magazines provided marketers with long-form communications vehicles through which to sell goods and services. Research was employed to help gauge a print ad’s selling effectiveness, telling marketers if an ad was seen, remembered, read partially, or read completely. Rarely, though, could one determine if an ad was acted upon.
One of today’s dominant sales channels is the Internet, and with so many people comfortable buying over the Internet (32% of web shoppers have been doing so for 7 years) it’s amazing that marketers are only now beginning to ask some of these same selling questions. On the Internet there are numerous techniques to find out what is working and what’s not. Techniques to find out what web pages people are visiting. How long they are staying. What they acting upon. What they are sharing. What they are filing away. And most important, what they are buying.
Research departments in the 60s and 70s would have killed for this type of information, yet today many companies are still not asking the questions or using the tools. The tools are all related to usability and communication. Come on people, let’s use them.