Earlier websites used to measure the success of their Online presence by counting the numbers such as below:
1) No. of hits to the website
2) No. of page views
3) No. of Unique visitors
4) No. of form submissions etc....
However, these metrics are mere numbers that make little / no sense in this age of Digital socialism. The success of an online channel is not only about the short lived popularity but how can it prove to be successful in the long run.Gone are the days when the website owners were churning out heaps of content and expect the public to endorse them. Yes this is the age of Trust and no matter how good a product is there is a heavy chance to lose the customer base as the competition is growing everyday to make better quality products.
So, what is that differentiator when it comes to building a sustainable online business model? Is it about the speed of churning out new content?? Is it about the variety of products that a company sells online? Or is it about the advertising genius of the ad agency working on the website. To my surprise I found that the answer is an astounding No to all this. What matters at the end if the day is the way a community is built around a good product which helps achieve a level of customer advocacy. Customer advocacy is the trust that the customer has that whatever product / service is being offered is absolutely based on his / her needs and the company does what is best for the customer and the society as a whole (sometimes).
Let's take an example. I visited the website Vim website a detergent manufacturer and found an image of a woman showing her back and a loud scream that Vim is the best detergent and it helps clean everything under the sun.Well I don't deny the fact that yes Vim could be good product but the Brand message is all about screaming out loud. This is obviously the 80's way of selling a product and god forbid I don't have to visit the website to see a woman's back again when I come the next time. Obviously the ancient metrics are the ones that would be used on such websites. Now let's focus our attention onto an similar product manufacturer called Seventh generation. The hero banner on the Home page screams "Protecting Planet Home". Wow look at the difference between this and Vim website. Here the message is very clear. "We invite you to join this initiative to make a better planet for you and the upcoming generations". Look at the kind of connect that is brought out by this website. It tempts one to really look up to their products because of the Customer advocacy that it creates. I would really love to buy this product and would definitely recommend this website to all my near and dear ones simply because of the opportunity it creates to share my views, complaints, recommendations and what not??The site is connected to all the major social networks like facebook, twitter, myspace and youtube. Also, it makes me much more comfortable that the company is very open to my views and helps choose a product that I think is best for me and my home. There is no compulsion on my part to buy the product now and I made comfortable that at the end of the day it's my call whether I need to buy this product or not. Probably as a short term this could mean ROI is delayed. But I am sure ROI would eventually become 3-5 times more than what a competitor can get in a peirod of 6months-1 year. Now look the paradigm shift in metrics when it comes to measuring the online success of this website:
- No. of re-tweets on twitter (Engagement potential)
- No. of followers on twitter and Facebook(Popularity)
- Ratio of incoming messages per outbound message (Conversational ability)
- Net promoter score (Loyalty index)
Also, it is all about matured branding Online by focusing on the Brand strategy and Key product features rather than on mere screaming that is increasingly becoming irritant to the ordinary buyer who is moved up the Maslow's hierarchy towards Self-actualisation and wants instant gratification of his recognition needs.I will write more about self-actualisation and how it relates to marketing today in my next blog. Until then cya.Keep sending in your comments...