January 10, 2009

Poll Question: Who Is Most Responsible For Online Sales?

On the right-hand sidebar I posted a survey --- "Who Is Most Responsible For Online Sales?" Please take a second to take the poll.

For example, if you receive a Coldwater Creek catalog, then visit the Coldwater Creek website to buy merchandise, then "offline methods" are responsible --- they created interest that caused the customer to visit the website and buy something.

If you answered "Online Marketing", please use the comments section to describe the online methods you believe create online sales. In other words, what are the online marketing strategies that cause a customer to "want" something they previously didn't want --- methods that don't simply intercept a customer on a mission stimulated by an offline campaign? We might think about e-mail marketing (which is really direct marketing, not online marketing) and portal advertising as two options. What else?


  1. I'm no marketing guru, but to me, even if offline is increasing awareness, the trigger point is more important. I'm exposed all the time to various products on TV, radio, print, fliers, etc. Those increase my awareness and yes, sometimes they will become the trigger point that makes me a customer. However, most of the time the awareness raised from offline will bring me online to complete my research and reach the trigger point that will make me buy. Most of the time, if online wasn't there I might not buy at all (I'm lazy, I hate shopping... unless it's a computer, a big screen TV or a car :)

    But what about the opposite? What if I did all of the process online and completed the purchase offline?

    Again, I would say the important element is the trigger point that made me switch from awareness, then research to decision.

    Since I'm a strong advocate of web analytics, this pose an interesting challenge when it comes to sales allocation and measurement!

    St├ęphane Hamel

  2. Kevin,
    Ms. Hamel's post above is along same lines as my answer. Your poll is a bit too simplistic.
    I subscribe to email newsletters and updates from companies I purchase from(nintendo, Game Stop, book stores, men's warehouse, etc.)
    So while I might make purchase at store(like nintendo games are purchased at Gamestop and Best Buy), my trigger is the newsletter.
    However, I also may see an ad on tv or in a circular(we occasionally pick up a sunday paper for the circulars or pick them up when visiting the store).
    If store doesn't have it(or item can only be purchased online) then we go online and purchase based on cost and respectability of the site. Ebay is last resort.
    For expensive items, we still prefer buying brick and mortar to deal with a person in case of issue, but all research is done online.

    So different triggers, different results.
    How do you purchase?

  3. The purpose of the question is not to be simplistic, it is to get our readers to think!

    Many people, like both of you, discuss the multidimensional, "multichannel" process that happens when a customer thinks about buying an item.

    The multidimensional process is important. But now your sales are -20%, and your CEO is demanding that you "create demand". And oh, by the way, the CEO cut your marketing budget by 20%.

    So where do you go to "start" the customer in the purchasing process, online or offline? And if it is online, what is the marketing technique you're using to start that process?


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