Each visitor is unique. This sounds so obvious, yet most sites treat all visitors the same. These days are numbered as companies realize that their sites are now their most important channel for doing business, regardless of the direct revenue contribution today. It is now possible to identify like visitor interests and even common sales cycles through each click a visitor makes on a site. With new testing and targeting technologies, Web sites can listen and respond intelligently to customers (and potential customers,) much like a real-life conversation or visit to a store could result in great service. Think about the last good customer service experience you had. Most likely, the salesperson actually listened to your needs and offered you something relevant product to fill that need. This same type of experience is possible if your Web site is set up to listen to visitors through their behavior. Shoving offers to all visitors is a short-lived strategy for success today as competitors start enabling their web sites to act smarter.
While most sites have not yet implemented testing and targeting technology, many companies are starting to realize its importance. Social networks are driving this shift in how companies think about personalized marketing, as they are all about individual visitors and their profiles. The popularity of social networks is driving companies to understand why customers really visit sites, and more importantly why they come back, purchase, and then purchase again and again. Understanding where potential customers go on the Web, which networks they belong to, and how to develop a deeper relationship them becomes the marketing focus. Stickiness is no longer the primary objective of a Web site. Dave Morgan pointed this out in his post on people networks. Through relevant, personalized marketing based on online behavior, companies can better build a relationship with the individual customer. As the online channel matures, I think more often we’ll see the offline service aspect missing in so many sites today. Customers will begin to recognize this personalized level of service online and will demand it in all of their online interactions. Web sites that refuse to adapt to this will simply be left behind.