Archive for the ‘Market Research’ Category

The Guns N’ Roses Brand and Natural vs. Artificial Exclusivity

December 5, 2008

One of the big recent fads in the music industry – especially for older acts trying to recapture former glory – is exclusive sales of new albums at certain big-box stores.

AC/DC just released “Black Ice” at Wal-Mart and one of my favorite bands of all-time, Guns N’ Roses, did it last week with “Chinese Democracy” at Best Buy (though they at least also offered tracks through iTunes, too).

Is it a good idea to create this artificial exclusivity?

I don’t know what kind of financial deals AC/DC or GnR got from Wal-Mart and Best Buy so who knows if it was good for their pocketbooks. But, as fans and consumers, it’s bad for us.

Like I said, I love GnR. Grew up on them. Learned to play guitar to “Appetite for Destruction”. Couldn’t get enough then. Even had my first date with my wife at a GnR concert (though it was the strange 2003 version).


A lot has changed from 1988 to 2008....

A lot has changed from 1988 to 2008....


But I was ticked that I had to drive 70 miles to spend my money to buy “Chinese Democracy” because my hometown doesn’t have a Best Buy. (Of course, I could have downloaded the album on iTunes but there’s something really primally satisfying about holding the actual album of rock in your actual hands.)

So Axl, Best Buy and Universal Music Group got my $14.99 (x2). That means that my brand loyalty to GnR was so high that I was willing to drive lengthy distances and overcome my annoyed-ness at having to do so.

But, if they do it again (hopefully not with a long 13 year wait again), my loyalty will fade a bit more.

A good brand creates a good gut feeling when you think about it.

Listening to the album (well, most of it at least) gives me that good gut feeling. But my experience purchasing it – forking over my money – sure didn’t.

I wasn’t the only one. “Chinese Democracy” debuted at #3 on the charts. 267K albums is certainly respectable – but it’s disappointing for what used to be the world’s biggest band.

Natural exclusivity can be great. But artificial exclusivity just alienates your customers and gives you short-term rewards for long-term loss of brand loyalty.

(I’ll save you my full review of the album – but the short of it is that I’m pretty happy minus a few duds. Here is Rolling Stone’s review if you’re interested)


Funnels, conversions and tracking, oh my!

October 10, 2007

So say you’re a Kansas farmgirl with a little dog. You happen on Google, click on a listing, and land on a site’s Home page (in full color of course). From there, you follow a clearly-defined path to the online store, where you purchase a fantastic pair of ruby slippers, and go on with the rest of your day.

You my friend, have just taken an amazing trip through the conversion funnel.

Yes, a conversion funnel does look a bit like the cyclone in the Wizard of Oz; but in fact, it’s a model created by online marketers to illustrate the pathways users take to a given conversion point (like a purchase, or a request for more information). The wider top part of the funnel usually represents entry into the site from a search engine, advertisement or other acquisition channel. Once in the site, the funnel narrows as the user moves along the path, making decisions, and following instructions that will lead her to the narrowest part of the funnel, or the conversion point.

Many people find this tool to be useful when it comes to evaluating how effective their site is at converting users to customers. They measure how many people entered the funnel, and compare those numbers to how many got to the next step, and beyond to the actual conversion. They then use those numbers to evaluate and fix any weak points in the conversion process.

For example, if 5,000 people click on your listing in Google and enter the site, but only 50 people actually purchase your product, then you know, somewhere along the line, the other 4,950 users left the path. If you can detect the point where most people left the path, then you’ve got a shot at making changes that will convince a higher percentage of people to purchase your product.

As with any model, there are skeptics – especially when it comes to talking about human behavior. (We’re not always a linear bunch.) If you’re new to this, however, and you’d like to evaluate the model for yourself, then you might want to consider checking out a free webinar currently being offered by Omniture and applying some of those concepts to your own internal tracking.