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WebSideStory is an on-demand suite of marketing products that are integrated together to provide a comprehensive solution to the needs of the active marketer operating in the online domain. The important thing to note is the use of the word “active”. WebSideStory is designed to assist those who want to actively go out and manage the relationship between the vendor and customer in the world of eCommerce. If you are looking at sales over the internet as just a way to reduce overheads, and do not see your role as actively and dynamically ensuring that your site is attractive, easy to use, and tailored to the needs of your customers then this is not a product for you.
WebSideStory enables the activity on a website to be tracked in real-time, and with a comprehensive analysis and reporting capability. The goal of that analysis is to produce effective change to drive reasons for customers to stay loyal and to provide an increased share of wallet. The suite is about learning about the audience, improving their experience and innovating so that they will keep on coming back.
The full suite consists of:
- Analytics: HBX Analytics, which provides insight and understanding of the behaviours of visitors and customers, so that campaigns can be improved, conversion rates maximised, customer support costs reduced and so forth.
- Search: WebSideStory Search, which guides online visitors to the information, products and services they are after quickly and easily. Search and HBX Analytics are tightly integrated to create a powerful tool to maximise what can be achieved with a search box.
- Bid: This is the element which enables search engine marketers to measure and manage the impact of keyword searches. Again this is closely coupled with HBX to maximise the intelligence available to guide decision making. Bid is designed to enhance conversion rates and to measure the ROI of different pay-per-click outlets such as Google.
- Publish: This is the web content management element which enables the marketers to manage their web content without the need for costly IT involvement.
Individually, there are competitors to each of these point solutions, but WebSideStory have them integrated into a unified whole, with documented APIs to enable the suite to be readily integrated into whatever workflow requires them. It is this integration which is the most powerful technical element of the solution; but the real strength of WebSideStory is their understanding and passion for what it means to actively market. Marketing can no longer be a simple matter of corporate identity; it is about a deep understanding of what is meant by managing your product mix, of product, price, place and promotion. The web is becoming an increasingly dominant channel for many consumers, but it is essentially impersonal, which means that unless you strive to build loyalty there is little to stop customers from ‘churning’ to what they perceive to be the lowest cost provider. Active marketing is about building your presence on the web to impart value so that even in an essentially commodity market there is a clear reason to choice one supplier over the others.
WebSideStory have so far been predominately focussed on the Web, but as more and more suppliers are finding, we live in a multi-channel world and the skills required to build presence to the clicks on the web are also essential for doing the same to the bricks of more traditional channels.
I expect WebSideStory to become a major global player in this market, distinguished by a technology which is a match of anything in the market, and also because of their zeal and depth of understanding of what a marketer really needs in an open commoditised market. I expect that capability to manifest itself in product extensions which are beyond the understanding of many of their supposed peers.