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The Website's Transforming Role: From A Spoke In The Marketing Wheel To The Hub Itself

Leading customer experience management firm CRM Metrix, announced today the results of an eighteen month long analysis of leading consumer branded websites audited by CRM Metrix's flagship product, SiteCRM. The websites studied included brands from companies such as Levis, Procter and Gamble, Kraft, and L'Oreal. The analysis revealed that, on average, 80% of visitors to their websites are consistently high and medium value customers, proving that websites are, in fact, a critical customer touch-point and are effective in building brand, increasing purchase intent, and streamlining marketing initiatives.

This data demonstrates that websites should be leveraged as central reporting hubs for customer feedback, allowing forward thinking firms to keep a continuous finger on the pulse of the market in minutes, instead of months.

These are important findings as most sites still measure success based mostly on traffic numbers and not on the value of the customers visiting or their loyalty to the brand. The findings go on to reveal that as consumers go deeper into a website and spend more time there, purchase intent, lifetime value and brand affinity increase significantly. A multi-channel retailer, for example, was thrilled to see their website investments paying off as purchase intent increased from 27% to 42% after individuals had spent increased amounts of time on the site.

This insight resonates with site managers, as they have spent the better part of the last two years scurrying to track down metrics that justified continued website investment and the Internet's role in building business. "Leaders like Levis and Procter and Gamble have now raised the bar in terms of truly leveraging the global reach and interactivity of the web to drive solid bottom line results", says CRM Metrix CEO Laurent Flores. For the first time the industry now has qualified data to substantiate a shift from measuring just the quantity of visitors to measuring the quality of visitors.

All told, the analysis confirms thinking that websites are powerful brand builders and provide some of the strongest and most cost effective opportunities of any medium to enhance customer relationships, and increase retention on an ongoing basis. "Today's Fortune class websites are already beginning to make the transformation from being a mere spoke in the marketing wheel to the hub itself.", says CRM Metrix VP Marketing, Anthony Cospito. "With the website at the core of marketing strategy, firms can track effectiveness, centralize branding, experience operational efficiencies and cost-effectively develop ongoing conversations with high value customers."

Since January of 2001, CRM Metrix, Inc. has been analyzing visitor data gathered from website entry/exit surveys on several eCommerce, fashion and consumer packaged good sites. The surveys captured standard demographics but also went several steps beyond to deliver such metrics as satisfaction, brand affinity, category affinity, retention drivers and purchase intent. As the research shows, websites are not simply one-way marketing tools like print or radio advertising. Considering how valuable most website visitors are to the brand, leading firms should begin to expand the role of their site to become an interactive forum that adds value to every customer relationship. Ongoing analysis provides insight beyond "what" visitors are doing to "why" they are doing it.

"Treating the website as a hub to track the effectiveness of all marketing initiatives will provide companies with the knowledge needed to enhance the advertising message and optimize the marketing mix to drive maximum results and track ROI.", says Flores.

A leading CPG firm, for example, receives live data through a web-based reporting platform, and in an effort to ensure that this insight is integrated into the daily workflow they even began using a "desktop streamer" application. The application (named "XStreamer") delivers real-time visitor experience metrics in a ticker like fashion directly to the desktop. If website satisfaction dips below an acceptable threshold, or abandonment on key pages spikes, marketing managers simply click on the highlighted information to access the supporting data to review the problem immediately.

Multi-channel retailers are also quickly realizing the value of continuous customer insight and are expanding their reach to "in-store experience measurement" through leveraging technology that can track and aggregate data from shoppers who agree to answer short surveys through web connected PDAs, in-store kiosks or upon checkout. Corporate managers can then monitor their customer's experiences and maximize profits on a store, region or even country level directly from their own office. As wireless customer experience data collection becomes commonplace, both consumers and corporations will reap the benefits of a better connected world. About CRM Metrix

CRM Metrix is a leading provider of customer experience management solutions specifically designed to guide marketing executives in tracking key intelligence such as demographics, satisfaction, purchase intent, retention, and brand affinity. A comprehensive range of strategic and tactical offerings has won CRM Metrix accolades from the Fortune 500 as well as clients such as Procter and Gamble, Kraft, Levis. For more information visit: www.crmmetrix.com

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