Web Budgeting: What Makes Sense Right Now, Part 3 of 3
In the final installment of this three-part series on how multichannel merchants should adjust their marketing budgets to account for an influx of Web traffic and buyers, this week I continue with my list of online programs that make sense to invest your resources in.
(For part 1, and a recap of how catalog/multichannel merchants can begin the process of planning their Web marketing budgets, click here. And for part 2, and the rest of the list of valuable online programs for catalogers to invest in, click here.)
Here are a couple more online programs that may prove valuable to catalogers:
- MerchantAdvantage (www.merchantadvantage.com) was created to manage all online purchases done using comparison shopping engines, which now account for one-third of all online transactions.
Comparison shopping engine traffic increased 56 percent between 2006 and ’07, and managing more than 250 comparison engines is a challenge. MerchantAdvantage’s solution seems affordable, with costs ranging from $145 to $345 per month. This company is tightly focused on configuring and adjusting data feeds for comparison shopping engines.
- Hitwise (www.hitwise.com), a unit of Experian, offers a competitive intelligence service that compares a company’s online presence to competitors’ Web sites in terms of affiliate programs, search marketing, online advertising and lead generation.
Companies have access to a range of tools, including clickstream data, keyword research tools for analyzing the long tail of search data, conversion data showing how customers “take action” on competitors’ Web sites, and charts showing how Web sites and search terms perform against each other over time.
These services aren’t cheap, but knowing in detail where your customers spend, and the ability to track your competitors’ marketing programs, seems like a very powerful tool.
Budgeting Reality vs. Your Web Wish List
Combine the reality of budgeting with your “wish list” for Web marketing. Don’t get lost or sidetracked by all the different directions the Web can take your business. That said, don’t ignore the potential for the Web to be transformational and to take your business to a new level of sales and profits.