Articles: Website Down: Inside a Marketing Meeting
Sixteen years ago I worked for Hewlett Packard when they made their split to HP and Agilent Technologies. I remember a particular mandatory meeting in which they discussed, at great length and in minute detail, how we could and couldn’t use the new Agilent logo. I had never in my life (at the ripe old age of 29) experienced something so inconceivably trivial as to wasting company and employee time on how many inches the logo could or could not be in publications and whether or not it could land on a fold. I mean, this meeting lasted two hours and had absolutely nothing to do with me and my job technical editor position!
Little did I know at the time the incredible importance of brand management for a company, especially one as large as HP/Agilent. Apple logos are similar, as I suppose are all corporations when controlling their brand.
Branding is not something the average person ever thinks of, really. When you see the Golden Arches, you know exactly what that is without any words, and you get a taste for those world-famous fries. Same thing for that glorious Green Siren that beckons me with her song (far, far too often) to indulge in another frothy mocha. I’m as helpless as Odysseus and his crew.
Apple’s brand also creates instant recognition around the world. Whenever people see that snow-white apple, quality and innovation come to mind. That apple brought us the iPod, a device that revolutionized the way we listen to music (a far cry from my first portable music player: The Sony Walkman 20 years earlier). Soon thereafter, it brought us the iPhone. I still remember the day I saw my first iPhone commercial. No words were necessary then either. The silent demonstration of that incredible device left me as speechless. Then the iPad emerged, where people read off glass screens, reminiscent of Star Trek. Science Fiction had become reality, and Apple brought it to the world.
So this time when I heard my boss and coworkers discussing the future sign for our new building (PowerMax moved in April from their Lake Oswego location of 20 years to one in Wilsonville), I was not surprised or bored at the discussion of how we had to wait for Apple to know exactly how we could display their reverent brand. (Mind you, that discussion lasted about ten minutes, not two hours.)
This was my second marketing meeting at PowerMax. Both were two hours long, but neither of them were the least bit boring. I was interested, engaged. I’ve been at meetings at both Hewlett Packard and Dell, and they were always pointless. Always boring. Never, ever relevant to 98% of the people in attendance. Meetings at PowerMax are very relevant.
In this past meeting, we discussed changes in the website. Important changes. Our awesome SEO person filled us in with all the bounce rate (how many people visit the site, when they leave, and on what page they leave) and conversion rate (the ratio of how many people visit to how many buy something) numbers, and then we discussed ways to improve both.
For example, a figure that stumped us all was that there was something like a 40% better conversion rate if the site requested a customer’s shipping information before the billing information. I mean, this is with the forms positioned right over the other in the checkout process! Even if they were the same addresses!
...but remember that old adage that states 87% of statistics are made up on the spot...and the rest are made up on the back of other made up statistics...
Still. Interesting stuff.
This shopping cart design and wording conundrum took up the bulk of the two hours, with each of us chiming in our opinions, new ideas, etc. Since I’m the “wordsmith,” as one colleague called me, I got to come up with some concise phrasing for the checkout page. Another 5-10 minutes were spent on the aforementioned signage, to be discussed at greater length later, and the remaining time was spent discussing the impending WEBSITE DOWN problem.
Websites go down from time to time. It happens. Part of cyberspace. Yet, for a company who does a lion share of their business online, a website that’s down for several hours could mean a huge loss of sales. Since PowerMax just made a major physical move from one area of town to another, it was time to make that virtual move, too. Transferring all our 61,000 products, plus the other important things on our website (especially these articles) from one server to another was a major undertaking. It also interrupted our phones, emails, inside tracking software, and more.
It was a stressful time for all, but particularly for our talented and hardworking IT department.
Fortunately, it went off with very few minor hitches, and it was back up and running full speed just 24 hours later.
Check out the website and see if you can tell what’s changed. Also buy something just to go through the checkout process and give us your feedback for the wording on the checkout page (supplied by yours truly) and the positioning of the forms.
Every one of those decisions require a meeting.
Christine is a Technical Support Specialist and Content Writer for PowerMax. Follow her articles as she takes you “Behind the Sasquatch: A Look Inside PowerMax,” an inside look at the day-to-day operations from the perspective of a Woman in Tech. She’ll also post great Tech Tips, helping you get the most of your Mac apps as well as write about some common technical issues and how to fix them. Finally, Christine will periodically post some Tutorials that teach readers how to do things like make podcasts and iPhone apps. Find what you’re looking for in the categories on the right.
If you have a tech question or issue, please don’t hesitate to contact Christine for help.