“Desire Paths”: Interactive Marketing Pt. 2

First time I’ve heard this particular word combo… “Desire Paths“.

I’m an intensely curious person. I poke and prod. Take stuff apart (and seldom put it back together). I’m a reverse engine… I’m a reverse. I don’t do the other thing. But I DO observe people a lot. I watch group tendencies and particularly like web analytics and trending. So, to see an architectural term like “Desire Paths” and then grok it’s meaning… I simply want to borrow that phrase and make it mean something similar in web analytics.

This couples with my earlier posting about Interactive Marketing via intranets. Where intranets are highly shrouded and are by necessity veiled behind corporate firewalls… path analysis is by nature a very visible trend rich practice to leverage. It can yield some very interesting revelations. Chief among them is click reduction. If there is a well worn and dominant desire path visible on your website… Stop what you’re doing right now. Stop! Go get your webmaster and have them put that “something” (whatever it is) no more than one click away from the popular entry points of your site. Raise the visibility of what you’ve just done. Rinse. Repeat. Yahoo! does this with a religious zeal. AOL too (although you’d never know it). Better yet, if you can get away with it and I know you can, park it on the front stoop of your site. Front and center. Watch your online business thrive. Not grow. THRIVE!

“But… that will mean people don’t see the rest of our stuff!” I hear it now. You, back in the bleachers. Yeah, you! Pipe down. People have an interesting knack (like mice) of finding the cheese. Just know which cheese is popular and make it accessible via the main thoroughfares of your site.

“But, but… my veepee of such and such will never allow this.” I told you to hush! It’ll all turn out fine… We all know executive buy-in is sometimes a necessary evil. Tell you what let’s do. Sit Mrs. Veepee down and as politely and sincerely as you can muster, ask her to (using her own Veepee Peecee) navigate her own site to X, Y and Z places. Even go so far as asking her to buy something or fill out the critical lead generation form. Now, was that as easy as Amazon or (fill in the blank here)? Did the confirmation email ding on her Crackberry instantaneously? If this site is anything like 99.999% of my and everyone else’s sites out there… Probably not.

Voila! instant executive buy-in. I normally walk away at this point and get the project under way in secret. I bootstrap the hell out of it. And, then credit the Veepee (if she’s still around) for the brilliant outcome. Your mileage may vary. Each to their own.

In part 1 we talked submarines & marketing… In part 3 we’re going to talk Pirate Marketing. (Quick, what’s the pirate alphabet? Ay, Eee, Arrr)

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