Anyone browsing the web with IE6 or IE7 lately has found themselves subjected to technographic segmentation when they visit google.com. This segmentation is visible as an invitation to upgrade from Microsoft IE to Google Chrome, the web browser made by Google and currently available as a free download for Windows users.
Don’t let the technical lingo fool you, this post is all about marketing. It might even help you find some more revenue, even if you sell clothes and not software.
What makes this marketing approach possible is a form of personalization. In this context, personalization means the customization of web pages based on known data about individual visitors. So what does Google know in this case, and how does it know it?
Google knows which browser you are using. It makes the Chrome pitch if it detects you are using Internet Explorer. The type of browser you use to get to a web site is something that your computer shares with the web sites you visit, along with the type of operating system you are using, your display size, IP address, and other data.
We call this technographic data. It is not personal data, in other words, it doesn’t really reveal anything about you as a person (unless you happen to consider your choice of browser to be personally revealing). Depending on your perspective, personalization is old news or the hot new thing. If you build web pages you’ve probably been personalizing content for years because different browsers render html and css code differently. That makes some “personalization” a requirement.
If you think this is way too technical to be relevant to marketing, consider this detailed case study in Marketing Sherpa (the site may require registration, which is free). This study portrays personalization as a hot new thing and clearly illustrates the tremendous value that can be found in technographic personalization.
Basically, the makers of the Stuffit compression program, Smith Micro Software, found that sales went up, by a double digit percentage, when they tailored marketing campaigns differently for Mac and PC users. The campaign sent Windows users to one set of pages, Mac users to another.
In hindsight this may seem like a no-brainer, especially if you think about the Apple ad campaign: “I’m a Mac. And I’m a PC.” I mean, the two guys in the ad even look quite different.
But when you look at a product like Stuffit from an engineering or PR perspective the need for segmented marketing is not immediately apparent. The program does file compression. Its functionality is pretty much the same on both platforms. So it took a spark of marketing insight, backed by market research, to see two distinct customer segments that would benefit if targeted separately.
For example, because Stuffit was originally devleoped for the Mac, most Mac users are more familiar with Stuffit than Windows users. When Mac users visit the web site they don’t need to given the same background information that PC users found helpful (and which helped them to make their decision to buy). Relevance like that helps both buyer and seller.
So segmenting your web site traffic according to the visitor’s operating system can make sense for a software vendor. And I think we’ve established that targeting your messaging results in a more productive conversation with visitors. But what if you’re a clothing retailer?
I thought about this and pictured how the two guys in the Apple ads are dressed. If they walked into your bricks and mortar store you would probably approach them differently. Why not online? It might be worth looking at your analytics to see if Mac and PC shoppers behave differently.
[Note: This blog post was written using Chrome on a PC by Stephen Cobb, who dresses more like the Mac guy but is much older than both of them.]
Have you seen any OS or browser-related buying patterns on your ecommerce site? If so, we’d love to hear about them.