Questions? (877) 643-7244
FutureNow Article
Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007

Dell Loses its Marketing Scents

By Daniel McGuigan
October 31st, 2007

What if you knew exactly what visitors were looking for when they came to your site. Say they’ve even told you the exact model they’re looking for. All they want is to get some details about this product and possibly make a purchase.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads allow you to know the directions visitors are heading, and can help you plan and optimize the experience in order to guide them along their buying process. PPC gives you a great advantage by allowing you to bring the visitor directly the thing they’re looking for, bypassing obstacles that may prevent them from even finding a product directly from your homepage . The more you know about your customers’ needs, the easier it is to fulfill them. Although most e-commerce shops run PPC campaigns to some degree, most get hung up on the search and keyword element of it, and forget that this is really about eliminating steps for the customer. As a result, they end up losing out on a lot of revenue.

Being #1 is not enough…

If you think this isn’t just as much a problem for big-time e-tailers, with huge marketing budgets, think again. The paths that customers follow are called “scent trails,” and precious few online shops seem to know much about them. For instance, check out this search results page for the term “Bestbuy Sony dsc w80″.

dell camera

Dell has cleverly bought a PPC ad for this term in hopes of intercepting a few sales from the competition. But take a look at where they bring you when you click the link (and, remember, they’re paying for this to be at the top of the page). The product that was searched for is nowhere to be found. They already know exactly which product the visitor is looking for. All they have to do is bring this person to the product page for the item — or at the very least, show the customer that they do in fact have this item by placing it clearly within the active window.

The landing page disconnect…

dell landing page

If you’re paying for PPC ads, you need to get your money’s worth by bringing the visitor as far as you can, given what you already know about their needs. With the right keywords, you already have some information about what they’re looking for; you might as well make it as easy as possible for them.

Add Your Comments

Comments (7)

  1. Wow! That was a good one.

    Hope someone from Dell sees this. I recently met one of their online marketing reps and she was from Harvard. Looks like degrees alone don’t ensure marketing success:)

  2. [...] visitor truly want and understand the problem by clearly knowing that it will solve their needs? Do scent trails carry through to the more funnel-like, conversion point on the site (e.g., the checkout [...]

  3. [...] few months ago, I showed how Dell had bought a PPC ad for "bestbuy Sony DSC-W80," and although they were smart to [...]

  4. [...] they use the same food-gathering techniques employed by animals. They follow scent. This is an example of bad scent. Make sure to match your PPC ad text with the message on your landing [...]

  5. This is great stuff. I always appreciate your posts, even something like this helps inspire different thinking and analysis.

  6. Not only is it a poor mistake, it’s an annoying mistake for a customer.

  7. Great catch!! These types blunders which are made by market leaders repeatedly are discouraging visitors to not trust on the online advertising!!

Add Your Comments


Print this Article

More articles from Daniel McGuigan

Marketing Optimization Blog
FREE Newsletter Sign-Up
send it once every: