The Importance of Giving Online Consumers a Voice
By Jason Umino, Sr. Marketing Analyst & Digital Strategist, Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB)
The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (www.gohawaii.com) plays many roles in marketing the state as a visitor destination, and the website is a reflection of that. With such diverse content, it is imperative to know exactly what consumers are looking for during their visit, and understand if the website is delivering based on those consumer needs.
The implementation of traditional web analytics tools can provide a tremendous amount of data and insight about online visitors. Unfortunately, click stream data doesn’t answer the basic question, "why?" Learning why people come to a website in the first place and if they are able to accomplish what they set out to do is incredibly important.
Consider a scenario where a visitor comes to the HVCB website with the intention of finding out about whale watching on Maui, but finds that this part of the site is not functioning properly. The visitor continues to click through to other pages and gathers different information for their trip, but leaves without finding the information that initially brought them to the site. With traditional web tools like Google Analytics, it is possible to track and evaluate all of these clicks and one could be led to believe that this particular browsing session was successful. The reality could be that this person was unsatisfied with their site experience because it did not deliver the piece of information they were seeking.
Giving customers a voice will make it possible to better understand their intentions and therefore more accurately indentify whether they were able to accomplish what they set out to do and if their expectations are being met. There is a group of technology tools called Voice of Customer (VoC) analytics, which gathers and analyzes online customer feedback and uncovers customer intentions, not just behaviors.
Understanding a website from the consumer’s perspective is very important, so when the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau was selecting a VoC solution, many factors and price points were considered. Avinash Kaushik, the best-selling author of Web Analytics 2.0, helped create a VoC tool called 4Q from iPerceptions (www.iperceptions.com). After evaluating a number of systems, 4Q was selected based on its ease-of-use and overall value.
4Q has provided a tremendous amount of insight into the website, visitors and the overall business. Visitor feedback has enabled the Bureau to optimize certain content and improve the site experience.
Analytics and 4Q data was utilized in the redesign of the website, which was launched last year. 4Q data led to the creation of more effective content, specifically in the key areas identified by actual website visitors. The data reflecting these changes is showing incremental increases in task completion and site satisfaction.
Task completion is a key metric. It is vital to know from the consumer perspective if customers are able to do what they set out to do when visiting the site. This has quickly become one of the key performance indicators
Having a VoC solution is a critical addition to a web analytics arsenal. It provides the ability to be more consumer-centric and focus marketing efforts on what’s important from the visitors’ perspective. With a VoC tool in place, the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau has polished the website’s content based on additional data. The site has enjoyed an increase in site satisfaction and task completion rate.
Sr. Marketing Analyst & Digital Strategist, Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB)
What was your first job?
Aside from my paper route as a kid, I started my career as an assistant project manager with the Foreign Trade Association of Southern California.
What are your hobbies?
Outside of work, I'm an electronic music geek. I enjoy composing and sequencing music with a growing collection old analogue and digital synthesizers and samplers.
What technologies excite you?
I'm really excited about social and mobile technologies that help
connect the world and bring people closer together
What is one piece of advice for others in the industry?
I know it sounds a bit like a broken record, but data is key! With so much relevant data available in the digital space, it would be crazy not to take advantage of it to optimize your business.
Who would you invite to lunch?
Gandhi, Victor Hugo, and any one of my grandparents.
What is your favorite movie?
Two recent films that I enjoyed are The Social Network and Moneyball.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
It would be cheating if I said Hawaii, right? There are lots of places that I’ve loved visiting, but one place in particular comes to mind -- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau is a nonprofit organization that works closely with the Hawaii Tourism Authority to promote the islands to travelers throughout North America.