Here's a very big "little idea." When you call a catalog company, the phone agent always asks you something like this: "Please read me the code in the yellow box on the back of the catalog." Always. Catalogers use this to track sales back to different versions of the catalog. Yes, you can try to determine this later in an imprecise way using matchbacks of order addresses against mailing addresses. But matchbacks are slow and imprecise. Asking the consumer during the order is a better first approach. 1StopLighting had a very big "little" idea: use the same trick online. Mihran Berejikian, 1StopLighting's president and co-founder, says "There aren't that many original ideas. We're not sure if we're the first to do this, but we didn't hear about it from anyone else. We just came up with the idea ourselves." Here's the idea. When you arrive at 1StopLighting via a tracked link, they place a visible tracking code on the bottom of the page, next to their copyright symbol. A code might be something like "[R562899]". This code is persistent and indicates how you got to their site. Now if you call them, the agent asks for that code when you order. Just like a catalog call agent typing a catalog code into the order taking app, the call agent punches the web keycode onto the order. Simple. Powerful. Brilliant. I first saw this idea on WineEnthusiast.com. Glen Edelman, WineEthusiast's Director of eCommerce and Marketing, reported that he got the idea from Mihran. WineEnthusiast places their code on the bottom right of the screen, and opts for a code with more letters than numbers. A typical code would look something like "[GL2HL06]". WineEnthusiast tracks at the campaign level, rather than at the keyword level. This code is persistent and tied to the session -- so it shows up on every page on the site for that user -- and lasts until the cookie expires or the code is overwritten by another tracked inbound click. Glen and Mihran both say this idea is key to tracking the call-center spillover of their online advertising. Both described providing training and education to the call agents to capture the code. Mihran also described regular reporting to monitor agent compliance. Glen Edelman: "This really helps us track the effect of search and email campaigns in the call center." Thanks, Glen and Mihran, for graciously sharing this big "little idea" with us all. I predict this smart idea will find wide adoption.
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