Good article on e-Marketer: eBay's Brand Barometer.
eBay has 100,000 new users on a per-day basis, and 120 million searches take place each day, with 7.4 million bids. These numbers are significant, and that means there's a lot of velocity that takes place at eBay. Marketers are trying to figure out what's the best way for them to tap into that dynamic environment...
It's very interesting to be able to turn to eBay as a reflection on pop culture itself and to see what items are selling at what prices, what's hot. Lots of marketers have realized that this is an opportunity to tap into that marketplace on the pulse level as well and learn from these individuals who are highly passionate about their interests and their affinities, and also to be able to build their own communities within eBay. That's one of the big learnings that I think will be taking place in the future -- understanding more about your customer on a one-to-one level, profiling your customer on behavior, not just demographics, and being able to learn more about what makes them come back to your product over and over again.
So eBay is positioning itself to corporations as the middleman not only to sell product, but also to facilitate customer learning. They're providing the feedback loop that's necessary for every brand to improve its value proposition. Compare that with a recent study by WebTrends and Drilling Down that found:
"...a surprising 52% of marketers recently surveyed online don’t currently measure customer retention. Only 28% look at repeat visit and purchase rates, only 16% segment customers based on the retention-specific metrics of frequency and latency, and only 3% do detailed cross-channel marketing analysis, according to the survey of more than 500 respondents.
Some 31% of those surveyed don’t measure the results of search marketing campaigns, while only 41% even measure click-through and general traffic. Only 16% measure web activity through to conversion, while only 11% have competed a detailed ROI analysis of campaigns including lifetime value of phrase by revenue.
“The web is in its early cycle and people are just beginning to understand the power of how it all works together,” says Drilling Down consultant Jim Novo. “Most companies are excited to be acquiring customers and doing it profitably. That’s what everyone has been focused on. But that doesn’t mean they`re allocating marketing money in the right place, because a lot of those customers might buy just one time."
These companies have absolutely no idea what they're doing right. Or wrong, for that matter. If they can't take the time to measure ROI on a campaign, you know they're not taking the time to learn why those customers buy, don't buy, or choose not to buy again. They're celebrating because they're "acquiring" customers profitably (see my rant on why that's impossible) when they may actually be delivering a sub-optimal customer experience. Hopefully the enormous influence of eBay will help spur companies along the the customer-learning path. We're not yet to real dialogue and partnership with customers, but we're moving in the right direction.