The Business Travel Breakdown

By John Busby, SVP of the Marchex Institute

travel planeAt Marchex, we believe that human connections build relationships and businesses.  For those of us that work directly with our partners and clients, this equates to business travel.  So on the heels of our report last week about mobile phones and the modern traveler, I asked a few of my colleagues for their business travel tips.

What is your indispensable Item for business trips? – Answers varied from reading material (“the Economist”) to Purell (“to wipe down everything”) to renting a garish sports car (orange Camaro, anyone?).  My indispensable item is earplugs to drown out the city sounds if I’m stuck in a noisy room.

Window or Aisle? – Most of my colleagues prefer an aisle for additional room.  I prefer the window seat so I can keep the window shut to cut down on screen glare.

How do you fight jetlag? – Marchex is based in Seattle, but most media dollars are spent in Chicago or New York.  How do we cope with the jetlag of cross-country trips?  We pack running shoes and drink tons of water.  Getting a sweat in, and then rehydrating, is probably the best way we know of to reset the body clock.

When do we make phone calls? – Our aforementioned study highlighted when travelers prefer to make a phone call over booking online so I asked my colleagues the same question, and here is what they had to say:

“I call when making a family vacation to an unfamiliar place.”

“I call for complex flight plans, like multi-city trips.”

“I’m picky about my hotel room, and want to speak with someone directly.”

“I always call for business travel and when rescheduling a trip.”

So there you have it!  See you on a plane sometime soon…

johnwordpress (3)    -John

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Posted in Travel

Marchex + DoubleClick = More, Better, Faster

By Harmen Westra, VP of Sales for Call Analytics 

DoubleclickLogo

DoubleClick Search, a cross-engine search management platform, recently announced a new integration with Marchex. DoubleClick will now be using our Call Analytics data to better understand conversions that happen over the phone after customers call an advertiser from search ads.

For those of us pushing for more transparency in advertising, these are exciting times.

Almost half of all digital media dollars are spent on search, so it is imperative advertisers look for ways to improve the return on that spend.

First, advertisers and agencies running digital campaigns need seamlessly integrated tools to make data processing and optimization easy and efficient. That need is even more pressing given the massive adoption of mobile, which drives more offline conversions than desktop search. In fact, Google released a study in September showing that 70% of consumers searching on mobile call businesses directly from their phones. So leveraging specific call insights on a keyword-by-keyword basis is critically important to building a complete picture of a search campaign.

Let me give you an example of one of our clients who was bidding on the term “auto insurance.” After looking at call volume and call quality data, it was clear that “auto insurance” did not perform as well as the term “collision coverage.” An adjustment was made to the ad campaign for “collision coverage,” and our client was able to decrease cost per call by 10X.

Savings like this make our integration with DoubleClick even more compelling. By combining Marchex’s data and insights with DoubleClick’s search bid management tool, our clients will be able to more accurately measure their ad campaign performance and understand how to adjust their ad campaigns accordingly.

In the end, our clients’ needs drive our innovation.

Harmen

-Harmen

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Posted in Technology

Mobile Phones and the Modern Traveler

By Eric Taylor, Senior Analyst

Mobile has quickly emerged as a primary booking channel in the travel industry. Competition for both new and loyal travelers is fiercer than ever, and intelligently leveraging mobile is imperative to gain market share.

Travel iPhoneIn my latest study released today, I describe four specific ways that travel companies can measure and optimize their call experience. Our customers that adopt these suggestions have consistently seen a 20% reduction in cost per reservation. Given the rapid adoption of smartphones, understanding calls is fast-becoming the clear path to boosting ad campaign performance on mobile.

Look no further than Starwood and Booking.com for confirmation of this. These big-name travel companies are expanding call center operations, and both plan to hire hundreds of additional staff.

But for the industry as a whole, analytical and attribution capabilities for digital call campaigns remain very limited. For comparison, think about what the early 2000s were to eCommerce— rudimentary tracking and techniques for evaluating web traffic.

At last month’s SMX East Conference in New York, presenters on the “Mobile Search Trends” panel were uniformly transfixed on the importance of phone calls as an outcome. Here are a few key facts and findings that were cited by Google’s presentation:

  • There are now 40 million phone calls per month from AdWords mobile
  • One-third of their entire advertiser base desires phone calls
  • The phone call is the “major use case and scenario” in mobile

The big takeaway from this panel session that kicked off the conference: Phone call measurement is critical for a successful digital strategy.

Eric Taylor headshot-Eric

 

 

Have feedback for Eric about his study? Leave a comment below!

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Posted in Data, Marchex Institute

Call DNA: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Calls

By Jason Flaks, Principal Program Manager

This month we announced Call DNA, a new technology aimed at solving two challenges: First, what determines a high quality call? And second, once we know what high quality calls look like, how can we drive more of them?

We ask ourselves these questions every day at Marchex. That’s because we want to solve a massive pain point for our clients, who are faced with manually listening to tens of thousands of inbound phone calls in order to better understand consumer intent. As you can imagine, this is a time-consuming and expensive process – to say the least.

Call DNA solves for this. This technology is all about extracting the raw essence of a phone call and using that information to ascertain the quality of a call.

In Josh Foure’s 2011 book “Moonwalking with Einstein,” Foure writes that humans look for patterns and structure because “it’s how our brains extract meaning from the world.”

That’s exactly what Call DNA does. It finds patterns and structure in phone conversations so we can find the meaning of calls at scale. Essentially, we’ve created technology that takes the guesswork out of understanding over-the-phone conversions.

And the best part? All the information is packaged in one simple picture.

DNA blogWith Call DNA, we can see:

  • The number of back and forth interactions between an agent and caller.
  • The amount of caller speech versus the amount of agent speech.
  • The amount of overlapping speech.
  • The number of rings.

There’s much, much more, and every piece of information becomes incredibly powerful in assessing the quality of a call.

Let’s take a closer look at one metric of call quality – call duration. Traditionally, a phone call that lasts several minutes has been considered a “good” or high quality call.

But Call DNA tells us differently. Longer calls don’t always equate to high quality calls. In fact, there are oftentimes very long stretches of silence on both the caller and agent side.

Call DNA allows us to see, for instance, if a caller hangs up because he or she waited too long on hold. It also tells us exactly the amount of time the customer waited before hanging up.

What’s exciting is for us is that the information can show advertisers where they are losing leads because of how they handle inbound phone calls.

Our goal is create better efficiencies on their end and, ultimately, boost return on their advertising dollars.

Jason headshot

-Jason

 

 

 

Want to learn more? Read about Call DNA and Dynamic Tracking on our website

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Posted in Technology

Call DNA & Dynamic Tracking

By Tim Graber, Senior Director, Product & Engineering

At Marchex, first and foremost we are focused on our customers. Part of my job is to dig into customer needs, and find pain points or missing pieces, so that we can adjust our products and continue to provide unmatched service. Yesterday we announced two major technology upgrades to Marchex Call Analytics. Call DNA and Dynamic Tracking are designed to make it easier for advertisers to efficiently understand, which of their ad campaigns are driving the types of calls and conversions they want.

“Historically, listening to customer call recordings has been an impossible task at scale for businesses receiving huge volumes of calls,” said Warren Kay, Executive in Residence at BIA Kelsey. “Technology that removes this massive pain point is a big step forward for the industry because it helps businesses do what they do best – serve customers.”

We are really excited about the opportunities these new technologies give our clients. They directly address well-established challenges that advertisers face when trying qualify calls coming from their ad campaigns. So what do these new technologies do? Let’s break it down:

Call DNA:

  • Delivers a visualization of what happens on phone calls using playback technology that graphically displays conversations.  Listening to calls takes an enormous amount of time and patience – let us make it easier for you.
  • Allows advertisers to develop an understanding of the consumer intent and quality of phone calls driven from their advertising campaigns.
  • Provides additional data about the conversation that traditional call measures (duration, IVR choices, etc.) cannot match.

call dna

Dynamic Tracking:

  • Provides the advertiser with details on what keywords, ad impressions and visitor sessions trigger a consumer phone call.
  • Gives advertisers a clear picture of media effectiveness, allowing them to better allocate ad spend.
  • Uses a dedicated pool of numbers associated to your ad campaigns that use all of the same great call quality and analytics technology we offer in our traditional product.

The launch of these enhancements is an example of how we are leading the mobile charge for our customers. With the growth of mobile so high, it’s imperative that we provide cutting edge technologies that give our customers the power to improve and grow their business.

For more information visit our website or check us out in Street Fight and MediaPost.

Tim Graber Headshot

-Tim

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Posted in Performance Advertising, Technology

MarchExpo: Making Companywide Tech Demos Fun Again

 By Matt Greff, Principal Program Manager

You might have heard this in the hall if your company has a variety of products, “I have no idea what that team over there does… the product looks cool, I think I heard about it once at a company meeting, but why is it important?  What problem is it trying to solve?  Who are their customers? Why should I care?”

Enter MarchExpo, a companywide event designed to fit perfectly into our agile and lean design thinking culture. We believe in showing off our work in a fun, informative and interactive way.  A big part of agile software development is demoing recent releases to customers and gathering feedback quickly in order to iterate improvements into the next release.  Our goal is for every Marchex employee to interact with and learn about the variety of products that Marchex has to offer—especially the products outside of their own focus areas.

MarchExpo turns a boring demo or PowerPoint presentation into a real life product fair.  Product development teams present what they’ve been working on in the context of their team’s Vision Statement, and show validated learnings from their product’s key metrics.

“At the end of the day we’re about shipping working software that delivers real customer value with every development iteration.  Taking a few hours every couple months to allow the product and development teams to show off all their hard work is an amazing thing to see.”  – Joe Blotner, Sr. Director of Advertiser Product & Engineering

This year, employees were invited to travel “around the world” of Marchex. In about an hour, walking from floor to floor, they visited 6 of our main product groups, witnessing a 10-15 minute product demonstration at each station.  The groups were kept to 10-20 individuals, which is designed to be small enough to ask questions and interact with the demo speakers.

EXPO3

Each traveler received a “passport” to collect stamps from each of the product team demos to make the event more engaging.  Anyone that collected all the stamps was invited to submit their passport for a gift card drawing. Each employee was able to vote on their favorite presentation, as well. This immediate feedback signal helped us use elements of the top presentations to refresh our public facing marketing content and update our sales demos.  stamps

MarchExpo is a quick way to educate employees, show off what everyone’s been working on, generate product buzz inside the company… and just have some FUN.

What does your company do to make product demos fun? Tell us in the comments below!

Matt G Headshot

 

-Matt

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Posted in Technology, Uncategorized

Simplicity is Key for Local Marketing

By Kevin Chu, Analyst, Marchex Institute

Kevin Blog

Last month, I had the opportunity to attend BIA/Kelsey’s Leading in Local conference in Austin, Texas. While I really enjoyed the BBQ (the most succulent brisket EVER at La Barbecue), live music and moonshine on 6th street, I also gained a lot from the opportunity to network and hear the thoughts of some of the most influential leaders in the local arena.

While the conference resonated with excitement for all things local, one undercurrent that I picked up on is the need for simplicity in any marketing service for local SMBs. SMBs, generally strapped for time, need to focus on their own products, services, and ultimately their customers; they do not always have the bandwidth or the expertise to tackle marketing challenges in the increasingly multi-channel and mobile world. While this concept is by no means a ground breaking insight, and can be applied liberally beyond local marketing, the pain of complexity is particularly acute for SMBs.

There are players in the space that have done a great job providing simple, valuable services to SMB advertisers. Some great examples highlighted in the conference included how Yelp’s advertising program has helped entrepreneurs start new small businesses and how mobile tools can really enable home services providers constantly on the go to keep up with marketing activities for their customers. Nonetheless, it is frustrating and confusing for a small business owner that are stretched thin for time to get 20+ sales calls every week from different vendors each championing new and better technologies that will solve all of the SMBs’ nebulous marketing problems.

I have highlighted the problem below:

1. Products and services offered can require SMBs to learn a new system and change the way they have traditionally conducted business.

2. It can be difficult and time consuming for business owners to understand the impact of the service they signed up for.

3. Too many discrete systems for SMBs detracts from the benefits of the individual components

Let’s face it, the local space is huge ($133 bn in 2013 according to BIA/Kelsey) and is only projected to grow ($150 bn by 2015). We all want to be well positioned to capture a portion of the market. Here is what we can do to fix the problem:

1. Be tuned into how SMBs conduct business in various verticals, and design marketing solutions to fit with their normal course of operation, or better yet, make it easier than before. Focus on the solution, not the technology behind it.

2. Make it dead simple for SMBs to understand exactly what they are paying for and what the expected benefit is for them. Prove it by giving them performance updates in simple messages.

3. Create integrated systems or packaged solutions to maximize the benefit for the SMBs.

Ultimately, it behooves us as marketers to make things easy for the SMB advertisers. This is the way to free up the SMBs’ time and provide a value adding service.

KC Headshot

 

-Kevin

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Posted in Marchex Institute, Technology

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