A colleague and I were discussing a frustrating challenge he has in his organization. His team is responsible for digital goods, some of which are free and some of which are paid and managed by a marketing team. These products are all whitepapers, with the free ones older and the paid ones covered by an embargo. After a period of two years, the paid move to become free but remain in the same system.
The marketing team has decided that the initial product name, created 6 years ago, is not helping to sell the product. The name is not terribly descriptive – along the lines of “easy to find whitepapers” – but it’s something you can develop a brand around. The digital site URL is based on the product name.
Switching URLs isn’t a big deal but it’s the second time the marketing team has taken this approach with an electronic resource. They identify a lack of sales and decide that a revamp is necessary. Both resources have significantly higher traffic than conversions: 1000 visits results in 20 sales, for example.
The solution is just going to put new lipstick on the same pig. People are obviously visiting the resource – which is all my colleague really cares about, since he’s in information access not sales – and re-branding seems the wrong, although easiest, step. It could be the usability of the site for one thing. But it could also be things as simple as pricing or that, perhaps, the paid whitepapers aren’t really that compelling. This could be a problem for my colleague, since the content itself is useful from a historical perspective. He seemed to think the sunk costs in developing the system were largely recovered, and ongoing costs are minimal.
I am hoping they figure out a way to get their sales up. But I’m surprised that they are repeating the same process, driven by no data about the people who did NOT buy, just the ones that did. Other than the new brand, everything else will remain the same: same ads, same publications, some pricing. It reminds me of the old quote about insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting something different to happen.