Customer Goals Online

Customer Goals Online

Thomas W. Porter (University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 5
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-799-7.ch027
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Marketing managers charged with developing effective e-marketing strategies need to understand the implications of goal-directed behavior online. Traditionally, the marketer’s job has involved capturing the customer’s attention and communicating a message about products or services. The customer is essentially a passive receiver of the marketer’s message with little control over the marketing messages they are exposed to. Contrast the traditional approach to marketing with a Web site. Online the customer arrives at the marketer’s Web site with a goal. The customer has something that he or she wants to accomplish, whether it be to acquire information about a product, to make a purchase, or to just be entertained. By understanding the customer’s purpose for a Web site visit, the Web marketer is in a position to develop a Web site that provides significant value. Furthermore, a failure to deliver a Web site that enables customers to accomplish their goals is likely to result in dissatisfaction and defection to other more useful Web sites. Understanding customer online goals is critical because it gets at the heart of what the Web site should or could “do.” The challenge for e-marketers is that for most businesses, there are likely to be multiple goals that represent the “reason why” customers could come to the Web site. For example, an e-tailing site might be very effective for customers who already know the specific product they want to purchase. However, there are likely to be many other goals that could lead people to visit the site, such as selecting the appropriate product form a large product line, selecting an appropriate gift, or perhaps receiving customer service. If important customer goals are not supported by the Web site, the firm is at risk of losing a significant amount of business. Other times businesses compete in markets where there may be little apparent reason for a consumer to visit a Web site. As a result, and because firms feel they should have an online presence, many e-marketing sites are created that offer little more than online reproductions of the marketer’s off-line advertising. The purpose of this article is to help e-marketers better understand the nature of customer goals online so that they may be prepared to create the types of Web site experiences that provide value to their customers.

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