Why Conversions are Sexier than Don Draper

Posted by Jennifer Hoppe under Interactive Marketing , Web Strategy

Don_draper This Sunday saw the return of AMC’s Mad Men, that homage to hard-drinking, cigarette-smoking, philandering ad men (and a few women) who prowled 1960s Madison Avenue. The key player is Don Draper, a creative genius who has risen to the level of super-stardom in the advertising industry.

As the series opened this season, Don was being interviewed for a profile in Advertising Age thanks to his recent innovative campaign for Glo-Coat Floor Wax. “Caused a bit of a squeal,” said the reporter, “On the creative side anyway.”

That last comment stuck with me. Sure, Don’s creative peers were bowled over, but did that fantastic ad result in any increased sales among 1960s housewives? We never know.

The sad fact is that sometimes an ingenious campaign can soar creatively and flop in the practical world. Think about it. How many times have you enjoyed a clever commercial only to realize later that you can’t recall what product it was selling?

It’s a conundrum that we wrestle with every day as interactive marketers. How can we channel our creative talents into campaigns that also optimize conversion (i.e. sales)? Fortunately, we have a few tools that Don Draper didn’t. Namely, through web stats, we can see—in real time—how many eyes are on our ads, websites, landing pages, etc. And more important, we can track the actions they’re taking.

If something isn’t working, no matter how fabulously innovative it is, it needs to be tweaked, revamped, or ditched. That doesn’t mean that we can’t strive to break new creative ground. We do. Every day. It’s just that we have to check our egos and rethink our ideas until they resonate with consumers.

Sure, it’s a challenge, but it’s one that we relish. After all, our goal first and foremost is converting browsers into buyers. Our job is to grab your attention and compel you to take action, whether that means to buy, donate, join, or sign up. Conversion may not be as flashy as creative, but it’s your bread and butter. Our job is to make sure your breadbasket is overflowing.

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