Web reporting… Heck lets call it Surf Reporting

Analytics.
Not the most attractive word is it.
Web reporting… Heck lets call it Surf Reporting.
Still not appealing.
No I didn’t think so either. But the more I think about it, well attempt to, curiosity and intrigue starts to get the better of me.

It’s all about how business measure their performance of meeting their customer needs in the online world. As Bob Napier infamously stated, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” So what does this mean? It means that in order to know exactly how your brand is performing online you need to have specific tools to measure all the little nitty gritty aspects that overall, drive continual improvements in the online experience for customers, and future potential customers. [check out this vid if you really want a detailed explanation of digital analytics].
Now thats the very, very, basic, kind of, theory… lets try and apply it to a particular brand and clear the waters a little.

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 12.32.53 pmQUIKSILVER©

Quiksilver is one of three of the most dominant surf brand going ’round. Alongside Ripcurl and Billabong, it rules the retail world for mountain and ocean lovers. But their online presence was slightly lacking, until now…

Firstly, there are three facets to web matrics and marketing research. Internet, mobile and cloud computing. Recently quiksilver has taken the cloud computing approach and teamed with Demandware, an enterprise cloud commerce platform, to expose their brand even further on a global scale. This came from the realisation that the brand was growing slowly globally in comparison to its competitors. The initial implementation started with 60 new sites across Europe.. this lead to a whopping 65% increase in revenue in 2013! Implementation has since spread to North America, Russia and Brazil, with the current plans for the cloud platform extending to the Asia Pacific region this year! Yew!

The purpose of this change, and really the change all business’/brands should be making in their online world, if they haven’t already… is to apply and aim to reach each of the following objectives, of which apply to the particular business of course, (as defined by Googles Digital Analytics Academy)…

for e-commerce sites = to sell products / services .1.
for lead generation sites = collect user information for sales prospectives .2.
for content publishers = encourage engagement and frequent participation .3.
for online information/support sites = help users find what they are looking for at the .4.
right time
for branding = to drive awareness and engagement and loyalty of the brand .5.

For instance, Quiksilvers primary objectives would be #1 – sell products, #3 – user engagement and visitation, 5# brand awareness and loyalty. These are then able to be focussed on, managed and further measured through the use of web analytics. Rather than mere site maintenance.

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The awareness of combinations of online business goals has been emphasised by Quicksilvers global digital senior vice-president, Nicolas Foule. As stated in a an interview with ComputerWeekly.com,  “a lot of people say if you have the right e-commerce platform you can do it, but that’s not true – you need the right OMS [order management system], enterprise resource planning tool, and to link that to the point of sale in the stores as well as your e-commerce platform. It’s an overall ecosystem, which is pretty complex.” ~ I think this is a great summary of why Quiksilvers marketing makeover has scored a perfect 10; because they are aware that it is not just one element that leads to surf trippin’ good ol’ times, but multiple elements/objectives combined together.

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Quiksilver are loving their new online exposure scheme, delivering a highly branded and integrated content and commerce experience, providing a unified look and feel globally that screams get on your board in OUR gnarly gear! The websites incorporates product information, reviews, rad imagery and videos you’ll be frothin’ over, blogs with epic snow and surf stories, how-to’s and tips… all of these aspects rolling together to really make it an enjoyable experience. Leading to product purchase which all you online shredders will be stoked on.

Quiksilver Website Design - Cuker
Quiksilver Website Design – Cuker

From making board shorts in the Torquay beach backyard in 1969 to its current rep as the largest and most prestigious apparel company in the action outdoor sports industry (so their website tells us) Quiksilver is the global board-riding lifestyle company!

Hope you learnt a little about how a brand can turn around their marketing campaigns and use marketing metrics to really improve their online performance, how to drop into that 50ft barrel that is the internet, and come out the other side, arms raised and cheering!  Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 12.35.55 pm

Do you know any other cloud hosting sites? Were they successful?

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good-bad-ugly

The hot topic in my #mkf3881 (that is digital marketing) class last week was about the good the bad and the ugly in the social media world. What’s causing controversy, making an impact, generating discussion? Naturally this got me thinking about the surf industry, no, not KimmyK this time, much to my 16-year-old sisters disappointment.
I realised that in all the articles, surf magazines, surf blogs I’ve read, nothing ever seems overly controversial (well not that I remember anyway). But surely the surf industry isn’t perfect… surely it’s not just 100% beach vibes, catching waves, dreamy people, travel, sun, the list goes on…

Intrigued as I was, I cUnknowname cross an article that highlighted exactly why surf related media is, simply put,
sugar-coated.
The surf industry is by no means, gnarly or stoked all the time (Urban dictionary gives great and somewhat comedic definitions of these terms). No, I’m not talking about the recent Mick Fanning shark attack phenomenon (read it – StabMag), albeit an extremely heavy and incredibly scary event. I wanted to look below the surface, what’s happening behind the scenes in the surfing world that humanizes the otherwise perfect beach scenes we all see and hear about.

The Sugar-coat – understandably not everyone is happy about it. In particular, surf journos. Those lucky buggers travelling the world, surfing and writing about those experiences, the ideal job. What could be better, right?

Wrong. The surfing industry is so extremely controlled by the sports sponsors, the big guns like… well I’d better not say, one day I might be working for them…Regardless, all published media has to first be approved and allowed by these silent controllers. So imagine, a high-profile, world-class surf icon does something wrong, God forbid… Well no one outside their own inner circle will know because nothing will ever be published in the bigger forums… because the surfers sponsors won’t allow it, for fear of it impacting their own reputation. A great article published in The Australian discusses this exact scenario. An article originally published in the iconic SurferMag, was then removed two days later after pressure from sponsors. But even two days is almost a victory for the controversial, but real topic –  racism. Because yes, unfortunately the surf industry is not exempt from this world-wide issue, despite what the big stakeholders in the industry would like us to think. And this is just one example.

what-to-do-with-old-surfing-magazinesNow I’m primarily referring to articles being posted in well-known surf magazines and online media outlets, therefore personal blogs, much like this one your reading, can’t be controlled in what is published. But for a surf journo whose dream is to make it to the top of the surf commentary food chain, to ultimately write in the ‘surf bible,’ to be that 1-in-a-million that gets the free trip to Bali…well they can say good bye to their artistic licence.

Illustration by Matt Allen. View more of Matt Allen's work at MattAllen.com
Illustration by Matt Allen. View more of Matt Allen’s work at MattAllen.com

Zach Weisberg, a surf journo who lives and breathes the sport experienced this first hand. With over 25 years experience in the industry he knows the price that comes with surf journalism. Honesty is integral for editors and writers to be able to consider their work valuable, to respect their work and to earn respect from others in this industry, to report on the real deal! However, as he describes in this article, honesty, is not a high priority in the surf biz. Largely because, at times, honesty fails to perpetuate the industries dreamscape.
In Weisbergs words, “honesty has the potential to threaten a well-fortified narrative characterized by carefree attitudes, and the industry’s stewards are willing to preserve that ideal by any means necessary… surf brands either ask publications not to report on an issue by voicing polite, but loaded disapproval or they threaten to withdraw their advertising budget.”
Now if this isn’t ultimately controlling the surf industries power to capture and report what’s really happening in the surfing scene, then I don’t know what is. Instead the retailers of surfing clothing, apparel and hard goods are only putting out there what will make them look better as a brand, by means of changing… or moreover avoiding, the hard truth.

I have always loved, and will continue to always love, all the fantastic articles I read about surfing… However, from now on I will also be thinking in the back of my mind; how much of this story has been left out? Have the cold hard facts been side-stepped?

I’m sure the surf industry isn’t the only place this is happening! Everyone has the potential to express an honest voice. But can we really believe everything we hear or read?

Let me know your thoughts!

Surfing and the Internet.. Say what?!

You’re probably wondering how these two loves of mine are even remotely related aren’t you? Well, believe it or not surfing the wild and wonderful internet and surfing that big mountain of water coming towards you do have a number of similarities…

And here’s the first one – competitiveness – Both the digital world and the ocean are competitive places! (And I don’t just mean in the big game of professional surfing). I’m not the strongest surfer that’s for sure, but I love getting out in the water for a paddle… But getting out there with all the locals when you’re just an ‘every now and again’ surfer is intimidating. Social media can be intimidating too. When I’m in the water looking around at the clearly experienced locals sitting on their boards having a good ol’ chin-wag,  I notice their utter respect for each other, for the water, their love for surfing. I watch the way they paddle, the perfect timing when they jump up on their board, each carve and charge after the next. Their steezy finesse (that is – style and ease – a groovy man once told me) is what I use in attempt to develop my own style steeze. The same can be said for online activity and creating a social media presence. There are experts out there and plenty of them! Look at their use of #hashtags, the repetition of themes or messages over different media platforms, the times they’re posting, how often, what it is making them successful. So much can be learnt from the regular, popular, avid surfers, both in the water and out.

Here’s another similarity… consistency. What I mean is, surfing is a hobby that realistically you need to be doing all the time to really improve, to learn the way of the water. Otherwise you’ll end up like me.. an extremely average and well, embarrassing surfer (truth be told). Social media is the same! If you really want people to notice you, read your thoughts, opinions, see your pictures, then consistency is key. Posting once every few weeks isn’t going to help build up your following… ideally you want to be posting at least once a day (of course it varies depending on what platforms you’re using but we’ll look at this more another time). Keeping active is essential in order to develop a relationship with other online shredders.  For a detailed explanation regarding online consistency have a looksie here!

A final (although there’s plenty more) correlation between surfing waves and surfing the internet is the sense of community and heightened experience once you’re part of the crew. Like Kaplan and Haenlein explain (check it out here), it is essential to keep your own online presence interesting, to be humble, not always professional, and to be honest. You want your potential crew to relate to you easily, enjoy reading or watching all you are sharing. These are fundamental both in social media marketing and in the ocean. Whether you’re sharing content or sharing the water, earning your mates trust and respect is ultimately going to make your experience that much better! Responding to comments online, giving credit where it is due, or throwing a shaka at your fellow surfers will help build that sense of community that both the internet and the ocean have on offer.

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Julian Wilson - Photo: Peter Taras Julian Wilson – Photo: Peter Taras

On a finishing note, one of my favourite pro surfers, Julian Wilson (also just a generally sexy man) expresses his tips when using social media. This interview covers some fantastic truths when it comes to social media marketing and is actually just a great read! I’d advise you all to check it out! Surf Lessons in Social Media. Let me know what you think!

Can you think of any other similarities between surfing, and well, surfing?
Or do you have a favourite hobby, sport or interest that on the surface has nothing to do with Social, but when you think a little more, there’s a bunch of similarities? Please do tell!!

And if there is anything you did or didn’t like about this post chuck a comment just below, Looking forward to hearing your thoughts! 🙂