Wednesday, October 18, 2006

[x+1] Product is Better than Its White Paper

[x+1] ( offers some pretty intriguing technology for online conversion optimization—that is, it automatically identifies customer segments based on behavior and demographics and determines the most productive offer for each segment. Founded in 1999 and previously known as Poindexter Systems, it has an impressive track record and substantial credibility.

Knowing this, I was pleased to see they had published a paper titled “Five Steps to Achieving Precise Customer Targeting Online.” It would be interesting to see a simple explanation of such a complicated product.

But I was disappointed. In fact, this may be the least effective white paper I’ve ever seen.

It doesn’t even deliver on the simple promise of its title. There are five numbered sections, but they aren’t steps in a process that leads somewhere specific. The first two, “Face the Facts” and “What’s Old is New (Again)”, present general background that boils down to the notion that segmentation is important in online marketing. The final three, “Quantify All Goals”, “Integrate Channels” and “Keep a Consistent Picture of the Consumer”, are described by the paper itself as “three key elements” in building successful campaigns, which is not at all the same as being three steps in a process.

Even knowing what [x+1] does, I could barely see the relationship between this paper and their product. Much as I poke fun at vendor papers for being self-serving, it’s even more annoying to see a paper that serves no purpose at all.

And it was poorly written to boot. Here, in its entirety, is the final sentence—the one that’s supposed to clinch the deal and leave you eager for more: “While the banner ad or ecommerce Web site will not, as the TV commercial can, evoke us emotionally and ‘make us cry,’ they can tell us much about how to get there and how to turn the evocation into a transaction.”


No comments: