Crazy, unthinkable b2b ideas brought to you by Shoedazzle.com

Background: Shoedazzle is a smoking hot internet site.  Basically, you pay a monthly fee and you get to pick between a variety of  shoes and now accessories allegedly curated by Kim Kardashian and other stars.  In August they hit 13 million members. I told my wife about it and she asked to check it out.

Now maybe it’s because I don’t sign up for women’s apparel sites but the site and registration user experience was thought-provoking for me. That’s right, thought provoking.  Before I go any further, think about this:

B2B people always say: “b2b is different that b2c”

YET:

B2C is always five years ahead of B2B aka five years later b2b adopts progressive b2c ideas

OH AND:

The same people that buy on Shoedazzle are business buyers. (I know this from the Facebook “like” box on the shoedazzle site which had some of my b2b colleagues on it.)

AND LETS FACE IT:

Great UX is great UX

IN SUMMARY:

B2b marketers should try to stay on top of b2c marketing and advertising techniques and get ahead not behind.

Let me walk you through my user experience than provide some commentary.

Step 1: Homepage
Question #1 for any marketer is “what do I want the user to do?” In this case, they want users to go through a multi-step registration process known as the style profile.  That is what dominates your eye site.  Make no mistake, this is a registration profile that will determine what shoedazzle wants to sell you.  Shoedazzle presents the profile as a way for the site to deliver customized offerings and advertises the fact that it will be painless: “Membership is free and effortless” (love that) .  Now, think about how present ourselves in b2b: “We need you to fill out this form because you want this piece of content.  I need all of this data for my database to make it easier when my inside rep calls you.”


Step 2: The personal style profile
The personal style profile “quiz” is not an ugly series of drop downs, but instead a set of multiple choice graphics which you click to represent your likes/dislikes.  It’s more fun, visually appealling, and made my wife really believe they could figure out what to send to her. PS I still have not given up any information to shoedazzle yet.

Step 3: Initial Registration
Check out the easy registration.  In b2c, it’s all about getting your email address. Guess what? In b2b: It’s all about getting your email address.  So why make it hard to get? If it’s the top of the funnel and the beginning of the relationship, then can’t we move from free to email address and THEN to more data?

BOOM. I’m in and now have access to shoe choices. When we order one, we are then prompted to add more data to our account.

Why did I just show this to you?

1.  That was fun — Why the hell do b2b websites think they have to be so boring? We roll around talking about how b2b marketers have to compete for buyers time, isn’t fun and excitement a pretty good emotional trigger to hit?

2.  Rethink reg pages and profiling — If you ask me if I advocate moving to Shoedazzle’s model of the graphical profile, I am not sure yet.  Truthfully, I went to the site tonight randomly, and I just started re-evaluating.  In other words, I am not sure yet…but I do believe in thinking outside the box.  I enjoyed helping my wife click the boxes…it was fun which is very unlike b2b where you make me look at any ugly box, type in a bunch of seemingly meaningless data which I make up sometimes, and sometimes make me scroll through a list of 12 roles to choose for myself or sift through and choose from an industry list that I am pretty sure doesn’t have my industry on there.

3.  Shoedazzle costs as much if not more than a license of ZenDesk or a GoogleApps license– Have you heard of the consumerization of IT?  Then why can’t we talk about the consumerization of IT marketing?

4.  Build your list, even if you sacrifice some data initially — go to any progressive b2c website and many hit you with a pop-up box asking just for your email.  They want that email and they don’t pussyfoot around.   Eventually, we want more data, but right now, can’t we make some sacrifices to start the relationship.  I am sure some inbound marketing clone will tell me: “Create great content and they will come back”.  Really? Is that why the core features for marketing automation systems is email marketing functionality?  According to a preso by email expert, DJ Waldow, popping up a request for email grows list exponentially.  Funny or Die moved to a pop-up box and gets thousands of new emails daily.  Companies have seen 75-80% growth in email subscriber optin lists as a result of the pop-up box.   Check this preso out for more.

5. More on the home page: Remember when you first signed up for Twitter? — Let me help you.  Twitter wants you to sign up for their service.  There is not much else to do on their home page but register. By the way, three fields total on the reg form.

6.  This is for fun, but is there something here? — As I mentioned previously, I don’t know where I am going to take this, but I learned a lot from this experience, and I look to b2c for inspiration not to “poo-poo” it as irrelevant.

Thoughts?

PS I am not crazy

PPS Yes it is Friday night

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter