'...the spiritual beauty of physical things...'
It was as if a light-bulb went off. Here in the Pacific NorthWest, and on the West Coast in general, we learn that spirituality is more important than material possessions. We should be aloof from temporal desires. We should be rational and know that we only desire luxuries because wicked advertisers create the demand in our minds.
That's fine. But what about the way you feel when you sink into the plush leather of your 5-Series loaner or slip your toes into a soft and supple new pair of Cole-Haans or strap on a Cartier on vacation in Vegas?
Just to see how it feels, you know?
|Slip me on. Feel fabulous.|
It can feel pretty spiritual.
Physical objects (commercial products?) can create a spiritual feeling.
Your senses are assaulted by all kinds of feelings and you're taken out of your everyday existence to, yes, a higher plane. It's very hard to quantify these feelings, just as it's hard to explain the more typically expressed feeling of bliss people get from being part of a religious gathering, drum circle or meditation group.
Many of the feelings we get from consumer goods have been carefully crafted to produce a certain effect. These effects are a key part of a company's brand. So why do we, as web analysts, focus so much on the numbers? We talk about volume of traffic to a web experience and think that engagement can be summed up with trite metrics like dwell time.
What really matters is how visitors feel when they're engaged with us. We digital marketers have spent the last fifteen years insisting that digital will be or is the primary way that our customers engage with us. Now that it's actually true, we don't close the loop and ask them what they think of the experience. We think we can guess by 'interpreting' the data and, at best, sticking a survey on a website.
It's truly astounding - and I can't stress this enough - what you can learn from speaking to users of your websites. We analysts have a terrible tendency to hide behind cubicle walls and Excel reports but it truly is our responsibility to mine every source of information we can. And spending time with site users is so, so much more valuable than cranking out that weekly dashboard that nobody will read.
Just stop producing it for one week, or automate the sh*t out of it and go speak to some real people. You'll blow your bosses' boss away with the insights you find. I know it's hard to get out of the comfort zone but this weekend I chatted with a friend about a site I've been working on. In the space of ten minutes she came up with two top notch ideas that could improve real engagement by a huge (not-yet-calculated-how-much) amount. Amazing stuff.
Get with your users. Mine them and mind them.
Hello 5-Series bliss.