ABOUT THE VENDOR
Fireclick was founded in 1999 by three French graduate students at Stanford University -- Xavier Casanova, Stephané Kasriel and J.P. Crametz. Headquartered in Los Altos, CA and funded by Cisco Systems, Atlas Venture, and Menlo Ventures, Fireclick's mission is to speed Web access for consumers and improve overall site operations. Customers include Victoria's Secret, FAO Schwarz, Novica.com, Restoration Hardware, Bare Necessities, and Home Depot.
ABOUT THE CLIENT
7 Blue Seas offers information, pictures, and videos about cruises. They've negotiated with the cruise lines to provide visitors with the lowest possible fares.
ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY
Netflame combines content acceleration, Web analytics, and Web performance monitoring into a single application service called Web Experience Management that requires no hardware, software, or ongoing maintenance. Netflame accelerates the delivery of Web pages by two to ten times faster through predictive caching technology. Netflame's Realtime Insite reporting tools provide real-time and historical reports on traffic patterns, site performance statistics, and customer demographic statistics, and provide an outsourced and streamlined log-file aggregation.
7 Blue Seas was looking for a way to track customers in order to improve the Web experience. SearchCRM spoke with marketing manager Amy Tu about the project.
SearchCRM: What were you looking for in a vendor?
Tu: I was looking for customer service and ability to scale. Fireclick was really good at responding and opening their doors and working with us. Our IT person has no time, so they set everything up for us.
SearchCRM: How many vendors did you look at?
Tu: I looked at five. I have three tracking systems. Netflame is the only one that tracks accurately -- maybe 99.9 percent accuracy. Everything else has been so off. As a vendor test I tracked a certain campaign, and Netflame was the most accurate.
Fireclick also understood that we're a start-up. We're not Best Buy or Radio Shack. We just opened in April.
SearchCRM: What was the most challenging aspect of the implementation?
Tu: Setup. It is not as easy to set up as most of the other ones, but it's worth the time. It's not three days, I'll be honest. It took us a week and a half.
After that, it was fine. We started using it and they set up Netflame Plus, which is amazing. We didn't even have to install it -- it just appeared a few hours after they said they'd open it up to us.
SearchCRM: What is Netflame Plus?
Tu: It tracks more demographics, page views, paths. The other software does too, but they're not very accurate. They would have a page listed as a top page, when I know for a fact it's not a top page. With Netflame plus, you can see up to regional and city level, which is important to us because it influences what time we open our call center. We actually changed our call center times because of it, changing the opening time to six in the morning. We also saw the West Coast people come back in at five in the afternoon. We used to close at six. Now we're open until seven.
SearchCRM: How has using Netflame Plus affected your advertising strategies?
Tu: It helped me determine what newspapers to buy [ad space] in. The software gives you regional and city penetration. I took a look at it before doing my media planning with Carnival Cruises. We looked at where people were coming from, and I chose a newspaper around it. It's very, very useful.
One feature is a metro penetration but according to population. So if you're penetrating Alaska at a high rate even though it's not a lot of people, you can see that. Buying [ad space in] a newspaper in Alaska is very cheap, so it's worth our while.
SearchCRM: Have you experienced any internal resistance?
Tu: Yes. A lot of people are used to WebTrends and WebSideStory, so it's a matter of getting them used to something else. Also, we chose this solution a little later, so we have more data tracked in the other solution.
SearchCRM: What did you do about the internal resistance?
Tu: We just justified the software with a cost analysis. The features given to us in Netflame are a lot more valuable and cost-efficient than anything else out there.
SearchCRM: Have you seen ROI?
Tu: Yes. It took about a month and a half. My CEO is a mathematician at heart, so he figured it out.
SearchCRM: How does the solution help you better serve your customers?
Tu: We understand better when to call our customers. Opening the call center for more hours also helped, because that increased our sales by 20 percent. We also learned to see what pages the visitors are hitting on, and we change according to that. If it's not getting clicked on a lot, we just change it right away.
SearchCRM: Do you have any other stats or success measures?
Tu: We've gone through a problem in our back end where our site was very slow. We have seen an increased speed on our pages because of Netflame -- it's a 30 or 40 percent acceleration. We have more than 10,000 pictures, so this really helps.
SearchCRM: What advice do you have for companies starting a similar project?
Tu: Test different solutions and understand why they work -- don't just go with the easiest.
Linda Formichelli's writing has appeared in Woman's Day, Wired, Writer's Digest, Family Circle, Psychology Today. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out her Web site http://www.twowriters.net
This was first published in August 2002