Chuck Lee, AT&T’s executive director of Internet Ad Solutions, has a casual yet matter-of-fact way of delivering messages that stick. Based on results from the recent Vertical Shopper Study that AT&T commissioned, his message to the ILM East audience was clear: “You gotta know what people are looking for when you market.” The study highlights that consumers are increasingly turning to specialty vertical sites to deliver speedy value and/or information.
Six high-usage, at-risk revenue verticals were examined: legal, health care, contractors, auto, restaurants and insurance. By analyzing clickstream patterns, Lee and team noticed that “innovative verticals are growing and taking lead away from market leaders.”
They are doing so by meeting shoppers’ needs in the aforementioned value (best price, lowest quote) and education (free advice, “ask a lawyer”, “how-to” content) considerations. These two themes even supersede reviews as essential consumer motivations. Lee also noted that consumer needs and behaviors across verticals have a generational spin.
The upshot for Lee: “AT&T is a broad site, and vertical players are shaking up the marketplace.” Now the dilemma becomes how to innovate or partner to build this vertical functionality into the site. To borrow from Jim Collins in “Good to Great,” the Vertical Shopper Study was the legacy company’s way of “confronting the brutal facts.”