In the late 1990’s my friend Didier and I worked at the same interactive agency in NYC. He was (and still is) a designer. He’s also prescient. One day we were in his office and he was very excited. He asked me if I’d seen the movie “American Beauty.” I answered in the affirmative, adding that I thought it was a Hollywood rip-off of [some indie movie which title I can no longer remember]. Didier’s excitement stemmed from the little movie clip inside the movie itself, of the garbage bag that was circulating around itself in the windhose. He said that this is where personal entertainment would go; that people would be posting a lot more of this on the Web (“Web” was capitalized back then). Didier foretold of the coming of YouTube.

The thing that made Didier brilliant was that he didn’t realize he was brilliant—he assumed everyone else had the same mental acuity. In his design Didier did not think of appearance, but of use. This made him an excellent user experience designer before that term existed. The most important thing he ever said about web design was “For every click, a reward.”

As a marketer and marketing strategist—including interactive/online marketing—I live by that mantra. And it’s caused me to break some best practices, especially the age-old one of “what can be measured can be managed.”

Marketers love landing pages. I agree, they are useful, but not necessarily rewarding. They are useful because now I can measure an action; they can be annoying to the user, however, because they really are just an interstitial served up to meet my marketing bean-counting needs rather than my visitor’s needs.

As a marketer you need to deliver in-place experiences, not pathways to them. Landing pages are great for inbound traffic, but for internal linking you should consider foregoing accountability in favor of experience.

On our new corporate website (launching in a few weeks…hopefully) we will be focusing on calls to actions (CTAs) that can be satisfied immediately and transparently, rather than through redirects and and other invasive gimmicks.

To get around not being able to account for every click and associate it with a unique profile, our efforts are focused on delivering value as opposed to entrapment. Instead of relying on click-through rates (CTR) and conversion rates (CR), our new metric will be action rate (AR).

Our hope—an experiment to be measured—is that AR will correlate more closely with new revenues, and become a predictive indicator, than CTR or CR.

The onus will be on us to deliver meaningful content that prompts visitors to engage in a dialogue with us, but we’re using this as an opportunity measure a hunch that we have.