Daniel Burstein

The difference between marketing and advertising (and why it matters)

May 23rd, 2016

Marketing and advertising are distinct majors in college. Most agencies are advertising agencies, and most departments inside companies that promote the sale of product are marketing departments.

Why the distinction? Are these two words synonyms, or is there a real difference?

A high-level, ephemeral topic like this isn’t something marketers spend most of their time thinking about. They’re too heads down, focused on budgets and marketing automation and copywriting. I know I am.

But I recently started taking MMC 5435: Messaging Strategy and the Centrality of the Value Proposition, part of the Communicating Value and Web Conversion graduate certificate created by MECLABS Institute (parent research organization of MarketingExperiments) in partnership with the University of Florida.

And so lately I’ve been pondering the bigger, more existential copies of marketing, such as this one. Marketing philosophy, if you will.

More than just nomenclature

To me, marketing is strategy and advertising is (but one) execution of that strategy. Marketing is the strategy of educating customers about a company’s choices in the marketplace, who their product or service will be a good fit for, and who it won’t. Advertising is then used to take that strategy and communicate it to an audience. This is part of the reason that many universities, UF included, place marketing programs in the College of Business and advertising in the College of Journalism and Communications.

So both advertising and marketing have the same goal. They both are, essentially, helping enable a choice. Usually in the company’s favor to enable reaching a conversion objective, but hopefully to enable the best decision for the customer — even if that best choice is not to purchase the company’s products.

But there is a key difference. Advertising is not holistic of the customer experience with a product. Even intelligent, multi-channel campaigns are impacting just a fraction of customer touchpoints with a brand.

And this is one of the biggest mistakes marketers make today. At least traditional marketers. They are too focused on getting in front of the customer with a conversion objective. But the real question should not be, “what is my objective as a marketer?”

The question marketers should ask to create a sustainably successful brand is, “what is my customer’s objective?” And “how can I help them meet it with every customer touch point?” That includes not only the actual product experience, but every experience with the customer, from customer service to return policy to, yes, advertising.

And this is why marketing should subsume advertising. Because the marketer is really the Chief Customer Experience Officer of the company. If it impacts the customer, it impacts the brand. And if it impacts the brand, it impacts purchase decisions.

How to improve marketing strategy (along with advertising)

Here are a few tips to help marketing directors and managers lead teams with a marketing-centric (not advertising-centric) approach to marketing strategy:

Learn what the customer wants — Not just what they think about a specific product. Or competitor’s product. Or brand.

Why are they even considering products in a specific category? What dreams are they trying to achieve? What pain points are they trying to overcome?

This should be answered for each type of customer, and this helps a company discover its customer segments.

Create a customer experience map —How does your customer experience the brand? And competing brands? What ways can a company add touchpoints to create new experiences that help deliver what the customer wants?

Also, for most companies, there is likely more than one customer experience map. There is one for each customer segment.

Serve the customer at each one of these touchpoints — This is a key way that marketing is so much bigger than just advertising. For example, you might discover that customers look to third-party websites and publications to do research before even considering your product. By engaging in content marketing, you could influence more customer decisions without buying any more ads.

Or you might discover that customers need to tangibly experience your product, but you sell it online. In that case, your marketing strategy might call for investing more budget in customer service and free return shipping and less budget on advertising. This is what Zappos did, and these tactics became the most effective marketing (by generating word of mouth and repeat customers) for the brand.

Serving customers is impossible if you don’t first learn what customers want, though. Take free shipping for example.

When we asked marketers how they improve the customers’ shopping experience through MarketingSherpa (MarketingExperiments’ sister publication), providing free shipping was tied for the ninth most popular option (18%).

However, when we asked consumers the same question, providing free shipping was by far the most popular response overall (74%).

This is just one example of the many disconnects between what customers value and what marketers value.

Produce customer-focused advertising — What makes one ad better than another? Sure, there are a few basics of a good ad. It grabs the customer’s attention. It is placed in the right media so the ideal customer actually sees it.

But the most important quality of a good ad is that it uses a story to help the customer meet his or her objective. Some ads use creativity to do that. Others use facts and information. But they all directly tie customer desire to beneficial customer action in a quick and compelling way.

You might also like

Social Media Marketing: 9 tactics for B2B social channel advertising [From MarketingSherpa Case Study]

Inbound Marketing: 450% average ROI from Facebook advertising and organic content effort [From MarketingSherpa Case Study]

How to Improve Conversion of Your Online Ads

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Categories: General, Marketing Insights Tags: , , , , ,

Paul Cheney

Setting the Right Tone: Two key principles to build positive customer momentum

May 19th, 2016

During last week’s Web clinic, “Does Fear-based Marketing Work?,” we looked at a recent Twitter test run by MarketingExperiments’ parent company MECLABS Institute in promotion of the latest issue of the Executive Series.

Which tweet do you think achieved a higher clickthrough rate?

 

Here’s some context in case you need help choosing …

In Tweet Version A, the message is straightforward.

  • “Customers are more willing to engage with newspapers than you might think.”

In Tweet Version B, the message taps into an implicit fear that a marketer may have — that poor design is negatively impacting performance.

  • “Poor UI design and user experience may be negatively impacting the perception of your digital subscription.”

OK. Now make your choice. You can say it out loud if it will help you.

Whatever you do, don’t look directly below this line of text.

Read more…

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Categories: Analytics & Testing, Clinic Notes, Customer-Centric Marketing Tags: ,

Ken Bowen

Customer-centric Marketing: 3 landing page pitfalls to avoid

May 16th, 2016

 

During our May Web clinic, Does Fear-Based Marketing Work? How one company saw a $45 million increase in revenue by changing their messaging tone, we capped off the webinar as we usually do – by live optimizing a page submitted by you, the fine MarketingExperiments reader.

This month, we offered feedback on a page sent in by a reader named Chris. Chris’s page was for Walking Inside, a self-help and life coaching service offered by Emotional Intelligence Coach Anne Beaulieu.

Even though the page does a lot of things right, we were quite critical of the submission in our analysis (thanks for the thick skin, Chris!), as we felt it a classic example of company-centric marketing.

At MarketingExperiments, we have spent nearly two decades urging marketers to try to distance themselves from their own companies and biases and try to see their marketing material primarily through the eyes of the customer. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in our own companies and campaigns sometimes that it can be difficult to take an important step back to look at the page as a prospect.

Read more…

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Ken Bowen

Content Marketing: Testing the lifetime value of a blog post

May 12th, 2016

When evaluating the effectiveness of our content marketing efforts, one of the most difficult metrics to pin down can be lifetime value. When you’re talking about a blog post in particular, which can lack the “stickiness” of infographics, charts or webinars, estimating life cycle gets even trickier.

For years, the industry rule of thumb has been that most blog posts have a life cycle of approximately 30 days. What methodology led to this 30-day theory? Was it just a random guess based on some marketer’s gut feeling or anecdotal observations? Who knows.

Our Florida neighbors to the south, IZEA, recently commissioned a study to scientifically measure just what the lifetime value of a blog post really is. With the help of the Halverson Group, 62,863 blog posts were gathered, of which 500 were randomly sampled.

When tracking the performance of these posts over time, the Halverson Group made three very interesting discoveries.

 

Discovery #1. The lifetime value of a blog is much longer than originally believed


Flint McGlaughlin, CEO and Managing Director of MarketingExperiment’s parent company, MECLABS Institute, has a saying that he is particularly fond of: “Best practices are often nothing more than pooled ignorance.”

Read more…

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Categories: Content Marketing, General Tags: , , ,

Micah Shull

2015 Year in Testing: Lessons on value copy and friction

May 9th, 2016

As test database specialist at MECLABS Institute (parent company of MarketingExperiments), I maintain our library of tests, analyze the results and search for insights to inform future testing. The chart below breaks all of our 2015 tests down by category and stacks them by count.

As you can see from the big bars on the left, most of the tests we ran in 2015 focused on value copy and friction.

Now look at the outcome of all those tests in the box plot below. This chart measures level of confidence along the left-hand side, and the boxes contain 50% of the data, centered on the midpoint, represented by the black line. Straight away, you can get a good idea of the general performance for each category. Higher level of confidence is better, and we ideally want everything to be above 95%. So how did the value copy and friction tests do?

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Daniel Burstein

Value Proposition: Avoiding the curse of the ‘Why Bother Brand’

Tidal. Yahoo Screen. “Speed 2: Cruise Control.” Your brand?

Some brands are so undifferentiated from other options, so derivative of competitors, the reaction they get from consumers is a shrug of the shoulders and an “Eh, why bother?”

Let me give you an example.

 

The “Why Bother Brand”

A burrito/Tex-Mex/Southwestern place recently opened in my neighborhood called Barberitos. I’d seen a few ads for it while flipping through local publications, and every time I did, I had the brief “Eh, why bother?” thought. After all, there were already enough perfectly fine burrito places, and this one didn’t seem any different. I always secretly thought about it as the perfect example of a “Why Bother Brand.” But just today, I got some data to back up my assertion …

Walker Ragland, Marketing Operations Specialist, MECLABS Institute (you may remember Walker from his social media test we wrote about in April), posted a Barberitos printout in our office and was boasting about just how good the food was there. That prompted Marketing Events Specialist Susan Warren to look it up on Yelp.

Out of 24 reviews, 15 compared Barberitos to a similar quick-serve restaurant, Moe’s Southwest Grill:

“It’s just like Moe’s Southwest Grill down to the T. The price is the same as Moe’s and so are all the food options (including the salsa bar).”

“Pretty much just seems like a dupe of Moe’s.”

“It’s very similar to Moe’s.”

“I thought it was an off brand Moe’s.”

Ah … so I wasn’t the only one who thought of Barberitos as a Why Bother Brand!

Read more…

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