Author Archive

Exclusivity: Does your product and offer stand out from the competition?

January 25th, 2016 No comments

“Unicorn.” If you read the business press these days, it is a term you simply can’t avoid. The analogy of a mythical creature to describe a very real phenomenon — the startup that has reached a valuation of at least $1 billion.

So what makes or breaks a startup? Why do some succeed magnificently while so many simply fizzle out?

There are many answers to that question, but one key element that unicorns have in common is an effective value proposition. On the flip side, venture capitalist David Skok wrote that one of the reasons startups fail is, “There is not a compelling enough value proposition, or compelling event, to cause the buyer to actually commit to purchasing.”

To help you create an effective value proposition, MECLABS Institute (parent research organization of MarketingExperiments) has created the Value Proposition heuristic. This patented heuristic is a thought tool, meant to help you optimize the factors that increase the force of your value proposition.


One key element that helps create a successful value proposition is the exclusivity of the product or the offer (denoted by “Ex” in the heuristic).

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Categories: General Tags:

Incentive: Cause marketing generates 7x more revenue than price discounts for toy manufacturer

January 14th, 2016 No comments

Black Friday. Cyber Monday. At the end of the year, holiday marketing related press releases are flying fast and furiously across my desk (by which I mean, inbox).

But one branded marketing day had my special attention this year — Giving Tuesday — because of the copywriting contest we’re now running with a nonprofit organization, Consumer Reports.

For the uninitiated, Giving Tuesday is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, a promo/hashtag/branded day/whatever that started in 2012 as a backlash against the commercialization and consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

And Giving Tuesday raises an essential question that marketers can leverage year-round …


Does cause marketing provide a more effective incentive than offering discounts?

If you’re familiar with the MECLABS Conversion Sequence, a heuristic patented by MarketingExperiments’ parent company MECLABS Institute, the “I” stands for “incentive (additional) to take action” and is a positive element that, when used just right, can give that little extra nudge that tips the cost/value calculation the customer is making in their mind to the value side, thus ensuring a conversion.

The problem is, many marketers abuse incentives. And they become a margin killer.

But with cause marketing, you’re not devaluing your product with a discount. In fact, if anything, you’re adding a little extra shine to your brand. And, hey, we’re all humans too and not just marketers — with cause marketing, you’re doing a little good in the world.


But would customers want to help others more than keeping a little extra money in their pockets?

HeroMe, a manufacturer of customizable superhero toys for children, ran both Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday promotions.


Cyber Monday promotion

For Cyber Monday, HeroMe offered a 40% off incentive. Here is the primary landing page image that was used.


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B2B Email Testing: Validity threats cause Ferguson to miss out on lift from Black Friday Test

January 11th, 2016 No comments

At MarketingExperiments, we endeavor to teach you to bring the process of scientific discovery to your marketing campaigns to learn what your customers really want and improve results. And, to that end, we share experiments (along with successful case studies — 1,470 and counting — from our sister publication, MarketingSherpa).

But we can learn just as much from the stumbles, errors and mistakes we encounter on our journey of customer discovery. Unfortunately, those stories tend to be harder to get. So I want to laud the marketer we are going to discuss today for sharing an example of something that did not work.


Even successful marketers have losses. But the good ones learn from them.

Mary Abrahamson, Email Marketing Specialist, Ferguson Enterprises, is a successful marketer. So successful, in fact, that we recently featured her as the main story in a mini-documentary that highlighted her journey at MarketingSherpa Summit.


But when I recently reached out to her, it wasn’t only a further success she shared, but also a hard-won lesson learned in the trenches of email testing. Let’s take a look at the test, focused around a Black Friday promotion. But first, some background on the overall campaign.

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Calling All Writers and Marketers: Write the most effective copy for this Consumer Reports email and win a MarketingSherpa Summit package

January 8th, 2016 40 comments

This contest is now closed and no longer accepting entries. Subscribe to the MarketingExperiments email list to be notified of the test results.


It’s our fourth annual copywriting contest, and this year the MarketingExperiments blog has partnered with the Convince & Convert blog to find the most effective copywriter or marketer to help a nonprofit organization that has spent the last 80 years battling in the public and private sectors for safer products and fair market practices.

Take a few minutes to write your most effective email copy expressing one of the Value Focuses that would resonate with donors of our nonprofit partner, Consumer Reports. Leave your most brilliant copy as a comment on this blog post for a chance to win a MarketingSherpa Summit package, which includes a free ticket to MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 and a stay at the luxury Bellagio resort in Las Vegas. Deadline for entries is January 17, 2016 and official rules are here.


How to Enter

  1. Choose a Value Focus for Consumer Reports from below (or create your own) that you would like to test.
  2. Write the most incredible, effective, compelling opening to the Treatment email that best expresses your chosen Value Focus. Could be three words. Could be three pages. Whatever you think will work best.
  3. Enter with a comment to this blog post. You can enter as many times as you wish; please just create a new comment for each entry.

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Categories: General Tags:

Ecommerce Marketing Research: To be truly successful, you must step out of the ecommerce bubble

December 14th, 2015 No comments

Ecommerce is killing it! My inbox is filled with press pitches about the growth of ecommerce this holiday season, based on vendors’ work with their customers:

  • Year-over-year revenue from social rose by 115 percent, Renee Newby Friedman wrote, based on MarketLive data.
  • Online shopping traffic was up 16% year-over-year, according to Monetate. “Signs are pointing to this holiday season being big for ecommerce,” Lucinda Duncalfe, CEO, said.
  • Smartphones saw a 7% increase in revenue compared to 2014, according to Wendi Makuch, Director of Sales & Marketing, 4-Tell.
  • Average order value (AOV) increased more than 10 percent for Cyber Monday sales, based on Springbot data.


Sure, ecommerce is hot …

Ecommerce is hot right now, no doubt. Sales continue to rise. Investor money keeps flowing into companies that sell through the ecommerce channel along with the technology to support it. And brands are on the hunt to hire ecommerce talent. Good stuff!

Tommy Walker, Editor-in-chief of the Shopify Plus Blog, recently sent me some great data from the U.S. Census Bureau that speaks to the impressive growth — ecommerce, as a percentage of sales, has doubled since 2008. Exciting!


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Categories: Marketing Insights Tags:

Ecommerce: 6 takeaways from a 42-day analysis of major retailers’ holiday marketing

November 16th, 2015 No comments

In today’s MarketingExperiments blog post, we’ll look at the 2014 holiday campaigns of Amazon, Best Buy, Apple and Walmart and see what you can learn from their efforts. If you sell anything at all — from books to electronics to glow-in-the-dark toilet paper — you compete with at least one, if not all, of these retailers.


More than 500 data points gathered and analyzed over 42 days

To understand the information you’re about to see, let’s take a quick look at the methodology. 16 Web Research Analysts from MECLABS Institute (MarketingExperiments’ parent research organization) spent 42 days during the Black Friday (November 17 – November 29, 2014), Holidays (December 7 – 29) and New Year (December 30 – January 4, 2015) sales periods, analyzing three to five desktop webpages per retailer. This effort was led by Jonathon Yates, Market Intelligence Manager; Sarah Russell, Research Manager; and Gaby Paez, Associate Director of Research.

They assessed the campaigns using the MECLABS Value Proposition heuristic, asking:

  • How appealing (relevant, important and urgent) is the offer?
  • How exclusive is the offer?
  • How clear is the value of the offer?
  • How credible is the offer?   


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