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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?”

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Marketing Optimization: 4 steps to more efficient practices and processes

April 18th, 2016

24 hours. That is all we have to accomplish the one million tasks on our daily agendas. Do you find yourself subconsciously running strategic tests to ensure that you are spending your time efficiently? Whether it is experimenting with alternative routes to work each day or using multiple programs to manage your inbox, task lists and projects, in the end, you want to make sure that you aren’t wasting a minute of your day on a tedious task.

Marketing optimization is the process of improving marketing efforts to maximize desired business outcomes. As an operations manager, part of my role is to improve and advance my team’s business processes to allow them the opportunity to spend quality time on the departments’ goals that will ultimately help benefit our audience.

Marketing optimization

When optimizing your marketing practices, the first thing you want to consider is the customer experience. If that part of the equation fails, it’s back to the drawing board even if that process works well for your team.

As marketers, the main challenge we face is making the time to define successful practices. Instead, teams tend to simply follow processes as they have always been done. We need to forget the short-term excuse of not having enough time and make time to start thinking about the future.

To optimize your own marketing processes, follow these four simple steps.

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Moving Beyond Personalization: How 2 companies boosted opportunities by leveraging individualized marketing

March 28th, 2016

As marketers, when we hear the term “personalization,” we’ve been conditioned to think “Hello [recipient name], I really looking forward to sharing with you some ways that [company name] can best serve you.”

Though these methods may have increased opens and clickthrough a decade ago, they are no longer capable of working magic on their own. In short, customers have figured us out.

At MarketingSherpa Summit 2016, numerous presenters took the stage to urge their fellow peers to switch their focus from gimmicky, one-sized-fits-all “personalization” to true individualization.

Two companies in particular, SCI Solutions and SAP North America, leveraged individualized marketing to significantly increase new opportunities.

Behavioral marketing from SCI Solutions

SCI Solutions, a Seattle-based company that offers software to hospitals and other medical facilities, is faced with an impossibly crowded marketplace. The contact information for every buyer is easily available, and opens rate across the industry are less than 1%. To combat this, Jeremy Mason, Director of Demand Generation, SCI Solutions, and his team combined the most effective aspects of persona-marketing and trigger-based marketing to create a truly individualized behavioral marketing plan.

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Homepage Optimization: Tips to ensure site banners maximize clickthrough and conversion

March 23rd, 2016

Banners take up precious space on landing pages and too often don’t do enough to turn prospects into customers. Yet marketers are forced to work within their constraints.

The latest MarketingExperiments Web clinic outlined how to make every banner a conversion-driving opportunity, because even the smallest changes can make an impressive difference. To prove it, Mike Loveridge, Head of Digital Test and Learn, Humana, Inc., a healthcare insurance provider, presented banner tests from his organization. Take a short break and find out what he discovered here: Site Banners Tested: How minor changes led to a 433% increase in clickthrough for Humana.

Here’s the boon and the bane of banners: They’re often the very first thing that people see when they arrive on the landing page. That means if they aren’t optimally presented, you’re going to lose customers immediately. But optimized banners can drive more prospects than ever before, and it doesn’t take much effort.

Consider this banner that was on Humana’s homepage.

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Consumer Reports Value Proposition Test: What you can learn from a 29% drop in clickthrough

March 21st, 2016

The results are in. Last month, we asked you, the readers of the MarketingExperiments blog, to write the most effective copy for a Consumer Reports email in a way that could test which value factors were most appealing to Consumer Reports donors.

To expand the amount of test ideas, we also asked the readers of the Convince & Convert blog.

We’ll get to the results, and the big winner of the MarketingSherpa Summit package, in just a moment. But first, a little more background and a few lessons.

 

A little background

Every year, prior to MarketingSherpa Summit, with the help of the MarketingExperiments blog audience and the audience of another marketing blog, we run a nonprofit organization test with a nonprofit organization.

Partnering with a nonprofit gives us a real audience to test with. More importantly, it allows us to use our collective ability as a community of marketers to create effective messaging for a greater good.

Prior to the test, we work with the nonprofit for a few months, diving into the data, getting an understanding of previous tests and coming up with hypotheses.

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Using Strategic Testing to Drive Customer Engagement: An interview from MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 [Video]

March 14th, 2016

On February 22, we brought you a live blog post from MarketingSherpa Summit 2016, the signature event of our sister site. In the post, we looked at a presentation from Summit’s Digital & Data track by Mike Loveridge, Head of Digital Test and Learn, Humana. In his presentation, Mike discussed how he and the Humana team harnessed strategic, incremental testing to drive healthcare enrollment.

While at Summit, Mike took the time to sit down with Courtney Eckerle, Managing Editor, MarketingSherpa, to discuss this iterative approach that the Humana team leveraged, including one test that led to a 433% increase in clickthrough.

 

Though Mike and his team experimented with many different levers, he found a lot of success with testing site banners.

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