Archive for the ‘Marketing Insights’ Category

Value Proposition: 4 key questions to help you slice through hype

July 21st, 2014 2 comments

I was originally going to write this blog post to help marketers spot hype in their green marketing claims.

But then, I had an epiphany.

Why focus exclusively on green marketing that may have gone awry at the fringes?

Hype in marketing is far from exclusive to the green crowd and honesty is needed in every claim your marketing makes.

I decided to think a little bigger – much bigger – by sharing four key questions you should ask about any marketing claim to help you slice through hype and deliver true value to customers.


Question #1. Is our claim tangible? 



Our senses love being rewarded, so if your claim offers tangible value, the nature of it should connect directly to the customer experience.

For example, let’s look at the copy above from a recent experiment on green marketing.

The “green value” is in the nature of the manufacturing process and is directly connected to the quality of the product.

This leaves one more thing to consider when crafting tangible claims: Does the nature of the claim actually make the end product more appealing?


Question #2. Is our claim relevant to customers’ needs?



I like these examples because all of them, while noble in cause, do not directly connect to a relevant problem a customer is having.

For example, I live in Florida and my desire to avoid sunburns gives the SPF of a sunscreen a greater relevance to my needs than just about any other claim.

Consequently, this is where focusing on claims that are relevant can mitigate the risk of associating products with ideas or causes that are abstract.

A biodegradable pen is nice to have. A biodegradable pen with 12% more ink than the next guy is even better.

The power of relevance rests in crafting copy that deals directly with any key concerns already present in the mind of a customer.

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Hidden Value: What buried treasure are you ignoring in your marketing?

April 24th, 2014 1 comment

Earth Day was Tuesday, which is a great time to remind you that it isn’t eco-friendly to use disposable plastic water bottles. What if you carried a reusable bottle with you everywhere instead?

This type of bland pitch to take care of the Earth’s resources doesn’t tend to be very effective. Sure, you may get the true believers to take action. But the vast middle segment of the population who somewhat care about the environment, but are lazy, likely won’t do anything different. Or, they might try it once or twice and then give up.


Shining a light on the hidden value of reusable water bottles

When I spoke recently at the University of North Florida, I noticed a marketing tactic so simple, yet so brilliant, that I wanted to share it with you today as the perfect example of revealing hidden value. Here’s a water fountain I saw at UNF.



Now, I admit, I haven’t really kept up on water fountain technology. But you’ll notice how this water fountain is different from when you and I went to college: It has a feature that allows students to refill water bottles with filtered water. But here’s the really brilliant part …



I learned that this model of water fountain is the Elkay EZH2O Bottle Filling Station. There is a counter on each water fountain (which the company calls the Green Ticker) that says, “Helped eliminate waste from 35,403 disposable plastic bottles.”


What is hidden value?

This is the perfect example of revealing hidden value. Hidden value is value that your product or service offers a customer, but they don’t know about it because you either:

  • Don’t communicate it
  • Communicate it through your marketing, but it is buried and de-emphasized
  • Don’t track or compile the data at all

I believe that revealing this hidden value, which would have literally just flowed down the drain if the company didn’t track and message it, helped Elkay with two audiences:

  • Water fountain users – By quantifying and showing the amount of trash that was saved, users clearly see how the effort they are making as a community (in this case, university) is actually making a difference. It also adds some social proof, showing that others are taking this action. For example, Elkay has a case study about how a campaign built around this water fountain reduced plastic water bottle consumption by 92% and 350,000 fewer plastic bottles were sent to landfills.
  • Water fountain buyers – A water fountain is a B2B sale. Someone at UNF (and every other institution) had to decide to buy and install these water fountains. By quantifying a number that would have been lost, the purchaser is likely to be able to make an easier case to purchase more of these fountains, essentially showing the ROI to sustainability committees.

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Digital Marketing: Stop ignoring data and start learning

March 26th, 2014 No comments

March Madness has been one heck of a ride so far, huh? This year’s NCAA tournament is pumping out upsets left and right as Cinderella stories rise and brackets burst.

But I’m a Florida Gators fan, and I have to admit, I’m liking what I’m seeing from all of the college basketball madness so far (knock on wood). After a less-than-awesome football season, I’m going to soak up an undefeated record and this No. 1 ranking as long as I can. I’m not above infusing this into my marketing writing, either.

Earlier this week, University of Florida head basketball coach Billy Donovan dished out some words of wisdom off the court.

“For me, I’m always eager to learn, to get better and to improve,” he told reporters.

Gators fan or not, you should take a page from coach Donovan. I have. In fact, I’m putting that quote into play this week as I write this post from the Adobe Summit Digital Marketing Conference in Salt Lake City. I’m immersing myself in sessions, panels, interviews and networking mixers to learn, get better and improve as a young professional. (A special thanks to Adobe for footing the bill for my growth, too.)


As a member of the pampered press for the Summit, I was invited to a special session: “Interactive Panel Discussion: Reinventing the Marketing Organization.” Ann Lewnes, SVP and CMO, Adobe, moderated, and was joined by the following panelists:

  • Jeff Dotson, Associate Professor, Department of Business Management, Brigham Young University
  • Jana Rich, Managing Director, Russell Reynolds Associates
  • Pete Stein, CEO, Razorfish
  • Jeff Titus, General Manager of Digital Technology Solutions and Strategy, Audi of America


Lewnes opened the discussion with findings from Adobe’s Digital Roadblock: Marketers struggle to reinvent themselves, published this month. The study was conducted by surveying 1,000 marketers and data was collected by ResearchNow.

One of the top takeaways: “Marketers recognize the importance of data, but aren’t widely using it to make informed decisions.” Here are the supporting facts and figures:

  • 76% of marketers agree they need to be more data-focused to succeed
  • 49% of marketers report “trusting my gut” to guide decisions on where to invest their marketing budgets
  • 72% of marketers agree that long-term success is tied to proving marketing return on investment



Titus, who was also a keynote speaker at Adobe Summit, highlighted the data above when asked to give the audience some practical advice.

“Every marketer should understand when you put something out there, you should have the ability to measure it,” he said.

You must orient your team to that, Titus added, and don’t just look at your customer’s journey after the fact – seek those real-time results.

“Measure something – empirical data – that is really the most important piece of advice I can offer,” he said.

Titus offered how data can even drive risk taking in marketing, suggesting short cycles for testing. These are quick little investments that allow your team to see what’s working and what’s not in an efficient period of time.

“In engineering, we say ‘fail fast,’ Titus joked.

Or perhaps, learn fast. Learn what changes you can use to refine your campaigns and efforts. Data is a key piece to figuring this out.

Dotson offered an academic perspective on the matter from his observations in the classroom.

Historically, he said, “marketing was the fuzzy major for students.”

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Conversion Rate Optimization: 3 takeaways from 2013

December 30th, 2013 1 comment

As of tomorrow, 2013 is officially a wrap.

I’m not ready to start singing “Auld Lang Syne” just yet though.

Personally, the end of the year is an important moment to stop and reflect on the year that has passed as they seem to come and go now faster than ever before.


It  feels like only yesterday, Oreo Cookie was setting a new bar in responsive social media by reminding us that we could still dunk in the dark during the Superdome’s blackout during the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans.

In today’s MarketingExperiments Blog post, I’d like to reflect on the content our audience found most valuable by sharing some of our most tweeted posts and the lessons they offer as we prepare for another year.


Lesson #1. Small changes can produce big results

Email Optimization: A single word change results in a 90% lift in sign-ups


In this post from David Kirkpatrick, Senior Reporter, MarketingSherpa, Michael Aagaard, Copywriter, ContentVerve, discussed call-to-action (CTA) optimization in his presentation at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2013, “How to Optimize and Test: Calls-to-Action for Maximum Conversions.”


Lesson #2. It’s not always what you say that matters, but how you say it

Email Copywriting: How a change in tone increased lead inquiry by 349% 


In this blog post, I reviewed how tone can affect the performance of your emails and can aid your email copywriting efforts.

I also shared how one event management software provider was able to increase its lead inquiry rate by 349% using the right voice to speak to potential customers.


Lesson #3. Making the right discoveries about your customers can transform your entire business

Web Usability: Long landing page nets 220% more leads than above the fold call-to-action



In this post, Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS, shared how a below the fold call-to-action led to a 220% increase in leads for Sierra Tucson.


As the countdown to 2014 begins

For some, the new year is a time to celebrate another year of challenges met and experiences gained. For others, it’s a time to absorb the lessons learned from failure as you forge ahead to meet the next challenge.

For all of us, it’s another opportunity to learn more about our customers and how we can better serve them, lest old acquaintances be forgot.

Happy new year from all of us here at MarketingExperiments!

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Customer Motivation: 3 steps to help you stop thinking like a marketer

September 5th, 2013 No comments

At MECLABS, there are two things we couldn’t live without: testing and data.

Although we consider these the most vital tools in our business, we also understand the importance of the backstory. With anything you hope to accomplish in life, a good perspective on the situation and an understanding of the task makes solving any problem more manageable.

Before you can truly analyze a webpage, you must understand your prospects’ motivation and expectations. In doing so, your chances of correlating any data you’ve been collecting with the copy on the page will be greater. This also provides a basis for testing and helps you guard against inconsistent tests.

In today’s MarketingExperiments Blog post, I want to share with you a series of steps to follow, giving you a better understanding of your webpage. These are some quick and simple questions to get you thinking more like a prospect and less like a marketer.


Step #1. Understand what information you want visitors to find

To help you make this connection, you can provide more clarity in your headline, add additional value copy, or use more relevant images. Any information you feel prospects need to make an informed decision should be clearly displayed within the page.

With that said, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Is your product/service the primary message on the page?
  • What is your value proposition?
  • Why should prospects buy from you versus one of your competitors?
  • What can you offer that your competitors can’t?

If you aren’t clearly defining the value of your offering, you will miss making that connection with your visitors.


Step #2. Find the disconnect

All too often, there are disconnects between the messaging marketers place within a page and the motivation a prospect has when arriving to that page.

Here are a few questions to consider when looking for a disconnection between prospects and your message:

  • What are our visitors looking for?
  • Where are our visitors coming from?
  • What did they click to arrive here?
  • Are we aware of what visitors have been looking at on our page?
  • Does our page match the expectations visitors have when clicking through to our landing page?

Answering these questions won’t solve all of your problems, but they will certainly put you on the right track to test optimal messaging on your pages.


Step #3. Understanding the impact  

Before beginning successful testing, you must first understand the impact the prospects’ motivation and expectations have on clickthrough and conversion rate.

To help you understand the impact and draw conclusions, you must ask yourself:

  • What have we learned about our prospects?
  • Are there any recurring trends?
  • Have we found any disconnect in our messaging?

The answers to these questions will help you determine its impact and ultimately formulate a strategy for testing.

Sure, data can detect what visitors are clicking on, where they are coming from, and where they went next, but it can’t tell you why. Bounce rate is a good metric for determining if your page matches a prospect’s motivation and expectations, but it doesn’t give insight on what that motivation actually is.

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Social Media Marketing: Have you tested your website’s social links and buttons?

June 24th, 2013 4 comments

Through many tests, we have learned that it is critical to give people a reason to click. If we want visitors to contact us or add a product to the cart, we have to provide them with valuable information upfront. Positive and benefit-oriented calls-to-action, for example …

  • “Get your free trial”
  • “Secure checkout”

Tend to perform better than simple and command-oriented calls-to-action, for example …

  • “Submit”
  • “Click here”

Almost all of the time. (I say “almost all of the time,” because there are always exceptions to the rule.)


Are your social media calls-to-action benefit oriented?

The same logic should apply to social links on our websites. It’s true, social media logos can be placed anywhere on the site and people will, for the most part, know what they are for. But, try to put yourself in the shoes of your customer for a moment, look at your social media buttons and ask yourself these three questions:

  • Will they know why specifically they should follow or like you?
  • What if they knew upfront what you offer?
  • Would you gather more relevant fans/followers?


What is the value proposition of your social media channels?

If growing your social media following is an important company goal, I think it critical to test social media calls-to-action.

By doing so, you would have to necessarily go through the exercise of defining a specific purpose for each of your social media channels.

As a bonus, this kind of testing will help you identify what connects better with your target group. In result, you will be testing the value proposition of your social media channels. To help give you some ideas for your next test, here are some examples …




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