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This 1960s Statistician Can Teach You Everything You Need to Know About the Fundamentals of A/B Testing

January 21st, 2016 No comments

I did a training on selling training for the sales team today. It was what Millennials call “meta.”

I was talking about how our training uses scientifically valid experiments to back everything we say in our training rather than best practices, anecdotal case studies or just “expert advice.”

The question naturally arose: “What do we mean when we say ‘scientifically valid experiments’?”

When I answered the question in the meeting, I immediately thought it would be a good idea for a blog post. So, with that said, here’s the answer:

In short, it means that we use the scientific method to validate every piece of knowledge we transfer in the training (and also in our Web clinics and on this blog).

I found myself trying to explain what I learned in high school about the scientific method, and while I was able (I think) to get the basic gist across, I don’t think I did it justice.

Fortunately, after doing a little searching online, I found this guy.

His name is J. Stuart Hunter and he is one of the most influential statisticians of the last half of the twentieth century.

Fortunately, back in the 60s, he recorded some rad videos around experimental designs in a business context. If you can extrapolate a little bit from the industrial context and apply this to a marketing context, it should be everything you need to know about the scientific method, or “what we mean when we say ‘scientifically valid.’”

 

 

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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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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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Email Capture Optimized: How one small change led to a 364% increase in leads

October 22nd, 2015 1 comment

If you ask anything of a customer you must make it worth it for them to give it to you. This applies to every step in the sales process, right from the very beginning.

This is the conclusion that MECLABS, the parent company of MarketingExperiments, came to after studying more than 20,000 sales paths over 15 years. Of those sales paths, the latest MarketingExperiments Web clinic reviewed nine that focused on email capture. Here’s what we discovered: small changes that help customers perceive that it’s worth their time, effort and risk to provide you their information increased email capture from 21% to more than 600%. Watch it here.

Here’s one of the tests.

Background: The partner has an email capture process that offers downloadable reports in exchange for information. They wanted to capture and qualify emails.

Goal: Increase number of form submissions.

Primary research question: Which process will get the most submissions?

Approach: Adapt the registration process to reduce friction (friction is anything that makes the customer work harder to get through the sales process)

 

The Control was loaded with friction. It forced visitors to take four steps to access the reports.

 

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The Honor of Marketing: Connecting real people to real value

October 19th, 2015 No comments

What comes to mind when you think about marketing?

Or better yet, what comes to mind for others when they think about marketing?

Can you remember the last time you told a non-marketer you were in marketing?

Maybe I am making it up in my head, but often, when I share with others that I am a marketer, I sense this almost apologetic cringe from them. At best, it seems that they are experiencing some sympathetic sorrow that I would be stuck in such a profession. At worse, they project some sort of evil motive in the remainder of our often shortened conversation. I have frequently danced around the term, even outright denying it at times.

However, the truth is marketing is one of the most honorable careers that one can undertake. I believe this wholeheartedly, and I am writing this post to once and for all declare my passion for this often reviled role.

 

The diagram that changed it all

I confess, it took me some time to see the honor of marketing, but the tipping point for me was a diagram by Michael Porter. It revealed the ultimate reason that marketing exists: perception. Contrary to popular belief, the true objective of marketing is not to trick someone into buying or doing something that they do not want, but rather to bridge the gap between the reality of actual value and its perception (as shown below).

 

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Value Proposition: How a local business doubled its space in 9 months

October 8th, 2015 1 comment

There are really only two types of marketing.

There’s “Let’sThrowEverythingWeHaveAtTheCustomerAndSHOUTITREALLYLOUD!” marketing. The value for the customer is not very clear with this method, but if the company buys enough TV spots, throws some huge incentives in the mix and pays high enough affiliate marketing commissions, it will move some product.

As for a sustainable business with reliable margins? Well, the marketer running these campaigns will be long gone by the time those topics come up.

And then there is …

 

Value-based marketing

This type of marketing is harder. Way harder. It involves discovering what customers really want, creating products and services with true value for the customer and clearly communicating those values.

You can see this battle most clearly in marketing for local businesses. I was thinking of this topic when I flipped through our local copies of Money Pages and Mint Magazine. These are essentially coupon circulars with local businesses and some national brands filling every inch of the space they bought with ink, shouting at the customer, practicing “Let’sThrowEverything …” — well, you get the idea.

Flipping through these circulars, I have no idea why I should go to one tire shop over the other or eat at one restaurant instead of the other. They’re all the same. The only question is — which will shout louder to get my attention or offer a bigger discount?

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