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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

 adobe-research-data

 

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 …

 

NOT THIS

 

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Value Proposition: How do you create an effective value prop?

April 10th, 2013 No comments

In today’s Web clinic at 4:00 p.m. EDT – “How You Can Use Email to Discover the Essence of Your Value Proposition (in 5 Simple Steps)” – Austin McCraw, Senior Editorial Analyst, MECLABS, will use our research to help you discover an effective value proposition, and answer questions like:

  • What do your customers find most appealing about your offer?
  • … Is it the price?
  • … Is it a specific feature?
  • … Is it the broader brand association?

But first, we wanted to learn some value proposition insights from the MarketingExperiments community …

 

Value props consist of needs, wants and desires

The best value propositions consist of:

  • The benefits my customer most NEEDS from the product/service (ex: the ability to make 500 copies per minute if we are talking about a printer machine)
  • + the most parallel benefit my customer WANTS (ex: saving $400 on ink cartridges/per year)
  • + the most DESIRE my customer has with products like mine (ex: colorful/professional reports)

– Ahmed Seddiq, Senior Operation Officer, Corporate Visa Services, Dnata, The Emirates Group

 

Value proposition testing

Really, the only way to answer this question is to test various configurations of value communication using multivariate testing and scientifically determine what resonates in terms of conversion.

– Jonathan Greene, Business Intelligence Analyst, MECLABS (parent company of MarketingExperiments)

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Marketing Management: Can you create a marketing factory?

March 8th, 2013 1 comment

According to the MarketingSherpa Executive Guide to Marketing Personnel, people issues dominate marketing department challenges.

Q: What challenges undermine your marketing department’s potential?

 

Today on the MarketingExperiments blog, let’s focus on the “There is a scarcity of skilled individuals” challenge.

Other departments within a company have increased their productivity and efficiency by leveraging a repeatable methodology and management methods.

For example, manufacturing has Six Sigma. IT has agile software development.

However, marketing tends to focus on individual skilled performers. If your agency or department has a rock star or two, your group will likely perform well. Without them, or when they leave, it can be much tougher to succeed.

 

A patented marketing methodology

One way to improve the success of your marketing department beyond star performers is to use a repeatable methodology.

Last year, Digital Trust, Inc. (parent company of MECLABS) received a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent was originally filed in January 2007. I’ll tell you a little bit more about how you can use this methodology in just a moment, but first our lawyer will explain the patent in more detail …

“On April 10, 2012, Digital Trust, Inc. received a United States Patent (Pat. No. 8,155,995) for an invention developed by co-inventors Flint McGlaughlin and Jalali Hartman,” said Francine Palmeri, Corporate Counsel, MECLABS.

“This patent protects, among other inventions, an innovative method of assessing the effectiveness of a network-based marketing campaign. Specifically, this patented process includes establishing a home website that is linked to several other different parallel websites for presenting an offer for a product.  This method then tracks statistics among the several parallel websites for received product orders and determines which website has the highest probability of order placement,” Francine continued.

 

Understanding the elements that influence conversion

Now that we’ve discussed the exact legal definition, let’s dive in to see how this patented process can help you. What Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, created combines the use of analogy and heuristics – a heuristic is an experienced-based technique that helps you identify the elements necessary to solve a usually large problem in a short amount of time.

“The patent is a Test Protocol system that attempts to bring discipline to the behavioral testing process. The Test Protocol system integrates a Design of Experiments with data tracking and validation calculations in the experiment,” Flint said.

One of the key heuristics in the patent is the Conversion Sequence.

The Conversion Sequence helps you, or anyone on your team from the intern to the CEO, look at any marketing offer and understand what factors you can change to improve the likelihood of conversion of that offer.

The numbers indicate the impact of each element on conversion, and the plus and minus signs indicate whether those elements have a positive or negative impact on the probability of conversion.

Here is a high-level look at each element, and you can learn more about this heuristic in the Landing Page Optimization online course.

 

Motivation of user

Motivation is the magnitude and nature of the customer’s demand for the product.

For example, I suffer from alopecia. Which is a fancy way to say … I’m bald. So, I have high motivation to buy Rogaine. If I was overweight, I would be motivated to buy a weight loss aid. If I had acne, I would be highly motivated to buy an acne treatment.

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