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The Importance of Customer Centricity in Evolving A/B Testing

June 29th, 2015 2 comments

When we talk about A/B testing, we often think about it on a test-by-test basis. While this singular focus is beneficial, it overlooks testing’s role as an ongoing system for optimization.

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015, Courtney Eckerle, Manager of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, sat down with Lauren Wagner, Senior Manager, and Tessa Srebro, Lead Generation and Marketing Associate, both of VolunteerMatch, to discuss how to utilize A/B testing to constantly evolve programs.

Lauren and Tessa’s company, VolunteerMatch, is a nonprofit organization that is the world’s largest volunteering network. It also has an interesting funding model. The company sells a Software as a Service (SaaS) product to companies to help fund its organization and, so far, this model has generated almost $1 billion in social value each year through its work with nonprofits and volunteers. VolunteerMatch is also more than familiar with the benefits of testing, as evidenced by the subject line test it ran with MarketingExperiments.

Watch the excerpt below from the MarketingSherpa Media Center to learn how keeping up with current trends and thinking like a consumer can help evolve your testing and your company.

 

Keep up with current trends and your customers

Keeping up with current customer trends is one of the most important pieces of advice Lauren Wagner gave when asked how to keep a company’s A/B testing constantly evolving. Be sure that you’re keeping up with current trends in the marketplace, but don’t forget to take the time to learn about your customers.

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The Baskerville Experiment: Font and its Influence on Our Perception of Truth

June 25th, 2015 No comments

“Can we separate the form of the writing from its content?” – Errol Morris

“Is it ever possible to understand the meaning of a work of art as separate from the way in which we receive it?” – Lynne Conner

Source: The Pentagram Papers, 44th Edition

 

In the spring of 1980, Academy Award-winning documentarian Errol Morris (“The Thin Blue Line,” “The Fog of War”) first encountered philosopher Saul Kripke’s seminal book, Naming and Necessity. After reading the book, Morris became fascinated with the theory that words and our interpretation of them are singular manifestations of all of the individual characteristics (seen and unseen) that comprise them.

More specifically, Morris was consumed with the idea that typeface itself might have an innate power to influence our fundamental perception of truth.

“Yes, we read the word ‘horse,’” Morris wrote, ”but we also see the letters, the typefaces, the shape of the word on the page. Is this not part of the meaning? Do we more readily accept (as true) sentences written in one typeface rather than another?”

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Value Proposition: Lessons from interviews with 50 business leaders

June 22nd, 2015 No comments

Marketing automation. Programmatic ad buying. Email personalization.

Advancements in marketing technology can power a successful brand, if …

… and it’s a big if …

… they are used to communicate an effective and authentic value proposition.

At Email Summit 2015 I sat down with Jose Palomino, Founder and CEO, Value Prop Interactive, and author of Value Prop — Create Powerful  I3 Value Propositions to Enter and Win New Markets, to discuss what value proposition means to your business.

 

The value proposition is “the core or central truth about whatever the offer is,” Palomino said. “And, most importantly, [the value proposition] answers this question — ‘why should anyone care?’”

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Landing Page Optimization: An overview of how one site increased leads by 155%

June 15th, 2015 4 comments

Simple, direct and bare. When your company and process is known around the world, a blank page with little competing content can not only work, but it can work really well.

Simplicity is key. Take a look at Google’s homepage:

 

What about new visitors? Imagine coming to this page for the first time, with little to no context of the company. What is this company? If I type something in that text box, for example, where will it take me?

Simplicity is not always a key to effective website optimization.

Leaders must grow comfortable with paradox and nuance. Clarity does not equate with simplicity.  Simplicity does not equate with easy.” — Flint McGlaughlin, On the Difference between Clarity and Simplicity.

Simplicity is the reduction of friction, but clarity is the optimization of the message. A simple message is not necessarily a clear message.

Take a look at a test we ran with a physicians-only social network that allows pharmaceutical companies to conduct survey research and promote products to their audience. The goal of this A/B split test was to identify which microsite would generate the most total leads.

Check out the control below. Can you find the value proposition?

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How Communicating Value Led to a 30% Increase in Overall Site Revenue

June 11th, 2015 No comments

The conversion sequence is actually a function of understanding the offer. We are not optimizing the product, we are optimizing the offer. As such, we are focused on two aspects: the content and the presentation.” — Flint McGlaughlin, On Improving the Conversion Sequence

The goal for most marketers is conversion. Often other metrics, like open rate and clickthrough, are tossed by the wayside for the “all-powerful” conversion.

I recently came across a test in the MECLABS research library that spoke to the idea of optimizing an offer through content and presentation. It also lent itself to the other side of metrics — elements such as conversion.

This company (which has been anonymized) offers a testing software for certification exam preparation in the form of a subscription model. For this test, an email was sent out to their customers apologizing for a new, somewhat confusing, pricing structure.

 

 

Once the link was clicked, customers were brought to a landing page which had different subscription models to choose from. Here is what the control looked like:

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How to Recover from Failed A/B Testing

June 8th, 2015 No comments

Back in 2003, a little blue fish taught us to, “just keep swimming.”

Much like Dory, Ryan Hutchings, Director of Marketing, VacationRoost, taught us that even when we aren’t gaining the results we want, just keep testing.

Ryan was one of the presenters at MarketingSherpa MarketingExperiments Web Optimization Summit 2014, where he discussed his marketing experience at VacationRoost — an ecommerce vacation rental wholesaler. During his session, Ryan shared how he and his marketing team were able to:

  • Increase the company’s total conversion 12%
  • Run more than 50 tests in a year

These results were achieved by employing simultaneous tests for large and small projects. The tests Ryan utilized ran on two separate testing methodologies and allowed VacationRoost’s small marketing team to make the most of its resources.

Because VacationRoost is an aggregation of several smaller companies, the company currently has many different websites and Web properties it has to maintain. “For a marketer, it’s ideal because I have this whole entire playground to essentially do whatever I want with,” Ryan said.

However, not every test leads to overwhelmingly positive results. So what do you do when your costly testing is met with failure?

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