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Posts Tagged ‘data’

Data Analysis 101: How a nonprofit used data to secure a critical business decision and help find 125 missing children

August 16th, 2016

We all have decisions we’re trying to drive. It may be getting budget approval from your manager. Or, selling a client on a campaign. It could be getting venture capital funding, or signing up the right business partner.

Our effectiveness in securing these decisions can have a significant impact on our success. And one way to make the case is by using data.

“Data adds credibility to the claims you’re making,” said Derrick Jackson, Director of Data Reporting and Analytics, MECLABS Institute (the parent research organization of MarketingExperiments). “It’s like the Fight the Squirrel videos say: It can all come across as opinion. But if you bring numbers, it adds validity.”

In this MarketingExperiments blog post, we look at a basic story of how one nonprofit used data to help drive a decision to see what you can learn from its efforts.

 

The challenge

BairFind is a nonprofit based in Jacksonville, Florida, dedicated to finding missing children by placing pictures of missing children in heavily trafficked areas of minor league baseball stadiums. For example, here is a picture from a Jacksonville Suns game.

 

Data Analysis 101

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Eight Lessons from the Father of Data-obsessed Marketing

June 6th, 2016

Snapchat. Mobile marketing. Virtual reality. Marketing automation.

As marketers, we have a tendency to focus on the newest, buzziest, most-hyped ideas and look at the giants whose shoulders upon which our industry stands.

Claude Hopkins lived far before any of these buzzy terms. Even before TV commercials. He’s one of the most influential advertising professionals in history, yet many modern marketers have probably never heard of him. After all, his seminal work – Scientific Advertising – was published almost 100 years ago.

Hopkins’ career resided in a sweet spot for influencing our industry. His research pre-dates and informed David Ogilvy and Rosser Reeves (aka Don Draper). In fact, in Ogilvy on Advertising, Ogilvy says, “Nobody should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read [Scientific Advertising] seven times. It changed the course of my life.”

Yet Hopkins arrived after earlier pioneers like Walter Scott and Daniel Starch, so his teachings were informed by not just opinion, but data. As he says in his book, “Advertising, once a gamble, has thus become, under able direction, one of the safest business ventures.”

Hopkins’ discoveries enabled him to be very tactical and practical with the advice he gave to early advertisers. This is advice successful marketers are still putting into practice today, such as:

 

“We learn the principles and prove them by repeated tests.”

Digital marketing has made A/B testing much easier, quicker, and cheaper. And you can see this dedication to testing and learning rolled out across the web today, as in the landing page tests shown below.

experiments-landing-page-results

Source: Landing Page Optimization: 6 common traits of a template that works

However, it’s easy for digital marketers to forget that testing did not begin with the invention of the internet, as Claude Hopkins discussed the importance of testing way back in 1923.

 

“The most common way is by use of the coupon. We offer a sample, a book, a free package, or something to induce direct replies. Thus we learn the amount of action which each ad engenders.”

Measuring marketing tests is much easier thanks to the tracking and measurement inherent to digital marketing, something Hopkins didn’t have the luxury of back in 1923.

However, marketers today are still challenged with measuring the impact of offline advertising, like print ads. And coupons or other incentives are still a good way to measure that ROI.

It works in reverse, as well. Some companies, like this small sporting goods store, use online coupons to track brick-and-mortar store purchases, helping to measure the impact of their online channels.

hesselsons-coupon

Source: Social Media Marketing: Small sporting goods store sees 1,100% ROI increase with Facebook coupon

 

“The best ads ask no one to buy. That is useless. Often they do not quote a price. They do not say that dealers handle the product. The ads are based entirely on service. They offer wanted information.”

This quote from Claude Hopkins sounds almost like a very prescient call for content marketing, like the following blog post.

superoffice-webpage

Source: Content Marketing: Multi-channel approach increases organic traffic 97%

 

“One must be able to express himself briefly, clearly and convincingly, just as a salesman must.”

Unlike other forms of creativity (movies or books) or information (newspapers or magazines), the vast majority of people are not actively searching for ads to read or watch, so the successful marketer must grab attention and convey a message in a very short time.

For example, the classic “Think Small” ad produced by Doyle Dane Bernbach for Volkswagen, which provides a brief, clear, and convincing proposition for a previously unheard of ask for 1959 – buy a small car.

volkswagen_think_small

Source: Wikipedia

 

“Practically all merchandise sold by mail is sent subject to return.”

This was a classic direct mail technique, and Zappos helped bring it into the Internet era.

zappos-shipping-returns

Source: Zappos

 

“Fine talkers are rarely good salesman. They inspire buyers with the fear of over-influence. They cater the suspicion that an effort is made to sell them on other lines than merit.”

Instead of a slick-talking spokesperson, Monster.com’s legendary Super Bowl ad used children reading lines that poked fun at real-world challenges—challenges that resonated with the ideal customer.

“When I grow up … I want to be underappreciated. Be paid less for doing the same job.”

monster-commercial

Source: Monster.com – “When I Grow Up” (YouTube)

 

“Remember the people you address are selfish, as we all are. They care nothing about your interests or profit. They seek service for themselves.”

When you read this quote, it seems like obvious advice, right? But does your company live it? I mean, really live it?

Since you’re also a customer, you know that so many companies don’t. I recently wrote 10 banks asking them the pre-payment penalty for their CDs. Only two actually answered my question. The other eight linked to a long page of terms and conditions and told me I could find my answer there.

Hardly a frictionless experience. Hardly providing service to a selfish customer who could care less about reading their T&Cs.

This experience is true in advertising, as well. Ads can be filled with friction and talk about things that matter more to the company than the customer. Perhaps they grab attention, but do they inspire the customer to act? Does the customer understand what’s in it for her?

“One product that does a great job of explaining its purpose in a straightforward way is Zzzquil,” said Emily Rogers, Senior Marketing Research Manager, MECLABS Institute. “Its TV ad sticks out to me because it explains the benefit of the product from the customer perspective in about 20 words or less.”

zzzquil-ad

 

“Don’t boast, for all people resent it. Don’t try to show off.”

This is my favorite piece of advice from Hopkins. And we all see ridiculous boasting every day in countless ads.

Copywriters and agencies feel they must sing the praise of the product. After all, they’re getting paid to do it.

Brand-side marketers feel like they need to made huge claims. After all, they’re spending a lot on media, and only have a few seconds of the prospects’ attention to shout louder and bolder than the ad before and after.

Jerry Seinfeld and Acura do a great job of product placement in “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” specifically because they don’t boast.

acura-seinfeld-commercial

Source: Acura Product Placement with Jerry Seinfeld (YouTube)

Fred Armisen: What’s this?
Jerry Seinfeld: Oh this is just some Acura parts. They told me my product placement was getting a little too heavy handed. So I thought, instead of the whole car…

(Acura drives up and honks)

Acura driver:
C’mon man, I’ve got a hot yoga!

(Tires screech, Acura quickly peels out with smoking tires, and anyone in product discovery mode with the intention of buying a sporty car just made a subtle mental note to possibly consider the Acura)

 

You might also like

Earn a graduate certificate in: Communicating Value and Web Conversion (I came across these lessons from Hopkins because I’m enrolled in this graduate program, a partnership between MarketingExperiments’ parent research organization MECLABS Institute and the University of Florida)

Marketing Research Chart: 75% of strategic marketers use A/B testing to learn about customer behavior

Optimizing Copy: The 7 most common copywriting mistakes we see marketers make

Website Analytics: How to use data to determine where to test

May 28th, 2015

At MarketingExperiments, we use patented heuristics to evaluate websites, emails and other digital mediums. 

Often people think that a heuristic evaluation is a purely qualitative approach to a problem. This can be true, but when you combine quantitative analytics with the qualitative knowledge you increase the power to make meaningful change.

This post will show relevant metrics for three of these elements that any marketer — from beginner to advanced — can use to discover opportunities for improvement.

 

Step #1. Look at the qualitative elements of your website

Often people just ask for data dumps. To make matters worse, they want it in a very short time. On top of that, most data scientists use purely what they are comfortable with: numbers.

To add context and save time, you must evaluate the site to see where you should focus your data analysis.

Put yourself in the customer’s mindset and go to your site. If you own creative or design, try to remove those biases as best as possible. What makes sense to you or feels like the right amount of information may be completely overwhelming to a customer who isn’t familiar with your product or industry.

 

Look for things that are broken, functions that are clunky, images that don’t make sense or add value and difficulty in completing the conversion. You must objectively look at all the pages in the conversion path and be familiar enough with them to make sense of the data that you pull.

Pull data to illuminate the points you saw to give validity to the theory. Key heuristic elements and data help prove the problem.

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Digital Analytics: How to use data to tell your marketing story

March 12th, 2015

When it comes to being a data-driven marketing team, there is not as much opposition between content and data as once thought.

Two central themes that highlight this idea came out of the Opening Session of The Adobe Summit — The Digital Marketing Conference. They are:

  • Use data correctly to support a story
  • Ensure the story you’re telling can be relayed to a wider audience

Marketers need to quit treating their data analysts as number-crunching minions and start seeing them as contributors with a vital perspective of the greater customer story.

Nate Silver, Founder and Editor in Chief, FiveThirtyEight.com, spoke about how useless data can be if you can’t communicate it to a wider audience. The practice of collecting, analyzing and interpreting data can be very costly, and marketers need to maximize ROI by making sure they tell the correct story and that it can be spread across their organization.

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Marketing Analytics: Show your work

August 14th, 2014

Data handling and analytics can sometimes offer shocking results, as global B2B company National Instruments discovered after a surprising decrease in an email campaign’s conversion rate.

 

Key Obstacle: Concern about the new numbers

“When I first saw the number change, I was a bit freaked out,” said Stephanie Logerot, Database Marketing Specialist, National Instruments.

Stephanie, as a strategist, felt her greatest challenge was communicating the new way of looking at the data to National Instruments’ stakeholders outside of the database marketing team. This meant making certain everyone understood why the numbers dropped after implementing the new, more stringent data criteria.

 

A little background

A recent MarketingSherpa Email Marketing case study– “Marketing Analytics: How a drip email campaign transformed National Instruments’ data management” – detailed this marketing analytics challenge at National Instruments.

The data challenge arose from a drip email campaign set around its signature product.

The campaign was beta tested in some of National Instruments’ key markets: United States, United Kingdom and India. After the beta test was completed, the program rolled out globally.

The data issue came up when the team looked into the conversion metrics.

The beta test converted at 8%, the global rollout at 5%, and when a new analyst came in to parse the same data sets without any documentation on how the 5% figure was determined, the conversion rate dropped to 2%.

While interviewing the team for the case study, as what often happens in these detailed discussions, I ended up some great material that didn’t make it into the case study and wanted to share that material with you.

 

The team

For the case study, I interviewed Ellen Watkins, Manager, Global Database Marketing Programs, Stephanie, the database marketing specialist, and Jordan Hefton, Global Database Marketing Analyst, all of National Instruments at the time. Jordan was the new analyst who calculated the 2% conversion rate.

In this MarketingExperiments Blog post, you’ll learn how the team dealt with the surprising drop in conversion, and how they communicated why data management and analytics was going to be held to a new standard going forward.

The team overcame this obstacle with a little internal marketing.

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Digital Marketing: Stop ignoring data and start learning

March 26th, 2014

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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