Posts Tagged ‘marketing research’

Online Testing: 5 steps to launching tests and being your own teacher

April 10th, 2014

Testing is the marketer’s ultimate tool. It allows us to not just guess what coulda, woulda, shoulda worked, but to know what actually works. But more than that, it gives us the power to choose what we want to know about our customers.

“As a tester, you get to be your own teacher, if you will, and pick tests that make you want to learn. And structure tests that give you the knowledge you’re trying to gain,” said Benjamin Filip, Senior Manager of Data Sciences, MECLABS.

So what steps do we take if we want to be our own teacher?

While conducting interviews about the live test ran at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, I recently had the chance to discuss testing processes with Ben, as well as Lauren Pitchford, Optimization Manager, and Steve Beger, Senior Development Manager, also both of MECLABS. The three of them worked together with live test sponsor BlueHornet to plan, design and execute the A/B split test they validated in less than 24 hours.

Read on to learn what they had to share about the testing process that marketers can take away from this email live test. We’ll break down each of the steps of the live test and help you apply them to your own testing efforts.


Step #1. Uncover gaps in customer insights and behavior

As Austin McCraw, Senior Director of Content Production, MECLABS, said at Email Summit, “We all have gaps in our customer theory. Which gap do we want to fill? What do we want to learn about our customer?”

What do you wish you knew about your customers? Do they prefer letter-style emails or design-heavy promotional emails? Do they prefer a certain day of the week to receive emails? Or time of day? Does one valuable incentive incite more engagement than three smaller incentives of the same combined value?

Think about what you know about your customers, and then think about what knowledge could help you better market to them and their needs and wants.


Step #2. Craft possible research questions and hypotheses

When forming research questions and hypotheses, Ben said, “You have to have some background info. A hypothesis is an educated guess, it’s not just completely out of the blue.”

Take a look at your past data to interpret what customers are doing in your emails or on your webpages.

Lauren wrote a great post on what makes a good hypothesis, so I won’t dive too deeply here. Basically, your hypothesis needs three parts:

  • Presumed problem
  • Proposed solution
  • Anticipated result


Step #3. Brainstorm ways answer those questions

While brainstorming will start with you and your group, don’t stop there. At MECLABS, we use peer review sessions (PRS) to receive feedback on anything from test ideas and wireframes, to value proposition development and results analysis.

“As a scientist or a tester, you have a tendency to put blinders on and you test similar things or the same things over and over. You don’t see problems,” Ben said.

Having potential problems pointed out is certainly not what any marketers want to hear, but it’s not a reason to skip this part of the process.

“That’s why some people don’t like to do PRS, but it’s better to find out earlier than to present it to [decision-makers] who stare at you blinking, thinking, ‘What?’” Lauren explained.

However, peer review is more than discovering problems, it’s also about discovering great ideas you might otherwise miss.

“It’s very easy for us to fall into our own ideas. One thing for testers, there is the risk of thinking that something that is so important to you is the most important thing. It might bother you that this font is hard to read, but I don’t read anyway because I’m a math guy, so I just want to see the pretty pictures. So I’m going to sit there and optimize pictures all day long. That’s going to be my great idea. So unless you listen to other people, you’re not going to get all the great ideas,” Ben said.

Read more…

Conversion Rate: Average website conversion rates, by industry

November 2nd, 2012

In our recently released MarketingSherpa 2012 Website Optimization Benchmark Report, we asked about average conversion rates …

Q. Please write in your organization’s average conversion rate.

Click to enalrge


It’s human nature to see a number and to instantly think of it as a fact, so let me first briefly mention the limits of numbers. Just because you see the numbers above, don’t assume that all of your, for example, media and publishing competitors are getting 10% conversion rates for every offer.

These numbers are simply meant to give you a general idea of how certain industries are fairing as you work on your own conversion rate optimization efforts.

“Where ever you are, you should also try to figure out how you can improve your conversion rate 5-10% monthly,” is how Bryan Eisenberg, Managing Partner, Eisenberg Holdings, put it in “Average Conversion Rate by Industry 2012.”

  Read more…

Marketing Career: Free resources from MECLABS to help you do your job better

August 8th, 2012

Usually on the MarketingExperiments blog, we take a deep look at a specific topic, such as factors for choosing online testing and optimization platforms and landing page optimization. After all, our job is to help you do your job better. (Let us know how we can help.)

But, in today’s post, I want to take a step back from those granular topics, and to help you understand all of the free resources available to you through MECLABS, the parent company of MarketingExperiments.

If you’re unfamiliar with MECLABS, you can download the 403-page MECLABS Research Catalog for a look at the scope of our research and reporting. We make all of this information available to you through these free resources:

Read more…

15 years of marketing research in 11 minutes

May 21st, 2012

Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO, MECLABS, explains what he has learned from 15 years of marketing research in this video …


If you would like to jump to a specific point in the video, here are some key points that Flint covered:

00:34 – Three flaws in the funnel analogy

2:31 – The inverted sales funnel

9:34 – Conversion Heuristic

10:34 – Recent Experiments: 10,000+ Paths Tested

The marketing research and methodologies in this video are achieved from research partnerships with MECLABS where companies work alongside analysts and data scientists to discover how to better serve their customers. Each research partnership is customized to meet the unique opportunities and challenges faced by the partner.

If you are interested in participating our research calendar, just visit and tell us a little more about your current challenges in the areas of subscription, lead generation and ecommerce.

Related Resources

Conversion Rate Optimization: Building to the Ultimate Yes

Marketing-Sales Funnel Optimization: 3 questions to ask as you kickoff 2012

Landing Page Wireframe: Why focusing on ‘one variable at a time’ doesn’t work

This Just Tested: Do images or copy generate more user response?

November 10th, 2010

We say in our online courses that every element of a Web page must state or support the value proposition. But, what communicates the value of an offer better – a beautiful image or well-crafted copy? Do people tend to respond better to images or do they prefer copy?

All marketers have to face these questions at one time or another in the creative process, and recently, our research analysts had the opportunity to test this particular issue. You might be, as I was, surprised by the results. Read more…

The Five Best Ways to Optimize Email Response (Part 2): How to craft effective email messages that drive customers to action

February 10th, 2010

Do you shout, brag, or sell in the typical conversations you have in an average day?

If you’re not a professional wrestler, you will likely answer “no” to the above question. Yet, as Dr. Flint McGlaughlin showed in our live web clinic on February 3, many marketing email messages fall into the above traps because they don’t think of email marketing as just a conversation… Read more…