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Archive for the ‘Consumer Marketing’ Category

Marketing 101: What is CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization)?

September 1st, 2017
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Marketing has a language all its own. This is our latest in a series of posts aimed at helping new marketers learn that language. What term do you find yourself explaining most often to new hires during onboarding? Let us know.

Conversion rate optimization, often abbreviated as CRO, is the practice of improving the conversion rate in any advertising, marketing, sales or other business practice that has a goal of getting a person to take an action. (The conversion rate measures the number of prospects who take an action that you’re requesting.)

For example, let’s say you have an email that asks people to click to a landing page to buy a product. CRO would focus on getting more people to click on that email (improving the conversion rate of clickthrough), in addition to getting more people to purchase on the landing page.

CRO (or at least elements of it) is sometimes also referred to as marketing optimization, website optimization, landing page optimization (LPO), growth hacking, optimization and testing, customer experience (CX), usability (UX) or marketing experimentation.

Despite the prevalent use of the word “optimization,” it is a very different discipline from search engine optimization (SEO). CRO is focused on optimizing for human behavior, and SEO is focused on optimizing for machine behavior.

Web design, copywriting and analytics interpretation are key skills that go hand-in-hand with CRO. This is because many CRO changes are either to design or copy. Also, the ability to understand analytics will (1) give ideas on where in the conversion process you should make CRO changes to have the biggest impact, and once you’ve made the changes, (2) how impactful they have been to your conversion goals.

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Customer-First Marketing: A conversation with Wharton, MarketingSherpa, and MECLABS Institute

August 18th, 2017
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One of my favorite music videos is “No Rain” by ‘90s band Blind Melon. In it, a young girl dressed in a bee costume roams around her town, clearly misunderstood by everybody she encounters.

Until …

One day …

… bee girl encounters an entire field full of people in bee costumes. She had clearly found her tribe.

I’ve seen that same delight when those engaged in customer-first marketing and customer-first science meet. And I certainly felt it myself getting to work with Catharine Hays for a few months on the Beyond Advertising: Creating Value Through all Email and Mobile Touchpoints webinar.

Hays is Executive Director of The Wharton Future of Advertising Program and recently interviewed myself along with Flint McGlaughlin, CEO and Managing Director of MECLABS Institute (the parent research organization of MarketingSherpa) on Marketing Matters, a show she co-hosts on the Business Radio channel on Sirius XM powered by the Wharton School.

If you’re a fellow traveler on the path of customer-first marketing and customer-first science, listen to the recording of the radio show below. Or read the below transcript (I called out key concepts with bolded headlines to allow for easy skimming). I hope you feel that same delight of finding your tribe.

And if you do, feel free to let Flint or myself know through Twitter — @FlintsNotes and @DanielBurstein   — since we won’t be able to hear you shouting in agreement through your headphone or speakers.


(originally aired on Sirius XM Channel 111, Business Radio powered by The Wharton School)
 

Or, if you’d like to listen in your car or on an airplane, go to the audio file on SoundCloud, click “More,” then select “Download.”

We begin with a little background on MECLABS Institute and MarketingSherpa

Catharine Hays: You’re listening to Marketing Matters on Business Radio, powered by the Wharton School.

Welcome back. This is Marketing Matters on Sirius XM’s Business Radio 111. I’m Catharine Hays. I’m the Executive Director of the Wharton Future of Advertising program here. And we’re going to shift gears a little bit to welcome our next guests.

Really, the theme of the show today has been on customer-first marketing, really putting the customer at the front of your marketing and putting the individual, rather than thinking of them as a consumer. So, we spent the last hour really kind of honing in on the Hispanic market and with our last guest, talking about really seeing them from a cultural lens and how open or closed they are to cultural influences, new and old. So, that was pretty interesting.

So, what we’re going to do next is shift gears a little bit, but still have this theme but talk about it more broadly with two wonderful guests. First, we have Flint McGlaughlin. He’s the CEO and Managing Director of MECLABS Institute. Welcome, Flint.

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Ecommerce: Northwestern University study on how online reviews affect sales

August 15th, 2017
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Every week (as the name suggests), I write the Marketing Sherpa Chart of the Week email newsletter. And so, every week, I come across interesting research and data, along with sources that add analysis and color to that research.

Usually, that analysis is confined to the MarketingSherpa Chart article. However, this week, my cup especially runneth over with good ideas and analysis that I thought you might find helpful on your ecommerce sites, especially as you set the groundwork for your holiday marketing initiatives.

When I interviewed Tom Collinger, the Executive Director of the Spiegel Research Center at Northwestern University, and Edward Malthouse, professor at Medill Northwestern and the Research Director of the Spiegel Center, we went well over our allotted time.

You can see their data and some of their analysis in this week’s Chart of the Week article — Ecommerce Chart: Star ratings’ impact on purchase probability. But if you’d like a deeper understanding of their research into how online reviews affect sales, I’ve included a lightly edited transcript of our conversation below. To make the transcript easily scannable for you, I call out key points with bolded subheads

Bringing evidence to the answer of how newer forms of consumer engagement with brands drive financial impact

Daniel Burstein: Why don’t we jump in and you give me a high level of the type of work you’re doing here? I believe, Tom, we may have had you as a source in the past at one point.

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Rapid-Fire Results: Get quick ideas for improving your customer-first marketing

July 27th, 2017
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The focus at MarketingSherpa Summit 2017 was inspirational stories of customer-first marketing, and so we mostly shared in person, live versions of the in-depth case studies we report on from your peers.

However, previous attendees have told us that they also want quick ideas for improving their customer-first marketing.

So in this quick-hitting session, my Summit co-host, Pamela Jesseau, and I shared ideas for improving your marketing from industry experts, your marketing peers and MarketingSherpa Award entrants who had outstanding ideas.

Sit back and watch the entire 30-minute video to get several different ideas. Or, if you’d like to jump ahead to a specific topic in a specific section, our copy editor Linda Johnson, put together these timestamp links for you.

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Marketing 101: What is taxonomy?

July 7th, 2017
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Janine Silva, Director of Email Marketing and Integrated Marketing, Investopedia, used the term, “taxonomy,” many times as she described her team’s behavioral marketing efforts in a recent case study.

It made me realize that even with as many marketers as I’ve spoken to and interviewed, this term marked a gap in my knowledge. What does taxonomy really mean in our field?

As Janine’s case study explores, taxonomy is vital to breathing life into journey-based marketing. According to Merriam Webster, taxonomy is the “orderly classification of plants and animals according to their presumed natural relationships.”

Obviously, marketing’s adoption of the term isn’t too far off from that. When putting together personas, or any kind of personalized marketing system, it’s setting up the structure and process by which people are going to be categorized. Read more…

Marketing Career: How to grow your personal brand in three steps

June 23rd, 2017
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It can be difficult to think about yourself as an entity, or as something to market. When making the decision to build your personal brand, it’s important to focus on a few defined key points.

Your personal brand is a clear expression of your own value proposition, and you should be able to articulate it as clearly as you would for your own company.

Focus on how you bring and create value and find different ways to capitalize on that. I’ll discuss three of them below.

Step #1. Find your medium, and be yourself 

The upside of every human not being a unique, special flower is that there are bound to be a ton of people out there like you, who are interested in the same things you are. Maybe they’re even interested in what you have to say on those topics.

If you’re a great writer, try penning a post on a platform like LinkedIn that can help you gain notoriety (the good kind) among your professional peers. It’s supremely easy to post, and it surprises me that more marketers don’t take advantage.

You see that “Write an article” button at the top of your LinkedIn homepage? Click it, and you’re sent right to an easy article posting page.

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Quick Analysis: Amazon could have bought any food retailer. Why Whole Foods? And how should retailers react?

June 16th, 2017
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Much of the buzz about Amazon’s agreement to buy Whole Foods has focused around the new physical distribution channel, especially for fresh food, that Amazon will now be able to leverage. And bricks-and-mortar retailers — especially grocers — are woefully behind in the use of technology in commerce. Of course.

But if that was the case, Amazon could have bought any retailer. Why Whole Foods specifically? Why a company that was likely more focused on the Amazon rain forest than Amazon.com until today?

Whole Foods Market is a high-touch, decadent customer experience company. Amazon is a low-touch, high-efficiency company. This is not a natural fit. It would have been more of a natural fit for Amazon to start experimenting with a regional, low-price-oriented supermarket like Southeastern Grocers (sure, they wouldn’t get the instant national presence, but they would acquire a large testing lab to optimize the business model).

While Amazon acquired Zappos, Soap.com, Diapers.com, etc. — it is not a particularly acquisitive company. And while much news has been made about a hedge fund’s involvement, this acquisition doesn’t reek of financial engineering like so many other M&A deals have.

So what data are we missing that Amazon has?

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The Radical Idea: Customer-first marketing prioritizes customer experience over upsells

June 2nd, 2017
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I stopped by Barnes & Noble on Sunday, early enough that our open-air mall — St. Johns Town Center — was nice and quiet.

It was a more pleasant experience than simply buying on Amazon.com. Got Starbucks for my daughter and hung out with her in the café. Purchased a Harry Potter book for her. Bought myself those chunky Sunday editions of The Florida Times-Union and The New York Times.

It was a more pleasant experience than Amazon.com…until I got to the cashier. Because that’s when I got hit by the dreaded upsell.

In this latest edition of The Radical Idea on the MarketingSherpa Blog, here’s my op-ed about ideas for revisiting your checkout process as well as adding humanity to customer touchpoints, using my recent experience at Barnes & Noble as an example.

First: The argument for the verbal upsell

Anytime I see something in the world that I think needs a radical change, I always try to put myself in the shoes of the other party involved. It’s all too easy for an outsider to look at something and point out faults, falsely assuming the other party is simply being foolish.

However, people and corporations tend to be rational actors, doing what they perceive to be in their best interests based on the incentives placed before them. Even the people behind Nigerian email scams are rational actors. I’m not defending the practice at all. I’m just saying, the best way to institute change is to understand where the other party is coming from — not merely assume they are foolish and wrong. And then identify a possible knowledge gap they may not realize.

So, before I disagree with the way Barnes & Noble handles upsells in store, let me acknowledge why they might have instituted this practice. When I tweeted to the brand that this wasn’t the best customer experience, the response they tweeted back stated, “We ask booksellers to mention the benefits of Membership, in a professional manner. We appreciate your feedback.”

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The Marketer’s (Abbreviated) Guide to Love: How to overcome your own self-interest and become a better marketer

December 12th, 2016
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The trouble with human relationships is that at the end of the day, all of us are alone — trapped in the cosmos of our selves. Add to that the problem of our own mortality, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for failed relationships.

Yes, it’s a grim place to start a marketing blog post, but bear with me for a moment. If you’re smart, you’ll be thinking about what relationships have to do with marketing (if you’re really smart, you’ll know they have everything to do with it) while you wade through the next few of paragraphs.

I’m stretching the definition a bit, but Kierkegaard and the 20th century existentialists called the result of this fundamental human condition “angst.”

Whatever you want to call it, it’s most likely the main problem humanity has faced since the beginning of consciousness.

The good news is that there are a number of ways to deal with our angst:

  • We can try to deny it by becoming a part of the herd
  • We can try to medicate it with sex, drugs and rock & roll
  • We can try to avoid it with power and money
  • We can try to displace it with masochism or sadism

But the healthiest way humanity has found to deal with the problem, as many Beatles songs attest, is love.

 

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Shrimpin’ Ain’t Easy: What we can learn from Minor League baseball branding

November 4th, 2016
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It’s the morning of game seven of the World Series, and two of the longest droughts in Major League baseball history are hanging in the balance. Social media across the city of Jacksonville, Florida is lit up, talking about nothing but baseball.

… and shellfish.

On the morning of the historic game that ended the Chicago Cubs 108-year drought, Jacksonville, Florida’s minor league baseball team swept in and stole the news cycle with a re-branding from the Jacksonville Suns, to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

 

There he is, in all of his muscular glory. Bustin’ out the pot, and ready to play some baseball while viciously guarding the state of Florida. The shrimp that boiled the waters (wink) in the “Bold New City of the South.” 

For better or for worse, people flipped out. Whether it was praise or backlash, everyone was talking about a team that won’t have its first game for six months. 

 

Twitter went to work doing the marketing team’s job for them, even coming up with gold taglines like, “Shrimpin’ ain’t easy,” and promoting George Costanza to Assistant to the Traveling Secretary.

Fans dreamed about the delicious possibilities a Shrimp and (Montgomery) Biscuits matchup could bring and wondered if mascot dog Southpaw would have his name changed to “Grits.”

 

Soon this was even garnering national news thanks to the uproar, with Fox NewsNPR and Deadspin all writing pun-filled articles about the change and social media frenzy surrounding it.

So what can we learn about branding initiatives from this minor league mayhem?

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