Emily Rogers

Online Marketing: 3 website optimization insights I learned from baking

July 26th, 2013

Ever since I was a little girl, baking has been a hobby of mine.

There has always been something satisfying about attempting to master the complexities of baking.

Although the realist in me knew I wasn’t going to hit the big bucks through baking, I have found a few ways to apply some of the lessons I’ve learned from baking to my work as a research manager at MECLABS.

In today’s MarketingSherpa blog, I wanted to share three insights into how I think about testing and marketing as a result of my baking attempts.


Don’t stick with the directions on the box

Some of my best cakes have come from getting creative and literally thinking outside the box by adding different ingredients, or from asking friends what kind of crazy cake ingredients they’d like to try.

When working with one of our Research Partners to create a testing strategy, I often find myself confined to my own thought track – which I’ll admit can cause the creativity of test ideas to become stale and truthfully, can even get a little boring sometimes.

So, brainstorming with others in our peer review sessions is a great way to add those “new ingredients” to a test design to hopefully help our Research Partners learn more about their customers.


Beware of offering coupons in the Sunday paper too soon

Betty Crocker’s coupons excite me every time, and it’s a marketing tactic that stretches all the way back to 1929.

That’s when the company first decided to insert coupons into the flour mixture part of the box mix. And, I’ll admit the tactic works on me because I often find myself staring at the Save $1.00 off TWO boxes of cake mix coupon and debate a trip to the store.

But, here’s the big question … am I being motivated to buy more because of my aggregate experience with the product, or because of the value proposition offered in the coupon?

Before I even saw the coupon, I wasn’t planning on buying cake mixes, but now I’m thinking about it – why should I buy more cake mix from you?  It will cost me more regardless of the coupon savings.

Now, I understand the idea of incentives and they can work – people have a hard time letting savings slip through their fingers, but offering incentives right off the bat isn’t always the best answer to increasing conversion and here’s why …

At MECLABS, we generally stress incentives should be the last resort in your testing efforts to see a quick win. The reason for this is offering incentives can skew your understanding of true customer motivation, as you can tell from my coupon example above.

My need for cake mix is why I initially purchased, and a coupon incentive may not be the optimal solution to keeping me as a return customer or attracting new customers.

So, before you worry about the coupons and other incentives, try to make sure you have the basics covered first:

  • A website that visitors can easily navigate and find what they’re looking for.
  • A simplified purchase flow for potential customers.
  • Easy, accessible support for your customers when they can’t figure things out.

If those items are in place and you’ve tested for the optimal user experience, then you can begin to explore incentives.

The best baking and testing practices balance expectation

There were times in my baking at first when I thought a batch of brownies were a flop because they didn’t look as pretty as the brownies on the box. Regardless of the fact they resembled brownies and tasted great, I still wasn’t convinced.

Then I realized something …

My baking was being driven by a disproportionate expectations – I was trading taste for looks.

In testing and optimization, it’s easy to get caught up in an imbalanced testing focus driven by results that look pretty at the expense of learning something valuable about your customers.

For example, strictly focusing only on increasing ROI and minimizing risk – while these measures may please stakeholders in the short term, they don’t necessarily teach us anything about our customers in the long term.

So, my whole point here is that balancing your test planning to allow time for increasing ROI and for customer learning will help you to set the right expectations for ROI and increasing customer knowledge from your testing efforts.

I never imagined baking and marketing would intertwine, but for me, the pairing makes sense.

I’ve learned to improve my treats and transferred those principles into my efforts to discover more about how to serve not just better cookies, but hopefully customers as well.

If you have any hobbies that have helped craft some of your thoughts on marketing, I’d love to hear more about them in the comments below. 


Related Resources:

Social Media Marketing: 4 basic tips for getting started

Value Proposition: 4 questions every marketer should ask about value prop

Marketing Process: Managing your business leader’s testing expectations

Email Marketing: Segmenting a database and delivering more targeted content without overwhelming your team

Emily Rogers

About Emily Rogers

Emily Rogers, Senior Research Manager, MECLABS Emily’s position requires managing more than 10 projects for a Fortune 20 wireless company. She works to make its website easier to understand by developing testing strategies to increase usability, and ultimately result in an increase in revenue. Emily also works with MECLABS to ensure its teleprospecting programs generate the highest number of leads for its clients. Emily graduated in 2011 with a BBA in Marketing and an Advanced Business Communications Certificate. She began her career with MECLABS in September 2011.

Categories: Online Marketing Tags: , , , , , ,

  1. July 29th, 2013 at 10:38 | #1

    Such a creative post that not only keeps you engaged, but teaches you a lot as well. Thanks for sharing, Emily!

  2. July 29th, 2013 at 21:59 | #2

    I like your own composing design, excellent information, thankyou with regard to putting up: M.

  3. July 30th, 2013 at 05:57 | #3

    Thanks for sharing your views, this post is very helpful for online marketing, pls share some other post related to that.

  4. August 20th, 2013 at 01:27 | #4

    Thanks for your post.I read this article and I am empress.I got more important information from your article.I want to know about derby seo.Do you know?
    Thank Emily

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