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Posts Tagged ‘measurement and analytics’

Online Marketing: 3 website optimization insights I learned from baking

July 26th, 2013
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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.

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Customer Connection: Does your entire marketing process connect to your customers’ motivations?

July 2nd, 2013
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For roughly the last six years, my focus has been customer research – specifically how and why people behave the way they do when they come to a point of decision online.

After directing hundreds of real-time online tests and conducting a number of brand-side marketer interviews, I’ve discovered there’s simple a secret to using the Conversion Heuristic of MarketingSherpa’s sister brand, MarketingExperiments, to unlock some of the double- and triple-digit gains I’ve witnessed first-hand over the years.

I’ll explain with a recent story of my own.

 

There’s a story behind everything that’s bought

On January 2, my wife went from happily seven months pregnant to becoming a new mom two months early – in less than 48 hours.

She suddenly put her career on hold and committed to meeting the challenges our daughter faced from premature birth. We were in the hospital every day for a month and brought our bundle of joy home a month earlier than expected.

It’s safe to say my wife’s recent journey has been one of rediscovery with little notice. And, with her birthday coming up soon, I wanted to find a way to delight her and confirm her talent as a person. So, I went to build a custom gift presentation focused on one of her most promising and enjoyable hobbies: baking.

 

A company becomes my cornerstone

The first place I went to buy products for this presentation was one of the e-commerce stores she visits most – King Arthur Flour. Over the last year, she has mentioned things she would love to have from the site, so I decided to fulfill those requests all at once.

The added bonus here is it would excite her to have all of the new tools and special ingredients she wanted and would confirm my belief in her baking talents … one delicious confection after another.

So, from the homepage to checkout, I processed every piece of marketing content in context of what I was trying to do for my wife. If something didn’t fit my vision for this presentation, then it wasn’t for me.

 

My cornerstone gets cracked

It’s inescapable for anyone in e-commerce – some errors will occur. A potent baking ingredient came apart during shipment and also ruined two other key items for my presentation. Making matters worse … her birthday was in less than two days.

I quickly contacted King Arthur Flour to see if they could help. When I spoke with someone from the team about my situation, they agreed to process an overnight replacement of those items without question.

All seemed to be well again …

Until the package didn’t arrive the following day.

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