What’s the Best Way to Pay on Amazon?

There are dozens of ways to pay for your purchases on Amazon. From credit and debit cards to linked bank accounts, gift cards,… > Read More
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There are dozens of ways to pay for your purchases on Amazon. From credit and debit cards to linked bank accounts, gift cards,... > Read More

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Why content marketers don’t want instant gratification

When marketers set realistic expectations, they’re in a better spot to succeed long term.

The post Why content marketers don’t want instant gratification appeared first on Marketing Land.

When marketers invest in content, they have to face a difficult truth. No content program is going to drive substantial results in 30 days. Maybe not 45 or 60 either. They may have to wait 90 days or more before their content strategy starts to move the business.

That may go against our need for instant gratification, but when marketers set realistic expectations, they’re in a better spot to succeed long term. Writing a single blog post and asking your team to “make it go viral” is like planting a seed one morning before heading to work and demanding it become an aloe plant by the time you get home. Speed just isn’t a big part of the equation.

Anyone who tells you otherwise hasn’t admitted to cutting corners at every turn. Of course, you can adjust a lot of variables to help the process along, but you can never press fast forward on building a trusting relationship with your audience. Consumers make very logical decisions when spending their time online. We may not always agree with those decisions, but people don’t spend much time engaging with content they don’t like.

In my experience, too many executives still want to see results from their content on an unrealistic timetable. Marketers tend to want every strategy distilled into three quick steps. Unfortunately, the search for a quick fix leaves many vulnerable to misinformation. I’m talking about the industry leaders who’ll dole out the “why” and “what” of content while mysteriously never delivering on the “how.”

But there is good news — none of that time you spend waiting will be wasted. There’s just so much to determine before your team starts creating: brand voice, target audience, goals, values, etc. After you’ve nailed down the details of your strategy, you begin creating content by focusing on metrics and messaging that encourage brand familiarity and engagement. Only after several months of nailing those concepts can you delve into conversion, lead generation, brand advocacy and more.

A content marketer’s mix of determination and patience also pays off SEO dividends as well. When you launch a digital publication, you’re not starting with domain authority, and search algorithms don’t tend to play nice with rookie mistakes. Search engines want to see you’ve constructed a healthy foundation of content for readers, and that’s what sends your work to the top of the SERP.

The truth is, you don’t want your early content to go viral only to have everyone walk away because you don’t have anything else to show them. They’ll chalk your viral success up to a lark, which is hard to recover from. Your brand is providing a new service by creating content that helps customers make sense of a topic or industry. You have to build trust over time so that those relationships can become meaningful. In other words, you want to be The Allman Brothers, not a one-hit wonder.

So I’m sorry to say that success won’t happen overnight. But for marketers like myself, the real beauty of content is that a good strategy pays off every time. When you deliver something beneficial to your target audience, and you make a habit of doing so over time, you leave second place in the dust. Your competitors will be miles behind.

The post Why content marketers don’t want instant gratification appeared first on Marketing Land.

A Complete Guide to Amazon Prime Pantry

Need random toiletries, groceries and household cleaners, but don’t want to brave the holiday crowds? Just want to take advantage of Amazon’s low… > Read More
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Need random toiletries, groceries and household cleaners, but don’t want to brave the holiday crowds? Just want to take advantage of Amazon’s low... > Read More

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11 Top Facebook Tools to Boost Your Strategy

Facebook is the widest-reaching social network in the world, with 2.27 billion monthly active users. Managed properly, your Facebook business page can do… > Read More
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Facebook is the widest-reaching social network in the world, with 2.27 billion monthly active users. Managed properly, your Facebook business page can do... > Read More

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Year in review: Our top 9 experimentation articles and news of 2018

That’s because experimentation is becoming an essential business practice. Over the course of the year, we witnessed organizations go from…Read blog postabout:Year in review: Our top 9 experimentation articles and news of 2018
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That’s because experimentation is becoming an essential business practice. Over the course of the year, we witnessed organizations go from...Read blog postabout:Year in review: Our top 9 experimentation articles and news of 2018

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How to Create a Marketing Campaign that Stands Out

Plenty of us have witnessed a marketing campaign gone wrong. Remember that recent Pepsi commercial featuring Kendall Jenner trying to settle a Black Lives Matter protest with a can of Pepsi? I just remember thinking (as I gagged), “How did that actually make it to market?!” Yet despite some major fails, marketing continues to be […]

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Plenty of us have witnessed a marketing campaign gone wrong. Remember that recent Pepsi commercial featuring Kendall Jenner trying to settle a Black Lives Matter protest with a can of Pepsi? I just remember thinking (as I gagged), “How did that actually make it to market?!”

Yet despite some major fails, marketing continues to be the differentiator that sets a brand apart within a crowded market.

Look at Nike. In stark contrast to Pepsi, Nike’s Colin Kaepernick campaign will likely go down as one of the most impactful pieces of marketing in recent history.

Or look at MailChimp, a startup-turned-$400-million-revenue-machine that is always creating viral campaigns that set them above their competition, like this recent “Did You Mean Mailchimp” one.

Recently, I designed a strategic marketing campaign for a company called Help Scout—a helpdesk software tool. Like Nike and MailChimp, Help Scout is in a crowded market; my campaign helped them stand out.

Three strategies for creating marketing campaigns that stand out

Whether you’re executing a quick n’ dirty one-off promotion or a full-fledged multi-channel strategy, here are three strategies for creating marketing campaigns that stand out.

Strategy #1: Ask The Experts.

In the book Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days, Jake Knapp and the partners at Google Ventures outline a process for delivering data-driven, research-backed projects.

They advocate using testing to learn about your market—rather than spending days (or months) conducting research before ever getting a test out the door.

Within the week-long process, one of the first steps they outline for a successful launch—and one that I use when crafting every marketing campaign—is to Ask the Experts.

sprint week process
Sprint advocates rapid testing to learn about your market.

As the authors describe them, Ask the Experts sessions are “a series of one-at-a-time interviews with people from your sprint team, from around your company, and possibly even an outsider or two with special knowledge.”

The research method helps you incorporate as many sources of information as possible into your campaign. When paired with other research (like customer surveys, personas, interviews, and competitive research), they can be a powerful value-add to your campaign.

Typically, a session will run for one hour, and the questions I like to ask when conducting a session are:

  • What are 1–3 benefits of this product, service, or business?
  • What do you think are the challenges I’ll face/need to solve for when creating this campaign?
  • Any special advice/things I should consider when crafting this campaign?

Selecting the experts for your interviews is never easy. My advice is to seek out those with the most knowledge of the theme, feature, product, or concept of your campaign. From there, select experts across disciplines who might provide an idea or thought that you wouldn’t necessarily come to on your own.

For the campaign to launch Help Scout’s new live-chat tool, Beacon, I conducted six, one-hour Ask the Experts sessions with stakeholders across the company.

Here were the common answers I received to the above questions:

Question Answers (Combined)
  • What are 1–3 benefits of the Beacon live chat product?
  • Beacon makes customer service scalable by leading with relevant help content, suggested answers, and search.
  • Beacon is human-first by always connecting customers to a human, never a misleading bot.
  • No need to cobble together a complicated tech stack. Users can access email, live chat, help docs—all in Help Scout.
  • What are the challenges I’ll face/need to solve for when bringing Beacon to market?
  • Support teams perceive live chat as leading to an increase in customer expectations for instant responses.
  • Support teams are afraid that live chat will increase ticket volume.
  • Any special advice/things I should consider when creating this campaign to launch Beacon?
  • Be weird.
  • Lead with the creative, not with the goals.

What I discovered from the Ask the Experts sessions is that the live chat tool aims to scale, humanize, and simplify customer service. But to communicate those benefits to the wider public, the campaign messaging also needed to tackle internal perceptions that live chat increases customer expectations and support ticket volume.

I would have expected that the (intentional) lack of proactive messaging—a feature that lets you ping customers before they start a new chat—would have been a top concern. That’s because I’m a marketer and see the value of proactive messaging for driving sales.

But when it comes to customer-service professionals, their core motivation is much different. Providing reactive support in a timely manner to meet customer expectations is a higher concern.

Ask the Experts was a critical method to broaden my understanding of needs on both sides of a product launch—a key to making sure my campaign didn’t promise an experience than Help Scout couldn’t deliver. Those sessions also reinforced another key component of the campaign: a design-led approach.

Strategy #2: Lead with the creative, not with the goals.

You might have noticed that another piece of advice I received during the Ask the Experts sessions was to “lead with the creative, not with the goals.”

That’s because Help Scout considers itself a design-led company. Design-led companies, as McKinsey notes, recognize that, increasingly:

customers prioritize the experience of buying and using a product over the performance of the product itself. In fact, customer experience is becoming a key source of competitive advantage as companies look to transform how they do business.

A focus on experiential design has four key factors:

  1. Really understanding the customer. Going beyond what customers want to find out why they want it.
  2. Bringing empathy to the organization. Making sure that a design lead is involved in high-level, strategic decisions, not just tactical implementation.
  3. Designing in real time. Ensuring that design is present during product development and has a seat at the table when business or technology teams establish limiting parameters.
  4. Acting quickly. Product development is iterative—rapid prototyping, fast changes, continual improvement.

The design-led approach was a bet that Help Scout made in the early days. Help Scout invests in product design and branding to differentiate within a crowded market. Visitors, leads, conversions, and new customers are considered a byproduct of having an intuitive product and a strong brand story.

It’s a research-backed strategy, too. Findings from a 2016 study by Adobe and Forrester showed that companies that put design at the core of their business are better positioned to tackle rising customer expectations in an increasingly competitive digital landscape.

“Putting design at the core” is not mere theory or a job title tweak. As the study reported, compared to non-design-led companies, design-led companies:

  • Spent more money on research and innovation.
  • Had tools and systems in place to test ideas with consumers.
  • Had a defined process for coming up with new digital consumer experience ideas.
  • Enjoyed greater market share and customer loyalty.

Look at Ikea. The former head of design, Marcus Engman (the brains behind product suites like the 2017 maximalist tropical furniture and collabs with well-known furniture and textile designers, like Tom Dixon) is a huge proponent of a design-led approach.

In a recent interview with Fast Company, where Engman is described as having spent six years “making Ikea weird,” he explained:

I want to show there’s an alternative to marketing, which is actually design. And if you work with design and communications in the right way, that would be the best kind of marketing, without buying media.

It was no surprise that during the Ask the Experts sessions at Help Scout, everyone’s advice was to stay true to the company’s roots as a design-led brand and get weird (like Engman) to stand out.

And believe me, we got weird with it. After all, if you want to keep your customers coming back for more, what works better than bacon?

Here are the creative assets the team devised for the launch of Beacon live chat:

1. An attention-grabbing video (did someone say bacon?)

Props here go to Meryl Ayres, the incredibly talented video producer who conceived of and brought this hilarious story to light. Who doesn’t want to use bacon in a marketing campaign?!

2. GIFs and images for social media

Designed by the very talented Sean Halpin.

3. An Instagram grid to really get the message across

Instagram grid
All Sean.

4. Plus, a more “in-depth” look at the many reasons why bacon doesn’t “scale” as well as Beacon (so you should definitely use Beacon to delight customers, not bacon):

All Meryl.

Strategy #3: Get emotional.

Facebook’s 2018 algorithm update focused on community and personal engagements; content that is liked and shared within communities gets preferential treatment. And inciting an emotional response with your content increases engagement (likes, shares, views) on Facebook.

Music is a primary driver, or “cue,” for an emotional response. Think of any horror film you’ve ever seen. Most lose their scary tone as soon as you put them on mute.

For the Beacon > Bacon campaign, I leveraged the power of emotional advertising by conducting an A/B test on the type of music for 15-second Facebook video ads. We tested the video above with jazzy/upbeat music, against this one, with what we called the “epic” soundtrack:

The goal was simple: determine which musical version incited the highest engagement on Facebook and then use that version for the rest of the campaign. I ran the A/B test for one week to a 95% statistically relevant subset of the designated audience and dedicated $500 to each version.

While the test was running, the marketing team also took bets:

After one week, the results were clear: Sean and I should never make bets.

The jazzy/upbeat version performed better across the board with 3x the Leads, 2x the Reach, 2x the Impressions, and a Cost Per Result of $1.48 against $4.28 for the epic version.

Creating an emotional pull for a campaign doesn’t need to be subjective—accurate measurement that supports a valid A/B testing process can answer amorphous questions like, “Which background music generates more leads?”

Conclusion

The campaign launched in August, and results so far have been great. The campaign has generated 120,000 video views, 5,600 leads, and 275 new trial sign-ups for Help Scout.

That success has been the outcome of a design-led approach:

  • We sourced ideas and concerns from stakeholders throughout the company.
  • Put the consumer experience and brand above stale marketing metrics.
  • Used a quantitative approach to drive an emotional response.

Interested in learning more about creating design-led marketing campaigns that’ll help your business stand out?

Join me in a webinar on January 10. You’ll get my framework for creating full-funnel marketing campaigns, including all the strategies, experiments, and tactics used in the Beacon > Bacon campaign.

The post How to Create a Marketing Campaign that Stands Out appeared first on CXL.

How to Measure Your Share of the Amazon Digital Shelf

*This is a guest post by Andrew Waber, Manager of Data Insights and Media Relations at Salsify. Measuring success on ecommerce channels like… > Read More
The post How to Measure Your Share of the Amazon Digital Shelf appeared first on Retail Performa…

*This is a guest post by Andrew Waber, Manager of Data Insights and Media Relations at Salsify. Measuring success on ecommerce channels like... > Read More

The post How to Measure Your Share of the Amazon Digital Shelf appeared first on Retail Performance Marketing Blog - CPC Strategy.

Are Google Shopping Campaigns Expanding to TV Placements?

Google Shopping advertisers may have noticed an interesting discovery recently: TV screens now show as a device for some Shopping campaigns. Our Retail… > Read More
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Google Shopping advertisers may have noticed an interesting discovery recently: TV screens now show as a device for some Shopping campaigns. Our Retail... > Read More

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The Unified Customer Experience Strategy and Why It Matters to Marketers, Part 2

In my last post, we explored why having a unified customer experience strategy is a key way for brands to create meaningful engagement and drive more profitable customer relationships. But that’s just first step. While making the decision to pursue thi…

In my last post, we explored why having a unified customer experience strategy is a key way for brands to create meaningful engagement and drive more profitable customer relationships. But that’s just first step. While making the decision to pursue this kind of strategy is important, executing a unified customer experience strategy also requires having the right marketing technology tools to create a single customer view, analyze disparate streams of data, and most importantly, automate decisioning.

But what martech and adtech tools — or combinations of them — do brands need? And how can they leverage these tools to create unified customer experiences?

In part, the answers to these questions will be unique to each brand — there is no such thing as a “universal” marketing tech stack, or the right implementation strategy for every enterprise. But there are a few common elements most brands can put in place in one form or another. CRMs, for example, are widely-used and well-established martech tools, and are essential for tracking customer activity and laying the groundwork for a single customer view. Adtech demand-side platforms (DSPs) have likewise proliferated in the past decade or so and are often the go-to systems for digital advertising deployment.

Less prevalent — but becoming more widely available — are AI-powered automation systems that can distribute real-time offers based on predicted behavior(s), manage and update databases without prompting, and execute intelligent multi-channel campaigns without manual intervention. These systems in particular are promising, because by automating the decisioning process, they create the consistent, expected interactions that lead to unified customer experiences.

These martech and adtech systems expand marketers’ capabilities, but more important than the power of the tools themselves is what they can help brands achieve — a unified customer experience.

Achieving a Single Customer View

The foundation of a unified customer experience is a single customer view (SCV). While CRM systems are the bare minimum needed for a brand to get to a SCV,

For many enterprise-level organizations, an off-the-shelf CRM program will need to be augmented by many other tools and a technology partner to achieve this.

But once a single customer view has been established, brands can use that critical customer data as a base to apply automation layers and decision management, which can facilitate more effective marketing, an enhanced ability to influence customer behavior, and create unified, consistent experiences.

Critical Decisions

Decision management systems aren’t new, but their application to marketing and advertising is a recent development. Decisioning systems provide a central convergence point for inbound and outbound engagement, governed by a single set of rules. Automating that process allows brands to adjust one set of parameters for routine customer interactions, and let the system determine the nature of each individual engagement.

With this kind of automation in place, decisioning systems can track what type of content consumers are most interested in, allowing brands to deliver more personalized, natural, tailored marketing content. It can be leveraged to manage a wide range of marketing activities, from customer data evaluation to offers and promotions to loyalty program interactions. Most importantly, it unifies the brand experience from the customer’s perspective, ensuring that there is consistency throughout that person’s interactions with the brand.

This consistency is the first-level outcome of a well-executed unified customer experience strategy. If those customer encounters are consistently positive and valuable, they’re likely to result in longer-term, mutually beneficial relationships. And those, in turn translate into revenue and repeat business.

Brands that successfully implement this strategy — using the technology tools and partners that are right for them — will earn a reputation for putting the customer first, enjoy a more positive overall brand perception, and ultimately create a sustainable competitive advantage.

Tips and tools: When persuasion backfires; video messaging; and more

Here are some great resources we have recently shared with one another Send video messages to your customers Many companies are starting to use video messages to convert their visitors into customers. Bonjoro is a platform that allows you to send them….

Here are some great resources we have recently shared with one another Send video messages to your customers Many companies are starting to use video messages to convert their visitors into customers. Bonjoro is a platform that allows you to send them. It’s used by companies like Highrise and Convertkit. The best way to understand […]