We are all products of our environment and experiences. And recently I experienced a confluence of events that brought me back to the fundamental issue found in most marketing efforts - you.
Our animal instincts tell us to protect ourselves, to look out for danger, and to better our situation. To that, no one can be faulted. But it's when we look at how to do so beyond the instinct and transition to intellect that we fail. Failure was witnessed first hand when speaking last week at the Conversion/eMetrics conference in a "Website Audit" session with Tim Ash. We reviewed websites and provided a live audit on best practices being broken...and before we did so, we asked, "What do you want the customer to do?" Universally, the answer was "I want them to fill out the registration form." I will come back to this in a minute.
Next, I had an opportunity to speak about e-mail marketing at the same conference. Again, the "you" issue arose when talking about e-newsletters. Folks in the room began asking, "What time of day is best? What is the best subject line? What is the right frequency?" and all of those are items that need to be determined, but why not just ask your customers?
Lastly, the conversation about analytics came up at a social media training done on behalf of the Online Marketing Institute and its new social media certification program when asked, "How do you measure the value of social media?" Another excellent question that preceded with answers like, "Retweets per 1,000 tweets," CTR on bitly URLs created, reach, followers, etc. Then, I stopped and asked, "What is the cost of not engaging in social media?" And the picture became clearer, not in the fact that much of marketing is not measurable back to ROI (define) and just the cost of doing business, but that the question was focused around the concept of what do "I get" out of social versus what do my customers want and do they want us in their social stream.
OK, so here's the point À la President John F. Kennedy: Stop asking what your customer can do for your online marketing efforts and start asking what you can do for your customer online. Novel, I know. So on your next landing page or website review, ask: "What can I give my customer that would add enough value to their life that would encourage them to engage more (or register)?" For e-mail, how about "How can I determine what types of customer (segmentation) I have to e-mail and what they want, how frequently they want it, and when?" And on analytics, it's only a relevant point of data, not an absolute measure and all we need to get qualitative feedback to understand what they want and why. Analytics is only a post-op prognosis report, not a preventative care type of understanding. Our site's conversion rate went down 2 percent last month. Cool. Now answer "why?"
Obviously, social media accentuates this need to know the customer even more. Knowing the customer is not a numbers game, just like knowing your spouse is not about the number of times you see them smile. It's knowing why they smile, what will make them smile again, and understanding their needs, wants, and desires. The smart marketer will take the time to answer the why, the rest will regress to the Neanderthal ways of only testing, analyzing simplistic data points, and then guessing what customers want.
The books you read and the people you meet.
What are your e-mail marketing priorities? Take this quick 10-question survey and we'll share the results back in a future column. Thank you!
Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
After selling the Online Marking Summit (OMS) event company in 2011, Aaron is now leading the charge of the newest venture, the Online Marketing Institute - the leading eLearning platform and training destination for digital marketing education.
Kahlow is one of the most recognized thought-leaders in the digital marketing and social media space. Having founded, funded, and built three prolific and highly profitable digital marketing companies, Kahlow has also delivered hundreds of marquee keynote speeches around the globe. As a speaker, Kahlow is known for his inspirational style and plain-spoken nature where audiences always walk away feeling both motivated and educated. Aaron is a leading educator translating online marketing technology jargon into simple marketing and business terms. He is a recognized author, columnist (ClickZ, NYT) and authority on social media marketing, sales and marketing integration, demand generation, business-to-business marketing, search marketing, usability, analytics, and digital marketing strategy.
Named Metropolitan Magazine's "Top 40 Entrepreneurs under the Age of 40" Kahlow is also well known for his endless energy as an entrepreneur. Having built Business Online from three guys and a brother in a dentist office to BtoB Digital Agency of the Year; founding and selling the industry's premier digital marketing event, the Online Marketing Summit, and now on his third successful start-up, Online Marketing Institute, Kahlow is synonymous with building successful digital companies. Kahlow also has served on the Board of Directors and Advisory Board to many digital associations and media companies like the International Business Marketers Association, Search Engine Strategies/ClickZ, Microsoft/ BING Prof. Accreditation, Social Media Examiner, as well as many digital technology start-ups.
Today, Aaron can be found in his new home city of San Francisco, working on the global expansion of "Teaching the World Digital" in his eLearning technology venture, the Online Marketing Institute. Facebook and LinkedIn are his preferred places to connect.
March 19, 2014