We did it! What’s Next?

Just as the Superbowl champions Seattle Seahawk’s motto goes, “What’s Next?” They’ve now made it to the top, they’re hands down the best team in the league, so what else is there? The motto states the mindset of a competitor that is never satisfied with accomplishing their goals, always raising the bar and always wanting to continue growing. Much like the mindset of a modern day digital marketing guru and a self proclaimed #growthhacker such as myself!

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Also check out this Seahawks series by William Cornell. It is literally the best hawks video on the internet and you will cry.

You know Russell has been watching game film, shouldn’t you be?


The spring blog for Digital Marketing has certainly been one for the books. So what do I do now that the class is over and I have all this new digital marketing knowledge? Simple, I brag about what I know, raise the bar and start applying it in the real world! So let’s do a recap of this quarter’s topics in the form of a verbal highlight reel.

It all started out with Inbound Marketing. A marketer that can understand the benefits of Inbound Marketing and effectively do so at the business that they are at are going to be a very valuable asset to their company. It focuses on the fact that in order to effectively reach an audience, you have create meaningful quality material that your market is going to want to hear about. Not to just advertise to the masses, but to create a truly satisfying experience for fewer customers and let them tell people about your business. This is key for start-up businesses that are still looking to build their customer base. Budweiser, a well establish company has effectively created an advertisement with this commercial that they are hoping millions of people will think of their brand, and ultimately get that warm feeling inside.

People don’t remember the pitch, they remember the experience.”

Going along with Inbound Marketing, is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You may have the sexiest website on the internet, but if it isn’t searchable, nobody will ever know about it! The key is the process of using “Relevance” and “Importance” on your pages. SEO is creating quality content that is going to create traffic for your website. Some examples of ways to do this is through blogs, social media and using effective keywords. This will take time to build traffic and create a difference in your companies searchability, but it will happen!

We talked about Google+ and how it can benefit your business. Would you not agree that nobody loves Google, more than Google? That is the reason every business should have a Google+ account. This will allow you to blog, create contacts/followers and consistently post quality updates about your business. This will in turn create traffic and increase your SEO. We talked about methods of marketing such as A/B testing and Co-creation. A/B testing is great to further attract your customers when they are visiting your website. A/B testing allows you to have multiple variations of a webpage/website where you can monitor it to see which methods are working the best as far as bounce rates, conversion rates etc… A strategy that is common among businesses and was also effectively done in Obama’s presidential campaign.

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Co-creation is the new dynamic that companies are using which allows the customer to have input on what they want and what the company should make. It’s not necessarily guaranteed that your idea to the company will automatically go into the company headquarters and begin production later that day, but to understand that the company hears you. Co-creation creates a producer/customer relationship by engaging customers directly in the production or distribution of value.

All of these methods play their own part in the Marketing processes of a business. Coding and SQL are some specific skills that many companies are now looking for their marketers to possess. Knowing those is what separates the ordinary from the extraordinary, just that little extra! These are just some of the skills and strategies that a young #growthhacker should be familiar with. The young marketers in today’s world will be in a constant mindset of “What’s Next?” The learning will never stop and they will need to continue learning in order to be useful assets to their employers and businesses.

Here’s a screenshot of my  GoogleAnalytics certification & traffic for the blog.

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Word Count: 7749

“Approving Million Dollar Deals from my Smartphone” : Mobile Marketing

According to businessmen and rappers alike, smartphones are the way of the future. Rapper Lil Wayne stating that he has been “approving million dollar deals from his iPhone” in his 2008 release of “Let the Beat Build” on Tha Carter III shows the magnitude of smartphone technology and the opportunity of making and approving the big deals.

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See how you too can approve your million dollar deal from your smartphone


Why use mobile apps when I can just go on the internet?

The average person check the same smartphone apps several times a day and searches the uncommon searches. People have literally planned their day to be in a routine as far as what they are going to be checking. It has been made more efficient due to the mobile app being utilized for speed and accessibility. You are on the go and are accessing information on the net from anywhere with wifi or cell service. The Mobile Marketer explains how apps are much more engaging. They are topic specific and will typically run faster than the mobile web.

Now you need to be sure that you can profit off of mobile technology. You want to make sure that your business is searchable. CaptureMake sure that your information and location are correct and easy to find. Marketers should make it a priority to monitor how their business is listed in online directories. From there they can make corrections when needed.

According to an article by Mashable, mobile advertising has recently surpassed radio advertising and is projected to be at $41.9 billion in 2017. So Guess Who’s Planning to Spend Big in Mobile? Consumer packaged-goods advertisers seem ready to. Two-thirds of CPG advertisers and agencies say they plan to increase spending in mobile advertising over the next 12 months.

Some businesses try and pass of their websites and claim them as “apps”. Don’t do that. This will not create “happy” customers. If you’re going to go mobile, you want to make sure you do it right so that your customers leave happy and spread the good word. The mobile technology is a very powerful thing, so you can expect it to be a powerful place for negativity. KISSmetrics explains some of the “Dont’s” and “Do’s” of Mobile App marketing.

There are plenty of myths about smartphone limitations of advertising however, let’s just say they will stay myths. I can say personally, as a very recent member (2014) of the smartphone era, the potential for advertising through smartphones is unbelievable! Until we start making moving newspaper magazines like that of Harry Potter, mobile advertising is going to be huge.

You want it, you got it: Co-creation

ImageOur jobs as marketers just got a lot easier. Instead of sitting in an office brainstorming the next big idea, why not just listen to what your customers want. All we have to do is simplify our strategy and listen. We no longer need overcomplicate things by sitting around a table thinking of what product we should sell and to which target market, but simply ask a certain target market what they want and satisfy them. The term co-creation has surfaced from this idea of listening to what the consumers want and your company having the resources to give it to them.


Co-creation is the new dynamic that companies are using which allows the customer to have input on what they want and what the company should make. It’s not necessarily guaranteed that your idea to the company will automatically go into the company headquarters and begin production later that day, but to understand that the company hears you. Co-creation creates a producer/customer relationship by engaging customers directly in the production or distribution of value. Meaning, customers are now being heard in every step of the value chain. The article Co-creation: A new source of value explains how large businesses are benefiting from this technique. Amazon.com is a great example of a company that has embraced co-creation from its beginning by encouraging readers to post their reviews for others to read and building a retail community by offering a 3% commission to customers whose Web sites direct sales to Amazon. Companies such as Microsoft, Dell and Fiat have also capitalized on co-creation from their customers. Co-creation also creates more company loyalty by consumers due to the fact that they are engaged in the business and putting their inputs for possible future products.

 

Co-creation in context is defined as “a collaborative new product development (NPD) activity in which consumers actively contribute and select various elements of a new product offering”. The diagram below from Consumer Cocreation in New Product Development shows the different aspects of co-creation and NPD that the consumers and producers experience.

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Customized Internet to Fit Your Personality

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You can pretty much customize anything now-a-days. From cars to cell phones and T-shirts to shoes, You can personalize it. This personalization trend has also hit the internet, where Big Data is keeping track of your interests and information to personalize your internet to what you like. Marketers are using data of your information and your particular internet patterns to encourage you to make a purchase, fill out a form or download a white paper. When done accurately, the use of big data can be a very effective way to target consumers as individuals instead of in groups.


The data & information that is stored and used effectively by goes far beyond just trying to create purchases. An article from Forrester explains how big data is used by Assurant Solutions, a leading provider of specialty insurance, where they use a real-time analytics platform to personalize the call-center experience by effectively matching the right call-center agent to the right customer. This is a great way to improve overall customer satisfaction in a way that many companies could work on. As for offers or promotions, big data allows companies to create personalized offers to new or returning visitors. Tesco, the UK-based retailer, heavily relies on advanced analytics to personalized offers to gain the lifelong loyalty of its customers. Using its loyalty program, it constantly mines shopper insights to personalize discounts and offers for its members.

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As consumers become more accustomed to seeing personalized messages, firms must find the balance to be sure the messages don’t come off as creepy or invasive, but helpful and engaging. Three recommendations about customer personalization are to

  • Treat personalization as a process not an outcome. It will only be effective if you are using up to date information that is accurate. There will always be ways to improve
  • Allow customers to opt in to personalization. This will allow customers to be less worried about privacy.
  • Know “what not to offer” as well as “what to offer”. This will avoid customers getting annoyed with constant offers.

The Wall Street Journal’s article, On Orbitz, Mac Users Steered to Pricier Hotels, talks about how Orbitz Worldwide Inc. is experimenting with showing different hotel offers to Mac and PC visitors. They have found that Mac users spend on average $20 to $30 more a night on hotels than their PC counterparts. Some may believe this to be unethical, however it is simply the arrangement of the displayed information. They want it to be known that they are not showing the same room to different users at different prices, but simply different rooms to different users based on whether they are using a Mac or PC. They also pointed out that users can opt to rank results by price. In my opinion this is genius. They are strategically using data to increase their sales to customers that are willing to purchase at those prices.

Another interesting article, How companies Learn Your Secrets of the New York Times explains how Target began to send specifically designed ads to women in their second trimester. This being the time that most expectant mothers begin buying most things that will be needed for the expected child. By targeting the mothers early, they knew that they could then create loyal customer for many years to come. The method of creating a unique code to each shopper and keeping a tab on each item that you purchase is what made these predictions possible, also known as predictive analytics.

Big data is even used for presidential elections. It was used in order to personalize emails to certain supporters for a dinner, or to customize the webpage or simply customizing messages to individual voters. The Obama team had used cookies to track its supporters online since the 2008 elections. It spent the past 18 months creating a new, unified database factoring in information about each person, from age, race and sex to voting history. Political campaigns are among the most sophisticated users of the consumer data that is collected, making the messages put out some of the most effective they’ve ever been.

 

My Precious: One Phone to Rule All with Mobile Payment

Like the One Ring controlled our beloved Frodo, now-a-days you could say that it would only be a matter of time before smartphones began controlling peoples lives as well! As stated by marketing guru Mark Staton @DigiMark_WWU “our smart phones have become our cameras, our calendars, and our computers, it makes sense that they would become our currency.”

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As stated by an article from the Boston Globe, there are several simple and efficient methods that the smartphone is able to be used as a payment method. Google Inc. offers Google Wallet which lets you pay by tapping an Android phone against a terminal. Also LevelUp, a Boston-based company whose smartphone app pays your bill by displaying a bar code (check out their video) makes purchases just as convenient. Companies like this are changing the world of commerce and reinventing the purchasing wheel. They are currently the largest payment platform available today. Below is a simple step process of how payments work using LevelUp.

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Thanks to companies such as LevelUp, PayPal and Google Wallet, more than 20% of payments are being conducted with a mobile device using mobile apps. Then Square Inc., invented by the co-founder of twitter Jack Dorsey gained a lot of popularity. A company that lets anybody accept credit card payments through a smartphone through a service that uses your face as a substitute for the card itself. Today, this technology is over a lot of peoples heads and could be several years before they really take off throughout your daily purchases, but we are close!

Some of you may be wondering if I will talk about the bitcoin. I’ll touch base on it but unfortunately as for the bitcoin, it’s a dying breed and soon to be a currency of the past. An article by BloombergBusinessweek states how the Winklevoss Twins are looking to invest the virtual bitcoin on the Nasdaq Stock Market. As you may or may not know, the Winklevoss Twins claim that Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for a social networking website currently know as Facebook. Which to me sounded like a desperate cry for attention and credit that is most likely not deserved. Don’t expect to be making much money by investing in the virtual bit coin through the Winklevoss Twins. You’re better off helping yourself to purchases using mobile apps!

 

Raise Your Value with SQL

Marketers today need to be more than just marketers, they also need to be technical, know more about IT, and more specifically, know SQL. You never know when your CEO or manager will ask a simple question that he imagines only people in the IT department would know, and out of nowhere you step up to the plate and tell him what you know!

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I’m sure you can guess who just shot to the top of his Christmas bonus list.


It’s been said that someone that knows a little about operations & strategic management is considered a generalist. A generalist usually oversaw the people in the different departments who knew everything there is to know about there certain position, these people were called specialists.

What do you get when you combine the two? A new breed of employee called a “growthhacker”. A term recently made popular throughout startup communities meaning “you have to be able to do everything to hack it at a startup”. As stated in a blog post from the former CMO of MOZ, Jamie Steven entitled “Every Marketer Should Be Technical”, “these individuals have both knowledge of marketing channels, methods, and techniques, but also have the specialist technical knowledge to understand what’s possible and what’s not, and to do the work themselves.”

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Here’s a list of some skills that makes a Growthacker along a link to a website where you can actually learn and practice these skills.

I know it is easier said than done to learn everything there is to know about each of these skills, but there are 2 key things to remember:

1. The resources are out there to teach you

2. You will always be improving


Focusing more on SQL, the article “Why Every Startup Marketer Needs to Know SQL” it states the importance of knowing SQL and the small learning curve it takes to pick it up. Even more so saying that “if you are a marketer that knows how to use SQL, you are probably part of 1% of marketers that do, and with that ability you will be able to do analysis and make discoveries no one else in your organization can.” Top financial companies, the biggest retailers and pretty much most companies use some form of SQL, so it may be something to look in to.

The point of this blog being this;

“The toughest part of getting to the top of the ladder, is getting through the crowd at the bottom.”

A/B Testing!

Having an effective and attractive website can be crucial in how successful your company is. Some websites are designed to attract clients to certain areas of the page, or to click on certain links. A/B Testing will allow you to accurately measure the success of adjusting a certain area of your website that you believe can be improved on to better your business.

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What is A/B testing?

Remember back in middle school science class when you tested the success different plants growing and measure their heights? The experiment would have one plant that you only watered (the “control” plant) and then two other plants (experimental plants) that you gave experimental water such as sugar water and salt water. You would then proceed to measure the plant growth of the three plants and observe the success rates. This is exactly what A/B testing is but instead of measuring plants, you are measuring the success of a website format, an image, a headline etc…

For example, let’s say your website is wondering whether they should have a green button to click “Add to cart” or a red button.

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You will be able to able to test both of these colors on your website, where only certain clients on your website will see the green button, while others will only be able to have the red button.

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You can then monitor the success of each group to see which button had a better click through rate. Historically, the color green has had a far more appealing response rate when it comes to something such as an “Add to Cart” button.

What Should I Test?

Smashing Magazines “The Ultimate Guide to A/B Testing” explains some of the most common elements that are tested:

  • The call to action’s (i.e. the button’s) wording, size, color and placement,
  • Headline or product description
  • Form’s Length and types of fields,
  • Layout and style of website
  • Product pricing and Promotional offers,
  • Images on landing and product pages,
  • Amount of text on the page (short vs. long)

A/B testing is very commonly done throughout our daily lives but often times we won’t ever know it! One example of A/B testing is from presidential campaign websites where adjustments are made to the website to monitor the response rates.

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“Practical Guide to Controlled Experiments on the Web” gives an example of Doctor FootCare and the test they ran for their online checkout page.

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The major factor between the two sites ended up being the “Enter Coupon Code”. When the site was “upgraded” from variant A to Variant B, they actually lost 90% of their revenue. Clients began to second guess their purchase because they knew that there were discount codes out there but they didn’t have them. When the coupon code box was removed, the conversion-rate increased back up to 6.5% where the old version had been.


Now that you know about A/B testing, here’s a list of some A/B testing tools to actually apply it to your business!

Stop guessing and start testing!