Today, at the eMetrics conference in Toronto, Bryan Eisenberg (co-author of Call To Action, Waiting For Your Cat To Bark? and many more - also Blogger over at GrokDotCom) gave an incredible (and timely) presentation called, Should Your Marketing Stink? and here's the session description:
"It should! Planning for 'scent' will improve your marketing. As marketers venture into new unfamiliar territories, juggle multi-channel strategies, allocate ad dollars among media, and try to maximize new technologies - consumers seem to find it easier than ever to bypass and ignore those efforts. The answer can’t be to A/B test everything and see what sticks. Even with an infinite budget, nobody wants to simply throw everything up against the wall to see what sticks. With countless marketing allocation and messaging choices, businesses require a methodology for modeling customer behaviour if they’re to maintain an edge."
Beyond the words, Bryan illustrates - brilliantly - what web analytics Evangelists know, and what most Marketers tend to ignore: if you're not building customer personas and then creating proper "scent" - meaning landing pages or Websites that are in line with the Marketing that got the prospective customer to your site in the first place - you can't complain about the fact that e-commerce Websites have an average conversion rate of 2%.
We're simply not giving Consumers what they need to push on through to conversion. The ad begins the scent, but where they land (and how the information and offers are structured) mean just as much (if not more).
Eisenberg threw a very powerful left-right verbal combo by also saying that a senior Marketing analyst he works with has told him that in a time of recession (like the U.S. is facing now), the first thing cut from Marketing budgets is optimization and testing.
How counter-intuitive is that?
When budgets tighten and Marketing dollars need to be counted by the pennies (and not the dollars), shouldn't the whole "testing and optimizing" budget be bumped up to a top priority? The reason why it isn't is simple: much like web analytics, in general, testing and optimizing takes time and effort. I'm not saying Marketers are lazy (and neither is Eisenberg). I am saying that it takes a lot of work to make sure that your Google AdWords campaign of five thousand keywords drives to an appropriate landing page that links through to the right offer. Otherwise, it's wasteful and it affects overall campaign results (not to mention bottom line revenues).
So yes, your marketing should stink. All of us need to do a better job of understanding the personas, their scent and giving them what they need to get them where they need to go. Optimization and testing isn't the Holy Grail here. It's attainable and real. It's also one of the only factors where you're going to see/feel the results of your actions live and on the fly in real time.
Sadly, if Marketers are really cutting these phases out as a first-line of defense to recession-proof their Marketing, then we're faced with a whole other kind of stink and funk... and I mean that in the worst kind of way.