/ Uncategorized / Pierry

WUNDERMAN ACQUIRES PIERRY AS STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP TO FOCUS ON TECHNOLOGY, DATA AND DIGITAL CONTENT  

Nisa Sedaghat

Redwood City, September 20, 2017—Pierry Inc. is pleased to announce today that Wunderman, a WPP company and globally leading, digital agency, has taken a majority stake in our company.

“Pierry is one of the very best companies at helping clients use Salesforce Marketing Cloud to manage their customer relationships,” said Mark Read, Global CEO of Wunderman. “I’m delighted that Josh Pierry and his team will be joining Wunderman, deepening our technology consulting expertise and giving our clients access to a world-class team for working with Salesforce, one of the world’s fastest growing software companies.”

Mark Read, Global CEO of Wunderman. Photo courtesy of AdWeek.

Pierry—which began as a team of two back in 2008—has rapidly grown to employee nearly one hundred strategy, creative, technology and digital specialists, with offices in Redwood City, CA, Boulder, CO, New York City, NY, Ruston, LA and Kyoto, Japan. Through our proprietary MaaS™(Marketing as a Service) approach—a unique blend of technological expertise partnered with creative excellence—our mission has always been to aid companies in optimizing their digital marketing initiatives, improve efficiency, impact and increase ROI. Pierry’s revenues were $14.5 million USD for the 2016 year-end.

“It’s not every day [that] you get the chance to become a part of one of the largest and most respected digital agencies in the world. Having Wunderman as our partner allows us to continue to scale rapidly and increase our service capabilities for our clients,” said our Founder and CEO, Josh Pierry. Today, Pierry serves a vast range of clients across a variety of sectors including, LifeLock, Louisiana Tech University, Major League Soccer team San Jose Earthquakes and Yeti Coolers.

Pierry Founder and CEO, Josh Pierry.  Photo courtesy of Media Bizj.

The investment is a part of WPP’s operational streamline—progressing its strategy to focus on three key verticals that differentiate the Group’s client services: technology, data and digital content. As a Platinum Salesforce Marketing Partner, Pierry will join the ranks among WPP’s other investments in innovative technology service companies, including AppNexus, mySupermarket and Within Unlimited (VR/AR). WPP’s digital asset portfolio includes companies like Cognified, Deeplocal (an innovation studio and spin-off from Carnegie Mellon University, Marketplace Ignition (Amazon-focused e-commerce), Medialets, Salmon and The Cocktail (a digital consultancy).

The Group has also invested in several digital content companies, including Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital, Gimlet, Imagina (a content rights and media company based in Spain), Mic, Refinery29 and VICE. Their roster of wholly-owned digital agencies also includes Essence, AKQA, F.biz, POSSIBLE, VML, Mirum and Wunderman.

WPP’s digital revenues came in at over $7.5 billion USD in 2016—representing 39% of the Group’s total revenues of $19.4 billion. The Group has set a projected target of 40-45% of revenue to be derived from digital in the next four to five years (digital represented 41% of WPP’s revenues as of June 30, 2017). WPP companies collectively employee 29,000 people and generate revenues of $7.5 billion in North America.

“Joining forces with Wunderman is a tremendous opportunity,” said Josh Pierry, and we look forward to the contingency it brings to continue to advance, grow and deliver our clients the best service in the industry.

 

/ Uncategorized / Digital Marketing / Mobile

Mobile Optimization — So Yesterday?

Nisa Sedaghat

Think your business, e-commerce site or services can survive online without joining the modern-day mobile-driven world? That you can walk around our X, Y and Z generations and the evolved need for instant gratification at our fingertips to do, see, browse, research, purchase and peruse at our leisure? Think again. If you’re not on mobile, mobile-friendly, or mobile-first you are already “so yesterday” as the kids say these days—or so I’m told.

Here are 5 reasons why you should be thinking mobile-first—always:

1. Your biggest outreach tool is already in their hands

When you walk down the street, catch the bus or sit down at a restaurant next to other patrons, this is not that hard to see—now-a-days it seems that everyone’s face is glued tight to their phones. We’re an up and running, modern-day, technology-imprisoned version of “The Walking Dead”—so use it to your advantage. Target customers and potential clients through that little screen that they are already latched onto—a startling 4.7 hours a day to be more precise.

According to a study done by Google in 2016, between 50-61% of online searches start on a mobile device (depending on the country). Why not take advantage of the significant opportunity to reach your audience? You could be missing the chance to engage more than half your customers if you don’t make your platform mobile user-friendly.

2.  Mobile Darwinism

Research done by McKinsey & Company noted that 61% of users said they were unlikely to return to a mobile site if they had trouble accessing it, with 40% saying they would move on to a competitor’s site instead—yikes. Bye, Felicia. What’s that saying—adapt or die? Get it right the first time and optimize.

Photo courtesy of Google

3. Mobile traffic has superseded desktop on a global scale

While desktop users still traditionally spend more time online, (about 1.9 times more), mobile has surpassed desktop usage in terms of traffic on a worldwide scale. According to SimilarWeb, out of 77 billion website visits, about 56% of traffic is mobile, compared to the 44% that is derived from a desktop platform. Get in the fast lane and catch some of those mobile drivers with an optimized mobile experience.

Photo courtesy of Stone Temple

4. Increase those conversion rates

Photo courtesy of Linkedin

80% of consumers have admitted that mobile purchases are impulse-driven, buying from companies that offer more interactive brand and engaging mobile experiences. There is clear contingency to increase sales in this capacity- as long as you are offering potential buyers said interactive, engaging and fast mobile experience. Why fast? Are you going to wait half a minute to order that $100 Game of Thrones fan starter-pack that Facebook Ads suggested to you on your iPhone? Probably not. That extra 30 seconds is likely going to let your brain reason with you to back off the “ledge of impulse decision making.” As a society geared towards instant gratification, it’s no surprise that conversion rates decrease by 12% for each additional second that it takes a website to load on a mobile device, with bounce rates increasing by 50% for every 2 extra seconds of load time. By the end of 2017, it is estimated that mobile e-commerce revenue is projected to increase to 50% of total e-commerce revenue—meaning if you want a piece of that bigger pie, it’s imperative to have agile site speeds. Because sometimes, you really do need that Game of Thrones fan t-shirt.

5. A little three letter acronym called S.E.O.

You spent hours searching for keywords, characterizing your ALT-tags, integrating long-tail keyword phrases and researching Google’s latest algorithms—you’re all set for optimal SEO for your e-commerce or business site, right? Wrong. Mobile is still a box you have to check. Cross integration, my friend. Considering that 75% of people hunting online don’t scroll past the first page of search engine results, this is not something you want to overlook… that is unless you are trying not to be found.

Photo courtesy of Huffington Post

6. Mobile advertising will dominate the future

Have you been listening to what we’ve been saying so far? Mobile… what? Mobile first. It’s the future. By 2019, it is estimated that 72% of all digital advertising spending will be put towards mobile. Rest in peace desktop advertising, we’ll lay you down next to direct mail. The big dogs already know this is where consumers will be spending most of their time and hard earned money—meaning your competitors do too. With the majority of ads moving to the digital space, consumers will be seeing them on their iPhones or mobile devices before clicking through to get to corresponding company sites. If you are one of these and your site is slow or not user-friendly… well—if you’ve been reading—you how the story ends. Be proactive.

“Alright, okay!” We’ve convinced you, you say. So, what’s the fastest and easiest way you can check to see if your site is mobile-first or optimized?

  • Firstly, check your site on your phone. Pull up your URL and see if there’s anything that immediately stands out to you that’s off—design elements lining up, text that is too big, too small or that falls off the side of the screen, etc.
  • Speed— is it loading quickly or dragging on?
  • Do the layout and design elements drag your eyes to clear CTA’s (Call to Actions)?
  • Is it easy to navigate the menu and click-through buttons?
  • Put yourself in your users’ shoes, would you spend time navigating the site? Is the experience enjoyable? Visually pleasing? Easy to use?
  • If all else fails, use Google’s super easy “Mobile-Friendly Test.” Just copy and paste your link and go.

Review your answers and comment below let us know what areas you could use more help on.

Sources:

Ahern, P. (2017, March 2). 25 Mind-Bottling SEO Stats for 2017. Retrieved from https://junto.digital/blog/seo-stats-2017/

Chaffey, D. (2017, March 1). Mobile Marketing Statistics compilation. Retrieved from http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/

Enge, E. (2017, April 5). Mobile vs Desktop Usage: Mobile Grows But Desktop Still a Big Player. Retrieved from https://www.stonetemple.com/mobile-vs-desktop-usage-mobile-grows-but-desktop-still-a-big-player/

Henderson, C. (2017, April 1). 2017 MOBILE MARKETING STATISTICS (TRENDS, PREDICTIONS, & MOBILE STRATEGY). Retrieved from https://www.wiredseo.com/mobile-marketing-statistics-2017/

Meola, A. (2016, April 18). People now spend more Internet time on mobile than desktops or laptops. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/people-now-spend-more-internet-time-on-mobile-than-desktops-or-laptops-2016-4

Sterling, G. (2016, August 3). Report: Nearly 60 percent of searches now from mobile devices. Retrieved from http://searchengineland.com/report-nearly-60-percent-searches-now-mobile-devices-255025

Sukhraj, R. (2016, October 3). 31 Mobile Marketing Statistics to Help You Plan for 2017. Retrieved from https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/mobile-marketing-statistics-for-2016

 

/ Social Media / Marketing Best Practices / Email / Creative/Design

Winning 4th of July Campaigns Marketers Can Learn From

Nisa Sedaghat

Ah, the 4th of July, Independence Day, the federal holiday we observe as a nation—commemorating the thirteen American colonies asserting their independence from Great Mother Britain—to stand as the unified and independent nation we know today as the great country on earth.

What better way to pay patronage to such an important occasion than reminding consumers what this independence yields them? The freedom to buy whatever they want, of course!

As marketers, and those providing these services to companies, it is our job to grab consumer or client attention, convince them in the span of a few seconds, or minute, that they need our product or service and—if we do it right— even make them smile or laugh.

These are 6 companies that used the 4th of July holiday as an opportunity to do just that. Here’s what they did right and what we can learn from them:

Let FREE-dom Ring

What are you offering your consumers? A coupon or discount code? Information about a sale? A holiday greeting? A study done by Experian in 2013 observed 174 brands—that sent email campaigns within two weeks of the 4th of July—noted that those mailings offering incentives to readers during the holiday—such as free shipping, a coupon or simply giving notification of a sale—saw open rates increase as much as 25%, transaction rates increase threefold and transaction-to-click rates increase as much as 51%.

data for incentivizing emails

What can we learn: If you are incentivizing your customer, draw attention to that initially by putting that in the subject line of the email.

 

Nail the Tagline, Subject Line or Caption

It’s a safe assumption that the majority of consumers will be receiving some sort of 4th of July related email or advertisement—so do both parties a solid and write something memorable. Be clever, be concise and be associative.

What comes to your mind when you think of Independence Day? Fireworks? Red, white and blue? Grilling with friends and family? Include words that relate to the holiday and integrate them into the beginning of email subject lines, ad taglines or in the first sentence of a social media post.

California Avocados

4th of July Ads

What they did right: Grilling is a huge part of Independence Day festivities, California Avocados used this as an opportunity to integrate their product into an image that is quickly associated with celebrating American summers and holidays. They also had a clever play on the traditional “red, white and blue” slogan by integrating the color of their product in the tagline. Catchy and memorable.

Rover

4th of July Ads

What they did right: This dog sitting service company kept their message simple, clean and concise. With the hot dog image, Rover cleverly alluded to what their services cater to in a manner that was insightful—many dogs are afraid of fireworks during the holiday or need to be watched when families travel for long weekends—while also playing a double role as a visual commonly associated with the holiday. Rover wrapped it up with a clear CTA encourages customers to reserve their services during for the hoilday.

Lulu’s

4th of July Ads

What they did right: Lulu’s tagline integrates associative holiday words, “exercising your right,” into playful copy. Clear CTAs (Call to Actions) that tie in the holiday and highlight the seasonal relevancy of the product. Lulu’s also provided examples of their products to use for related and subset events— “Pool Party”, “Backyard BBQ”, enabling customers to visualize how they can use and wear the product in a variety of settings.

Credit.com

4th of July Ads

What they did right: Again, we see a play on “slogans” from the holiday— a smart tagline/title that integrates associative words with the holiday in a manner that also highlights the services Credit.com offers in an easily-understood, intelligent and humorous manner.

Jack Daniel’s

4th of July Ads

What they did right: Appealing to those with proud patronage, Jack Daniel’s alludes to its product actually being produced in the U.S.—something that has become increasingly rare with outsourcing and is thus an added-value aspect for customers. The ad also incorporates the standard color palette associated with the holiday and iconography with the eagle that is both on brand and holiday relevant from a design standpoint.

 

Lowe’s

 

What they did right: Lowe’s integrated its products in a subliminal sell format—reminding customers of their products without a hard sell. A fun and visually pleasing way to engage viewers and wish customers a happy holiday.

How are you celebrating and reaching out to your customers for Independence Day? Comment below and let us know!

/ Marketing Best Practices / Creative/Design / Digital Marketing / Content Marketing

“Content” is Dead. Visuals are King.

Nisa Sedaghat

Right now, before even getting into the true meat of this article— the cream de la crème— your eyes have already darted thousands of times towards the images, unconsciously running a full once-over. Why? Because the brain processes visuals faster than any other type of content—identifying images in just 13 milliseconds. In fact, 90% of the information sent to the brain, is visual; and by 2018, it is predicted that as much as 84% of marketing communication will be visual—talk about needing to nail the first impression! Perhaps, we need to reevaluate the old strategy, “content is king” and swap it to “visuals are king.”

What does this mean for your business and marketing strategy? Picture it. As the saying goes, a photo is worth a thousand words, so save yourself some verbiage and add a little visual—in your emails, on your website, even on your social media handles. Here’s why:

First Impressions are Everything.

A study done by the Stanford Persuasive Technology lab noted that 46.1% of visitors discerned a company’s credibility straight from its website design. If you’re not greeting potential clients dressed up with visuals and looking the part, you could be potentially losing half of your business and never get the chance to wine and dine them—if you know what we mean.

We are a Generation of A.D.D.-ers.

A recent study showed that human attention span has dropped down to a mere eight seconds… (yes, likely less than the time it took you to read this), that’s shorter than that of a goldfish. If that’s not bad enough, our brains are (over) stimulated— receiving five times as much information on a daily basis than we did 30 years ago. What does this mean for marketing and communication? We need to capture audience attention and do it fast. Content with visuals gets 94% more views than that without, so do yourself—and your audience— a favor and break up that encyclopedic-like block of text with some eye candy.

Increased Engagement.

Social media is another outlet that has completely changed the way that companies interact in a direct-to-consumer capacity—so don’t miss the opportunity to increase engagement by integrating visuals for the eyes to easily digest. Tweets get retweeted 150% more with photos than without and a recent study by Adobe discovered that Facebook posts with images see a whopping 650% higher interaction than those without.

Try a (Visual) Call to Action.  

Try serving up some imagery dishes to give your audience a brain boost. People are able to follow illustrated directions 323% better than direction without visuals. They also recall 80% of what they see and do, compared to a mere 20% of what they read. Trying to integrate a CTA (Call-to-Action) or inform your audience about a sale or important up-and-coming event? Mix in a photo or illustration the next time.

The Future is Visual.

As technology and social media have continued to evolve, video has emerged as a key player in the future of communications. In 2015, on a daily basis, users were averaging almost 11% more time spent with digital video than on social networks. Video will likely play the most prominent and substantial role in direct-to-consumer visual communication. Today, four times as many consumers prefer watching a product video to reading about it; but perhaps, this should come as no surprise as we can gather the sense of a visual scene in less than 1/10 of a second. Lazy or time-saving? You decide.

Where can you include visuals in your communications with consumers?

  • Email marketing/email campaigns
  • Websites
  • Company blog posts
  • Social media
  • Fliers and brochures

Some examples of visual content are:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • GIFS, memes
  • Infographics

 

Still not convinced? Here’s one last tidbit for you—if this article had not included any visuals, you’d be likely to remember only 10% of the information three days later. Not to worry, since we integrated some beautiful aides, you’re likely to retain at least 65% of this. Guess it goes to combat the old saying— sometimes looks are everything!

We know— you’re welcome. Now get to work!

Sources:

BRAIN RULE RUNDOWN Rule #10: Vision trumps all other senses. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.brainrules.net/vision

Cooper, B. B. (2013, November 13). How Twitter’s Expanded Images Increase Clicks, Retweets and Favorites [New Data]. Retrieved from https://blog.bufferapp.com/the-power-of-twitters-new-expanded-images-and-how-to-make-the-most-of-it

Effects of text illustrations: A review of research. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02765184

M., O’Neill. (2015, May 7). The 2015 Video Marketing Cheat Sheet [Infographic]. Retrieved from https://animoto.com/blog/business/video-marketing-cheat-sheet-infographic/

N. (n.d.). 13 Reasons Why Your Brain Craves Infographics. Retrieved from http://neomam.com/interactive/13reasons/

Pinantoan, A. (2015, May 20). How To Massively Boost Your Blog Traffic With These 5 Awesome Image Stats. Retrieved from http://buzzsumo.com/blog/how-to-massively-boost-your-blog-traffic-with-these-5-awesome-image-stats/

Shrivastava, S. (n.d.). The Power Of Visual Content In Your Content Marketing Strategy. Retrieved from https://blog.rankwatch.com/the-power-of-visual-content-in-your-content-marketing-strategy/

Watson, L. (2015, May 15). Humans have shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/03/12/humans-have-shorter-attention-span-than-goldfish-thanks-to-smart/

Trafton, A. (2014, January 16). In the blink of an eye. Retrieved from http://news.mit.edu/2014/in-the-blink-of-an-eye-0116

/ News / Digital Marketing / Pierry

CMO Ben Lee Wins “Outstanding Marketer” Award from the Academy of Marketing Science

Nisa Sedaghat

Award Honors Lee’s Vision & Leadership at the Organization’s Annual Conference in San Diego

We are pleased to announce today that Ben Lee, our Chief Marketing Officer, has received the “Outstanding Marketer” award from the Academy of Marketing Science (AMS).

The award was presented last Friday, May 26th by the non-profit organization which is dedicated to promoting excellence in marketing practices and knowledge.

“Ben and Pierry Inc. epitomize the spirit of the award in advancing the role of marketing through innovative and ethical practice,” said Adilson Borges, AMS President. “In particular, Ben’s belief that marketing must be leading strategic efforts of companies today because it is marketing’s responsibility to build and maintain an intimate relationship with customers. In this way, we can create truly valuable experiences for customers.”

More than 400 marketing professionals gathered at the Academy’s annual conference in San Diego, where Lee was recognized for shepherding Pierry’s rapid growth and innovative client solutions.

“I am extremely honored to be here this evening to accept this award on behalf of my Pierry colleagues – and our clients – who are embracing the opportunity of digital marketing in some really unique ways,” Lee noted at the conference’s closing ceremony. “Digital marketing presents a huge opportunity for companies to create deeper relationships with their customers, but the ability to fully understand and leverage it requires a whole new set of skills that many companies simply don’t have, nor can they afford to bring in house. Pierry continues to add manpower and functional expertise that enable us to partner with marquee brands across a variety of sectors, and deliver the best possible results for our clients.”

For over 40 years, AMS has annually recognized an individual who epitomizes the spirit and character of the Academy and its ideals. Previous winners have included CMOS, CEOs and entrepreneurs to the likes of Walt Disney, Jeff Campbell (Burger King), Robbie Brozin (Nando’s Peri Peri) and Mathew Berry (ESPN). (For a complete list please visit: https://ams.site-ym.com/page/OutstandingMarketer).

About Pierry

  • Named the 538th fastest growing company in the country by Inc. Magazine in their 2016 “Inc. 5000” list
  • #6 Fastest Growing Company in the San Francisco Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times
  • Pierry – which began as a team of 2 people in the emerging digital marketing space in 2008 – now has employees in offices throughout the United States and in Japan, and serves a wide range of clients, from start-ups to multi-billion dollar global brands.
  • Pierry coined the term MaaS (Marketing as a Service) to describe the unique way it helps its clients design, develop and execute marketing solutions that dramatically improve efficiency and impact, and increase ROI.
  • Founded in 2008 by Josh Pierry, the company has grown into a global preferred digital marketing partner for companies in all sectors, with offices in Redwood City, CA, Boulder, CO, Ruston, LA, Albany, NY and Kyoto, Japan.

/ Lead Nurturing

Why You Should Approach Lead Nurturing Like You Approach Dating

Kevin McKernan

We’ve all been there. You meet someone and feel that special twinge in your heart–the “spark” some call it. You realize this person is interested in you as well. Did they feel that same feeling? There’s only one way to find out: communicate with them. Find out if they’re what you’re looking for and if you’re what they’re looking for.

Just like dating, lead nurturing is a delicate dance between two people who share some initial common ideal. Perhaps you meet at your favorite coffee shop when you order the same obscure fresh ground cold brew. Or they ventured to your Contact Us page through a well-targeted Google Ad. Either way, the only way to find out if this is going somewhere is to give them more information about you and hope it’s enough to get them to stick around.

Dating and lead nurturing follow many of the same rules and cadence. Here are some general guidelines for cultivating a great (lead) relationship.

Don’t put everything on the table all at once. Most likely your lead came to you because they have an interest that aligns with your products or services. Great! You have something in common. This would be like someone saying “I like cats”. The appropriate response would be “I also like cats”, not showing them your entire phone’s worth of the 20 cats you have living in your home.

The same should be said for a brand new lead. If they find value in something you offer, affirm that as part of your core beliefs, but don’t overwhelm them with every little detail about your product. For example, if they found your brand after clicking on an ad that focused on the eco-friendly nature of your goods, reply with information that goes deeper into that aspect–don’t just send them your entire catalogue and hope they’ll call back.

Ghosting is just as bad as hounding. Building a good relationship means maintaining regular communication. You want them to know they’re on your mind and you’re thinking of them. Yet, you don’t want them to think you’re stalking them, nor do you want them wondering if you remember their name. Regular, valuable communication with your leads is just as important. Find the right balance for your audience and make sure every touch point is not only valuable, but works to move them through the sales cycle.

Know when to introduce your friends and family. After you’ve invested enough initial time to see if this is going somewhere, it’s time to bring them further into your world. You would probably introduce them to your friends first, to gauge the response, and then move on to your family. But you wouldn’t throw them into a room with both at once. The same rule applies to how you introduce your product or service. Start slow with your introduction. Find the friends (products/services) that are most welcoming and relatable to your new beau. Once you know it’s a sure thing, bring in Aunt Betty (less compatible product/service), who might not be the most relatable, but something that’s still important enough for them to know.

Sometimes, it doesn’t work out. Sometimes, the spark fizzles. You realize that the one thing you both had in common was the only thing you had in common (i.e. Deep Blue Something’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s). The best thing you can do in this type of relationship is to end it quickly and civilly. There’s nothing wrong with walking away when you realize it’s just not going to work. If the customer you’re speaking to would not be the right fit for your product/service, that’s ok. Make sure they appreciate the time you spent together, and make sure they also understand why you’re breaking things off.

No one likes to get dumped, either. You may not be the one to realize the relationship isn’t working. It is going to sting when you find out the feelings aren’t mutual, but the best option for everyone involved is to walk away with your head held high. Trying to force a bond that doesn’t exist will only make you come off as desperate or clueless as to what your customer really values as a person. Be able to recognize when a lead is dead. Otherwise you’ll just end up looking like a spammer.

But sometimes, it’s love at first sight. Everyone has a friend of a friend who has that fairytale love story. They locked eyes with that person and just knew they were destined to be with each other. They had an instant connection that brought two halves of a whole together. Even in lead nurturing, this happens. When it does, don’t over-think it. Accept your excited new customer with your warmest embrace. In other words, think about how you can create a loyal customer and brand advocate–not just make another sale. When a consumer has an instant connection with a brand, more likely than not they’ll share that connection with others. And we all know that word-of-mouth endorsements carry more weight than any other marketing initiatives.

Remember, despite what eHarmony and Match.com will tell you, dating is not an exact science. The same holds true for lead nurturing–it’s more of a dance in which you try to anticipate your partner’s moves and follow their rhythm without stepping on their feet. When you’re both in sync, it’s a delightful and harmonious salsa. If you’re trying to force something that isn’t working, it’s a clumsy, off-beat electric slide that results in a few bruised toes and frustration from everyone involved.

/ Digital Marketing

3 Ways You’re Not Using Google Analytics (But Should Be)

Kevin McKernan

When you think about Google Analytics you probably just think of one thing—traffic data. How many people are coming to my website? How many pages are they looking at? How long are they staying on my site? How are they finding my site? What is my most popular page?

While this data is important and useful, there are some really wonderful, lesser celebrated aspects of Google Analytics that can help you learn more about your audience and uncover valuable insights about your content and your website as a whole.

Here are three features you might be missing out on…

1. Learn More About (and Leverage) the Interests of your Audience

The Audience tab of Google Analytics is chock full of great information regarding, well, your audience. Do you know the average age of your someone visiting your website? What about their location? Do you know if your customers are more likely to use a mobile device or a desktop when viewing your website? All this information is waiting in your Google Analytics account.

But outside of this general demographic information, the Audience tab also has information on your visitor’s interests outside of your brand. This type of information can help you better understand your various personas, and most importantly, guide how you communicate with them—and speak their language.

Let’s say you have a large base of customers who are 25-34 and are recorded as being “Movie Lovers”. You could experiment with incorporating well known movie lines into your content on social or email. Or you could go test a more visually driven piece of content against one that is more text heavy to see if there’s a difference in the level of engagement.

These valuable Audience insights will help you be a bit more creative and daring in your marketing efforts.

2. Understand How Users are Finding You

The days of keyword data are long gone. But the ability to understand how visitors are finding you is alive and well in Google Analytics, particularly if you have taken advantage of the ability to connect the data from Google Search Console to Google Analytics.

Located under the Acquisition tab, the Search Console feature shows you query level data including searches that were made in which your website was listed as a result, the average position of your website in those search rankings, average click-through-rate (CTR), and total number of impressions.

Now, keep in mind that not all query data will be available. However, you can see how many times a specific page has appeared in the search results, as well as the number of impressions, clicks, and ranking position. From here, you can understand what types of content your organic visitors are most interested in and, more importantly, see which pages are showing up in search results and not getting clicks, opening up opportunities for optimization.

You can also see which landing pages are driving conversions vs. those that aren’t. If you have pages that are generating a high CTR from the search results, but aren’t ending in conversions, it’s a signal that something about that page isn’t working.

3. Conduct A/B Tests

One of the most underutilized features of Google Analytics is the ability to conduct an A/B test, or as Google Analytics refers to them, “Experiments”. Located under the Behavior tab, Experiments allows you to test two pages against each other.

To conduct an experiment, select an objective, a percentage of your audience to experiment against and how you’d like the test pages distributed. For a more traditional A/B test, elect to show the experiment to 100% of visitors and have pages distributed evenly across all variants.

Next, put in the URL for your current page to serve as a control and then your test page. If you’d like to perform a multi-variant test, you have the option to add an additional version. Finally, set a minimum run time for the experiment.

Once the set-up is complete Google Analytics will generate a code which will need to be placed right after the opening tag in the HTML of your original page. You also need to verify that your main Google Analytics tracking code has been placed on any test pages.

From there, Google Analytics starts collecting data on your experiment, eventually allowing you to declare a winner and gain actionable insights.

The most valuable data is the kind that helps you optimize and grow your digital marketing program; these three features can help you do just that. Best of all, it’s waiting for you in program you’re already likely using. So, next time you think of Google Analytics, don’t just think about how it can help you gather basic traffic metrics—think about how every detail it collects about your visitors can be used to your advantage.

/ Email

Email Preference Centers – Why You Shouldn’t Click Send Without One

Kevin McKernan

I recently bought a coat from a popular outdoor lifestyle retailer that provides clothing items for men, women, and kids. Excited for my purchase, I elected to subscribe to their email list at checkout so I could learn more about products and specials in the future. But my delight to receive their emails was quickly dampened when I realized that every email I received was around men’s items—not women’s.

Now, had I bought an item for my husband, I could understand this discrepancy. But I had bought this coat for myself, from the women’s section. So why was I only getting information about items that weren’t for me?

After a few months of receiving their emails, I’ve just stopped opening them. Those emails now sit untouched in the Promotions tab of my Gmail Inbox, dragging down the company’s engagement rates. And I haven’t even thought about making another purchase. Why? All because they didn’t stop to ask the right questions.

Why It Never Hurts to Ask

There’s an old adage that says if you want to know something, it never hurts to ask. Customers want to receive emails that are relevant to their needs. In fact, marketers who use segmented email campaigns have seen increases in revenue of up to 760%.

Providing segmented email campaigns is simpler than you’d think. First, consider what you already know about each individual customer—this could be simple things you could derive from past purchase history, such as gender, type of product, or location. Just these three simple pieces of data can help you create a new audience segment.

Want to go beyond this? Good, you should, because the more targeted you can get, the higher the engagement rates you can expect. How do you get this information? All you have to do is ask…

Types of Email Preference Centers

There is no one-size-fits-all method for assembling an email preference center (also commonly referred to as a subscription center or profile center). The questions you ask should be relevant to your brand and your customers. And they should all have one goal in mind—providing you with actionable information about your customers.

For some brands, this can be achieved with a very basic preference center, while other brands may need to go a little more in-depth. Here’s the difference:

Basic Email Preference Center

Brands that provide a very niche product or service may benefit most from providing subscribers with a more basic email preference center. This would include asking for information such as…

• First & Last Name
• Email Address
• City/State/Zip
• Language Preference (if applicable)
• Gender
• Age Range

This is enough information to provide personalization to your messages, as well as a basic layer of segmentation, especially if it can be paired with past purchase or browsing history.

Advanced Email Preference Center

Brands that offer a broader range of products and services would benefit from moving beyond on the basics to something that is a bit more granular. This includes understanding things like…

• Specific interest in products or services
– For example: A retailer who offers everything from home goods to clothing to accessories could ask subscribers their interest in learning more about these various departments
• Specific interest in types of sends
– Promotional sends
– New product announcements
– Newsletters
– Etc.
• Frequency at which subscribers would like to receive emails from your brand

This type of profile center can also allow you to ask more in-depth questions such as where a consumer may be most likely to buy your products, how they use them, household information and more.

Whatever you ask, make sure it’s something you feel you could take action on in the future—meaning there’s a purpose for asking. And don’t overwhelm subscribers with too many questions; keep it to 5 or 6 questions outside of the basics.

Super Advanced Email Preference Center

Many businesses are a lot of things to a lot of different people who may be interested in your brands for a plethora of very distinct reasons. Because of this, you likely have a number of different email publications to reach these different consumers and you want to make sure that each subscriber has access to the right mailings (without having to be subscribed to every single one).

This is where a super advanced email preference center comes in to play. This would include all the information you might see in an advanced preference center as well as:

• The option to subscribe and unsubscribe to emails based on a wide range of interests
• The option to subscribe and unsubscribe to newsletters based on the type of information they provide

Keep in mind that while you may be asking more granular level information, that doesn’t mean your preference center should feel like a 10-minute survey. Whatever you ask should be relevant and useful to the subscriber.

Getting Your Questions Answered

One of the best ways to get information from your subscribers is to ask them right when they sign up. This can be done by directing new subscribers to their email preference center after hitting subscribe, or as part of the subscription confirmation process in which you email new subscribers to not only confirm their email address, but to confirm their preferences.

If this information isn’t provided at sign up, or if a preference center is being implemented after you’ve already got an established email list, create a dedicated campaign to direct subscribers to their email preference center. You’ll be surprise how many subscribers are willing to provide information in exchange for the promise of more relevant email communications.

In addition, a link to your email preference center should be included in the footer of every email communication, or as a part of the unsubscribe process. In many cases, subscribers who were looking to remove themselves from your list may opt to stay if they see they have the option to self-select the types or frequency of communication.

Remember, a preference center is not just a means of collecting data. It’s also about giving subscribers the option to tell you what they do and do not want. And no matter what type of preference center you elect to use, make sure the information you collect is always actionable—whether that means it’s informing your email marketing strategy or another element of your business—all in an effort to provide better customer experience.

/ Social Media / Marketing Best Practices / Digital Marketing

Channel Surfing: How to Evaluate Which Social Media Channels Are Right for Your Brand

Kevin McKernan

For many of us, social media channels are so much a part of our daily lives, that we don’t really remember a time without them. In reality, social media as we know it today didn’t exist until 2002 with the introduction of Friendster, followed by MySpace. While those two may not have stood the test of time, other networks that were introduced in the early 2000s, notably LinkedIn and Facebook have, leading the way for more platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat and others.

While all of these platforms are different, the one thing they all have in common is they allow brands to use their platforms to promote their products and services—which is good and bad news.

If social media has taught us anything it’s that just because you can post something, doesn’t mean you should. This is true for both those using social media as a way to stay in touch with family and friends, as well as for brands looking to stay connected to their customers.

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself before taking a deep dive into any social media channel:

1. Is my brand B2C or B2B?

As you already know, marketing to a consumer audience is much different than marketing to a business audience. And this rule is particularly true when it comes to marketing on social media.

Many B2C brands find success on channels like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat. B2B brands often find the most success on more professional networks such as LinkedIn. However, it’s not uncommon to also find B2B brands on YouTube, Twitter, or even Instagram.

The type of business you have will shape the channels you choose to be on. That’s not to say a B2B couldn’t create a Pinterest account and a B2C brand couldn’t create a LinkedIn page. Just ask yourself, would your audience expect or want to see you there? What benefits would you provide your customer by being on that channel?

2. What is the age range of my audience?

Each social media channel attracts a certain age range and thus should have an influence over which channels you choose to promote your brand. If your products appeal most to those who are 40+, would you want to invest in posting content to something like Snapchat? Probably not.

Percentage of Users by Age

18-29 88 59 34 36 36 56
30-49 84 33 33 23 34 13
50-64 72 18 24 21 28 9
65+ 62 8 20 10 16


Source: Pew Research Center
 

3. What types of content do I have the resources to create?

Certain types of content are better for some channels than others. For example, written content can be easily shared on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and LinkedIn. However, this type of content is more difficult to share on something like Instagram or Snapchat, which relies heavily on more visual content.

Before establishing your brand on a new channel, make sure you have the ability to regularly create content specifically for that channel. Your decision to market on that channel is simple: If you don’t have the resources to regularly create the appropriate content for a channel, don’t join it.

4. How often am I willing to post content to a social media channel?

No matter what social media channels your brand is on, you want to make sure you’re posting with some level of frequency. However, that level of frequency can vary, as the lifespan of content can vary from channel to channel.

For example, content posted on Twitter has an estimated shelf life of about 5 seconds. This means brands should post with a much higher frequency on this channel than they would on LinkedIn, where there is far less noise and posts have a shelf life ranging from days to weeks.

When considering a new channel, think about how much is appropriate to post each day, each week, or even each month. Then make sure you’re willing to invest the time needed to keep up with that cadence.

5. What is my goal for being on a particular channel and is it in line with my overall marketing and business objectives?

Every marketing initiative should have a goal and play a role in achieving a grander business objective. If you’re struggling to come up with a goal that fits into that larger strategy, that social media channel may not be right for your brand.

Make sure you are not only willing to formulate both a short-term and long-term strategy for any new channel, but that you feel you’ll be able to follow it and achieve some value from it.

When social media first came on to the scene, many marketers didn’t anticipate the impact it would have on both brands and consumers. Not wanting to be left behind, many brands have joined channels where they are unable to maintain a valuable presence. The early bird may catch the worm, but if it doesn’t do anything with it, being an early adopter won’t pay off; abandoned or neglected social accounts can degrade a brand’s credibility.

Social channels will continue to proliferate, so it’s important to always remember to determine the value of the channel to your target customers before you decide to dive in. While joining a social media channel is free, the time you need to create and post resources for it are not. Make sure any channel you join is worth the effort and provides real value to both your brand and your customers.

 

/ Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing 2017: Trends, Priorities, and Potential Pitfalls

Kevin McKernan

Each year brings big changes to digital marketing and 2016 was no exception. Last year we saw a rise in the creation of programs that are truly focused on providing a 1:1 digital marketing experience, not just when it comes to email marketing, but also from an omni-channel experience, one that takes into account all the places online customers are interacting with your brand.

Geographically, we saw the gap between how brands in the U.S. and Asia utilize social mobile apps such as Viber, Line and WeChat widen. While the popularity of such apps in the U.S. has been slow to build, if you’re doing business in Asia, and you’re not communicating with consumers on social mobile apps, you’re likely missing out on 90% of your customers.
The biggest star, however, of 2016 was the introduction of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and the Automated Marketer which allows marketers to take a step back and allow technology to optimize campaigns based on what it learns about your customers and their engagement with marketing materials.

While we expect some of the trends we saw in 2016 to continue to expand, it’s clear that 2017 will see its own trends rise and fall, some of which could have big long-term payoffs if brands and digital marketers are prepared to embrace them.

 

Trends to Look out For in 2017

 

The Expansion of Automations and AI

Digital marketing technologies are getting smarter and easier to implement, meaning automation and artificial intelligence (AI) have a solid foundation for becoming more common place. In 2017, programs like Einstein by Salesforce or IBM Watson will allow marketers to set up their programs in a way that allows them to take a step back and let the technology tell them what should be done next.

Emails, social media ads, push notifications, etc. will be deployed based on the initial criteria set up by your marketing department, and further enhanced based on the real-time customer data the program collects. This means consumers will continue to see an increase in more personalized, relevant communications, and brands will see an improvement in customer satisfaction and revenue.

In the end, the goal is to bring consumers the information they need, when they need it, in order to feel confident in their purchasing decisions. Digital marketers and the power of AI will allow this to be a reality in 2017.

The Need for Comprehensive Dashboards and Data Analysis

We’re collecting so much data on customers that marketers are going to be looking for a way to better digest that data to make it actionable. This is where set-it-and-forget-it dashboards are going to become not just handy, but completely necessary.

Marketers don’t want to spend time every month sorting through data; they want to see it in a clear dashboard and analyze it. And CMOs are going to want to have a resource that allows them to quickly see the status of their various programs, as well as a big picture view of how they all fit together to help the bottom line.

For those who are new to providing more comprehensive reporting, gathering data into a free tool like Data Studio from Google may be a good starting point. However, to really get the most out of having your data all in one place, a more comprehensive data tool like Tableau or Domo will be well worth the investment.

The Rise of Complex Customer Journeys

Customer Journeys are still in their early stages and CMOs have a lot to learn about how to best use them for their different audience types. But as access to customer data improves, and the ability to automate digital marketing elements becomes easier to navigate, this will allow brands to create more complex customer journeys, those that take into account not just the “what” of the messaging they deliver, but the “where” of the messaging in as close to real-time as possible.

Take for example a retailer who already has an email program, an SMS program, several social media accounts and an app. In the past, many of these individual programs have been just that—individual. Here is an example of these programs working in concert to optimize the customer experience: Let’s say that retailer sends out an email prompting visitors to visit their nearest store for a special promotion. When they get to the store, a push notification could trigger with another promotion. When a sale is completed, an SMS notification could link them to something extra off their next visit. And finally, an email can be sent asking the customer to review their purchase online.

 

What to Prioritize

 

Know Your Customers Better

2017 should be the year that marketers get to know their customers better. Marketers need to move beyond just knowing basic demographic info and expand their parameters to include strategies for knowing what devices they’re using, what language resonates, and what mediums (email, social, search, mobile, etc.) they favor —and then formulate strategies around how each of these components can come into play for each of your audience segments.

Get IT and the C-Suite on the Same Page

We talk about this every year, but pulling all of the data your organization has into one place that a marketer is able to utilize it and organize campaigns around it key. This often means getting members from IT, the C-Suite, and everywhere in-between on the same page about when and how this data is available. Access to data will continue to be of vital importance, and without it, you could miss out on valuable information that is causing you to lose out on sales.

Communicate Where Your Customers Are

While email still has the highest ROI in digital marketing, it is starting to slowly decline. This isn’t because customers aren’t interested in your emails, rather, it’s because more and more customers are omni-channel, meaning each place you reach them can play a role in an eventual conversion or sale.

More than ever, marketers need a better understanding of where their customers are, and they need to create strategies that take into account these different modes of communication in a way that allows social, email, search, etc. to work together instead of existing in silos.

 

Potential Pitfalls

 

Resources

This is a classic problem every year for marketers, but as more brands move towards an increasingly data driven approach, they’re going to need someone not only understand their data, but help them structure it in a way that is actionable and can help them get the most out of any new technologies they’re using. This is where the use of partners to implement these technologies will be well worth the investment. Brands shouldn’t let a lack of resources in their marketing or IT departments hold them back as they move towards these more robust, technology dependent programs.

Incomplete and/or Disorganized Data

2016 was a big eye opener for many marketers in terms of how incomplete and unorganized their customer data was, and this caused some major delays in allowing them to move their programs forward. Everyone in the industry keeps saying “Personalize now!” and marketers were looking at their data and finding they knew nothing about their customers. They knew basic things like name and maybe location, but today’s personalization goes far beyond that. We’ve oversaturated consumers with content through a batch and blast approach and we need to move towards an approach that actually considers their individual preferences—an experience that is relevant and targeted. But this can only exist if the data is available and properly structured.

Lack of Patience

Many marketing teams are reactive. They see something and they react and they see something else, and they react again. The marketing landscape is changing. And marketer’s need to show some patience and take the time to set things up the right way. This means taking the time to understand their data, map out customer journeys, and give themselves the opportunity to test, test, and test again.

Complacency

On the other hand, as marketers set new programs up and allow things like automations and AI to take the reigns, they need to make sure they aren’t getting complacent. You should regularly be looking for new opportunities and making small adjustments to your programs as you learn more about your consumer base. Nothing at this point (or maybe any point) should be fully set-it-and-forget-it. Always take the time review, analyze, and test, test, and test again.

There’s still a great lack of knowledge when it comes to digital marketing technology, even in industries that are always striving to be current, like e-commerce and retail. At Pierry we’re constantly running into scenarios in which CMOs have paid large amounts for new technology, but once it’s implemented, they really have no idea how to fully utilize what they’ve bought.

Much of this stems from one of the biggest pain points in the industry—a lack of clear strategy. In 2017, it won’t be enough to just buy the latest and greatest technologies. You have to come into that purchase with a clear vision of what you want to do, that way you have the ability to make a purchase based on what you want the technology to do for you, not just based on the laundry list of possibilities a new technology could bring.