Thirteen years ago today, almost 3,000 people were murdered. One was my friend and Utica College classmate Margaret Echtermann. I miss her because I enjoyed her company, intelligence and sense of fun. I’m upset because she offered so much to the world that was never realized.

I won’t forget Margaret nor the others.

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Four Easy Articles to Improve Your Testing Today!

I’ve seen a few examples lately where the word “test” was bandied about when no such thing took place. One of my recent favorites was this article by the MD of a digital trading desk who claimed to be testing when, in fact, he was creating spurious data flotsam for a clickbait headline.

Takeaway number 1: Read the blog posts by the leaders of the digital marketing service providers you rely on for marketing, testing, and analytical advice. You just may decide to switch agencies.

Takeaway number 2: If you can’t design the gold standard marketing test–the univariate test–you have no business doing more complicated tests.

For a quick refresher course in statistics for marketing test design, check out Evan Miller’s excellent blog*. He’s written several articles on testing that statistics that will make your tests better today.

A lot of the growth hacker babble I read–at least as much as I can stomach–leads me to believe they are advocating running Bayesian A/B tests, except without the correct math. Making them non-tests, but I digress.

To help solve that problem, Evan has also written an easy-to-understand article on setting up Bayesian A/B testing. It is worthwhile reading for those doing online testing such as home page design, path testing, cart tests and the like.

* A last plug for Evan. He creates and sells the wonderful Wizard statistical analysis software for Mac OS X. It is worth every penny. I highly recommend it!

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Creating Interest Through Jargon

6826303487_b1e529a4f7_bIf you look at some websites you’d come to the conclusion that some companies believe this theory. I was doing a quick analysis for a client this morning and bumped into a company that clearly subscribes to the theory.

As I sit here fifteen minutes later, I’m scratching my head. I think this company is an ad agency of some kind, but they never bothered to tell me that on the website. Instead, on the home page,  I learned they had something to do with:

  • Marketing transformation
  • Analysis and insights
  • Maximizing learnings
  • Optimizing and scaling
  • Capitalizing on new realities

The rest of the website didn’t get any better.

The kicker was the call to action: Engage with us.

Uh, no. I’m afraid you might ask me to touch base about potential synergy and then create a list of action items.

There is nothing about jargon that is going to intrigue me enough to pick up the phone or email you to figure out what you do and if you can help me. Instead, I just wonder what you are thinking. Then I go back to Google and find somebody who can explain in clear English whether they do what I need.

And I hire them instead.

I’m too old to be leveraging synergies and working in new realities.  I just want to figure out how to get people to buy the stuff I have to sell. I sure as heck don’t need a Marcomm agency that doesn’t know how to communicate.

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The Customer is Right. Usually.

Today Seth Godin clarifies Rule #1 by breaking it into two parts

a. the customer is always right

b. if that’s not true, it’s unlikely that this person will remain your customer.

Part b reminds us that our products should never be for everybody. Some people will always complain because feature X is missing or require uneconomic levels of service to be satisfied.

Great products are never made for everybody.

When you stuff a product full of features to address the last corner case customer or go to automated phone trees to enable you to serve the over-demanding/under-paying accidental customers, you’ve started down the losing path to making undifferentiated beige boxes of mediocrity.

It’s OK and more honest to say “no” to some customers, as long as you are nice about it. (See Comcast’s latest customer service fiasco to learn how not to do it.) It’s also OK to fire those “Part b” customers who are uneconomical to your business, as long as you are nice about it.

If I were to demand that Prada make $100 hiking boots, I’d be wrong and Prada would be right. And that’s OK, even if they tell me to take a hike.



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Administrivia Root Cause: The Simple Heuristic

SandwichesI used to work for a large corporation that required managerial approval to get a corporate Blackberry or to order food or snacks for meetings. Said another way, vice presidents were responsible for assessing the need for $30 worth of sandwiches. Huh?

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Improve Your Content Marketing With One Simple Trick

3201140770_da797b35ce_zHow do you know if your content marketing is any good? Well, if you’re using the term “content marketing” to describe what you’re publishing, it’s a good sign it probably stinks.

If the generic “content” is the best you can muster, you are not providing important, relevant, and usable information to your customers and prospects. Further, because you’re too cheap to do it right, said “content” is probably provided by a content marketing firm that employs a bunch of people who have no interest in what you have to sell, other than it provides a paycheck in exchange for their dreck.

You are also not doing any wonders for your brand when your customers (who know what they are talking about, remember) associate shallow pablum with your company.

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You Can’t Take Vacation, You Say?

The decision to work yourself to death can’t be unmade. The ones you make the decision for won’t be at your funeral.  They will be busy replacing you with somebody else.

So tell me again why you’re so indispensible that you can’t take some time with your family this summer and really be on vacation?

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Extending the Circle of Safety Today

As we look forward to the weekend, let’s look back. As a leader did you:

  • Clarify your organization’s “why?
  • Bring others who shared your values into your organization, and not just those who had the skills you wanted?
  • Extend the circle of safety inside your organization?

If not, can you do that next week?

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Whiffletrees and the OODA Loop

The OODA Loop

The OODA Loop

Sounds like a barbershop quartet and a fad from the 1950’s, doesn’t it? As I promised on Tuesday and finally got around to today, here’s the concept of using a whiffletree to manage your multichannel marketing.

You might think that with more marketing investment moving to digital, with an attendant increase in our ability to read results in real time, that we could automate the allocation of marketing spend across channels. In other words, have machines do digitally much faster what we humans can’t do.

I disagree. We must instead use the technology, but operate in an analog fashion.
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Your Customers Are Not Consumers

Kudos to Unilever’s CMO Keith Weed for starting to banish the word “consumer” from the marketing vocabulary. Molds, fungi, and bacteria are consumers. People buy your products and services.

In a talk at Cannes today, he discussed Unilever’s marketing transition from targeting to serving customers. He described it as moving from “marketing to consumers” to “marketing with people” to “marketing for people.”

That’s a terrific move because it recognizes the importance of social media on our marketing efforts. Further, that phrase tells the marketers and agencies working with Unilever what’s important: the centrality of the customer.

This concept also works in B2B marketing. Just because the check comes from a large corporation doesn’t mean the decision makers aren’t people. It certainly beats the alternative, treating the customer as a “kill” which I discussed last month.

Takeaway: Don’t dehumanize your customers by equating them with bacteria. Build your marketing with people at the core to win.

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