Optimization Pitfalls to Avoid In 2020

The Activity Trap

Sales reps aren’t paid on the number of calls they make, and real estate agents don’t get commission on the number of showings they do. Activity does not equate to outcome, and conflating the two can have really expensive implications.

The same story applies to marketers. We seem to spend a lot of effort fostering cultures of activity rather than outcomes.


Understanding the CMOs Data-Driven Decision Delusion

The term cobra effect describes an incentive policy that causes unintended consequences and results in the opposite effect intended. In the 1800s the colonial government of India (as the story goes), becoming increasingly concerned about the population of cobras in Delhi, offered a bounty for every dead cobra brought in.

Although it was initially successful, the cobra population increased as entrepreneurs of the day started breeding cobras to take advantage of the bounty. When the government realized the new policy wasn’t working as intended they ended the program, causing the cobra farmers to release the snakes and further exacerbating the very problem the government wanted to solve.

I recently read Chief Marketing Officers at Work, a fantastic series of interviews of CMOs from prominent companies like PayPal, Zendesk, Domo and SurveyMonkey. These marketing leaders unequivocally championed their data-driven marketing strategies, and emphasized the need for further data-driven investment and skills in their organizations.

The root cause of many cobra effect problems is the fact that as humans we tend to more easily comprehend simplistic linear systems and cause-effect relationships. Much like rewarding people for killing cobras should result in less cobras, investing in more data-driven tools should produce better decisions and outcomes!

Unfortunately, it’s very likely that the data-driven approaches being increasingly adopted by marketing organizations are producing their own cobra effect and paradoxically reducing the quality of decisions and resulting outcomes.


By |2018-10-20T22:54:43-07:00September 24th, 2018|Digital Marketing, Strategy, B2B|0 Comments

A Culture of Optimization Eats Experimentation and Personalization for Breakfast


As marketers we could learn a lot from ants.

They don’t attend conferences, have multi-million dollar budgets or get pitched by the latest AI-based tech vendors. Yet over millennia they’ve figured out a radically efficient solution to an important and complex problem – how best to find food to sustain the colony.

This is no easy task. The first ant leaving the colony walks around in a random pattern. It’s likely he (foraging ants are always male) doesn’t find food, so he’ll return back to the colony exhausted. It’s not a completely wasted effort however, he (and every other ant behind him) will leave behind a pheromone trail that attracts other ants.

Over the course of time and thousands of individual ant voyages, food will (likely) be found. Ants that do find food will return immediately back to the colony. Other ants will follow this trail and, because pheromone trails evaporate over time, they’re most likely to follow the shortest, most traveled (highest density) path.

This approach ensures that the colony as a whole will find an optimal path to a food source. Pheromone evaporation also helps ensure that if the current source runs out, or a closer one is found, the colony will continue to evolve to the globally optimal solution.

It’s a classic optimization solution that maximizes a critical outcome as efficiently as possible, and one that has been studied by entomologists, computer engineers and data scientists. In the current B2B marketing environment it can illuminate where we’re spending our time and money.


The Reason Your B2B Website is No Longer Effective

The 1907 Quakers from the University of Pennsylvania were the juggernauts of college football. Heading into a home field matchup with the Carlisle Indians they had not only won, but dominated their previous seven games by a combined score of 189-10.

Their October home game on Franklin field against Carlisle wasn’t expected to be much different. Although the Indians were also undefeated, they were a group of unheralded, undersized players that the 22,800 fans in attendance didn’t give much of a chance against their mighty Quakers.

So what happened? Carlisle demolished Penn 26-6. The most notable play of the game was fullback Pete Hauer’s 40 yard perfect spiral pass that sports historians would later call one of the “three or four signal moments in the evolution of football” and “the sporting equivalent of the Wright brothers taking off at Kitty Hawk.”

These historians attribute Carlisle’s stunning upset that Saturday to Carlisle coach Pop Warner’s exploitation of a rule change that was adopted a couple of years earlier. In order to curb the surging violence in football schools adopted a number of rules changes, most notably legalizing the forward pass.

Warner decisively capitalized on this rule change, confusing the Quakers with long passes and new formations. Penn was playing by the old rules, and caught completely unprepared for the new era of football that they had the misfortune of writing into history that day.


By |2018-10-20T21:47:07-07:00March 7th, 2018|The Funnel, Strategy, SaaS, B2B, Uncategorized|0 Comments

What You Need to Know About Omni Channel Marketing

Once upon a time the customer journey was simple.

Consumers would see an advertisement, head into a brick and mortar store and buy the product. Simple and effective.

But times change. Technology’s developed, and customer expectations and behaviors have evolved.

The modern customer journey is anything but simple. Customers now average five different devices in their purchase journey. That’s five different points of contact and five times the potential for something to go wrong for the modern marketer.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The developments in tech have led to more than just an increase in contact points; they’ve caused an evolution in customer expectations. Customers expect brands to utilize every channel and customize messaging for each device.

Buying is no longer a linear path from exposure to purchase. It’s a winding road. One which your customers expect you to make as easily navigable as possible for them. They need a cohesive journey that engages them at every stage and spans every device in their journey.

For that, you need a comprehensive omni channel campaign.


By |2015-12-14T16:09:01-08:00December 15th, 2015|Strategy|0 Comments

Credible Websites: 10 Factors Backed by Science

Your website loads fast, looks great, and is packed full of content …

But is it credible?

A lot of businesses overlook this question. They trust the quality of their products and services will shine through. Or they’re more concerned with generating more traffic than delivering a quality user experience.

Credibility can seem like a tricky concept to tackle.

What makes one website credible and another… not so credible? You know it when you see it, but can you quantify credibility? How are you supposed to make sure your website is credible if you aren’t sure which factors affect it in the first place?

Some compelling university research can help clear up the confusion. Keep reading to see how.


By |2015-11-09T16:02:22-08:00November 12th, 2015|Strategy|0 Comments

Upselling: 5 Key Principles That Make It Work

When a business is just getting started, paying to acquire new leads and customers is standard procedure. It’s an effective way to cut through the noise and rack up fast results—even without a million-dollar marketing budget or worldwide brand recognition.

But what happens when it’s time to take things to the next level and scale the business?

Continuing to pay for more customers is always an option, but it’s pricey. Fortunately, there’s a more cost-effective alternative: getting more out of customers you already have.

That’s where upselling comes in. By making customers additional offers (and convincing them those offers are worth the extra money), you can increase the average order value of every transaction. There’s less pressure to constantly acquire new customers when you’re getting more mileage out of the ones you already have.


By |2015-03-16T16:20:27-07:00March 17th, 2015|Strategy|0 Comments

A Beginner’s Guide to Call Tracking (and How It Can Grow Your Business)

As the digital world continues to evolve, there’s still a desire for authentic human connection.

It doesn’t matter if it’s friendships, romantic relationships, or in business. Sometimes people just want to hear your voice instead of firing off an email. Especially if they’re thinking about giving you money.

Smart marketers continue to rely on the telephone—even though the technology is considered “old school”—as an important part of their lead generation strategies.

But integrating the telephone with online lead-generation and sales systems isn’t always seamless. Unfortunately for a lot of businesses, these growing pains result in a lot of leads and customers left on the table.

It doesn’t have to be difficult for you, though. You can implement call tracking technology to find out more about your marketing efforts, improve your customer experience, and optimize your budget across every channel.

By |2015-06-02T11:27:43-07:00March 3rd, 2015|Strategy|4 Comments

Want to Keep People Happy, Engaged, and Spending? Try These Customer Retention Strategies

Would you rather pay $7 for a pack of chewing gum… or $1?

That wasn’t a trick question.

Unfortunately, a lot of businesses are getting the answer wrong. They’re paying too much—magnitudes more than they should be—for something they could’ve gotten for much cheaper. They’re getting ripped off.

These businesses are the ones bending over backwards to acquire new customers while the ones they had slip through the cracks.

Tired of constantly scrambling to replace lost customers?

Want a smarter approach to sustainable growth?

Let’s start out covering where most businesses go wrong when it comes to customer retention. Then you’ll find out what you can do to keep your customers happy, engaged, and spending.


By |2015-02-04T17:08:31-08:00February 10th, 2015|Strategy|0 Comments

What Is a Call to Action (and Why Should You Care)?

Getting visitors to your website is just the first step.

That can be difficult in today’s crowded online environment. But it isn’t enough to maintain a sustainable business. You also have to turn a decent percentage of those visitors into leads and customers.

One of the most effective ways to do this is to guide visitors through your sales funnel step by step.

A lot of businesses aren’t doing this. They set up slick websites, but they don’t use calls to action effectively. Ineffective calls to action make it impossible for people to navigate them successfully.

You’ve probably been to more confusing websites than you care to remember.

And what do you do when you land on those websites?

Not a whole lot. It only takes a few seconds before you’re ready to click the “Back” button in your browser. Savvy marketers like yourself recognize that’s no way to do business.

Keep reading to find out what you can do about it.


By |2014-11-19T12:17:37-08:00November 19th, 2014|Strategy|0 Comments
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