Smart Insights Digital Marketing > The Marketing Strategy Blog Tue, 03 Mar 2015 17:40:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Social Sign-on : the implications for Ecommerce sites [Infographic] Tue, 03 Mar 2015 15:30:24 +0000 March 2015: The latest figures on the popularity of social sign-on

We first created this alert at the time of the introduction of Google+ social sign-in in February 2013 and have since charted the growth in its popularity. The first reports showing the relative popularity of social sign-in from 2014 are now available from Janrain and Gigya, two of the main platforms for managing social sign-in. The Janrain social sign-in trends data to the start of Q1 2015 shows that Google is increasing in popularity and is now nearly greater than Facebook.

social login preferences 2015 Their post also has a breakdown for different sectors - the figures differ for retail vs publishing for example, Facebook is still dominant except within B2B where Google+ now exceed Facebook.

b2b social sign on trends

The latest report on the popularity of social log-in from enterprise social sign-in service Gigya also shows that Google+ is continuing to grow in importance - it's over 25% across all sectors and significantly higher on media sites. However Facebook is more dominant on mobile and Ecommerce sites as you might expect.

Q3 Social Login Infographic

Original post - February 2013: Google+ introduces Social Sign-In

I've explained before why I see social sign-on as a significant technology for integrating social networks with company websites. On February 26th 2013, Google announced social Sign-In to Google+ giving this example on their developers blog: As more online services adopt Google+, this will boost awareness and use of Google+ further. For retailers, there is also an added opportunity to encourage recommendations, particularly from mobile apps. Google explains:

"When you share from an app that uses Google+ Sign-In, your friends will see a new kind of "interactive" post in their Google+ stream. Clicking will take them inside the app, where they can buy, listen to, or review (for instance) exactly what you shared".

Here is an example of this sharing feature in action:

Previously, I gave the example of Sears Social where users are able to share purchases while the company gains additional insights about the preferences of social network users that can be used for web and email targeting.

This infographic from Monetate is still relevant since it presents the benefits of a lower-friction sign-on process. I think there is still a big question over whether users want to use social sign-on for transactional sites - it's a better fit for media/publisher sites. What do you think, are you happy signing on to retail, travel or even financial services sites via a social network login? Source: Monetate

]]> 13
Where is the ROI in content marketing? Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:45:00 +0000 Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Marketing Institute gives his take on the state of content marketing

Whether videos, blogs, infographics or ebooks, content is now being consumed on an unprecedented scale. And in our multichannel, multi-device, always-on world, that means content represents an exciting opportunity for brands to make an impression on the customer during the product purchasing process. Little wonder, then, that content marketing has become such big news.

In fact, the buzz for content marketing reached such extraordinary levels in 2014, that it led some to question whether interest in the discipline had reached its peak. Nonetheless, evidence suggests that there could still be plenty of growth left yet.

The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) recently conducted a research on content marketing in the UK, and found that 85% of respondents use content marketing, with 45% reporting they having now created a dedicated content marketing team. And while content marketing was found to account for an average of 26% of over marketing budgets, this number is set to rise in the coming years – 64% of respondents reporting that they will spend more this year.

content marketing uk research

Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, says:

“Whether you’re looking at UK, North American or Australian research, the number of marketers that are going to spend more on content marketing over the next 12 months is well over 50%. I really anticipate that in the next decade you’ll see budgets for content creation, promotion and distribution get to 50% of overall marketing budget, because as brands start to build out their own content departments and content factories and integrate it, they will really start to understand it and build audiences ongoing, so they will need to invest more. The majority of money still goes to paid media – but content marketing is catching up.”

So how is this growing volume of content investment going to be spent?

Certainly there are increasing efforts to drive personalisation in content marketing, in an effort to be more impactful and engaging. But there are also signs that marketers are increasing investment to integrate content into the brand experience. To use content strategically requires it to be placed within a wider context of how it engages customers and how it supports a brand. And companies are keen to explore the power of this, says Pulizzi.

“We’re in an era of creating customer experiences that live outside of the products and services we sell,” he explains. “Traditionally, marketers have focused on promoting a product/service and having the customer experience live within the product/service that is sold. But now we’re seeing a range of initiatives – from in-person events, to digital platforms like Intel’s iQ programme, to initiatives such as Patagonia’s sustainability drive – that are creating value and experiences outside of what is being sold.

“That is a huge paradigm shift. It is no longer just about thinking about what is being sold, what to price it at and how it’s going to be promoted. Now it’s about trying to find out the needs of the customer and how there can be more engagement with them ongoing.

Take Intel iQ for example, you are not hearing about their products, they are talking about innovation. They are trying to position themselves as credible expert around a particular area. You’re going to see a lot more of that over the next couple of years.”

Where is the ROI?

So with little sign that investment in content marketing is going to slow, the question needs to be asked: does it deliver a return? Is content marketing really money well spent, or is our judgement being clouded by hyperbole? Certainly there is strong evidence that content marketing can deliver leads if companies are active.

Research from Hubspot has shown that businesses with more than 200 articles on their site’s blog have over five times the number of leads than those companies with less than 10 articles.

While other studies suggest that not only does content marketing cost significantly less than traditional marketing methods (on average 62%), but it also generates around three times as many leads in the process.

But of course content marketing isn’t all about seeing blog reads and video view turn directly into sales figures. It’s also about building brand awareness, and telling a story, and it has the potential to keep your current customer base informed and intrigued, whilst also gaining new customers along the way, and statistics suggest that 70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company through a range of articles, instead of blatant advertisements.

All of this sounds extremely promising, but to conclude that content marketing is therefore some kind of branding nirvana, delivering big bucks for a modest investment, would be a grossly distorting reality. Indeed, the CMI study reveals that only 42% of those questioned in the CMI survey rated their organisation as ‘effective’ at content marketing.

Pulizzi notes: “You could ask about the effectiveness about any type of marketing and I think you’d get about 50/50 – content marketing isn’t any different than any other marketing that companies are struggling with. Marketing is tough!”

However, he adds: “That being said, content marketing is not easy. It’s very difficult creating content on a consistent basis, and the reason why most content marketing programmes fail is not actually because of the quality of the content, it is because it stops or is inconsistent. Most brands are still very campaign-oriented, they don’t understand that building an audience and building a relationship with content takes a long time. Just ask any publisher out there.

“But this is difficult for brands. Look at the Verizon initiative Sugarstring – they launched the platform and then two months later they stopped it! There’s no publisher on the planet that would launch a media platform and then stop it after two months. It doesn’t happen. Because you naturally know that you’re in it for at least three years to build an ongoing audience. Brands don’t think that way. We think in six, nine or maybe 12 month campaigns. Enterprises don’t have any patience because they want to see immediate impact.”

And there are other fundamental problems that make successful content marketing a challenge.

“The current set-up of enterprises does not make any sense when it comes to content creation. There is a siloed structure and a real lack of communication in the organisation, which is why you are starting to see companies like Kraft building a centralised content and data unit that is working with all the different products and brands in the organisation.”

Strategic shortcomings

But arguably the biggest problem of all are the strategic shortcomings of organisations, with the CMI study revealing that only 36% of organisations have a documented content marketing strategy.

“It is very tactical – somebody in the organisation says we should do a blog or be on Facebook, and they don’t think about the business reasons behind it, and put together a documented plan,” says Pulizzi. “Nearly all media companies and publishers have editorial mission statements. How many brands have editorial mission statements for their content platforms? None of them.”

Of course, with no strategy in place, brands can expect to encounter difficulties further down the line, not least of all when it comes to measuring the ROI of their content marketing efforts.

“It’s hard to measure marketing, anyway. Marketers are always measuring the wrong things - for example, the biggest measurement of performance indicator of success for marketers is website traffic, which in and of itself is a meaningless metric unless you match it with other goals and objectives. But if you don’t have a documented strategy, I can tell you for sure that they don’t know why they are doing it. Are they doing it to drive sales? Are they doing it to save costs? Are they doing it for loyalty and retention purposes? And that’s why they end up looking at website traffic – because if you don’t have any structure around why they are doing what they’re doing, they don’t know where else to look.”

All of which provides a little more insight into why some observers had suggested that interest in content marketing may have peaked in 2014. If brands were beginning to understand the scale of the undertaking ahead of them, perhaps the faint-hearted would start to desert the discipline in drives. But with budgets still rising, it would appear that most brands are in it for the long haul. So why is content marketing still so appealing, even with its accompanying challenges?

“Marketers need to keep up with consumer behaviour,” emphasises Pulizzi. “50 years ago, consumers didn’t have a choice - we could advertise to them, we could get their attention. Now, consumers are in complete control and what are marketers supposed to do? If you just think about what has happened in television, it is very difficult to interrupt people’s time and get their attention when consumers can completely ignore you at any stretch. This is forcing marketers to start focusing on their own channels so that maybe they don’t have to advertise.

He continues: “There have been lots of questions about whether the buzz for content marketing is over, because 2014 was a year when everybody was talking about it. But most companies are still in the early stages, even though content marketing has been around for 100+ years. Google and social media have really spurred attention around content marketing, because none of that stuff can be successful without content creation. And now you are really seeing brands organise around this - though it is going to take years for us to see the change. Businesses have been building organisations in certain structures for years, and now we’re trying to cut through the silos around content. So it is going to be messy and it is going to take a long time. But we are going to see some interesting wins and losses in the next couple of years as marketers get into it.”

Editor's note

For specific guidance on measurement of content marketing ROI see our article and guide from Stephen Bateman:

]]> 0
How to create Multi-Product Ads in Facebook. Step-by-step guide Tue, 03 Mar 2015 10:20:59 +0000 A 9 step tutorial and example of Facebook's multi-product ads

Facebook has rolled out an exciting new update in recent weeks - the Multiple product ad - not to be confused with Dynamic Product ads which are a retargeting option most relevant to retailers .

The Multiple Product ad option means that you can feature more than one product or service (or blog post even) in the sponsored News Feed without having to create multiple adverts. You'll need to be using Power Editor (if you don't know about that well I have a one day training course as well as an Online Masterclass you can sign up for...). Multi-product ads will allow you up to five images at a time. Obviously you can use them to show more products, but you could also use a succession of images to tell a story or provide more details and close-ups of your product. When you go to create an ad using either Clicks to Website or Website Conversion objectives you'll now see the option for either a "Single image and link in one ad" or "Multiple images and links in one ad".

Assets - what you need to have ready:

The specification for what you need is here in Facebook's helpful Business Ads Guide. When you go to create your multiple product ad, you'll need some text that goes at the top above all the images. You'll also need 600x600 images (each complying with the 20% rule - image checker here) plus headline and descriptive copy for each of your images/products. Facebook will try to pull the image, headline and description from the meta data on your page link, but remember that you can overwrite these. Do note that these product ad images are square so very different from the usual rectangular 1200x628 that you would normally be using for single image posts. I've used Canva to create my images below. You'll also need to add in a "See More" URL which will appear at the end of your links/images. Facebook will auto pull the Page's profile photo for that and you can't override it. At the bottom you can provide URL tags and tracking pixels. If you've set your objective to Website Conversions, you'll need to also set a Conversion Pixel.

Putting the ads together

Below you will see a screen grab of my work in progress in putting together a multiple product ad. In this instance, the "product" is a number of digital marketing training days (and yes, I'd love to have you there - we have some online options if you are not local to London or Manchester). If you're familiar with Power Editor and creating ads already, it's pretty straight forward.

  1. Create a new ad (I'm assuming you will have created a Campaign and Ad Set already)
  2. Select "Multiple images and links in one ad"
  3. Add in the text for the top of the ad
  4. Pop in your first image, a destination url, Headline for that image/product and Description for that image/product
  5. Click on image #2 and repeat.
  6. Check "Creative Optimization" if you want Facebook to decide which images to show in which order
  7. Add in your "See More" url - maybe a home page or related product and a simpler "Display URL" if appropriate
  8. Add in URL tags, conversion and tracking pixels
  9. Upload

Below is a screen grab showing the process in action. Multiple product adsAs you progress through the ad creation process, you have the option to tick the "Creative Optimization" box. If unchecked, Facebook will show the links in the order you entered them. If checked, Facebook will show them based on the level of engagement they receive. Helpful optimization algorithms at work here.creative optimisation

Have you used Multi-Product Ads yet? How have you found them? Any examples of really creative use?

Still need help? (Shameless plug)

Join Marie in London, Manchester or online to learn more about Facebook marketing as well as advertising using Power Editor. Use the coupon code DIGITAL2015 to grab a 50% discount on the face-to-face days. With the online Masterclasses you will save £25 on each session when two or more are booked at the same time. As well as Facebook we are running a number of other Masterclasses in the "Other" social media platforms, content marketing, PPC, Google Analytics and more.

]]> 0
Setting goals for digital marketing campaigns Tue, 03 Mar 2015 09:10:30 +0000 8 steps showing how to combine SMART and RACE to set campaign goals

SMART goalsGoal-setting-quote are a commonly referenced concept in marketing, to help check that goals are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time bound (i.e. have a deadline). Goals have their place at all levels of planning whether business planing, marketing planning or campaign planning. It can often be the difference between a successful campaign and not. As my previous post on goal-setting for marketing showed, they have huge benefits in:

  • Empowering, aligning and focusing teams and colleagues
  • Managing senior management
  • Giving you and your team a sense of success
  • Allow you to understand a campaign within a wider marketing activity context

But in practice, it's not easy to select and set goals, they are very rarely obvious especially when you put them against the SMART test. Setting goals requires a numbers of thing's before you can start to set them which we will explore in this post with reference to the Smart Insights RACE digital planning system. Success factors for this include:

  1. Clarity on your terminology. Companies operate differently, get clear on, objectives versus goals, KPI’s versus CSF’s (Critical success factors)
  2. Have enough insights / data / information to set realistic and specific goals. Making sure you are using the tools cheaply available now to collect and help you use data in this process.

A practical process using RACE to establish goals

The RACE framework is a really good way to focus in on the appropriate goal type, it focusses your thinking and enables to keep thinking at a strategic level without worrying about the various channels and techniques within each of the RACE headers.

Step 1: Identify the primary purpose of the campaign

Ask 'What is the main reason you need to run this campaign'? Is it to generate awareness of a new product? Encourage more of your fans and leads to convert into customers or just to get your current customers to engage with more and maybe repeat purchase? Each campaign should have one primary purpose, this will make the rest of the process much more succinct.

Step 2: Set a broad, non specific goal

Once you have established the primary goal type it is good to just get down in basic speak without data what the goal might be. An example could be to increase my footprint online from X to Y. Another could be to increase customer LTV from X to Y. If you can think of more than one goal write them down and go through a process of killing ones that are maybe on reflection not so relevant, Combine any that are quite similar and could form one goal and Keep any that work. (Kill. Keep. Combine). It is important this goal is aspirational and quite broad if you are to allow creativity later in the planning process. With the example of growing your footprint, things like natural search share, mentions online and fans would all be relevant ways to measure and grow footprint for example.

Step 3: Set broad goals for the other areas of RACE (Secondary goals)

With each campaign it is beneficial that you take the time to repeat the process across RACE. Each campaign usually has ways in which it will span across other areas. At this time don’t worry too much about the data and exact details, we come back and tighten them up later in the process. You may need to repeat the Kill, Keep, Combine process at this point.

Step 4: Set the metrics you think you can utilise to monitor progress or that influence the goal (these become your KPIs)

For each goal type you should arrive at between 1 & 5 metrics that you know you can track (and ideally already are) and that either influence progress against the goal or alert you to whether you are on track to achieve your goal.

Step 5: Get your baseline data for the metrics and any insights from the impact of previous of previous activity

Once you know your metrics create a simple spreadsheet which down the left has the metrics, the first column should have how you currently perform for that metric, use averages or moments in time where relevant. The future columns would include your targets, these are either weekly or monthly depending on the duration of the campaign. You don’t need to set targets yet though.

Step 6: With your vague understanding of budgets revisit your primary goal and set a “from” and “to”. Repeat for secondary goals

Now you have the data it’s time to really tighten up the original goals. I am going to be brutally honest with you now, an amount of this "is finger in the air", but based on the data you have to hand, your experience and a bit of a aspirational change your Xs & Ys into numbers.

Step 7: Set targets for each of the metrics for appropriate time frames

With your goal in mind-set realistic growth in the right metrics over the timeframe of your campaign. This can be a little more difficult, usually an exercise where you should state any assumptions you have made and include others in the process, it is certain something you should have time away from and revisit before moving on through the planning process.

Step 8: Take the 10 question test

  • 1. The truth test. Are we really measuring what we set out to measure?
  • 2. The focus test. Are we only measuring what we set out to measure?
  • 3. The relevancy test. Is it the right measure of the performance measure we want to track?
  • 4. The consistency test. Will the data always be collected in the same way whoever measures it?
  • 5. The access test. Is it easy to locate and capture the data needed to make the measurement?
  • 6. The clarity test. Is any ambiguity possible in interpreting the results?
  • 7. The so-what test. Can and will the data be acted upon, i.e. is it actionable?
  • 8. The timeliness test. Can the data be accessed rapidly and frequently enough for action?
  • 9. The cost test. Is the measure worth the cost of measurement?
  • 10. The gaming test. Is the measure likely to encourage undesirable or inappropriate behaviours?

As you can see, goal setting could actually happen over a number of days and should be refined until you are confident they are right. Once you have this complete you can continue the planning process by getting into “how you will get there”. After going through this detailed process I would ask that you make goals and your progress against them visible at all times to everyone involved in the project. Now you know exactly what you are tracking and have targets creating dashboards makes it useful.

Remember, it isn't easy, it usually needs refining over time and will need various types of people involved in the process. Once complete though the confidence you will have in your ideas should be extremely high.

]]> 0
How does mobile and desktop use vary through the day? [#DigitalInsights] Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:15:00 +0000 Our multi-device day from Smartphone to Desktop to Tablet

Technology dominates our lives night and day! Really - even when we're asleep, our mobile devices are monitoring some of us.

We thought we'd share this nice visual from comScore's recent research which summarises  when we are using tablets, PCS and mobile phones. Find out more by downloading Comscore's whitepaper for insights into Today's Digital Consumer.


In media we have always talked about 'dayparting' to target audiences at different times of the day - this research emphasises the need to use mobile to target audiences. Desktop only will no longer cut it! Likewise, when creating digital experiences we need to ensure adaptive website designs that work in different contexts from smartphone to desktop to tablet.

Of course, the media use curves above are a simplification, as this insight from the Ofcom digital media research shows. We have included this research from the 'Digital Natives' who are growing up with digital media since it paints a picture of future media use that business and brands will have to adapt to.

Day part digital media use mobile

While TV is used, the percentages of time are much lower than for previous generation and rivalled by Internet media

]]> 2
Marketing Fight Club Round 4 – B2C Tech product for NeuroOn [Video] Mon, 02 Mar 2015 16:45:00 +0000 Real-world examples of techniques to boost sales for a startup

NeuroOn gets an attractive sales pitch.

Welcome to Round 4 of Smart Insights' Marketing Fight Club, where you get 2 different expert opinions on the simplest way to boost sales for a real startup. Watch the video below to get simple tweaks that you can apply to your business today to improve your value message and increase conversions.

After you watch the video don't forget to vote for the winner of this round in the comments below, and share your thoughts on the strategies discussed. We'd love to hear your feedback!

Stepping into the ring today we have...

Aaron Ross - Author of Predictable Revenue vs Pete Z - Email sales specialist at

Aaron and I go head-to-head in this episode to boost sales for NeuroOn? a sleeping mask that measures and affects your quality of sleep.

We come up with bite-sized changes to NeuroOn's website that better communicate the value of their product, improve the clarity of their message and ultimately increase conversions.

Key lessons in this episode for improving NeuroOn's website

  • 1. Don't write for the wrong target market.
  • 2. Talk about the BENEFITS of your product rather than the FEATURES.
  • 3. Prove that your product works.
  • 4. Re-write your headlines to pack more punch.

You can apply these tweaks to your own business too!

Chat with us in the comments below:

Do you have any comments on the tweaks suggested in the video? Which of the tweaks do you think are likely to have the largest impact on sales?

]]> 2
The Perfect Retail Product Page Mon, 02 Mar 2015 12:58:00 +0000 A recommended wireframe and best practice examples for retail Product Details Pages

In part four of our review of best practices for different types of retail site pages we will cover the Product Details Page (PDP).  Of course, the product page template is an essential page in the conversion path and when visits are aggregated across all product pages, this often represents the largest chunk of total views or 'footfall' when viewed in analytics.

Product details pages are accessed both as part of a wider online purchasing journey, for example browsing a category page and then navigating through to specific product, such as campaign or landing pages.

It’s therefore important to understand the different user needs as not everyone who visits a Product page will be ready to buy, so the page also needs to provide as much relevant and useful information as possible.

Sometimes large catalogue retailers use more than one template design because optimisation teams test page layout variations for different product categories to determine which format works best.

Key ecommerce Product Details Page wireframe requirements

This template outlines the core elements for your PDP and again UX/UI design patterns can vary across sites, so it's designed as a good practice framework, to adapt to your business and audience's needs.

product page

Product Page example for Toys' R' Us

In our guide to Ecommerce design patterns we look at more examples, but here we just look at Toys' R' Us who have refined their pages over many years, both in the UK and US.

The example shows that they have a streamlined, content-light design. However, it’s surprising to see such limited content for the product. There is only 1 image, which makes the thumbnail irrelevant, and the product description fails to excite. We also think the placement of the 'Browse all Thomas the Tank Engine' merchandising link at the top of the page isn’t ideal as the focus here is on the current product and key details. It would be interesting to see if the web team has done placement testing and validated that this location drives the best click-through rate.

PDP page for Toys'R'Us


PDP page review for Toys'R'Us

Key requirements for a Product Details Page (PDP)

Some key questions to review covered in more detail in the guide.

Q1. How we defined and understood the goals for PDP?
Q2. Do we know who are core visitor groups and personas are?
Q3. Do we know what information each persona will need?
Q4. Have we got the required content to to answer key user questions?
Q5. Do we make it easy to access product information?
Q6. Have we made ' add to basket' easy to find and use?
Q7. Have we defined web analytics requirements?
Q8. Have we identified on page SEO content requirements?
Q9. Have we defined content personalisation requirements?
Q10. Have we defined a clear structure for the navigation elements?
Q11. Do we use personalisation techniques such as customer ratings to influence visitors?
Q12. Are we linking to relevant cross and up-sell product associations?
Q13. Can users add these products to the basket from the same page to avoid additional clicks?
Q14. Are we promoting our current product-level discount/promotion?
Q15. (Multi-channel only) Is it easy to to find our local stores and stock availabilty for the product being viewed?
Q16. (International only) Is it easy for users to select the store/currency for their local country?

Additional requirements to consider in your homepage

In the full guide for Smart Insights Expert members I go into much more detail on individual page elements and look at more examples of how these apply in practice from UK and US-based ecommerce sites.

]]> 0
How to define SMART marketing objectives Sun, 01 Mar 2015 09:50:29 +0000 From SMART to SMARTER marketing objectives

When identifying specific marketing objectives to support your long-term goals, it is common practice to apply the widely used SMART mnemonic. You will know that SMART is used to assess the suitability of objectives set to drive different strategies or the improvement of the full range of business processes.

One of the main reasons that we called our site and service SMART Insights is because we wanted to help marketers succeed through using a more structured approach to planning to give more realistic targets they could be more confident of achieving. Using SMART objectives and then measuring them through properly customised analytics reports is a big part of how we hope to help too.

With SMART objectives documented in Plans linking objectives to strategies and KPIs everyone is sure exactly what the target is, progress towards it can be quickly and regularly reviewed, for example through an Ecommerce dashboard and, if necessary, action can be taken to put the plan back on target.

How can SMART objectives help set realistic targets?

When setting future objectives for marketing such as in a marketing plan it’s useful to look hard at each measure and ask “is it essential?”. The SMART mnemonic helps as a test or filter which you can use to assess the quality of measures. My personal definition of SMART is:

  • Specific – Can the detail in the information sufficient to pinpoint problems or opportunities? Is the objective sufficiently detailed to measure real-world problems and opportunities?
  • Measurable – Can a quantitative or qualitative attribute be applied to create a metric?
  • Actionable – Can the information be used to improve performance? If the objective doesn’t change behaviour in staff to help them improve performance, there is little point in it!
  • Relevant – Can the information be applied to the specific problem faced by the marketer?
  • Time-bound – Can objectives be set for different time periods as targets to review against?

Of course different people interpret define SMART differently and you can refer to the Wikipedia definition of SMART marketing objectives.

Examples of SMART objectives

Here are some typical examples of SMART objectives, including those to support objective setting in customer acquisition, conversion and retention categories for digital marketing:

  • Digital channel contribution objective. Achieve 10% online revenue contribution within two years.
  • Acquisition objective. Acquire 50,000 new online customers this financial year at an average cost per acquisition (CPA) of £30 with an average profitability of £5.
  • Conversion objective. Increase the average order value of online sales to £42 per customer.
  • Engagement objective. Increase active customers purchasing at least once a quarter to 300,000 in a market (a hurdle rate metric)

Mistakes in setting objectives

It’s worth guarding against the mistake I sometimes see with student assignments where, rather than listing objective examples like those above, the student will create separate objectives under a heading of each of SMART - this doesn’t work… Better is to group objectives in a logical way, sometimes separating out overall business and marketing objectives and digital marketing objectives.

Another mistake to avoid is a big long list of objectives - yes I have seen a whole page of bullets with no structure... Instead group them logically in a way you would present them to colleagues. We recommend structuring them based on the RACE framework as show in this table aligning objectives to strategies and KPIs

The Ten Measures Design Tests

You can add to your tests of choosing the right objectives using these 10 measure design tests developed by performance management specialist Professor Andy Neely. For SMARTER metrics, ask these questions for your KPIs as you develop them.

  • 1. The truth test. Are we really measuring what we set out to measure?
  • 2. The focus test. Are we only measuring what we set out to measure?
  • 3. The relevancy test. Is it the right measure of the performance measure we want to track?
  • 4. The consistency test. Will the data always be collected in the same way whoever measures it?
  • 5. The access test. Is it easy to locate and capture the data needed to make the measurement?
  • 6. The clarity test. Is any ambiguity possible in interpreting the results?
  • 7. The so-what test. Can and will the data be acted upon, i.e. is it actionable?
  • 8. The timeliness test. Can the data be accessed rapidly and frequently enough for action?
  • 9. The cost test. Is the measure worth the cost of measurement?
  • 10. The gaming test. Is the measure likely to encourage undesirable or inappropriate behaviours?

These tests show there are additional filters on top of SMART are useful to choose the best measure, I particularly like the "So-what test, another way of explaining relevance and Gaming - a common issue with target setting that isn’t considered by SMART!

Alternative SMART objectives definitions

Finally, some have developed the SMARTER objectives definition that show the need to re-examine the relevance of SMART objectives through time:


This definition certainly shows the many alternative SMART objectives definitions - you may want to compare against these!

]]> 10
5 ways to encourage more data-driven decision making Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:33:09 +0000 Working with your HiPPO

Data / analytics can be both liberating and restrictive but the one thing it will always do and do well is ensure we remain commercially focused. I was at a clients HQ’s for the first time 2 weeks ago and this quote summarises my belief about business and why being commercially minded is fundamental to success: “We need freedom to shape our future; we need profit to remain free”. This quote is the one thing that can unite teams if understood and even help with the subject of my blog post. I spent a lot of my junior marketing days in data analysis tools like Omniture & Google helping to craft my story of how me / my team were performing and to show our contribution to the business, it rarely went as I expected in the early days, but I learnt and learned fast, here are 5 ways I found to help me that I still consider today when advising clients.


HiPPO’s are our greatest opportunity and at the same time often the the one we feel suppress us and growth. Before we get into the 5 ways to help things let me quickly explain HiPPOs to you. A HiPPO is the company’s (or teams) Highest Paid Person and the vowel on the end stands for their Opinions. While these opinions are based on valuable experience it doesn’t go to follow that they are always the best call. Teams need HiPPOS. They’re assertive, experienced and didn’t get to where they are without a substantial dose of skill.  They have a strong will to keep their team on track, motivate them, champion innovation and drive culture.  There is a reason that they have got to where they are.  At the end of the day they are paid to make decisions and the rest of the business is paid to make them happen.

We can however create environments where we are all happy and the company wins too (win-win-win).

1. Remember data isn’t always accurate

Most HiPPO’s are experienced businesses men or women and unfortunately will have seen wrong data after wrong data in various presentations as people have either made mistakes, the sources were inaccurate or presenters have exaggerated. The thing to bear in mind is that while the data is exciting to a lot of us, it is a HiPPO’s purpose to ensure that it isn’t misguiding decisions or strategies. Any data you display should have clear annotations as to where the data came from and how it was validated.

2. Don’t make collecting data complex

Tools are great but they don’t give us answers. It might feel like a good idea to utilise more than one tool to track things like web analytics but unfortunately its not true, pick one and stick with it, then at least you know you are always comparing apples with apples. By making things complex you will already make point one difficult and give yourself unnecessary choices to make when it comes to talking about data. Keep it simple and use specialised tools for specific requirements!

3. Always use comparisons

Competitor insights & Year on Year (YoY) comparisons are amazing ways to help give context to data. Remember not everyone that you speak to about data lives and breathes it so simple comparisons helping aiding discussions and gets people on the same page quickly. Your most powerful comparison however is performance against agreed objectives and performance indicators. At least if they were agreed as part of a plan they will already mean something to the HiPPO.  Other data comparisons or sources that are useful when taking to HiPPO’s include customer insights from surveys or A/B tests!

4. Tell a story, do not vomit data into PPT

We have all heard it before, “it's not a lot of work, just give me an overview”. There is very little truth in that saying, it is rare you can properly summarise something without first have got into the detail of it. You have to work hard to find the insights but it is worth the time, effort and devotion. As technology has advanced things do get faster and simpler but don’t under estimate good old elbow grease. Turning data into a story is not easy either, but you can find some tips on how to present your findings here. Ensuring that data is a regularly presented / displayed in appropriate so to get everyone used to seeing and using data! Final tip, never complete your data, insights & presentation in the same day, I would recommend significant breaks between each and even utilise other team members to check your work.

5. Find a common language and quick

It is easy to focus on ourselves, our own worries and stresses but lets not sit there and think we are the only one with problems and opportunities. Put yourself in the HiPPO’s shoes and think about what their pressures and concerns might be. The best thing you can do with HiPPO’s is ensure that you help them look better to their wider team or superiors depending on company setup. Orientate key outputs and actions around things you will know will help the HiPPO not yourself. Wen in the meeting remember to ask questions, keep an open mind and bring the HiPPO into the discussion don’t just talk at them!

Whether you a data analyst, and all round digital marketer, a team leader or company owner I wish you luck on your data story telling endeavours, hopefully the above helps you on your way!

]]> 0
How many businesses have a Digital Transformation progamme in place? Fri, 27 Feb 2015 08:40:00 +0000 One third of businesses are planning to introduce a Digital Transformation programme and one third already have

Our Digital Marketing 2015 research which Dave Chaffey presented this week at TFM&A (see summary report and slidedecks) revealed many challenges for how digital marketing is run in companies today. Problems included lack of focus on integrated strategy, testing and optimisation and structural issues like teams working in silos or lack of skills in integrated communications.

To counter these types of problems and so make the most of the opportunities for growing a business though digital marketing, many businesses are now putting a digital transformation programme in place. The chart shows how many are active in transformation.

Assessment_of_digitalmarketingDigitalTFMASmartInsights2015reportYou can see that over one quarter (30%) of businesses already have a transformation programme in place, with many businesses looking to launch their digital transformation programme imminently. A significant proportion of organisations have no intention to implement a programme, perhaps because they feel it is inappropriate for their type of business, for example, startups and smaller businesses or businesses who are online pureplays.

If you're considering launching a transformation programme, see our guide for Expert members to starting a Digital Transformation programme.

Download for members

]]> 0