Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Digital Marketing Attribution

Digital Marketing Attribution
Digital Marketing Attribution

You've likely heard plenty about Big Data, and may be wondering what impact it can have on marketers and your world. There aremany ways people use (and misuse) the term, but for purposes of this column, let's say that Big Data is data that has the three “V” qualities:
1. Volume. There is a LOT of it.
2. Velocity. It is created, transmitted, and received at a very fast rate, like in real-time data sourcing.
3. Variety. It is multi-structured (not linear or easily aligned to a structured database format) and sourced from multiple customer interactions. This might include click-stream (website visits), behavioral insights, email, and SMS response data, social posts and tweets, and search keyword activity.
In essence, Big Data disrupts marketing. It upsets the normal “container” of marketing data, because the unstructured and multi-structured formats don't match the one-to-one relationship of data element with database field (the way that structured data works). It upsets the CRM paradigm because it's fluid, hard to sort and prioritize, and not always attributable to a specific person. It also disrupts the infrastructure cap ex budget. Big Data is just that: Big.
Gartner has reported that competitive advantage goes to those who tap into this disruption of data. There are plenty of opportunities that involve harnessing Big Data and making sense of it. At one level, it's important to just ask questions of the data. You can only make better decisions if you use the gems hidden in your vast data storehouses. Better, imagine what you could do if you could use all the data you have. And I mean: All. The. Data. That's pretty exciting. You'd be doing things like social community relationship analysis, persona-based segmentations, behavioral modeling, path to purchase analysis, real time offer management, multitouch attribution analysis, advertising and media analysis, and more.
Truthfully, it's an incredible opportunity, but it can be a frustrating challenge to get your arms around. Especially when you consider that any use of data also impacts the relationship you have with your customers and prospects. There can be a fine line between cool and creepy.
One area where marketers are optimizing their investments in Big Data analysis is in the area of digital marketing attribution, which is itself the first step to digital marketing optimization. Most attribution today is last click, more for the complexity in managing data than from marketer choice. But now that we're tapping big data, attribution analysis can track behavioral insights and better understand and serve customers who are interacting across an expanding universe of multiple channels, touchpoints, and data sources—everything from email to search, digital advertising, websites, and social media. The better we serve customers, the more we earn their trust—staying on the “cool” side and avoiding the “creepy.”
The volume and complexity of new data sources require advanced analytics beyond “last touch” or “last click” attribution. To make accurate budgeting decisions, marketers need to take into account multichannel, multitouch purchasing cycles. Consider two examples of how attribution could work for you:
  • A major online and offline retailer leverages Big Data to derive consumer insights that are deployed across channels. Instead of relying on sampling, customer intelligence is created from Big Data analysis. Customers benefit from more personalized experiences.
  • An online only retailer ties together click stream information with email logs, ad viewing information, and operational information to identify customer preferences and behavior—and how to optimize marketing spend. This includes parsing of Twitter feeds and sentiment analysis.  
Responsible data-driven marketers must think differently. Our customers expect it, and our markets demand it. Use this kind of early application of Big Data to improve your attribution models, and gain visibility into marketing activity to optimize the use of new channels and deliver remarkable customer experience across conversation points.
What is your story around attribution? Are you on a path to tap the disruption of data or are you sticking with last click attribution models?  Share your insights with us below.
 Stephanie Miller is VP of member relations and chief listening officer at the Direct Marketing Association. She is a relentless customer advocate and a champion for marketers creating memorable online experiences.  A digital marketing expert, she helps responsible data-driven marketers connect with the people, resources, and ideas they need to optimize response and revenue.

Marketing Obama & Co.,'s all the same to the President.
Voters,'s all the same to the President.
Republican political strategists have spent most of the time following Mitt Romney's defeat quibbling over whether the party should reinvent itself. Those in favor of an overhaul sound a lot like direct marketers. They talk about tuning into social media to rebrand their message for young voters. They call for a product redevelopment of their  immigration policy in an attempt to win back the Hispanic voters who had pulled the lever for George W. Bush.
We wish them luck, for while they try to piece together the busted ramparts of a once strong political apparatus, deciding whether to repaint it red or go with a shade of purple, whether to hire new pollsters or data scientists, whether to stick with emails or optimize for mobile, their conquerors are conducting business as usual. The election is a fading memory, the confetti's all gone from the inaugural ballrooms, but the Obama organization keeps on engaging its customers…er, supporters.
In early 2012 I signed up for emails from both the Obama and Romney campaigns. Aside from the day-after, riding off into the sunset email from Mitt and Ann, I have not received so much as a bumper-sticker clearance offer from the Republicans. Barack? It's like the election never ended. He and his people still have their lists, their website, and their email machine cranking. Obama & Co. remains a going concern.
On November 18, nearly two weeks after the election, I got an email from my constant inbox companion during the year, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, asking me to fill out a survey about my “campaign experience” and to help “shape our plans for the future.” Hmm. Post-campaign analysis and establishment of a continuing dialog with the customer. Pretty nice marketing. But to what end? There still is a two-term limit, isn't there?
Messina popped up in my Gmail again during inauguration week, declaring that the president was girding to tackle tough issues like immigration and gun control and was I on board? It asked me to hit a link and sign up for further communications. Then, just a couple of days ago, I got another note from Jim (I'm guessing we're on a first-name basis by now), laying out the President's stand on immigration and asking me to sign a petition to support it. But hold on a minute, there's something different about this email. Jimmy Boy now has a new title: the Chair of Organizing for Action.
Why give up a good thing? Now accomplished direct marketers, the White House crew is applying their skills in enlisting political capital (voice of the customer) to advance the President's agenda (new product initiatives). The campaign is dead; long live the campaign.
On the web, is still open for business and soliciting contributions, now to help settle campaign debts. Obama's site is run by Magento, an Ebay-owned e-commerce platform that also manages the sites of companies such as Nike, Lindt, Office Max, and Sierra Nevada. Yoo-hoo, Republicans! While you're deciding what you want to be when you grow up, Obama & Co. is still selling bumper stickers and accepting PayPal for donations. Oh, and growing a list that was already far superior to yours during the election (40 million names to 4 million, according to a campaign email analysis conducted by eDataSource).
Romney used the same company to manage his website, but not to the same effect, according to Magento's head of product management Jimmy Duvall. “Both candidates sent out very targeted email campaigns, but Obama's people did a few things better,” Duvall says. “They had a clear call-to-action with one-click purchasing, and they'd target offers--say, to a Democrat in California. They streamlined the purchasing and donating process and had a centralized backend inventory system. It was a sophisticated e-commerce operation.”
Operations are not likely to shut down soon at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue either. “You have information on years of a person's engagement, and that's absolutely what's going on with the new emails [from Messina],” Duvall says. “They're using common retail strategies. This person bought a poster; let's sell her an inaugural item. Forget exit polls, this is what actually happened. It will be interesting to see how Obama will parlay this information into the next election.”
Interesting, indeed. For even if Obama cannot marshal the gumption of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and finagle himself a third term, his list and his marketing machine surely position him as a kingmaker in 2016.
Maybe the Republicans should stop quibbling and just hire a good acquisitions advisor.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Starbucks Website Style Guide

5 Surprisingly Great Examples of Responsive Websites

Ethan Marcotte wrote the book (literally) on responsive design in 2010. Ethan wrote that:
The control which designers know in the print medium, and often desire in the web medium, is simply a function of the limitation of the printed page. We should embrace the fact that the web doesn’t have the same constraints, and design for this flexibility. But first, we must “accept the ebb and flow of things”.
Ethan was involved in project for the 2011 Boston Globe redesign, which was the first big site to adopt a responsive approach. But 2012 was the year where responsive design hit the mainstream. Here are 5 great examples of responsive websites, from companies you might not expect. Yes, Microsoft. The same company who brought us Internet Explorer 6 has a beautifully designed responsive website. The site looks glorious across all the common screen sizes (called breakpoints in the responsive design world). What makes Microsoft’s site especially nice is the widescreen design. The main hero image is 1600 pixels wide, much wider than most designers would have used in the past. Kudos for Microsoft for one of my favorite responsive redesigns in 2012.
General Electric. GE was founded in 1892 through a merger of Edison General Electric and the Thompson-Houston Electric Company, and has become of America’s best and most successful companies. GE recently launched a new, responsive design that looks great on desktops, tablets, and smartphones. GE also used a long page design, which nicely highlights the GE story and humanizes the brand. Moving a site with the complexity of Disney to a responsive design must have been quite a challenge. The end result was worth the investment, as the new looks fantastic - highlighting the rich, vivid imagery of the Disney universe. They’ve also integrated a slick video player directly inside of the responsive design, which sales up and down automatically.
State Governments of AlabamaCaliforniaMaineNorth Carolina, and Rhode Island. It’s great to see the public sector embrace the digital transformation and start thinking about mobile first. Responsive design is even making its way to the upper echelons of government. Governor Paul LaPage of Maine is thrilled with his state’s new responsive design, “Combining innovative design with user-friendly navigation, is a site for the people. It provides transparency and efficiency.” Really hoping to see more state and local governments embrace mobile and the importance of design in 2013.
Starbucks. It’s not surprising that Starbucks would implement a responsive design however, it is surprising, and cool, that they published their style guide online. The Starbucks style guide defines their responsive grid framework, regions, blocks, and more with great examples of each. If you’re a web developer thinking about responsive design, then you should definitely take a look at Starbuck’s site and style guide.
So those are five surprisingly great examples of responsive design. Let me know about your favorite sites in the comments. And to learn more about doing responsive design with Drupal, take a look at one of our on-demand webinars.

15 Metrics Every Marketing Manager Should Be Tracking

A marketer who is skilled at using data -- whether you're entry-level or a CMO -- is a powerful force. Having data at your side will help you make smart decisions, suggest fast changes when necessary, and find opportunities for different marketing channels and teams to work together. Who doesn't want that?

Quite often, however, even good marketers are in the business of only monitoring the basics: traffic and leads. But there's a substantial world beyond those important yet simple measurements. In fact, you can go much deeper into your data to see how certain marketing components are working together, learn what improvements can be made to better your marketing, and avoid some serious pitfalls before they happen. All you need is to have your marketing metrics list ready, and the tools to get started.

So to help you get started, here are some of the key marketing metrics and reports you should be analyzing if you're looking to advance your marketing game. It'll help you strengthen your analytical tool belt, and run marketing programs that work smarter -- not harder -- for your business. You ready? Let's go.

Goal Setting and Progress Tracking 

The first few sets of metrics and measuring methods are to help you (you fearless marketer, you), stay ahead of your lead generation goals so you can have a solid month.

1) Leads Waterfall

Wouldn't it be great if you knew at the start of every day if you were on track to meet your leads goals for the month? Well that's exactly what a leads waterfall graph is for! This chart helps you guide your progress by visualizing what you need to achieve on a day by day basis. As your month progresses, plot what you actually achieve each day to compare your results to your goal. Now you can catch yourself when you're falling behind the first day it happens, so you can react quickly to pick up the pace. If you're a HubSpot customer (in fact, with closed-loop marketing software all of the metrics recommended in this post will be much simpler to get), you can simply input your numbers into the software to get a graph like this that automatically updates:

HubSpot Lead Waterfall

If you're not using HubSpot software, you can still keep track of this number using Excel. We've written a blog post that tells you how, which you can read here.

2) Traffic Waterfall

The same concept as above can be used for traffic, which is important if you hope to achieve a particular leads goal. Use a waterfall to monitor your traffic growth closely. Again, if you fall behind, you can act quickly, perhaps by creating content that will draw more readers in at a faster rate.

3) Average Lead Close Rate

Do you know the average rate at which your leads close? You should track this often, I recommend on a monthly basis. Why is this number helpful? It will help you monitor the quality of your leads at any given time. If it's high, you're attracting high-quality potential business. If that close rate drops, you might not be attracting the right people.

4) Average Leads Per Business Day Month Over Month Growth

Lots of marketers track month over month growth, but fewer track lead per business day month over month growth. So how is that different, and why might that be important? Well, not every month is the same length! In other words, this metric helps you measure growth more fairly by drilling down to how much you can produce in a single business day.
For example, if you generated 300 leads in January, and your boss tells you to maintain that same about of lead generation in February, could you relax that month? Unfortunately no -- that actually requires 15% growth in average leads per business day in order to maintain 300 leads. In other words, you need to achieve the same results in 19 days as you did with 22.

Channel Effectiveness 

This next section is to help us ensure we're closely monitoring how well each specific channel is performing. A channel in this case (no, not ESPN) is a lead source. So "social media," for example, is a channel just like "SEO" is a channel. By separating these channels individually, you can get some really interesting insights into which are working best for your business, so you know if you're investing in the right sources. 

5) Month-to-Date (MTD) Goal Per Channel

How closely are you measuring the growth and progress of each of channel? For example, are you on a mission to scale social media as a lead generation channel? Or maybe email marketing? Let's say you set a goal to generate 100 leads via social media in March. By using your handy dandy leads per business day metric, you can set daily goals to help you there. This is a numerical-only version of the waterfall chart above, but it could also easily be graphed to help you have a visual representation.
This metric is also a great tool to incentivize, say, your blog team to hit a lead goal for their own channel. Now it's easier for them to do it, because they can actively track their daily progress. 

6) Close Rate Per Channel

Every marketer should understand what channels work best for their business from a customer acquisition standpoint. Maybe SEO is your best volume-producing lead generation channel for your business, and social media is one of your smallest. Well, regardless of lead volume, it's possible that social is driving more customers for your business! How, you might wonder? Perhaps the close rate of leads generated via social media is significantly higher than leads generated via SEO ... so much so that SEO's volume isn't enough to make up the difference. That high close rate is also a very strong indicator of the quality of those leads coming from that channel. In other words, do more on that channel! It's your sweet spot.

7) Paid vs. Organic Lead Percentage

Lots of marketers group their channel analysis into larger buckets -- for example, "paid" and "organic" might be separated for analysis. The paid bucket is any marketing that you spend money on (aside from employee time), like social advertising, sponsored newsletters, etc. Organic is the opposite; it's all leads that you generate without cost other than your team's time. Blogging, SEO, social media, and email marketing fall into that bucket.
So if you're a marketing director using both of these "types" of lead generation, you probably want to keep a close watch on how much of your leads are coming from one bucket over the other. You might also set a goal to decrease paid channels as a lead source over time. Measure what percentage of your leads come from each bucket to get a sense for how your organic efforts are working for you, and if you are scaling to reduce your dependency on advertising.

Content Effectiveness 

How do you measure the impact of a blog post? Or an ebook? How do you know if the effort and time you put into that piece of content ... well ... paid off? Measuring the impact of content is a tricky, tricky skill, but it can absolutely be done. Below are a handful of wonderful metrics to let you know if the stuff you're making is paying off. 

8) Leads Generated Per Offer

One great use of content, particularly premium or long-form content, is to gate it behind a landing page to encourage your visitors to fill out a form. That content is often called an offer, because it's what you are offering on that landing page. But how do you know if that offer was worth creating? Simple! By tracking how many people filled out that particular form on the offer's landing page. Now that you have that number, how does that lead volume compare to other offers of yours? Knowing that will help you determine how effective different types of offer content are to your marketing efforts.

9) Landing Page New Contacts Rate

So we're all comfortable with landing page submission rate, or the rate at which landing page visitors fill out your landing page form. But how can you differentiate your repeat form-fillers from your newcomers? Well, new contacts rate is a great place to start! This metric is a wonderful tool to let you know the percentage of new people you're attracting to your business. In other words, what is the rate at which new contacts only are filling out your form? This is a much better gauge of whether your content is helping you attract a new audience that you can do business with. 

HubSpot new contacts rate

10) Call-to-Action Clickthrough Rate

Let's step back for a moment ...  how do potential leads get to your landing pages again? Ah yes! Calls-to-action (CTAs)! You know, those little mini "ads" for your best content on your website that guide people to the content on your landing pages. By monitoring your call-to-action clickthrough rate, or the rate at which people visit a page and then click on the page's CTA, you'll be able to understand how valuable that offer is to incoming traffic.
It's also important to note that sometimes, a CTA's performance can be optimized simply by updating the CTA itself. So it's wise to test CTA variations like color, text, and position before you decide to change your entire content strategy.

11) Traffic-Driving Keywords

Here's a hat-tip to the marketers who love SEO. Another way to evaluate if your content creation is impacting your business is by tracking how well relevant keywords related to your business are performing in search.
But wait -- we don't necessarily care about rank. This metric evaluates keyword performance based on the traffic that's coming to your content via those keywords. Now what should you do with this information? If you have many traffic-producing keywords, you've done a great job creating a piece of content that has received significant links and shares, helping it perform better in search engines. Create similar and even stronger content to help your goals. 

Marketing Qualified Leads 

Say what now? For those of you who are not measuring qualified leads (MQLs), or have not defined what a marketing qualified lead is for your business, here's the short answer: a marketing qualified lead is a lead that is ready to be rotated to Sales. There could be many ways to determine which leads are MQLs. Your company might decide a lead is marketing qualified after it takes a certain combination of actions -- like filling out a form, visiting your website five times, and visiting your product page. Or you might decide that a lead is an MQL once it requests a demo. It's up to you. The purpose is to know what leads are the most sales-ready so you are passing on the hottest ones to your sales team. Now let's measure them. 

12) Total MQLs Per Month

Now that we understand what MQLs are, this is easy! How many of these MQLs are you generating month over month? Is it increasing? (That'd be nice.) This is a good metric to know if you're helping your leads get to the "marketing qualified" stage via nurturing and more sales-driven content. You could also look at this metric more closely by evaluating average MQLs per business day.

13) MQLs Per Channel

It would also be great to know if a particular channel is a strong source of MQLs for your business. How many MQLs do you get from your blog versus email marketing? Maybe you'll learn that one channel is a better source for generating newer leads who are still getting to know your business, but another is great for nurturing to the MQL stage. This metric would help you determine that.

14) Percent Leads That Are MQLs

Are more leads being nurtured into MQLs over time? Or is your business struggling to nurture your leads into MQLS? By monitoring what percentage of your leads are MQLs over any given time, you'll be able to understand how well MQL generation is working compared to lead generation. This is another great metric to track month over month. Ideally, the MQL percentage would grow over time while overall lead volume is increasing. That's the dream, baby!

15) MQL Conversion Rate Per Offer

This metric is your tool to measure both MQL conversion and content effectiveness. Say what? Let's back up. Ideally, after someone converts on an offer's landing page, you'd then guide that person through the steps that would (hopefully) turn them into an MQL. So in the event that anyone who requests, say, a free demo is an MQL for your business, you'd want to guide your new lead to a form that lets them request a free demo.
Now that we understand that, let's dig into this "MQL conversion rate per offer" metric. This metric tells you at what rate a person becomes an MQL, per offer. So if 20% of leads became an MQL after attending your webinar, but 10% of leads became an MQL after downloading your ebook, you would say the webinar has a higher MQL conversion rate. How is this helpful? Over time, you can learn what content is the best tee-up for a strong MQL opportunity. 
Metrics make the marketing world go round, and there are more excellent ones to look at outside of the ones presented on this list. So share what metrics you measure in the comments, and keep sharpening your analytical chops so you can make the smartest decisions possible for your business.
Love marketing analytics yourself? What are your favorite marketing metrics to follow?

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI Resignation Speech

Dear Brothers, 

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. 

However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.
For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is. 
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer. 
...and a rendering of the response (given from handwritten notes) by the Cardinal-Dean Angelo Sodano – the controversial figure who'll preside over the interregnum... yet, being ineligible to vote at 85, not the coming Conclave:
Your Holiness, beloved and revered Successor of Peter,
Your moving message has resounded in this room like a lightning bolt in a calm sky.

We've listened to you with a sense of shock, rather in total disbelief. In your words we noticed the great affection that you have always had for the Holy Church of God, for this Church that you have loved so much. 

Allow me to tell you, in the name of this apostolic cenacle - the College of Cardinals - in the name of your dear collaborators, let me tell you that we are closer to you than ever before, just as we have been in these eight luminous years of your pontificate.
On 19 April 2005, if I remember right, at the end of the Conclave I asked you, with trembling voice after all our years together, "Do you accept your canonical election as Supreme Pontiff?" And you did not take long - albeit with trepidation - to respond by saying that you accepted with trust in the Lord and in the maternal intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church.
With Mary, that day you gave your "yes," and so began your luminous pontificate with the plow of continuity, that continuity of which you have spoken to us so often in the history of the Church – continuity with your 265 predecessors in the Chair of Peter, in the course of two thousand years of history, from the Apostle Peter, humble fisherman of Galilee, right through to the great popes of the last century, from St. Pius X to Blessed John Paul II.
Holy Father, before February 28 – the day which, as you have said, you seek to put the word 'fine' [the end] over your service as pontiff, one given with so much love, with humility – before February 28, we will have a way to better express our feelings, so will many pastors and faithful throughout the world, as will so many people of good will along with the authorities of many countries. In this month to come, too, we will have the joy of hearing your shepherd's voice on Ash Wednesday, then on Thursday, with the clergy of Rome, in the Angelus of these Sundays, at the Wednesday audiences; there will thus be many opportunities still to hear your fatherly voice....
Even beyond these, your mission will continue onward: you have said that you will always be close to us with your witness and your prayers. Sure as the stars in the sky always continue to shine, so the star of your pontificate will always shine in our midst.
We are close to you, Holy Father – bless us.