intended consequences podcast

Think you should be getting more from your digital marketing agencies? Find out how to work with, negotiate with and make your digital agency relationships more profitable.

We’ve trained our agencies to work against us.

The pitch meeting is the culprit.

The pitch meeting is when an agency comes to their client — or their client comes to them — and they present the creative that they’ve prepared. It may be well-researched creative, based on data both qualitative and quantitative.

During the pitch meeting, the agency asks a small group of people — company executives typically — to review, choose, modify or reject the creative. There are no clients in this meeting. The people in this room are supposed to represent the customer that the creative is designed for.

The people making these decisions may know their customers well, but this setting is designed to bring out our biases.

Agency Relationships with Garrett Mehrguth

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The personal preferences of each executive drives confirmation bias. The emotion of past wins and past failures drives availability bias. The love of cool designs drives novelty bias.

And the highest ranking executive in the room gets deferential treatment. I’m not sure if there is an official deference bias, but there should be.

The pitch meeting is a tough time for the agency. Regardless of what the research done, if the executives don’t like the creative, it puts the relationship at risk. So, the pitch meeting becomes about pleasing the client, not the client’s customers.

This is how failed campaigns get launched, how website redesigns reduce revenue, how agencies get canned for decisions made by this small group of executives.

The oppression of the pitch meeting can only be broken by the client. Or so I thought.

Garrett Mayer-goot runs an agency called Directive, and he’s taking some unusual approaches toward his client relationships. Today on Intended Consequences, we’ll learn how Garrett is using transparency, data, branding and hard decisions to help shape the culture of his clients.

He believes, as I do, that this is in the best interest of a clients’ customers, which will ultimately serve the brands we work with.

On today’s show we talk all about agency management – how to leverage the relationship, how to think about the relationship, and how content (the written word) is not dead – with the CEO of Directive Consulting.

Digital Agency Management Tip

There will be a moment that first re-shapes the pitch meeting dynamic.

For me it was when an agency gave me three mockups of a new design and asked me to choose the one I wanted to proceed with. I said, “I don’t know. Go collect some data and tell me which one I should pick.”

When you get back to the office, try a little experiment.

Pull up some of the creative that your agency or internal team has delivered. Instead of considering what you think of it, ask yourself, “How could the agency collect some data to help us make this better?”

If you listen to this podcast, you’ll be familiar with several tools that can be used.

In your next agency meeting, ask the question, “How could we collect some data that helps us get this right?” Their response may be unsatisfying at first, but you’ve taken the first step toward changing their focus, from your preferences back to your customers’ preferences.

Repeat after me: “Go get us some data to tell us what will work.”

They’ll probably call me, and that’s OK too.

Resources and links from the Podcast

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We explore how intelligent marketing technology stacks can help marketers manage their omni channel marketing strategy. Plus, the perils of walking the line between creativity and efficiency. And at the very end, the very own Brian Massey, gives a formula to start prioritizing our traffic-driving investments.

Digito Marketus:

This is a species of primate known generically as digital marketers. During the day, it’s natural habitat is tall square nests built for it, called offices. These are social animals that travel in groups called “departments.” They work alongside other species, such as Neandersales and Blockus ITeas.

This clever species forages through forests of audiences dining primarily on the fruit of the prospect tree, which they share with a symbiotic species, the Neandersales.

This species is known for working in places with scarce resources. They have evolved to flourish with very little. As such, they must be highly creative AND they must be efficient..

They are advanced enough to use tools that help them make fewer mistakes, giving them time for more creative pursuits.

If you’re listening to this podcast, you are either Digito Maketus or manage a department of them.

My guest today studies this species for a living. And — surprise — she actually is a member of the Digito Marketus.

Lindsay Tjepkema (Chep Ka MA), Director of Marketing for the Americas at Emarsys, is a marketer who markets to marketers.

Do you know "Digito Marketus" or are you one of them? Then listen to this podcast on how to walk the line between creativity and efficiency with marketing technology stacks for the omnichannel strategy.

Podcast: Digito Marketus is a species commonly known as “Digital Marketers”

Lindsay Tjepkema | Using Marketing Technology Stacks to Create Stacks of Cash

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Resources and links discussed:

On this episode of Intended Consequences, we come to understand how this fascinating species walks the line between creativity and efficiency, crayons and spreadsheets, design and databases.

We’ll talk about how she uses marketing technology stacks for the OmniChannel strategy to create stacks of cash.

We lure Digito Marketus out of its nest– using a trail pens, thumb drives and t-shirts emblazoned with corporate logos — and ask some important questions.

What is it that drives your creativity? What are the roots of your experience that lead you into this role? And how do you balance this creative desire with the need to be efficient and data-driven?

On every episode of this podcast, we give you one technique to challenge you as a marketer, manager or business owner. So, accept the challenge and take your business or practice to new heights. It’s at the very end of the podcast.

Intro to Marketing Technology Stacks for the OmniChannel Strategy

I think marketers really just need to know what what’s available to them and how how to use it so that they can be more successful.

During this podcast, I want to ask that you actively participate in this conversation. What I mean by that is – while I’m asking Lindsay questions, I want you to asking yourself those questions. For example, when it comes to marketing what does success mean for your organization?

And to dig even deeper, Lindsay and I go into this question of “why is it that marketers seem to struggle to get to that next to the next level of success? Are you struggling?

This conversation with Lindsay will start with me first asking how she measures success.

If you want to connect with Lindsay Tjepkema or Emarsys and Host of the Marketer + Machine podcast. You can check her out at emarsys dot com and her podcast.

We talked about knowing the value of a lead on this episode. If you sell stuff online, it’s easy to know how much a transaction is worth. But what if you generate leads or email list subscribers?

When you get back to the office (a formula to start prioritizing your traffic-driving investments)

When you get back to the office, try to put a dollar value on your leads or subscribers — even if you’re an eCommerce business, you must be using an email list.

THIS DOES NOT HAVE TO BE ACCURATE. What you want is a dollar value that you can use to prioritize what you’re investing in. It will require you to look in Analytics and possibly the customer relationship management system your sales team uses.

It’s basically, the revenue generated from your Website divided by the number of leads you generate.

It requires you to understand how many leads or subscribers you’re generating and then how much revenue you are getting from that.

Don’t let silos get in the way. When you don’t have real data, estimate.

At the end of the day, you’ll be able to say, “we generated 100 leads last month. That’s $2500 dollars in our pocket!

Alright scientists, that’s it for this week.

Heatmaps are just the first step to obtaining useful insights on your website visitors. Today we’ll find out how heatmaps helped increase prospective student inquiries by 20% for a University and have a chat with Andrew Michael of Hotjar. Find out what he has to say.

Andrew Michael | Understanding Your Users: Leveraging Tools to Grow Your Website

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Resources and links discussed

How Heatmaps Helped Increase Prospective Student Inquiries by 20%

We were looking at the heatmap report for the website of Northcentral University, a non-profit online university headquartered in Arizona.

Reading a heatmap report is like looking at a weather radar, but instead of blobs of green, red and yellow showing us where rain is falling around us, a heatmap report shows us where visitors are clicking on a web page.

And it was raining clicks in an unexpected spot on the NCU website.

Specifically, visitors were clicking on one of the fields in the middle of a form, and only on that field. Not the name field, not the email field. The majority of them weren’t completing the form.

So, why were visitors so interested in this one field?

It was an important question, as this form was the primary invitation to get more information on the University. It was on almost every page, ready to start a more in-depth conversation with any visitor.

The field visitors were clicking on was “program of interest”, a dropdown field that listed the degrees offered by NCU. It was meant as a way for prospective students to tell NCU which degree program they were interested in.

These prospective students were using it as an information source.

While the copy on the page was regaling visitors on the value of NCUs one-on-one learning, it’s 100% doctoral professors and it’s diversity, visitors were telling us that they had one question first.

Do you offer a degree program I’m interested in?

At least, this was the hypothesis. So we designed a test.

At the top of every page, we placed a dropdown menu that listed the university’s programs, just like that on the form. When a degree program was selected, we took them to the part of the site that described that degree program.

Half of NCUs visitors would see this dropdown. The other half would not. They’d have to use the dropdown in the form.

When we measured the results, the visitors who saw the dropdown in the page were 20% more likely to fill out the form completely, requesting information.

This indicated that the change would increase prospective student inquiries by 20%, a very significant improvement in the key metric for the site.

The current site offers a complete section designed to help visitors find a degree program they’re interested in.

This is something that we would not have been able to find any other way than through a heatmap report. It doesn’t show up in analytics. No one would have complained.

This is the power of a class of report called user intelligence reports.

Anyone who knows how to read rain chances from a weather radar can use this kind of report. More and more of us are doing this.

These reports are surprisingly easy to generate and the tools are inexpensive.

You can bring people to websites all day long but if it’s not optimized and it’s not user friendly and you’re going to lose all day and you just can end up throwing money down the drain.

Leading the way is a company called Hotjar. On today’s show we’re breaking down HotJar with Andrew Michael. A tool focused on helping you understand your users. Andrew got into marketing because he’s intrigued by psychology – understanding what drives people’s decisions.

An Insightful Chat with Andrew Michael from Hotjar

Time is precious for overburdened marketers. On this show, we seek to understand which tools are truly valuable, and which are just giving us “interesting” insights.

We install something like Hotjar on every one of our client sites when optimizing.

Tools like Hotjar are a part of what I call ‘the golden age of marketing’. These tools are continually evolving, getting easier to use and less expensive.

These are the tools that buy you more time to be creative, ground breaking and successful.

We start off the podcast talking about all of the things Hotjar brings to the table under a single subscription. Then we talk about the outcome of leveraging tools like this – how do they actually empower marketers serve their online prospects better?

Listen to the Podcast. It’s well worth it.

When You Get Back To The Office

I’m not a shill for Andrew. I just know these tools are a great value and easy to learn.

When you get back to the office, i recommend that you do a trial of Hotjar. Add it to your homepage, or one of your “money” pages where you ask visitors to take action. Setup a heatmap report on it.

Let it run for a few days, and then look at the scroll report. This report tells you how far visitors are scrolling on your page. This is one of the first things we look at when we start analyzing our clients’ sites.

Where is the report turning blue? This is the place on the page that visitors stop reading. Look in the blue area. What key content are they missing?

If more than half of your page is blue, you have a scroll problem. Visitors aren’t being engaged enough to get through your content.

Reasons for this include: false bottoms, where visitors think the page ends when it doesn’t. It can mean that your content isn’t engaging them enough high on the page. It can mean that you’re not handling a key objection.

Your strategies include moving key content to the top of the page, putting arrows, chevrons and “v”s on the page to tell visitors to keep going, or re-thinking the story you tell on this page.

Don’t be discouraged. This is progress! Next, share this report with your design team and see what they think.

This is how pages get better and businesses grow.

You can get all these links discussed on this week’s episode in our shownotes. One thing to remind you all of is that Hotjar is a freemium model so it’s one you can definitely

Alright scientists, that’s it for this week.

Andrew Michael | Understanding Your Users: Leveraging Tools to Grow Your Website

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Let’s see why knowing your customer is key to marketing and conversion success and from this insight you can begin to find opportunities for growth.

Valentin Radu is a businessman, a successful businessman, who believes knowing your customer is fundamental. He has built the first online car insurance company in Romania and sold it to within a few years.

So, if you’re Valentin, what do you do for an encore?

You build the tools you wish you had when you were building your business and offer them to other businesses so that they can be successful.

You can lead a horse to water, but he still won’t look good in a bikini.

Valentin Radu believes we spend too much time chasing new customers, when we should be spending our time and energy on our “true lovers”. Listen and see if you agree.

Knowing Your Customer with Valentin Radu

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Resources and Links Discussed

Key Takeaways

  1. The Human Biases Holding You Back. Learn more about human biases, how they work together, and why it impacts your role as a marketer.
  2. Gain Executive Buy-In. How do you know what made your customer buy to begin with? Who is your buyer? And when you get the answers to these questions – how do you get buy-in from leaders in the organization to make the pivots needed based on the data?
  3. Understanding What Drives. It’s important to know which calls to action tend to drive the most clicks, and which pages (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) are getting the most ad traffic.

It turns out that these exciting tools bump up against something less procedural, and more… human.

Imagine this: You are offered a magical machine that lets you read the thoughts of the people coming to your website. Not the personal stuff, just the stuff that applies to your business.

You can see how they solve problems. You can try different designs, different copy, different calls to action to see if they find it easier to buy. And you don’t have to redesign your website.

You can hear what they are trying to do and what is confusing them.

You can point them to the information they need at any time.

And the magic tools wouldn’t violate their privacy in any way.

You might be skeptical, of course. But would you be resistant to this?

The answer is, that you probably would be. This is human. There are a number of biases that all humans harbor. These biases — confirmation bias, availability bias, novelty bias, survivorship bias — work together to keep us doing what we’ve always done, even when we clearly need change.

Fortunately, humans are also social animals. Our biases can be up-ended by the behaviors of others. When we talk about using social signals to change human behavior, we are talking about Culture.

In a company, culture is a huge, powerful lever. This also makes it difficult to move, especially if you are not a leader in your company. You can feel like Sisyphus, pushing that bolder up the hill. Over and over agin.

The opportunity, however, is great. Marketing has always been about knowing your customer. We’ve never had access to more information about our customers. Will you be an agent of knowledge or will you remain mired in your biases?

Understanding Your Customers

When a visitor arrives on your site what is it that you want them to do? Well most marketers would say first, you want them to buy. And then you want them to come back.

This is the charge.

So how do we take our customers — our site visitors — and turn them into ‘true lovers’ as our guest today, Valentin Radu from Omniconvert calls them?

Getting them to buy and come back is the charge. But here’s the challenge.

How do you know what made your customer buy to begin with? Who is your buyer? How do you know the action they took when they first landed on your site? How do you get the freedom as a marketer to experiment, to look at the data, to understand the data in order to make decisions to increase conversions?

And when you get the answers to those questions, how do you get buy-in from leaders in the organization to make the pivots needed based on the data?

Knowing your customer is key to marketing and conversion success.

Knowing your customer is key to marketing and conversion success.

Experimenting with Your Marketing

These are the questions we explore in this episode. Experimenting with your marketing is the only way that you can truly know what is working. It’s the only way you can succeed. Marketing and status quo cannot go together. At least for my listeners.

You might be thinking, that all sounds great Brian, but how do I influence change to allow for more more experimentation and effect true company growth?

Omniconvert is a CRO tool that helps marketers increase conversion rates. From surveys to overlays – it’s a marketers sandbox. You can find out more by connecting with me or head on over to omniconvert dot com.

When you get back to the office.

When you get back to the office, I suggest that you start using a little data in your decision-making process. You can start with some data that is already “laying around.”

When was the last time you looked at what your PPC and Facebook ad team were doing? Many digital marketers don’t spend a lot of time with the advertising, but there are some real gems of growth here.

And most of us are doing some sort of advertising.

Call down to your ad team and ask them for a spreadsheet of all of the ads they’ve been running. Go back six months or even a year. Ask for the ad text, the number of impressions, the number of clicks, the cost per click and the link URL. This is easy for them to generate. If they can track conversions, definitely ask for conversions for each ad.

Then spend some time with this data. You’ll understand:

  • Which calls to action tend to drive the most clicks.
  • What pages are getting the most ad traffic. You’ll want to go and see how these pages are performing in analytics.
  • How many ads are sending traffic to the home page.

From this, you can begin to find opportunities for growth.

Are you using words like the best clicked ads? Are you sending good clicks to bad pages? And is there a better place to send traffic than the home page? The answer is yes, by the way.

Then share your findings with at least one other person.

You have just begun culture change. You radical, you.

Alright scientists, that’s it for this week.

Knowing Your Customer with Valentin Radu

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In this episode of Intended Consequences, we discover how to implement website surveys without affecting conversions and we evaluate some great tools to measure and analyze the gathered data.

Implementing website surveys is always a great idea. Unfortunately, if wrongly implemented, they may lower conversions. Our visitors may decide to respond to the survey and forget what they added to the shopping cart. Today, we’ll analyze the importance of well crafted website exit survey questions that will shield results. We will also share with you some AI-powered tools that can help you find out how to diagnose your webpages and get visitors past the obstacles that most of us unintentionally create.

Intended Consequences: Interview with Curtis Morris of Qualaroo

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Resources and Links Discussed

How to Implement Website Surveys without Affecting Conversions Key Takeaways

  1. Thank you page survey: Find out why this should be a part of every website that processes sales, subscriptions or registrations of any kind.
  2. What almost kept you from buying today?: In this episode, learn what’s more effective than Net Promoter scores or pre-sale feedback queries.
  3. “Liking” In Action: Curtis shows us when is the best time to ask someone to take desired action.
  4. Data Tools: Find out which tools to use that allow you to be more creative, all while gathering data to be effective.

An Interview with Curtis Morris of Qualaroo

Our guest, Curtis Morris formerly with Qualaroo

Curtis Morris formerly with Qualaroo

Qualaroo let’s you discover issues — good and bad — that are affecting your prospects and customers. It provides a business with the ability to ask website visitors questions, collect answers, and process high quantities of input. The tools uses sentiment analysis and AI-driven text recognition to summarize inputs from hundreds or thousands of participants.

There is no better focus group than your prospects and customers. Qualaroo keeps you in touch with them.

How Automatic Solved Their Sales Problem with a Website Exit Survey

The people at a company called Automatic had an idea. What if we created a device that would connect your smartphone to your car’s computer. The idea was great, but then they ran into a problem.

How do you get people to buy the more profitable version of your product? How do you get people to click on the things you want them to click on? How do you get them to

When you take any car built since 1996 to a mechanic, one of the first things they will do is plug your car into a computer. The mechanics computer will essentially ask your car what’s been going on.

This makes me think of Star Wars, when Han Solo tells C-3PO that he needs him to talk to the Millennium Falcon.

It turns out that there’s a lot that your car can tell the mechanic, most of it uninteresting to the mechanic.

When one of the many sensors around your car detects a problem — your oil is low, or your engine temperature is getting high — your car shows you a “check engine” light, as if you couldn’t handle the details.

But your car knows more. Much more.

You car knows how fast you’re accelerating. It nows how fast you’re slowing down. It knows if your airbags have been deployed. It knows the levels of all of the fluids, the pressure in the tires, even the quality of the emissions coming out the tailpipe.

For your mechanic, all of this information becomes available through a special port in your car, called the OBD-II port. They get an engine code from your car’s computer and can lookup the problem, probably online.

The people at a company called Automatic had a idea. What if we created a device that would plug into the port on your car, and connect your smartphone to your car’s computer. Then your pocket C-3PO could talk to your four wheeled Millennium Falcon, translating engine codes and much more.

It turns out that Automatic was on to something. Their device connected your car’s computer to your phone, and then their app tracked your trips, monitored your acceleration and deceleration — to help you save gas — and even connected to a variety of apps so you could expense travel miles and turn on your Nest thermostat when you pulled into the driveway.

How Implementing Website Exit Surveys Increased Conversions

In 2016 the company released a more advanced version of the product. Automatic Pro had its own always-on 3G connection. This meant that it didn’t need your smartphone to communicate with the internet. This opened up new opportunities.

Automatic Pro could alert someone if your airbags deployed, even if your phone was broken in an accident. If your car was stolen, you would know exactly where it is. The site touted “event-based apps” and “streaming apps” and “parking tracking.”

The old device was recast as Automatic Lite and sold online for $80 beside the Automatic Pro at $130.

And most people bought the Lite version.

This was a bit of a problem as the Lite version was a lower margin product. Why weren’t people buying the clearly superior Pro version of the product? Should Automatic just accept that car owners are cheap and adjust their expectations?

Fortunately, Conversion Sciences was working with them, and tackled this problem for them. Using our sophisticated scientific minds, we devised a strategy for finding out why buyers weren’t jumping on the Pro product. We asked them.

Whenever someone bought an Automatic Lite, we served up one question in a popup box: “Why didn’t you choose the Automatic Pro?”

Within two weeks, we had over 150 responses. And these responses were from people who had already been all the way through the purchase process. The popup had no negative effect on conversion, because it appeared AFTER THE SALE.

And it told us what was wrong.

After analyzing the responses, one comment really summed things up.

“I don’t think I need crash alert. I have apps that track where I park just fine, nor have I ever needed it. I don’t know what Live vehicle tracking means. I don’t know what event-based apps means. I don’t know what streaming apps mean, either.”

In short, the site wasn’t doing a good job of helping them choose the right solution for them. So they defaulted to the cheapest option. This is the classic problem of the Pricing Page. The job of the pricing page is not to show off all of the features. It’s to help the buyer choose the right plan, the right level or the right feature set.

By modifying the way the features were presented on Automatic’s pricing page, we were able to significantly increase the number of units sold overall, and increase sales of the profitable Automatic Pro as a percentage. This was proven with an AB split test.

Things were going well enough that Automatic was acquired by SiriusXM, the satellite radio people, for 100 million dollars.

This is the power of qualitative data. Qualitative data is that delicious, juicy input that comes directly from buyers, prospects and pretenders. It’s typically gathered in surveys, focus groups and polls. These can deliver quantitative data, but qualitative data is prized for its messiness. It helps us understand how people think about products, how they talk about their problems, and what really is important to them.

The downside of this kind of data is that it is harder to process. We had 150 responses to analyze for Automatic. Imagine if you got thousands a day. Every day.

These are the problems that Curtis Hill thinks about. He is CEO of Qualaroo, and believes, as I do, that quantitative data means nothing if it’s not supplemented with qualitative data. So, listen to the Podcast for all the juicy details on how to implement website surveys without affecting conversions.

Intended Consequences: Interview with Curtis Morris of Qualaroo

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Don’t miss the first episode of the first Podcast season, where we chat with Mouseflow, a user-behavior analytics tool and cover recordings, heatmaps, funnels. Plus, how to manage helicopter executives.

Collecting Qualitative Data on Your Visitors

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Resources and Links Discussed

Intended Consequences Podcast Season 1 Episode 1: Key Takeaways

  1. Exit Intent: Not sure what this means? You’ll learn about that and why it matters.
  2. What Happens When a Site Bug Goes Unchecked: You’ll hear stories on the impact a site bug can have on your website – and we’re talking a $1.2 million impact.
  3. Tips on Conversation with Executives: Gain knowledge and tips from Evan on how to have conversations with your marketing executives.

Excerpts from our Conversation with Mouseflow

Avoid the Bias

This stuff really fascinates me just because it’s a psychological. It’s diving into the minds of of your visitors. And one thing that I always encourage people to do when they’re using Mouseflow on their website is PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT go in with any bias. You have to be willing to test and identify ways that you can improve your form or specific parts of your Web site.

The Add-to-Cart Bug

This is going to have to remain anonymous, so I can’t share the company. But there is e-commerce store in America that uses Mouseflow and they were recording 100 percent of all visitors. So lots of data coming in. We’re talking millions and millions of sessions per month. And there was a pretty serious bug / error that was deployed live onto the Web site after they had finished a redesign. And Mouseflow picked it up. They had notifications set to send to one of their product marketers e-mails whenever a JavaScript error occurred.

All of the sudden at 2:00a.m. on Monday night their e-mail just starts getting absolutely blown up. It turned out that there was an Add to Cart button that was not working on about 40% of their product pages.

It was a huge huge error.

Mouseflow estimated it ended up being like $400K revenue loss. So, it ended up being a serious deal . And if that had gone further unnoticed, obviously this would have stretched into the millions of dollars.

Get ready, Marketers

“So I would I think that’s one of the most exciting things for a marketer who finally grabs this tool installs it, because they’re about to get the data they need to have a really really interesting meetings.”

Conversion Sciences Podcast with Mouseflow, a user-behavior analytics tool.

Conversion Sciences Podcast with Mouseflow, a user-behavior analytics tool.

Helicopter Executives

That executive who doesn’t feel comfortable with the work that a marketer has done, because that marketer doesn’t have any data, will come in and change things based on their experience with a customer their experience or their own preference.

In other words executives are coming in with all their biases and making changes to a campaign, and that’s really frustrating to a marketer marketing team who’s worked hard on a redesign, to have a sample size of one person come nin and upend those assumptions.

Celebrating Design

“But there’s something to be said for installing this tool before you launch a redesign, and then going in and celebrating, with heatmap and session recordings, where the redesign has really improved things. That’s going to get the design team and the UX team more interested in working with you.”

It’s going to make your boss look good because he or she shepherded this fantastic redesign. And then you can go and say here’s the next things we can be improving on.”