intended consequences podcast

How is Curiosity related to Creativity? What are the barriers to your curiosity? Find out how to spur the curiosity of yourself and your team.

Experimenters. You know the type.

As children, we call them “precocious”. They’re the ones who are always asking, “Why? Why? WHY?”

In middle school, they were sometimes called “mischievous,” seeming unable to resist finding out what would happen if…

In high school, they were called “nerds” because they seemed to obsess about the most unusual things.

As adults, they brew beer, collect anvils, travel, rebuild car engines, watch birds, and join fantasy sports leagues. They seek to understand the rules of some endeavor, and then figure out what happens if they break those rules.

Yes, this is pretty much everyone. In some area of our lives, we all find ourselves obsessing about how things work, why they work that way, and what we could do to make things better.

Unfortunately, the area of our lives that we spend the most time on isn’t the one we are most curious about: our work. How many experimenters do you work with — the kind of people that make you ask, “When did you have time to do that?”

If your answer wasn’t “I am that person,” I have to ask the question, “Why?” What has dampened your curiosity?

It turns out there are four factors that limit our curiosity. My guest, Dr. Diane Hamilton documents them in her book, “The Curiosity Code.” She evaluated me, and I was surprised at what I learned about the limits of MY curiosity.

The Relationship Between Curiosity and Creativity with Dr Diane Hamilton

The Relationship Between Curiosity and Creativity with Dr Diane Hamilton

Curiosity with Dr. Diane Hamilton

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Dr. Diane Hamilton is an expert in emotional intelligence and behavioral science. She is an author, radio host of “Take the Lead Radio,” and creator of the Curiosity Code Index – which we will dive into on today’s episode.

Curiosity is a topic that is at the core of everything marketers do. We’re all about experimenting, discovering data, and getting answers when it comes to website redesigns, launches, and campaigns.

More importantly, I think that curiosity is a doorway into the mystical peak experiences called “Flow.”.

So anything that limits my curiosity is something that needs to be addressed. Let’s find out what the four limiting factors are and how I scored on her evaluation.

We all start off curious.

When you get back to the office…

When do you feel it’s OK to put your work down and play? Or learn something new?

For me it’s often on Friday afternoons, when the deadlines are met, and things are winding down. I’ve gotten purposeful about tapping these natural times when the bonds of my mind relax, allowing me to follow my curiosity.

The other time for me is when I’m on a deadline. I allow myself to renegotiate a deadline if I’m learning something that will improve my performance long term.

When do you find yourself following rabbits down holes?

Do you feel guilty?

Does your team support it? Do they even know about it? Why not?

How could you configure your work world to indulge these moments of exploration?

I recommend you take Dr. Hamilton’s Curiosity Code Index and see what’s in your way.

An example of Brian Massey's Curiosity Code Index

An example of Brian Massey’s Curiosity Code Index

Resources and links from the Podcast

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Should you be stealing ideas from your competitors? Wouldn’t you like to know how their website is converting first? It turns out that you can, and Mike Roberts wants to make it cheap and easy.

Novelty Bias.

It is the tendency of new things to increase our interest in them. For a digital marketer, it means preferring one design over another because it is cool, interesting, or just new.

We are rapidly leaving what I call the era of the carousel. This was a period of time in which rotating carousels were added to the top of almost every business website on the planet.

One person did it. It was cool. Several more followed suite. Before long website templates made this a standard part of their designs.

And for many of you, it actually lowered conversion rates.

This is Novelty bias at work. It often involves stealing ideas from others without knowing if they work, simply because they are new or interesting.

We’ve always said you should “steal like a scientist” riffing on the title of Austin Kleon’s book “Steal like an Artist.”

This means testing any ideas you want to steal from your competitors or other sites.

But, what if you could just see the analytics of any of your competitors’ websites?

UPDATE: Nacho Analytics No Longer Available

In July of 2019, the data feed that powers Nacho Analytics became unavailable. As a result, the Nacho Analytics service is no longer available. Nonetheless, I hope you’ll enjoy my conversation with Mike Roberts.

Nacho Analytics with Mike Roberts

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Your online competitors are now exposed. Intended Consequences Podcast

Your online competitors are now exposed. Intended Consequences Podcast

Who is the most curious person you know?

I make a good living trafficking in curiosity, and it’s been on my mind for several episodes of this podcast, Intended Consequences now.

Tim Ash told us how to build a curious business (Listen).

Dr. Diane Hamilton tested me using her Curiosity Code Index (Listen). Would you be surprised to learn that my curiosity is quite suppressed?

But, who is the most curious person you know?

For me, the answer is Mike Roberts. Mike called me late last year and told me about a new product he was launching that would let me see the analytics of any website. Then he told me the name: “Nacho Analytics.” I’m sure I woke up babies all over the neighborhood.

I knew that companies would pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for this data. Mike wasn’t interested in this.

Mike is the Founder and CEO of SpyFu and Nacho Analytics. He is a digital marketing pirate, if you will. As I’m writing this, I realize he could be the “Dread Pirate Roberts” from “The Princess Bride.”

Find out why he’s pricing this so ANYONE can access it, and what Google said when they learned he was pumping his data into Google Analytics for easy access.

When you get back to the office:

If you’re afraid of Google Analytics, you are double handicapping yourself. Not will you not understand your own visitors, you’re missing out on understanding your biggest competitors’ businesses.

When you get back to the office…Subscribe to this podcast.

Because next time, I’m talking to Chris Mercer of My question to him is this: “How can anyone plug into Google Analytics? Where do we start?”

You’ll be surprised by some of his answers.

Resources and links from the Podcast

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Every business wants to know their customers better. Yet many businesses are inward looking. What has to change?

When you want to save a file in your favorite application, which icon do most apps offer up?

Why it’s the image of a 3.5″ floppy disc, of course.

The Save Icon is typically a 3.5" Floppy Disk. Find out why.

The Save Icon is typically a 3.5″ Floppy Disk

Why is it that the universal icon for saving a file is an image of a technology that breathed its last breath sometime in 2007? This is a technology that most users today have never even seen.

The reason is that Apple burned the 3.5″ floppy “Save” icon into our brains with the release of the Macintosh in 1998. Adobe, Microsoft and other software manufacturers followed suit.

By the time the 3.5″ floppy started being phased out just a few years later, the most primitive part of our brain had solidified this as the easiest to recognize icon when we didn’t want to lose our work.

Every time we clicked it, and got confirmation that our work was saved, we got a feeling of relief — and a squirt of dopamine. This cemented it in our mind and made it instantly available.

The image could have been a picture of a flying pig and we would still be using it today.

The save icon could have been a flying pig. Learn why this would work.

The save icon could have been a flying pig

Primal Brain with Tim Ash

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This is the behavior of our limbic brain, called “System 1” by Danny Kahnemann in the seminal book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. It’s been called our lizard brain and our monkey brain. It’s the knee-jerk decision maker, fight or flight.

My guest, Tim Ash, calls it the Primal Brain.

Why not something more intuitive? Like a file folder?

Or even a cloud?

Because, when our lizard brain doesn’t have a quick answer, it turns to our Executive brain. This part of our brain analyzes things to make decisions. And when this happens, it creates cognitive load.

This makes our applications harder to use and less satisfying.

We make few decisions with our Executive brain. It’s our Primal Brain — our emotional, fear-based brain — that gets the first shot.

So why are we using logic and rational thinking so much in our marketing?

Tim Ash started his career in the ‘interwebs’ back in 1995. He and I have a lot in common. For one, we both built web companies back in the ‘OG’ internet days.

On top of leading his CRO company SiteTuners, Tim is a digital marketing keynote speaker, founder of the Digital Growth Unleashed conference, and author of the book Landing Page Optimization. It’s still one of the first books I recommend to anyone who wants to get up on the learning curve when it comes to LPO….And back in the day, I learned quite a bit from it myself.

To begin to understand how our visitors think, Tim suggests we stop looking inside  our companies, and start looking outside.

Listen in as Tim explains why you should always work backwards when it comes to a redesign. Start with your end users. Understand your audience. Then build.

Warning: Tim doesn’t pull any punches.

Digital Growth Unleashed Conference

Las Vegas – June 17- 19

For more information, head over to

Intended Consequences listeners will receive 15 percent off your registration for the conference by using the code ST15 

Interview with Tim Ash: Which part of your visitors' brains makes the decisions. Listen to the podcast.

Interview with Tim Ash: Which part of your visitors’ brains makes the decisions.

When you get back to the office…

You team has data, insights into your visitors, prospects and customers. It’s time to let this data out into the open.

Invite your PPC team to talk about what ads work and which don’t.

Invite your email marketing team to talk about what subject lines are killing it and which are not.

Ask your sales department to tell you which customers buy the most, and which products are most popular.

This is the beginning of understanding your audience from THEIR point of view.

Resources and links from the Podcast

You can visit for more information on Tim’s new book and to join his pre-announcement mailing list.

Unleashing the Primal Brain by Tim Ash. Book coming soon. Make sure to bookmark this page..

Unleashing the Primal Brain by Tim Ash

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How do you bring a data-driven approach to your website redesign? BigCommerce hired Chris Nolan to do just that. Here’s how he used data to drive a Market-first redesign.

When we lose an employee to another company, I feel a mix of pride and saltiness. I’m proud that working here turns otherwise ordinary men and women into highly valuable data-driven performance marketers.

But I hate getting my employees poached.

In 2018, it was time for one of our employees to step into a bigger role. After working with us for years, Chris Nolan (not the Batman director) stepped into a big role in a company with Big in its name.

Chris was tapped to be the cornerstone hire for the growth team at BigCommerce. We miss him, but have enjoyed seeing how a Conversion Scientist takes on a big organization like BigCommerce.

His challenge is the same challenge that “woke” marketers are facing in every industry. How do I get an entrenched culture to adopt data and testing.

“Market-First” Strategies with Chris Nolan

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You might say that Chris jumped out of his lab coat and into the fire with BigCommerce, as they recently redesigned their entire site. There is no bigger challenge to a growth marketer than an “all in” redesign.

BigCommerce homepage before the website redesign

BigCommerce homepage before the website redesign.

BigCommerce homepage after the website redesign

BigCommerce homepage after the website redesign

I invited Chris to come onto the podcast to share the challenges and triumphs of a new hire nudging a culture from the bottom during a website relaunch.

Buckle up.

Chris is the Senior Growth Strategy Manager at BigCommerce. Businesses build their e-commerce websites on BigCommerce technology. They recently completed a website redesign.

Chris started his marketing journey because he had a passion for human behavior. This episode is jam-packed as he walks us through agency relationships, differentiating mobile from desktop sites and how to think ‘market-first’ to get the right site experience for your next redesign.

Self Care Tip

Championing change in an organization is a long journey, but the victories come all along the way. So, when you get back to the office, do something to take care of yourself. Book a massage. Put a meditation session on your calendar. Invite a close friend to your favorite restaurant. Get a jog or workout in.

These are scientifically proven ways we make ourselves better marketers, too.

Resources and links discussed

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What is the ultimate marketing technology stack? Join us in learning how to build a MarTech stack with Dan McGaw from Effin’ Amazing.

Dan McGaw sees the threads that connect customers to websites to campaigns to decision makers. We call these “MarTech stacks” and they are the hot topic in digital marketing these days.

We all have stacks. Email platforms, marketing automation systems, customer management systems, analytics databases… And then each of the services we work with adds to our marketing technology stacks — Facebook, Instagram and other social media, Google Ads, Amazon.

Most of our MarTech stacks come together piecemeal, one part at a time, independent and unintegrated. This means we spend hours drowning in spreadsheets as we try to answer simple questions, like, “Should I run that campaign again?” and “How many times do I have to touch my prospects before they buy?”

Fortunately, Dan is sitting down with me and I’m going to wrestle as many insights from his brain as possible. He knows all of the tools. And he doesn’t mind telling us how to build a MarTech stack.

Buckle in.

How to Build a MarTech Stack with Dan McGaw • Utilizing the Vice Framework for Marketing Stacks with Dan McGaw Intended Consequences Podcast. Click to listen to the mistakes marketers make in their stacks.

Utilizing the Vice Framework for Marketing Stacks with Dan McGaw Intended Consequences Podcast

On today’s show, we’re talking about the VICE Framework, what it means and how marketers can apply it as they experiment in their marketing teams. Dan McGaw from Effin’ Amazing will also tell you how to build a MarTech Stack to support the execution of your market strategy.

Let’s Dive into Building a Marketing Technology Stack

There’s a lot of talk about MarTech stacks at all levels. From email marketing, customer journey marketing automation, customer relationship management CRM, google analytics, tag management all the way through to search engine optimization or SEO tools.

There are dozens of options, dozens of choices and new interesting tools appear daily. This is the golden age of marketing.

Is there a common marketing technology stack that’s a good starter stack of tools that right now are best in class for most organizations? Or do you have to evaluate all the options and pick the right tool for an organization?

There’s definitely different tools and some are better suited for certain types of business. You have the all in one packages, which usually just do OK and most marketing operations can get away with that.

Think about a platform like HubSpot, HubSpot does everything. They do it about 60% well and about 40% not.

For most people 60% is good enough. For other companies, that’s not going to be enough. So we typically look at best of breed tools, MarTech stacks that pushes the limits of reality.

When you think about your normal SaaS company, there’s a plethora of options and you really need to focus on what is the outcome you’re trying to create and then start to research the different management tools that are out there.

How to Build a MarTech Stack with Dan McGaw

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What is the Ultimate Marketing Technology Stack?

The ultimate stack is what we recommend to all businesses that want to get started and be scalable and effective in their marketing efforts in the future.

So the big thing that companies need to understand now is this concept of customer data platforms or customer data infrastructures.

1. You need to be able to send your data to one source and that one source needs to distribute it to all of your other tools. That’s known as a CDI customer data infrastructure.

The three main players in that space are Segment, Metarouter and Mparticle. They are web tools which have client side libraries, JavaScript and then server side libraries that you can use. They also integrate with tools like Salesforce so they can consume data from Salesforce and pass it downstream to other tools.

That way you have one source to send your data to and then it’s distributed throughout the rest of the MarTech stack. And it becomes the hub of how data moves around.

2. The next thing you need to have is CEP or marketing automation tool like Marketo or Pardot’s marketing automation platforms.

3. The one tool that we recommend to everybody is a platform called Autopilot. Does email, text message, can send web hooks, other platforms integrated with Zappier, there’s direct mail and a text bot. But it really can work as a transactional system – where x happens and it immediately fires – or it can do a 16 day drip campaign.

3.a. If you’re a B2B, you need a CRM I would always recommend Salesforce.

4. And then your downstream analytics tools. Google Analytics is cool, but it doesn’t do enough. I recommend either Amplitude or Mixpanel.

That’s a primary marketing technology stack right there. So you have Segment, Autopilot and for B2B Salesforce. And then you have something like Amplitude or Mixpanel.

Tip for evaluating your Martech Stack

You’ve seen the bulletin boards in movies used by detectives to help solve a crime, covered in pictures and connected by strings tacked together.

Brian Massey front of his martech stack diagram. Click to discover how to build a MarTech stack.

Here’s my martech stack diagram.

You should do something like that.

When you get back to the office, bring to mind your most recent campaign. On a bulletin board, or whiteboard, draw the path of your prospects through the various systems in your stack all the way through to purchase.

Even if the systems aren’t in your control.

  • Draw green lines (or string) if you can track your prospects from one part of the stack to the next.
  • Draw red lines if you must manually move data, or if data is not available.

For us, the Marketing Scorecard is where we analyze all of the work we’ve done. There are several red lines leading into it. It’s in a spreadsheet and I manually enter data weekly to answer questions like, “How much is a new subscriber worth in dollars?” and “How has our new landing page changed acquisition cost?”

Then get to work on the red lines. Some of them are red simply because you’re not using the data. I rarely log into Sprout Social to see how our campaigns are driving new subscribers and leads.

Reach out to sales to see if you can get a regular report of sales. Figure out how to tie web campaigns to closed deals by passing campaign identifiers with form data.

Then listen to this podcast again. You’ll see Dan in a whole new light.

OK, scientists. That’s it for this week.

Links and Resources from the Podcast

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What is the role of data within a digital agency? Should you collect data if you’re redesigning a website? We discuss these issues on Intended Consequences.

When we redesign our website, we are given a rare opportunity to change the bones we build it on.

Imagine that your website is a doll. You start with a generic, human-shaped form and begin to turn it into something. You choose the clothes, the hats, the shoes, the shades for it. Some you buy. Some you make yourself.

Your website is similar. You rent server space from a host and drop a content management system on it. This is a generic website-shaped form that you can begin dressing. Lest you think you can do anything with this digital doll you’ve purchased, be careful.

You can’t put Barbie clothes on an American Girl doll. You can’t put GI Joe clothes on your Star Wars action figures. Likewise, the host you choose forms the bones of your site, and limits what you can make of it.

Data in Digital Design with David Vogelpohl

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And this is why we often find ourselves frustrated that our Mr. Potatohead host can’t deliver a chic Bratz website.

If you want your website to fit into WordPress clothes, my guest today has the host for you. WPEngine is a host dedicated to WordPress websites. David Vogelpohl is responsible for marketing these hosted services.

David Vogelpohl WPEngine Intended Consequences Podcast Featured Image

David Vogelpohl WPEngine Intended Consequences Podcast Featured Image

David is the VP of Web Strategy at WPEngine. This conversation builds off the conversation Joel and I had on the last episode about website redesigns.

I’ve known him for a long time. I knew him in a previous life when he founded and built a design agency here in Austin. I’ve spoken at the meetup he founded called AUSome. So it’s rather ingracious for David to come on my podcast and counter what we preach here about Website redesigns.

David says that data doesn’t really matter for him and his team when it comes to website redesigns. He says no matter what, an agency has to use data to show customers the results – and as an agency, you have to live with the good – and the bad. Listen in as he explains…

Data-driven Design Tip

We don’t always get to research our campaign and website designs. That’s just the way it is. But every launch is an experiment.

When you get back to the office, think back to some of the campaigns or web pages you launched. Take the time to drill in on how that effort performed. Not just the results graphs you presented to the team. Ask yourself what you can learn from it.

Did your emails have different open rates? The ones with higher open rates may have had more relevant subject lines.

That service description page you launched… is it a factor in getting more demo requests from your visitors? Analytics can tell you.

The change you made to your home page, did it reduce the scroll rate? Your heatmapping software can tell you.

If you don’t know the answers to any of the questions you have, you get to figure out how to collect that data next time, on the campaign or page design you’re doing right now.

You’ll gain some insights. But more importantly, you’ll learn how to learn from everything you do.

Then get back to work, scientists.

Resources and links discussed

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How is conversion optimization ensuring that website redesigns always deliver an improvement in performance? Brian Massey and Joel Harvey can tell you. And they do.

Poker is one of those games that, like digital marketing, requires a left-brain/right-brain approach. To begin with, good poker players know the percentages. They know that the two four’s in their hand gives them a 12% chance of winning in a typical game. That’s their left-brain, data-driven knowledge.

Then you add in all of the right-brain stuff. Emotion. Reading the other players’ faces. Controlling your own face. Tells. And past behaviors.

Yep, that’s digital marketing. But there’s one move that throws all of that out the window.

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You may have seen it in the World Series of Poker on TV, or in a James Bond movie. One player pushes his entire stack of chips into the center of the table and says, “All in”. What he’s saying is, if he loses this hand, he loses everything. All of the other players have to ask themselves, “WIll I match his entire stack?” or should I get out now.

Going all in smashes everything. It may mean that you’re ignoring the data in one big high-stakes bluff. Or it may mean that you’re trying to ratchet up the emotion, scaring the rest of the table into making a bad decision.

There is an equivalent to “going all in” in digital marketing as well. It’s called a website redesign.

This is one of the biggest budgeted projects a company will do. When someone throws a lot of money at the marketing department, it can be hard to resist.

Sure, it could have a huge impact on the financial prospects of the firm. It can also cause you to lose everything.

Poker players have one advantage over digital marketers when going all in: They can see their cards. They know their percentage. Digital marketers? Well, they have past performance from the current site..

But do they use it?

On today’s show, I’m pulling in Joel Harvey – Chief Operating Officer at Conversion Sciences. Joel’s role is to make sure we live up to our company motto: “Always deliver remarkable results.”

Check out our conversion-centered website redesign method that guarantees results in weeks, not months.

Joel and I are talking website redesigns today. And we’re going to tell you something that may blow your mind. Website redesigns don’t have to be an all or nothing hand. You don’t have to push all of your budget in and wait 3, or 6 or even 12 months later.

Listen to find out how we stack the odds in our favor, guaranteeing a winning hand.

  • The website redesign needs to be profitable – not pretty.
  • Users tell you what they think you want to hear.
  • Slow and steady wins the [website redesign] race.
  • Demand data.

When an agency comes to you and asks you to pick something, that’s an opportunity for you to say, “Wait a minute! You guys go off and collect some data and tell me which one of these is going to be victorious.” You shouldn’t be guessing. They shouldn’t be guessing.

Website Redesign Tip

The all-in approach isn’t just limited to website redesigns. Individual campaigns are usually all-in affairs as well.

When you get back to the office, open a spreadsheet and start writing out the assumptions that you’re making when designing that email, social media ad, or landing page.

You should quickly have a few dozen.

  • “We need to be clever in our headline”
  • “We need to have a picture on the page”
  • “We need icons on our website.”
  • “Video is required.”

Many of these may be well supported by past experience or best practices.

For each, you should ask, “Do I have a way of finding out if this assumption is a good one.”

You may be able to look at the performance of past pages. You may be able to see which email subject lines worked best in the past. You may create different versions of ads and see which delivers the best result.

Now you’re looking at your cards, and you’ll rarely win a hand if you don’t.

Resources and links discussed

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Let’s dive into a brand new online marketing concept: Contextualization. Thanks to AI and ML, we have come a long way from creating customer segments. To improve conversions, we also need to understand context. Read on.

I predicted years ago that my business would be using machine learning for much of what we do manually today.

When I talk to people like Olcan Sercinoglu, I know that day is coming. Olcan is the CEO at a company called Scale Inference. He studied and worked under Peter Norton from Google – the guys who wrote the book on Machine Learning – and has spent the last 25 years as a developer engineer. Scaled Inference focuses on applying machine learning to online user interactions, and to personalize their experiences in ways we could never do by ourselves..

If we can understand how machine learning is different, we can understand how our digital marketing will be changed in the near future.

And so my interest was, “OK, this is great, but how do we how do we build a platform that is useful to others?”

Olcan Sercinoglu | Why Context Matters

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From Segmentation to Contextualization: The New Way to Look at Marketing Key Takeaways

  1. Moore’s Law. Back in 1965, Gordon Moore predicted that we’d be able to fit twice as many transistors on a microchip every year. We are experiencing a golden age of tools – the tools are getting better, less expensive and getting easier to use.
  2. The future of AI marketing. Is it all about personalization? Are the metrics you’re optimizing for clear? And if not, can AI even work for you? Or how do we take all this data and make it matter?
  3. Contextualization. We are taking this idea of personalization and introducing you to a new term – contextualization. Everything you do as a marketer should flow from optimization. By understanding the metric first, then you can ideate and create based on the context that’s being emerged from the data.

How do we use AI to make us better marketers?

AI Optimization-Why context matters with Olcan Sercinoglu

AI Optimization-Why context matters with Olcan Sercinoglu

But at the end of the day or what companies actually want out of that saying there hasn’t been much progress. I think a lot of progress is going to happen as machine learning shifts towards metrics and these easier modes of integration.

Moore’s Law: As Valid Today as it was a Few Decades Ago

In 1965, a man named Gordon Moore made a bold prediction, a prediction that was expected to fail almost every year since. It is a prediction that helps to explain the dizzying speed with which our lives are being upended by new tech..

What Moore said in 1965 is that we’d be able to fit two times more transistors on a microchip every year, year after year. What this meant for the semiconductor industry is that microchips would get twice as fast and cost half as much to produce every single year.

This, they thought, was crazy talk.

A Grain of Rice and a Chessboard

Take a typical chess board. On the first square place a grain of rice. On the next square put two grains of rice. On the next square, four. And double the number of grains of rice on each subsequent square.

By the time you reach the final square, number 64, the amount of rice you would need would require the entire surface of the earth and its oceans to grow, 210 billion tons.

That’s the power of compounding.

Every few years, the skeptics declared that we had reached the end of our ability to shrink these tiny transistors any more. “It’s just not physically possible,” they said.

And every time, Moore’s prediction was proven more or less true.

Even today, as the wires that run across microchips approach the width of an atom, engineers find ways to make things half the size.

Do not miss: Can AI Marketing Tools Increase Your Website’s Conversion Rates?

Why should you care? As microchips shrink and drop in cost, so do the things we build with them. For example, the camera that is found in any laptop has a HD resolution and costs the manufacturer a few dollars. The cost of servers and storage space has plummeted as well. Hence, most of our computing and storage is done in the proverbial cloud.

All of this has created a golden age of technology — for consumers, for businesses, and especially for marketers. Entrepreneurs are using the cloud and cheap computing power to make digital marketing cheaper easier, and more predictable.

It is now more expensive to ignore the amazing data we can collect than it is to buckle down and put it to use.

While we’re sitting around wondering what to do with all of this data, entrepreneurs and engineers are using it teach machines to learn.

The Era of Neural Networks: Is the Future of AI marketing all about Personalization?

Neural networks are computer programs that work like human neurons. Like the human brain, they are designed to learn. Neural nets have been around for decades, but only in recent years have we had enough data to teach them anything useful.

Machine learning is lumped together with Artificial Intelligence, or AI, but it’s really much simpler than building an intelligent machine. If you have enough data, it’s relatively easy to teach a machine how to learn and to get insights from it.

In fact, machine learning is being used all around you and you probably don’t even know it.

In this episode, I am going to change the fundamental question you ask as a marketer. You will no longer ask, “Will this creative work for my audience?” You will ask, “Which people in my audience will this creative work for?”

And we’ll ask some more tactical questions.

  • How do we pull meaningful things out of our data in a reasonable amount of time.
  • So how do we understand the information that the machine pulls for us?
  • Are you optimizing for the right things? And if not, can machine learning even work for you?
  • How do we take all this data and make it matter?
  • How do we as marketers, become better at using the tools and resources available to us in the age of Moore’s law?

I start the conversation, asking Olcan, “Is the future of AI marketing all about personalization?”

From Segmentation to Contextualization: Focus on the Context that Your Visitors Arrive In

My favorite take away from my conversation with Oljan Sercinoglu is that context matters.

There is one big context that you don’t need machine learning to address: It is the context of your mobile visitors.

You may say that your website is responsive, and that you’ve already addressed the smartphone context. But, you haven’t.

Do you want proof? Check your analytics. You’re smartphone conversion rates are probably a half or a quarter of your desktop sites, even with that responsive design. I know this without looking at your analytics.

Mobile visitors are coming in a completely different context than desktop visitors. They don’t need a shrunk down version of your website. They need a different website.

Fortunately, you don’t need a machine learning program to identify these visitors. You can start personalizing your mobile site to deal with this new context.

Try this as a contextualization exercise: Reduce the number of fields on the mobile forms, or eliminate the forms altogether. Replace them with click-to-call. If you have an eCommerce site, make “Add to Cart” secondary and build your mobile subscriber list. Email is the life’s blood of eCommerce.

If your website is generating millions of visits, you may want to consider putting that data to work for you. Not every business is ready for machine learning, but you don’t want to be the last business in your market to start using it.

When You Get Back to the Office

When you get back to the office, I recommend that you share this episode of Intended Consequences with someone else in your company. It’ll make you look smart and forward thinking.

If not I have a challenge for you.

Here’s my challenge to you this week – start to really think about how you define success. Answer the question, “I’ve done a great job because…” and fill in the blank. Answer this questions three ways. everything you do as marketer should flow from optimization.

Then ask, how do I measure each of those with data I’m collecting today. Once you’re clear that it’s the idea that by understanding the metrics, first then you can begin to prioritize your data gathering and create based on the context that’s being emerged from the data.

Alright scientists, that’s it for this week.

Resources and links discussed

Olcan Sercinoglu | Why Context Matters

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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.

Managing agency relationships with Garrett Mehrguth on Intended Consequences podcast

Managing agency relationships with Garrett Mehrguth on Intended Consequences podcast

Garrett Mehrguth 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 omni channel marketing technology can help marketers better manage their 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 and specializes in successful omnichannel marketing.

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 Omni Channel Marketing Technology.

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

Lindsay Tjepkema | Using Marketing Technology to Create a Seamless Omnichannel Experience

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Resources and links discussed regarding marketing automation for omnichannel strategies:

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 the Omni Channel Marketing Technology in her multi channel marketing strategy to deliver user experiences that put the customer first.

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 customer 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 Omni Channel Marketing Technology

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

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 ask yourself those questions. For example, when it comes to omni channel 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 the next level of success? Are you struggling?

This conversation with Lindsay will start with me first asking how she measures success on her digital channels.

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? Are you creating an omnichannel considering your touch point personas?

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.