Indispensable Marketer Power Processes
Let’s talk about your career as a marketer. Let’s talk about your power in an organization. Let’s talk about your ability to make things happen in a very real and salary-building way.
Marketing is seen as important by CEOs. However, the marketing department is often not seen as important.
We are too often seen as tactical teams working on strategic initiatives, but don’t own the strategy. Our skills are seen as commodities. Everyone with a word processor seems to know how to do marketing.
Marketers move in a valley between powers. They don’t have control of the products. They don’t have control over sales.
We are the soil and water (and fertilizer) that makes the grass grow, but at the end of the day, we’re not given credit for the grass.
The distinctions between a “typical” marketer and an indispensable marketer are subtle and huge.

Typical vs. Indispensable Marketers

The table is full of generalizations, of course. My aim is to describe a number of Power Processes that marketers can use to become indispensable.

Power Processes: Visible, Measurable, Repeatable

A power process has the following characteristics:

1. It has visible, demonstrable effects on the bottom line of a company.

Marketing success is too often relegated to graphs in the monthly marketing report. Power Processes are visible to the company, often creating problems in other areas when they work.

2. It is repeatable with consistent results.

Power processes are the things that can be relied on month after month to provide additional revenue and success.

3. It is measureable.

Marketers need to stop doing the things that don’t work. The success or failure of a Power Process should be obvious.

4. It provides a self-regulating learning curve.

A Power Process provides feedback as it is implemented. Learning happens in action. It is a more organic learning curve than can be provided by a campaign.

Power Process #1: Make the phone ring

In my MarketingLand column Marketing Power Processes: The Lord Of The Rings, I talk about making the phone ring. It fits the model of the Power Process.
1. Sales or customer support knows when the website is generating calls. You might create some problems for them!
2. It will deliver month after month.
3. It can be measured and quantified.
4. You will learn over time what calls to action make the phone ring more and more.
Read the article or listen to it here.


Brian and his Brain

Smart is sexy. Brains? Well maybe not.

While I think we look smashing in our lab coats, I can’t say that I’ve ever thought of what we do as “Sexy.” Conversion Science is exciting, challenging and perplexing, a perfect combination for the trained and curious person drawn to this kind of work.
But sexy?
Writing in The Harvard Business Review authors Thomas H. Davenport and D.J. Patil think that the Data Scientist is the “Sexiest Job of the 21st Century.” Hmmm.
Are Conversion Scientists actually Data Scientists? Yes, they are — with a few important differences.

We’re looking for more Conversion Scientists. Are you a candidate? Find out

The HBR calls them “high-ranking professionals with the training and curiosity to make discoveries in the world of big data.” I hate the phrase “big data” because it implies that mortal humans can’t get their heads around it. Trust me. We can.
The two terms are relatively new. The term “Data Scientist” has only been around since 2008 when it was coined by the analytics brainiacs at LinkedIn and Facebook. “Conversion Scientists” was coined in 2006 by yours truly.
There is no degree program for either one of these professions.
Like Data Scientists, Conversion Scientists are hard to come by and we hope you will kindly send us a note if you’ve seen one in the wild. We’re hiring.
Davenport and Patil nail it when they say:

What kind of person does all this? Think of him or her as a hybrid of data hacker, analyst, communicator, and trusted adviser. The combination is extremely powerful.
But we would say the dominant trait among data scientists is an intense curiosity—a desire to go beneath the surface of a problem, find the questions at its heart, and distill them into a very clear set of hypotheses that can be tested.
And while people without strong social skills might thrive in traditional data professions, data scientists must have such skills to be effective.

Oh yah. That is a Conversion Scientist.

The Differences

The authors of the HBR article state that “More than anything, what data scientists do is make discoveries while swimming in data.” This would not be sufficient for a Conversion Scientist. Sure we wade, snorkel and Slip ‘n’ Slide through data. But we must also create our own targeted data. This is most commonly done with testing.
We design creative tests for web pages, paid search campaigns, emails, and shopping carts.
It is important to both professions that we be able to communicate effectively. Discovering things is only helpful when those discoveries result in “new business directions.”
For the Conversion Scientist, these new business directions must head toward more leads and more revenue. We’re the capitalists of the Data Scientist community.
That’s basically how you afford your Conversion Scientists: They produce measurable upsides in business results.

Are You a Conversion Scientist?

Since there is no degree program, Conversion Scientists come from the worlds of search optimization, online advertising and performance marketing. They choose positions based on how interesting the data challenges they will be working with are and how much of an impact they will have.
Conversion Scientists are fascinated with the things we learn about human behavior through testing and analysis. So are businesses, as it turns out.
The authors also state that, “…the data scientists we’ve spoken with say they want to build things, not just give advice to a decision maker.” This is true of Conversion Scientists. They want to see the fruits of their labor, not just present reports on their discoveries.
Does this sound like you? Yes, we are looking for our next Conversion Scientist and this quiz will help both of us understand if there’s a fit.

Perhaps you can help me. It turns out that optimizing websites has “caught on” so to speak. There’s reason to believe that applying science to the “art” of creating effective websites is going to be a big thing.
Our business is certainly growing and profitable.
Now, we are ready to grow our development team.
Do you know a Web Developer who fits this very special profile? If so, please forward this to them or have them call me.
* They make online apps and websites dance like puppets on strings. They may say things like “Javascript”, “JQuery” and “CSS” and something about a train named “Ruby” that runs on rails.
* They like puzzles. They can become a bit obsessed with understanding how things work. They are curious.
* They work with data. They use words like “analytics”. You might tune out when they talk about analytics. Most people do.
* When you ask them why they are in such a good mood, they say that they found and fixed a tough bug. You may wonder if they are moonlighting as an exterminator.
* They plan for the future. They are always working on their skills, making themselves more valuable. You suspect that they should get out more.
* They deserve to be part of a profitable young company in Austin, Texas that is loved by its clients because we do what no other agency can do: We find more revenue in their websites, and we have the data to prove it.
My search isn’t going to be easy, but you may be the person who knows this individual. If you would be so kind as to pass this on to anyone fitting this description, they will thank you and I’ll reward you for your generosity.
We have just the place for them.
Please have them read our job description. It’s boring but helpful.
We are also looking for the next Conversion Scientist to lead our optimization efforts. They are even stranger, but very very valuable to us.
My direct contact information is below. I’m waiting.
Best regards,
Brian Massey, Conversion Scientist
Conversion Sciences LLC
Austin, Texas
P. S. I’m still waiting.

How to build a marketing database that keeps prospects engaged

It sounded like the perfect market:

  • A large and growing marketplace
  • A need so critical that it strikes at the very foundations of the family
  • Increasing competition for scarce supply
  • A marketplace actively using the Internet to solve the problem
How to build a marketing database that generates engagement.

JobCannon for Job Search.

Add to these the fact that existing solutions were failing miserably, and you’ve got a market ready for an effective online solution.

I’m describing the unemployed job seeker marketplace. Few marketplaces have the natural alignment of trends that this marketplace does. JobCannon (formerly CardboardResume) sought to create an online job search solution that actually worked, and build a business in the bargain.

First, let me disclose that JobCannon is a client of Conversion Sciences.

You might have thought that this would be an easy sell. We knew it wouldn’t be. We needed to keep skeptical, frugal job seekers engaged and informed. Here’s how we did it.

Before you read any further…

If you’re on Twitter, please visit and play along.

Building the Battery with Informational Marketing

Since no tag line was going to help JobCannon rise above the noise, and since new job seekers needed advice as much as the software, we lead with an informational approach.

JobCannon commissioned an eBook to help break job seekers of their job board habit. It turns out that spending hours a day on Monster and CareerBuilder was the least effective way to find work, especially in a crowded job market.

I wrote the eBook for them. My primary qualification was my fundamental inability to hold a job. Get your copy of The Market for Me.

A book blog was setup to catch job seekers searching the Internet. I began speaking at job clubs on to help seed the marketplace promoting the book heavily.

Charging the Battery

To receive the book, prospects provided a name and email address, and asked the prospect why they wanted to read the book. About 10% of the attendees to a live presentation requested a free copy.

Of the people who visited the book request page 30% completed the form. This is a relatively high conversion rate.

The presentation model was not easy to scale, as I could only speak so many times. But the pipeline proved that we could engage and educate an audience with informational marketing.

The book/blog strategy was proven when one of my presentations was featured on, an influential blog. It was subsequently picked up by Slideshare as a featured presentation. Over the space of three weeks, almost 30,000 people viewed the presentation. A link to the free eBook in the description drew viewers to our educational content.

This one presentation doubled the size of our email database. It charged our battery.

This is proof that high conversion rates amplify all of your online marketing efforts.

Tapping the Battery’s Energy

Informational posts generated for the blog became email newsletters that were sent to the book database.

This was an efficient battery. When we sent educational emails to the list, open rates were astronomical, between 77% and 98%. I’m usually ecstatic at 30% open rates. Click-through rates were as high as 22% and unsubscribe rates were near zero.

Because this market was bombarded by solutions to help them find work, we were dealing with a skeptical group. We found out it took as many as seven relevant contacts to generate a JobCannon trial: One reference from a friend, one presentation, one free eBook, and four informational emails.

Without our marketing battery, we would never have been able to generate the number of “touches” necessary to make prospects feel comfortable trying the software.

Like batteries marketing databases “lose charge” over time

As a rule of thumb, we assume that 25% of the contacts become invalid over the course of a year.

  • Prospects become customers
  • Email addresses change
  • Prospects choose to stop receiving email (opt-out)
  • Prospects choose alternative solutions
  • Prospects just stop paying attention to your emails

Many marketers drain their battery by sending promotional content. Discounts, feature-oriented posts and irrelevant information drain the battery very quickly.

In our case, many of our prospects find work, even though they’re not using JobCannon. Hopefully, they’ll continue to network and search for new opportunities even though they have found work.

Build your own battery with informational content

You may not have an eBook available, but your business generates informational content every month. Press releases, product descriptions, old blog posts, and sales presentations all can be transformed to charge your marketing batteries.

Join us on December 10 in Austin for BYOContent: The Extreme Conversion Makeover Workshop.

We’re going to transform a blog, a white paper, some video and an email newsletter into lead-generating and sales-generating tools.

Brian Massey, The Conversion Scientist

P. S. Get more conversion tips by subscribing to The Conversion Blog.