marketing trends

Toddlers have tablets built just for them, and elementary school kids have iPads and phones. Being connected is a way of life now, and that connectedness is starting at earlier and earlier ages.
Where did it begin? With the Millennials – that 18-34 age group that, now in adulthood, is the first generation to have had some type of device in its hands from a very young age. And for each new device and technology, they adapt almost seamlessly. Within the Millennial generation, we find “Generation C”, so called becuse of its impact on consumer culture. It consumes very differently. Anyone who has been involved in CRO already knows this, if only by experience.

What Do We Already Know About Generation C?

New research on the Millennial Generation

New research on the Millennial Generation


The research has been done, and the results are in. Sociologists, psychologists, and anthropologists have done the work for content marketers who are attempting to learn about this generation. Here are 15 critical pieces of information:

        

  1. Millennials can do virtually anything with their phones other than eat, sleep and have sex. PCs are dinosaurs, but tablets and laptops are okay for certain purposes (coursework research and assignments, some product and service researching, preparing reports, graphics, and slide shares, etc.).
  2.     

  3. They do not use email or IM much.
  4.     

  5. Their preferred social media is still Facebook (62%) and YouTube. Twitter is becoming a bit more popular, but Pinterest is a big “no”.
  6.     

  7. The preferred method of communication is texting.
  8.     

  9. In 2014, they were responsible for $500 billion in Internet sales.
  10.     

  11. By 2025, they will be 75% of the workforce in the U.S.
  12.     

  13. They will not do business with anyone they do not fully trust or who is not recommended by others in their “communities”.
  14.     

  15. They covet mobility – they are marrying later, deferring starting families, renting rather than owning, and think nothing about changing jobs every year and a half.
  16.     

  17. They will not be “pushed” into conversions by “hard sells”.
  18.     

  19. Social life, family and time to enjoy both is just as important as their work, and they will sacrifice high income for quality leisure time.
  20.     

  21. They demand social responsibility on the part of companies with which they do business.
  22.     

  23. They want to be evaluated on the quality of work they produce not on the number of hours they are physically present in an office.
  24.     

  25. Trust and relationships are most highly valued in their personal, professional, and their purchasing lives.
  26.     

  27. They want to be engaged, entertained and feel a part of any business with whom they do business.
  28.     

  29. They are savvy consumers who recognize sales pitches and disingenuous, unauthentic tactics.

What This Means for CRO

There are great opportunities here. If marketing is done right, a business can have the loyalty of a customer and that customer’s entire community
There are also great risks. If marketing is done wrong, a business has lost a customer and his/her community forever. It’s hard to recoup from these mistakes.

The Four Cs

You’ve probably heard about The Four Cs of Marketing. There may be slight variations on each of the four, but the message is still consistent. Just as a reminder:

        

  1. You have to create content specifically for Millennials that will be shared and, ideally go viral.
  2.     

  3. You have to connect on an emotional level. Knowing that Millennials value relationships and have strong demand for trust, your campaigns must honor these two things.
  4.     

  5. You must communicate regularly where they are online.
  6.     

  7. You must convert very carefully and gradually. Relationships and trust take time, but the payoff is big in the long run.

Millennials may be a new type of consumer, but The Four Cs still apply. Keeping them in mind, here are five practical applications based upon what we know about Generation C and the fact that you want conversions.
[sitepromo]

1. Millennials thrive when engaged with online communities.

They want to be engaged and you want to be a part of their communities.
To Do:

        

  1. Be where they are – Facebook and YouTube
  2.     

  3. Have conversations with them often and regularly
  4.     

  5. Comment on their comments
  6.     

  7. Invite them to participate in your business.

Example:
One of the best examples of a business that does all of this really well is ModCloth. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it was founded by a husband and wife team who are themselves Millennials. ModCloth is a women’s fashion retailer that has this whole “engagement” thing down.

        

  1. They went and still do go where Millennial women hang out – Facebook and YouTube.
  2.     

  3. They got their potential customers engaged right away, asking them to “vote” on clothing items they were considering carrying.
  4.     

  5. They established a “style gallery” on their site and their Facebook page that features actual customers “modeling” their clothing. The photos are all submitted by happy purchasers, and others are encouraged to comment on the clothing items and to engage in conversations with each other. Look at their Facebook page:

If you visit ModCloths' Facebook page, you will see all kinds of comments, suggestions, and conversations about this clothing and how great everyone looks!

If you visit ModCloths’ Facebook page, you will see all kinds of comments, suggestions, and conversations about this clothing and how great everyone looks!


ModCloth must be doing something right – its sales topped $100 million last year.

2. Millennials want to be entertained, shocked, and schooled in unique ways.

They will share content with their communities that meets these criteria. They want to generate comments and conversations about what they share.
To Do:

        

  1. Give them plenty to share on a regular basis – stories, contests, photos/videos
  2.     

  3. Give them offers to redeem on your site or at your brick and mortar establishment
  4.     

  5. Invite comments, conversations and submissions

Example:
Jack Daniel’s has been around for a long time and has found ways to market to every generation, Millennials included. Understanding the need for Millennials to be involved and engaged and to share great stuff, they regularly launch new ways for them to participate and share those participations.

        

  1. There is an ongoing microsite to which users can submit really weird and strange bar stories, read others’ submissions, comment, engage in conversations, and, of course share.
Bar Stories from Jack Daniel's shares real-life bar stories that are worth sharing

BarStories.JackDaniels.com features real-life bar stories that are worth sharing

        

  1. Another more recent addition is “The Few and Far Between” contest for users to submit pictures of really weird bars. The winning entry will have that bar featured in a Jack Daniel’s commercial.
  2.     

  3. Still another recent participative activity is the “Crack the Jack Daniel’s Safe” lottery. Scratch-offs are delivered to bars along with bottles of Jack. A customer may order a drink made with JD whiskey and then ask the bartender for a ticket. Prizes include posters, hats, and other branded swag.

Jack Daniel’s fully intends to be a popular whiskey with the Millennials and will engage in those content marketing strategies that do just that.

3. They don’t want to spend a lot of time doing research.

They want to go quickly to a business with a lot of positive “buzz” around it and/or that has been recommended within their communities.
To Do:

        

  1. Share who you are; tell your story. The founders of ModCloth spent a lot of time doing this and it paid off soundly.
  2.     

  3. Become a member of their communities by being an “expert” who can give advice and recommendations through social media and through blog posts. Put teasers to those posts on Facebook with a link back to your blog when you have good, new content to share about something they have been discussing.
  4.     

  5. Don’t push them into your sales funnel with offers like email subscriptions – they could not care less. And use CTA buttons sparingly on your blog. They are a big turnoff. Do put share buttons on all of your posts. Just coming to your blog and sharing is a great initial “conversion”. Patience with Millennials.

Example:
Millennials do not remember Steve Jobs’ early years at Apple or his disagreements with the Board of Directors that caused him to leave. The company was almost run into the ground until he came back. Millennials knew him as the “face” of Apple, a brand they could trust. And he knew how important his persona was as well. For this reason, he personally launched every new product – he was trusted. Even though Jobs is gone, the Apple brand is trusted, so long as the new “faces” do not act stupidly.

Steve Jobs acting as the face of Apple made it a company that Millennials can trust

Steve Jobs acting as the face of Apple made it a company that Millennials can trust.

4. Millennials will do business with companies that are genuinely relevant to their needs.

They look for companies that communicate in an honest way and that offer a consistent experience on their devices.
Recently LinkedIn published a list of the favorite websites of Millennials throughout all of their communities. The common thread among these favorites were that they had a good reputation, were easy to access on their phones, had high-speed loading on their mobile devices, and provided them with relevant products and services.
To Do:

        

  1. Responsive design has been a good way to provide excellent UX on mobile devices, but most of the “big boys” are now developing a mobile first strategy as they design and re-design. This is only smart considering the trends of device use for research and purchases.
  2.     

  3. Give users as few tasks as possible on their devices. Companies that do this really well are car rentals, airlines, hotels and restaurants. Amazon does a good job too.
  4.     

  5. Ensure that the site loads quickly and that navigation is really seamless. This keeps Millennials coming back which leads to conversions.

Examples
When LinkedIn published it list of Millennials’ most favored sites, Amazon of course was one. Two others were Spotify and BuzzFeed.
Here’s what Millennials said about these two sites:

        

  1. Spotify: It loads quickly; the audio is terrific on their phones; it has the music they want; they can curate playlists; they can hear new artists; and they can share with their friends. Plus, their experience is consistently good. Given that 85% of Millennials listen to music on their devices, Spotify has a solid position in this market.
Spotifys app has easy to use navigation gives access to your own music helps you discover new music and works on multiple devices

Spotify’s app has easy-to-use navigation, gives access to your own music, helps you discover new music, and works on multiple devices.

        

  1. BuzzFeed: The whole structure of the site is easy to use on a mobile device – no swiping and a fast load and navigation. One of the biggest draws they stated were the listicles – numbered lists of everything that are quickly scannable and help with real problems in their lives.
BuzzFeeds articles are easily digested with so many of them written in the form of a list.

BuzzFeed’s articles are easily digested with so many of them written in the form of a list.

5. Millennials are loyal to businesses that are principled, bear social responsibility and give back in some way.

To Do:

        

  1. Get a cause of some kind.
  2.     

  3. Invite customers and potential customers to participate. For every purchase, you donate a part of the payment to a charity.
  4.     

  5. If you have a small team, take on local activities, such as Habitat for Humanity or a walk for a cure. Publicize your participation on Facebook and on your site.

Examples:

        

  1. Headbands for Hope: When Jessica Eckstrom founded this company, she was a junior in college. While the idea came from a program she watched about the “Make a Wish” foundation, she knew she wanted a for-profit business that could still “do good”. By the time she graduated from college, she had sold 10,000 headbands, donated 10,000 headbands to children with cancer, and had given $10,000 to cancer research. Within one year after graduation, she had tripled her sales and donations.
Headbands for Hope engages and gives back.

Headbands for Hope engages and gives back.

        

  1. TOMS Shoes: Most people already know this story. TOMS was a moderately successful shoe retailer, albeit a bit conservative in styles, when the owner decided to alter his image to appeal to Millennials. He expanded his product line and took on a pretty major undertaking. For every shoe purchase, he committed to donating a pair of shoes to a child in need. Publicizing all of this on Facebook began to really move the business. Gross sales reached $250 million, and the company has since taken on projects related to clean water and farming. TOMS has an extremely loyal customer-base among Millennials.

TOMS has boosted sales because it has made its giving very public.

TOMS has boosted sales because it has made its giving very public.


Converting Millennials requires patience and a real understanding of their values and lifestyles. While analytics can provide a lot of good information about where and when they shop, devices used, where they bounce and why, there is also something to be said about knowing your audience well enough to know where to start your testing.

About the Author

Julie Ellis is an experienced marketer and freelance blogger. Her wide experience in the field of education, self-improvement and psychology gives her the opportunity to help all people that are willing to make the world better. For more, follow Julie’s Twitter and LinkedIn.

Online Sales have a growth rate that’s 10 times more than their brick and mortar counterparts. This in turn encourages retailers to do everything they can to optimize their selling capabilities. With an emphasis on driving e-commerce sales, finding new and innovative ways to spur online sales requires an effective strategy.
If BuzzFeed hasn’t made it apparent already, quizzes have really started to re-emerge over the last couple of years, driving a ton of social traffic and interaction. Using interactive content like quizzes can to attract and engage audiences, generate leads, and increase e-commerce sales.
Here are five examples of successful online quizzes, all built by a quiz building app by Interact.

How Z Gallerie Personalized Their Site to Bring Tons of Leads Per Day

z gallerie style personality
Z Gallerie is a company that offers customers creative furniture and household products from all around the world. They cater to both professional and amateur interior designers alike, with 57 physical stores across the United States and a relatively strong online presence. Z Gallerie created the quiz “What is your Z Gallerie Style Personality?”  to generate leads and to personalize their product line.
Z Gallerie’s strategy is to provide a personalized experience for every potential and current customer. This kind of an approach is heavily present in their personality quiz. After six visual questions, Z Gallerie collects our contact information through a lead capture form. Then they follow up in a personal way through marketing automation.
 

Not all questions have to look like a survey.

Not all questions have to look like a survey.


After completing the lead capture form, Z Gallerie’s quiz delivers your “Style Personality” with a link to learn more about it. Clicking the link directs you to a personalized page with product suggestions based intensively on the answers you chose on the quiz.
The quiz acts to build the Z Gallerie list.

The quiz acts to build the Z Gallerie list.


A personalized approach not only keeps customers engaged, it also allows your brand to recommend products tailored specifically to an individual’s personal preferences based on your quiz. This lets your brand to create a connection with your customers on a level that would convert them into repeat buyers.

With the help of their personality quiz, Z Gallerie generates significantly increased lead acquisition.
Here’s how you can use this strategy for your brand: Create a quiz with personalized results for each individual customer so that you can offer product suggestions specific to that person. This can be done by either recommending one specific product or by assigning people a “personality” that relates to a group of products. Make sure you follow up with marketing automation to keep your customers coming back for more down the road.

Z Gallerie uses landing pages for each of the "Style Personalities" uncovered by their quiz.

Z Gallerie uses landing pages for each of the “Style Personalities” uncovered by their quiz.

How Birchbox Used A Personality Quiz to Differentiate Between Products

birchbox quiz
Birchbox specializes in monthly deliveries of personalized samples with original content and an exciting e-commerce shop. Similar to Z Gallerie’s reason for creating their quiz, Birchbox created the quiz, “Find Your Face Mask Soul Mate in One Minute” to give personalized suggestions on which facemask to purchase.
Where Birchbox’s strategy differs from Z Galleries lies in their execution. While Birchbox followed the same formula of creating a quiz that recommends products based on personalities, they mainly used it to differentiate similar products, most of which were different variations of facemasks.

BirchBox uses the quiz to offer a specific product, with no lead generation.

BirchBox uses the quiz to offer a specific product, with no lead generation.


Birchbox didn’t use their quiz to generate leads, but instead used it to place an emphasis on the perfect face mask for their customers. The quiz established a very personal connection with their customers by offering products tailored specifically to them. Personalized experiences such as these help grow the relationship between customers and retailers.
Here’s how you can apply this method: Create a personality quiz with results based on your customer’s personal tastes. From there, you can recommend the single most suitable product which is awesome because personalized recommendations convert at 5.5 times better than general ones. Who would’ve known?

How BioLite Capitalized on Trends to Suggest Products Via Online Quizzes

BioLite power personality
BioLite develops and manufactures advanced energy products that make cooking with wood as clean, safe and easy as modern fuels while also providing electricity to charge cell phones and LED lights off-grid. Essentially, efficient low-energy-required products that you can use or recharge. BioLite created the quiz “What would you do with 10 watts?” to generate leads and to raise awareness on how ready people can be when the power goes out.

This lead generation form is optional.

This lead generation form is optional.


BioLite’s strategy was incredibly simple. Taking into account the fact that BioLite relies on selling their 10 watt-only rechargeable products, they created a quiz in an effort to raise awareness on power outage readiness. After taking their quiz and getting your results, no matter how prepared you may be, BioLite can still recommend products that may be useful in similar situations.
BioLite offers a specific product based on the answers entered into the quiz.

BioLite offers a specific product based on the answers entered into the quiz.


Like most quizzes with a lead capture form, BioLite asked quiz-takers if they would like to submit their contact information to receive updates on environmental friendly products. The form brought in 4,852 leads.
Here’s what you can do to emulate this strategy: Create a quiz that makes people take into account various situations that questions how prepared they really are. This will encourage them to purchase your products in order to be better suited for such situations.

How The Elephant Pants Kickstarted Themselves Into Success Through Quizzes

which pair of elephant pants are you
Before The Elephant Pants – a clothing company supporting the African Wildlife Foundation – came to be as successful as they are today, their humble beginnings clung onto the support they received from a Kickstarter campaign. By creating the quiz “Which Pair of Elephant Pants Are You?” and linking it to their Kickstarter, they were able to generate enough leads to fund their launch.
Like the previous examples that we’ve seen so far, The Elephant Pants also used their quiz to distribute personalized results that recommended a specific kind of product to customers, in this case, a particular kind of Elephant Pants.
The Elephant Pants made sure to add a link at the end of their quiz in the results screen to help fund their Kickstarter. It also opted-in prospective customers to keep them interested and up-to-date with any new developments.
Low and behold, The Elephant Pants Kickstarter was a success, and through quizzes, helped raise over $8,500 which was enough to help the startup launch into a strong business today.
Here’s how to deploy this method yourself: Like several of the examples we’ve looked at prior to this one, create a quiz that recommends possible products that would encourage customers to fund your business so that you can have a lucrative launch. It also lets you develop a strong customer base from the start.

How Aaron Brothers (Michael’s) Artistically Uses Quizzes to Generate Leads

aaron brothers color quiz
Aaron Brothers (Michael’s) takes pride in their merchandise by offering custom framing, art supplies and picture frames. Aaron Brothers also brings the latest fashion designs in framing and home decor. With their artistic sense of style, they created the quiz “What’s Your Color?” for the sole purpose of lead generation.
With an emphasis on art, Aaron Brothers created a longer quiz to determine someone’s color. It was an entertaining piece of shareable content whose sole purpose is to generate leads for the brand. Personality quizzes that categorize quiz-takers into personalities are highly favored on social media, so they get shares on a frequent rotation.
The quiz ended up generating 515 leads and has been Aaron Brothers’ most successful part of their recent color-centered marketing campaign.
Here’s how you can draw out the same tactic: You might be tired of seeing this now, but this quiz is pretty much an exact replica of the quizzes that are so popular all over the internet. That’s the strategy. [pullquote]Reproduce the idea of a popular quiz and use it as a means of generating leads.[/pullquote]

Let’s Recap And See What We’ve Learned

As retailers begin to take note of the wild growth of online sales, they’re beginning to set their eyes on the most effective and innovative ways to join the bandwagon. So what’s stopping us from figuring out the best possible way of driving e-commerce sales?
You’ve seen how popular quizzes are; how they’ve swept the nation’s social media feeds with simple yet entertaining micro-interactions with shareable results. They aren’t just a form of enjoyment, they’re a super secret marketing mega weapon!
Once you’ve set your scope on your target audience, you can use quizzes in a personalized manner as a way of recommending individually-tailored products to customers. Using quizzes to deliver personalized results can help grow a customer base that not only encourages purchases and return buyers, but as a means of generating leads as well!
In the end, quizzes did exactly what these companies set out to do, and that was to drive e-commerce sales in a continually growing industry.

About the Author

JP Misenas headshot
JP Misenas is the content marketing director and audio/visual technician/engineer of Interact, a place for creating entertaining and engaging quizzes that generate email leads. He writes about innovative ways to connect with customers and to build professional long-lasting relationships with them.

Will CRO agencies adopt SEM, or will SEM agencies integrate CRO?

The perfect storm of online business, the peanut butter and jelly, the gin and tonic, the Abbot and Costello will be SEM and CRO. The reason is that the conversion rate of any business is calculated by dividing transactions (leads, sales or calls) by the number of visitors overall. Those businesses with the highest conversion rates enjoy both targeted, qualified visitors and optimized websites.

High converting sites optimize both sides of the equation.

There is no better source of qualified traffic than that brought through search engine marketing (SEM).

Both organic and paid search traffic represents visitors who have expressed a certain intent. If you can deliver an on-site experience to match that intent, you will gain customers at a lower and lower acquisition cost.

What kind of agency is going to deliver this one-two punch? Will a CRO agency adopt the search marketing services and bring them to market or will a search agency adopt full-stack website optimization practices?

Brian Massey of Conversion Sciences and Jim McKinley of 360Partners will debate this question in their free Webinar on September 17th The CRO + SEM Agency: Challenges and Opportunities.

The conversation will begin with violent agreement on the importance of bringing these two practices together. We will examine the trends in search marketing and website optimization.

Then things will get interesting. These two industry veterans will tackle some of the harder questions.

  • Do these need to be under one roof, or can agencies partner to deliver a complete package? Why or why not?
  • How would search agencies have to change their business models? How would a CRO company have to change?
  • Why do so few agencies claim to do both?
  • For those agencies that offer both, are they really providing the double-digit conversion rates that the combination promises?

Watch the webinar on-demand.

frankenstein-labWe all know the recipe for  success: Reach and Frequency. To grow your business, marketing needs to reach more people more often. Translation: “Work harder.” The modern marketer is responsible for

        

  • Imagining the content
  •     

  • Developing the content
  •     

  • Reaching potential prospects frequently with it
  •     

  • Collecting the leads
  •     

  • Qualifying them Getting them to sales Maintaining all of the metrics to justify the ROI

As marketers, we need some little monsters handling the details or we will drown in the effort. Marketo just launched a Demand Generation Success Center that shows marketers how to become digital Dr. Frankensteins.

From Drip to Drive

The Marketo resource center provides advice on how to automate the many things that marketers must get done. They don’t just toe the party line.
For example, I believe that marketers should move from “drip” campaigns that “nurture” prospects, to high-impact educational campaigns that drive prospects to engage with you. The new resource center has some brilliant recommendations from me.

        

  1. Treat leads as customers. They purchased with their contact information.
  2.     

  3. Make them experts at solving the problems they have.
  4.     

  5. Wow them with your helpfulness or entertainment value.
  6.     

  7. Invite them to “buy” more.
  8.     

  9. Treat them like adults. Don’t be afraid to be controversial.

This is all easier said than done, and exactly that’s why you need to install little monsters like Marketo.
Visit the Demand Generation Success Center. Extend your reach, turn up your frequency, and still have time to develop killer cascading content.
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Google Analytics Tips: 10 Data Analysis Strategies That Pay Off Big!

Jan 02, 2013 11:43 pm

Comments:

@Avinash Kaushik has a unique ability to make analytics human. I don’t share many analytics posts with you, as I don’t want to scare you off. But I fear I may be underestimating you.

Here are ten very good ways to get to know your visitors through Google Analytics. I believe you will be energized and excited if you open these reports in your own Google Analytics account.
This is a great way to start appreciating your visitors in ways that will make your site more successful.

by: Brian Massey

Karon Thackston: Phrasing Discount Offers for Maximum Results by Getentrepreneurial.com

Dec 29, 2012 01:47 pm

Comments:

How you phrase a discount is a powerful way to increase conversions. Some visitors do not like to do math, or will do it wrong. Therefore, offering 20% off is less effective than save $18. However, high discounts (50%, 90%) may draw buyers more powerfully than the dollar value.

You have to find out for yourself.
Karon offers a nice list of alternatives and some links to research for your enjoyment.

by: Brian Massey

The Top 5 Website UX Trends of 2012 | UX Magazine

Dec 29, 2012 01:40 pm

Comments:
While good UX (User eXperience) does not always translate into higher conversion rates or revenue per visit (RPV), these trends point to excellent hypotheses for what MIGHT increase the performance of your site.

  1. Single Page Sites: Simplicity is often a great way to increase conversion rates
  2. Infinite scrolling: Consider this for category pages. I haven’t tested this yet.
  3. Persistent top nav: I am very curious to see if this increases CR and RPV. Let me know if you’ve tested it.
  4. Web 2.0 Aesthetics: I hope this includes the rotating banners at the top of so many sites.
  5. Typography Returns: Your message is the most important part of your conversion optimization plan. Typography can help… or hurt

by: Brian Massey