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10 experts give 10 reasons why ROI fails (it’s not numbers) 3

Posted on June 09, 2019 by Rob Petersen
roi fails

Why ROI fails

ROI fails to be measured for many businesses when Return on Investment (ROI) is a relatively simple calculation.

One that is exceptionally useful for measuring success over time and taking the guesswork out of making future business decisions.

10 experts give 10 reasons why ROI fails. And it has nothing to do with the numbers.

  1. No executive mandate to force measuring ROI. “The lack of a true executive mandate to force the needed process and cultural changes across the organization—well beyond marketing’s toy-strewn cubicle walls. Quite simply, without an executive mandate for change, your marketing ROI effort is highly unlikely to do anything but waste months of time and goodwill.” – Marc Blumer, VP, Director of Demand Generation Strategy, Slack + Company
  2. Lack of alignment between sales and marketing on ROI measurements. “Marketing and sales leaders are trying to work together, but still struggling to operate in lockstep. Marketing automation and CRM tools begin to connect the dots. They fail, however, to capture the interplay between marketing’s impact on awareness, trust, and confidence across paid, owned, earned, and shared channels, and sales’ ability to sell, sell more. The need to add in and analyze other factor that influence the customer journey.” – Kyle Brantley, Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer
  3. Not setting SMART goals. “SMART goals are: 1) Specific, 2) Measurable, 3) Attainable, 4) Relevant and 5) Timely. SMART goals respond to and produce clear actionable data. They encourage multiple departments to collaborate and allow for perfect alignment with organizational objectives. Even if targets are not met, SMART goals give results expressed in universally understood metrics, allowing you to learn, grow, and be better prepared for your next attempt.” – Emma Astroth, Marketing Director, SIO Digital
  4. Letting hot leads grow cold. “A surprising number of companies launch a shiny new marketing campaign but fail to prepare the sales department for an increase in sales volume: you launch your plan, hot leads come in, sales staff is overwhelmed, hot leads become cold leads. An effective marketing plan requires a scalable sales infrastructure to ensure the organization has the capacity to adapt and manage lead flow.”
  5. No baseline. “Without the Baseline you have nothing to measure against and little, if any, control of your blog project and the progress you want to make.With the baseline you can start to compare your performance improvements over time and showing how you are getting better at measuring ROI.” – Urs E. Gattiker, ComMetrics
  6. No Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Having SMART goals is one thing, but if you’re not monitoring your progress and breaking down your goals, but uou need to make sure they’re attainable, after all, and have a regular schedule for checking your progress. KPIs are also vital in a measurement framework. Ultimately, these show how effective your company is at achieving its business objectives. – Gertie Goddard, Noisy Little Monkey
  7. Customer relationships are managed by software platforms, not people. “The experts warn you against assuming that everything is well and fine just because you’re connecting to your customer with a CRM. Building relationships with your customers is an evolutionary process. Be aware that customers tend to evolve and change, and your business may need to evolve and adapt to their ever-changing needs.” – Amer Wilson, Rolus Tech
  8. Companies isolate analytics from business operations. “Struggles abound when analytic capabilities are developed and applied far removed from the business, within pockets of poorly coordinated silos. To make this work, a hybrid model to develop initial, centralized capabilities.” – Dennis McCafferty, eWeek, Baseline and CIO Insight
  9. Focus on customer acquisition vs customer retention. “Depending on which study you believe, and what industry you’re in, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. It makes sense: you don’t have to spend time and resources going out and finding a new client — you just have to keep the one you have happy. If you’re not convinced that retaining customers is so valuable, consider research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company (the inventor of the net promoter score) that shows increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.” – Amy Gallo, Harvard Business Review
  10. No strategy. “Without a strategy, there can be no ROI. The “R” in ROI implies that there is in fact a return to be had. As such, the return must be defined through objectives and ultimately strategy development.” – Danna Vetter, VP, Consumer Strategies, ARAMARK

Do these reason make sense to you why ROI fails? Are you interested in creating an ROI that succeeds for your business?

15 inspiring artificial intelligence success stories from brands 0

Posted on May 19, 2019 by Rob Petersen
artificial intelligence success stories

Artificial intelligence success stories show how purposeful brands can be in pleasing their customers.

Who’s doing it well? Here are 15 inspiring artificial intelligence brand success stories.

  1. AMAZON: Has opened an AI-powered convenience store in Seattle. The premise of Amazon Go is simple: to eliminate everyone’s least-favorite part of the shopping experience, checking out. With ceiling-mounted sensors and cameras backed by artificial intelligence, Amazon is able to track every interaction a customer has with a product. It knows exactly when a product is picked up or put back. Go works like a physical manifestation of Amazon’s 1-Click checkout, where you “click” by taking an item off a shelf. When a customer walks out of the store, they are charged for their haul via the Amazon Go app.
  2. CALLAWAY: Designs the Epic Flash series driver in this one of our artificial intelligence success stories. It uses AI to make drives longer and increase ball speed. According to the golf company, a new driver face can typically take eight to 10 iterations before landing on the best one. However, it stated that through machine learning it was able to analyze 10s of thousands of iterations to find what works best.
  3. DISNEY: Is using AI to organize product SKUs, is training artificial neural networks, computing systems modeled after animal brains, to mimic human brains and recognize what makes a story appealing. Using data from Q+A site Quora, Disney researchers used the site’s upvotes and downvotes to train the neural networks to determine what makes some stories more popular than others. At some point in the not-too-distant future, look out for a Mickey Mouse doll that can tell your kids a better bedtime story than you can.
  4. DRIFT: A company that finds quality leads for a product or service, uses chatbots, machine learning and natural language processing to help businesses book more meetings, assist customers with product questions and make the sales cycle more efficient. The technology is particularly good at automating traditionally time-consuming marketing tasks. For example, once a customer is on a website using Drift, a chatbot will pop-up, ask  questions and automatically slot them into a campaign if they are a lead. Additionally, the company’s “Drift Assistant” automates email replies, routing leads and updating contact information.
  5. GENERAL MOTORS: Plans to invest $1 billion over the next five years in Argo AI, a startup formed in December that is focused on developing autonomous vehicle technology. GM, in this one of our artificial intelligence success stories, has an an agreement with New York State, GM will soon become the first company to test self-driving vehicles in New York City. Tests will take place in a geofenced section of lower Manhattan, following existing trials in Arizona, San Francisco, and GM’s home base Michigan.
  6. HANSON ROBOTICS: Is building humanoid robots with artificial intelligence for both the commercial and consumer markets. Hanson robot, Sophia, can efficiently communicate with natural language and use facial expressions to convey human-like emotions. Hanson plans to introduce an entire line of robots like Sophia, which they believe “have immediate applications as media personalities in movies and TV shows, entertainment animatronics in museums and theme parks, and for university research and medical training applications.”
  7. IROBOT: The Roomba 980 model vacuum cleaner uses artificial intelligence to scan room size, identify obstacles and remember the most efficient routes for cleaning. The self-deploying Roomba can also determine how much vacuuming there is to do based on a room’s size, and it needs no human assistance to clean floors.The company completed its first year as a purely consumer-focused business in 2017, pulling in $883.9 million in revenue, and has shipped more than 10 million Roombas since 2002.
  8. KLM: Invests in what is commonly referred to as KLM`s BB. This is a short form of BlueBot. The aim was to help customers book a ticket, send confirmation, deliver flight updates and answer passenger questions. Without BlueBot, KLM would probably not be able to record more than 1.7 million messages sent by 500,000 passengers. Driving customers’ satisfaction starts with being available to answer queries.
  9. NETFLIX: Taps into massive pools of viewer preference data to build algorithms that recommend new viewing material in this one of our artificial intelligence success stories. These algorithms then leverage AI to learn what viewers enjoy most. And it appears that viewers are addicted to this data-driven offering: Netflix is adding around 12,000 subscribers in the US each day and over 56,000 subscribers per day in the rest of the world.
  10. NIKE: Launches a system that allows customers to design their own sneakers in store. Not only is this a great gimmick to drive sales, but it also collects a huge amount of useful data that machine learning algorithms can use to design future products and deliver personalized recommendations and marketing messages.
  11. PATHAI: The company’s machine learning algorithms help pathologists analyze tissue samples and make more accurate diagnoses. The aim is to not only improve diagnostic accuracy, but also treatment. PathAI’s technology can also identify optimal clinical trial participants. PathAI has worked with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Philips to develop high-volume prognostic test support tools and plans for sustainable access to their advanced diagnostic services.
  12. STARBUCKS: Is using its loyalty card and mobile app to collect and analyze customer data including purchases, where they are made, and at what time of day.The company uses predictive analytics to process this data in order to deliver personalized marketing messages to customers including recommendations when they’re approaching their local stores, and offers aimed at increasing their average spend. A virtual barista service on the app powered by AI also allows customers to place orders directly from their phone via voice command. As well as delivering a more personalized customer experience, Starbucks uses their data from 90 million transactions every week to inform business decisions such as where to open new stores, and which products they should offer.
  13. TOMMY HILFIGER: Has begun to add AI to its creative process. The brand recently announced a partnership with IBM and The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). As part of the “Reimagine Retail” project, FIT students were given access to IBM Research’s AI capabilities including computer vision, natural language understanding, and deep learning techniques specifically trained with fashion data. This information was filtered back to the student designer on the other end, who could then use it to make informed decisions around their design.
  14. TWIGGLE: An advanced search engine for e-commerce sites, uses natural language processing to boost search relevance and product awareness for businesses. The combination of human-like deep learning and an understanding for the retail industry helps connect customers to exactly what they need. Twiggle claims a site with two million visitors a month might lose as many as 266,600 customers from bad search. For customers that use its search, the company boasts a 9% increase in “add to cart” and a 12% increase in click-through rate.
  15. TWITTER: Uses AI to identify hate speech and terroristic language in tweets. In the first half of 2017, the company discovered and banned 300,000 terrorist-linked accounts, 95% of which were found by non-human, artificially intelligent machines.  

Do these artificial intelligence success stories show you are brands are using AI? Do they inspire your brand?

15 lead generation case studies that led to major success 0

Posted on May 05, 2019 by Rob Petersen
lead generation case studies




Lead Generation Case Studies

Lead generation case studies tell the stories of companies that go through the process of identifying high value customers, how they guide their customers’ journeys to their products or services and achievements.

These lead generation case studies apply to a variety of B2B industries. They include lead generation strategies such as lead nurturing, lead scoring, qualified leads, customer acquisition and inbound marketing.

But one thing all these lead generation case studies have in common is the companies are clear about the problems they have to solve. And they define desired results with measure with simple, clear metrics.

Here are 15 lead generation case studies that led to major success.

  1. ATLANTECH: Is a Washington D.C. area provider of phone, fiber and data center services. Website traffic had exploded thanks to a systematic approach to content marketing. However, a large amount of traffic does not directly translate to business impact. They add pricing page, check availability pages with multiple CTA buttons throughout. Atlantech increased sales qualified leads by 335%.
  2. BOGER DENTAL: Looks to attract potential patients for higher-margin services. They created targeted campaign around xedation dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) and dental implants are optimized the website for conversions and marketing automation. New patients increased by 29% and specialty appointment increased by 36%.
  3. BRAINSHARK: A sales enablement platform provider, is falling short on converting leads due to poor connect rates and unclear buyer personas. Brainshark moves to an account- and persona-based campaign model, as opposed to a broad-based marketing approach. They: 1) Build out targeted campaigns based on buyer personas, 2) fuel the sales funnel with new, targeted contacts, 3) provide sales with a complete picture of incoming leads and 4) fill in data gaps and update inaccurate information. They achieved a 30% increase in connect rates, reach decision makers 4X faster and
    increase marketing qualified opportunities by 10%.
  4. CA TECHNOLOGIES: To drive leads for its enterprise software solutions, CA Technologies has to convert high-quality IT decision-makers once they download relevant content. They run LinkedIn Campaign using Dynamic Ads that are customized and personalized. They generated an 11.3 conversion rate at the cost per lead that is 68% less than other social channels.
  5. CISCO WEBEX: Is the leading enterprise solution for video conferencing and web conferencing. Using white paper and e-book content, leads are qualified to Cisco’s requirements via two custom questions on their forms. Cisco dispatches an optimal lead delivery schedule for their sales team, with lead delivery occurring three times per week. They increased their qualified lead rate, lowered costs of qualified leads and improved on-time delivery of qualified leads to their sales team.
  6. DUKE UNIVERSITY: The majority of applicants to Duke University’s Cross Continent MBA program in the past have come from word-of-mouth referrals. To promote the program to new prospects in diverse global regions, Duke uses LinkedIn’s InMail solution. They saw a: 68% open rate, cost per lead 10% less than other channels, 400% increase in conversions compared to 2013 campaign ­and sales pipeline closure speed increased 300%
  7. EQUINIX: A provider of data center and location services to companies in the advertising, cloud services and healthcare industries, addresses longer sales cycles by implementing a live-chat tool. Equinix saw its 12-18 month sales cycle shrink by one month. With the current opportunities generated by the solution, Equinix expects to see a 10-to-1 return on its investment.
  8. GREEN EGG CHEF: Is a blogger, barbecue and grilling lover. Through his blog, he offers tips and techniques to help people cooking delicious recipes with the Big Green Egg. Email subscriber growth is slow when using typical strategies like driving traffic to a blog post and hoping they’d subscribe through an opt-in box or popup. He starts using lead ads and list growth explodes. He got 10,000 new subscribers in 21 days, at a cost per subscriber of $0.50 which was 75% less than his previous cost per acquisition.
  9. ITPROTV: Is a SaaS company that delivers IT training that is effective and entertaining for IT Professionals. They are operating strictly on word of mouth referrals which drive enough traffic to promote early success. With the ambition to scale pipeline by ramping up lead generation, they launch a B2B content syndication campaign that amplified their content to targeted professionals and most importantly only delivered leads that meet strategic and measurement goals. They achieved a 1,500% ROI.
  10. LENOVO: The computer manufacturer, operates in an industry where potential customers are always looking for the latest product. By creating compelling video content, they are able to identify which videos their prospects watch, what percentage of each video they watch and optimize for conversion. 80% of Lenovo’s top-performing videos are now watched from beginning to end, Click Through Rates increased by 4x the normal benchmarks; and Engagement Rates per page increased by 55%.
  11. LINEUP: Creates custom dance costume, cheer uniforms and skating costumes. Team apparel is a seasonal business the team at the Lineup wanted to increase online sales throughout the year. They use search optimized blog topics, landing page and video to answer buyer question to create a content road map of offers for each stage of the buyer’s journey. Web store sales for the first quarter of the campaign increased by 67% year over year.
  12. MARCH MOTORS: Specializes in providing good cars for people with not-so-good credit. They want to reach in-market car shoppers as well as re-target website visitors. They use Facebook ads with Facebook pixel re-targeting and custom audience that feed into a CRM system to better deliver qualified lead to their sales team. They got 688 new leads this way and increased sales 6X.
  13. SALESINSIDE: A marketing services company focused on B2B data solutions, has to define target markets strategies for addressing opportunities. They do heavy keyword research, create 20 responsive landing pages, create cases studies and do regular blogging. They saw a 200% increase in quality leads.
  14. SUNSPACE: Specializes in porch windows that deliver an outdoor feel to screened-in porches. A poorly designed website requires a major revamp to increase site traffic. Website improvements include: 1) Redesign to vastly improve UX and design, 2) added custom functionality to aligning brand with luxury feel, 3) product offers to segmented personas: contractors and homeowners and 4) video content throughout the website. The new website drove a 40% increase in revenue.
  15. FOREMOST MEDIA: A B2B web development and search marketing agency, uses marketing automation to set up drip campaigns to existing customers. Although most visitors to their website never fill out a form, marketing automation email allows them to figure out who they are, what company they’re with, how big the company is and what industry they’re in. This led to a 30% boost in customer revenue.

Do these lead generation case studies convince you of the results possible with effective analysis and goal setting. Does your companies need help setting up and effective lead generation program?

12 facts and studies show why website sliders suck 0

Posted on April 21, 2019 by Rob Petersen
website sliders

Website Sliders (a.k.a. carousels)

Website sliders are a web design term used for a slideshow added to a web page. There are considered a staple for many web designers and businesses to create graphic presence and make a bigger statement about their brand.

Many website plugins are now available that make it easier than ever to create sliders and carousels on a website.

But is bigger better? Here are 12 facts and studies that show why website sliders suck.

  1. Only 1% of people actually click on a website slider. Many confuse them for ads.
  2. Of that 1% of people who click, 89% click on the banner in the first position.
  3. Only 22% of Call-To-Action (CTA) clicks are on graphics; 78% are on text and headlines according to a study by KissMetrics. By using a slider or carousel, you’re lowering CTA clicks and conversions.
  4. 23% increase in sales for the website without a carousel in an A/B test that compared the same websites with and without a carousel.
  5. 47% of people expect a website to load in two seconds or less and sliders and carousels slow down the site.
  6. 53% of mobile users abandon mobile websites that take over three seconds to load and website sliders often don’t work well on mobile sites.
  7. Between 0.4 seconds and 5 seconds is the amount of extra time that a slider or carousel can add to your webpage studies have shown.
  8. 0.65% is the Click Through Rate (CTR) or 32 clicks out of 5,000 visits from a survey by Search Engine Land of B2B sites.
  9. No matter how much you brand your slider, if they look like ads (and they almost always do), there’s a high possibility they will be ignored. Eye tracking studies conducted by Neilson Norman Group found as soon as visitors perceived something to be an advertisement they turned their focus away from it.
  10. You take control out of your user’s hands and give it to the slider.
    Image sliders keep rotating, which is not only frustrating, but is terrible for usability according to the folks at UX Movement.
  11. Website sliders push key content down. Google has stated, since 2012, that pushing down content is harmful for SEO. When users search for something and click on a website, they are frustrated when the content is not readily available. Having to scroll past a slider lowers UX and Google may penalize.
  12. Website sliders are vulnerable to hackers. The most common ways that hacker enters websites are through website theme and plug-ins. Since sliders are carousel are often made available as plug-ins, hackers have easier access to a website.

If you’re thinking of using a website slider on your website, you might want to rethink it. Do these facts convince you? Does your business need to create a website that get results?

21 top marketing KPIs and why they matter (Video) 0

Posted on April 07, 2019 by Rob Petersen

Top Marketing KPIs

Top Marketing KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are the metrics that matter for any company that wants to know and improve progress to a desired goal.

No company should begin this journey without a road map to stay on track as the video explains. KPIs are the GPS for any marketing plan.


But the number of possible marketing KPIs can be bewildering. So the choice of the right ones are a critical factor to make the right decisions.

Here are 21 top marketing KPIs and why they matter for your company’s business success.

Desired Goal KPIs:

  • PROFITS: Are revenues minus expenses. Profits are the most important financial metric because a company can’t secure financing from a bank, attract investors, fund its operations, grow business and stay in business with turning a profit.
  • SALES (VS. REVENUE): Are the products and services a company sells. Revenue is the money received by the company from its varied activities.  Sometimes, they are the same. When different, since every company’s success depends on the products they sell, sales are a better indicator of a company’s current vitality.
  • SALES MARGIN: Is the amount of profit generated from a sale for a product or service. By analyzing sales margins, you identify which products are the most (and least) profitable.

Customer Value KPIs:

  • CUSTOMER LIFETIME VALUE (CLV): Is a prediction of profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer.  It is the monetary value of the customer relationship. It is an important metric because it represents an upper limit on spending to acquire new customers. It is also an essential element for calculating payback of marketing investments.
  • ANNUAL CUSTOMER VALUE (ACV): Is the term used to describe annualized earnings. ACV takes into account either a first-time subscription fee or first-time offer that may effect short-term results. But it is not as important as CLV for business planning.
  • COST PER ACQUISITION (CPA): Is the cost it takes to acquire a customer. CPA is a key metric for any marketing department because you don’t want to spend more money to convert a customer than they’re worth.

Customer Actions KPIs

  • CONVERSION: Is the point at which a recipient of a marketing message performs a desired action. It means someone has responded to your call-to-action.
  • CONVERSION RATE: Is the percentage of users who take a desired action. Since there has to be a base against which to divide the actions, it is most often a visit desired web destination like a website, landing page or social media page.
  • MICRO AND MACRO CONVERSIONS: A micro conversion is a small step on the path of a visitor towards your primary conversion goal (usually called a macro conversion). For most websites, the macro conversions are either making a purchase, giving a donation or providing a lead. Because conversions are critical marketing KPIs and the customer journey usually takes a number of steps to get to the desired goal, micro and macro conversion are an important sub-set of conversions.
  • QUALITY LEADS: Is a lead that can convert into an actual sale of your product or service. Because marketing plans often produce leads but the quality of the leads is debatable, especially with sales people, the conversions steps a lead has to take to be a quality lead is worth scoring for marketing KPIs.
  • TRANSACTIONS: Are the numbers of sales of a product or service over a certain time period. Transactions are created for every order that results in an exchange of money. 
  • AVERAGE ORDER VALUE (AOV): Tracks the average dollar amount spent each time a customer places an order on a website or mobile app. To calculate your company’s average order value, simply divide total revenue by the number of orders.

Marketing Tactics KPIs

  • WEBSITE VISITS: Are individual visitors who arrives at your website and proceeds to browse. A visit counts all visitors, no matter how many times the same visitor may have been to your site. A “unique visit” refers to a person who visits a site at least once within the reporting period. Each visitor to the site is only counted once during the reporting period.
  • VISITS BY CHANNEL: Visits come from a finite number of channels – Organic Search, Paid Search, Direct, Referral, Social and Email. Since you are applying resources and money to drive website visits from these channels, it is important to track visits by channel to determine how your resources and funds are best invested.
  • BOUNCE RATE: Represents the percentage of visitors who enter the site and then leave rather than continuing to view other pages within the same site. Bounce Rate is thought to be a measure of a website’s relevance to its visitors.
  • KEYWORD SEARCH ENGINE RESULTS PAGES (SERP): Is the list of results that a search engine returns in response to a specific word or phrase query. Web designers and site owners use search engine optimization (SEO) methods to make their sites and pages appear at or near the top of a SERP.
  • LINKS (OR REFERRALS): Provide a simple means of identifying and measuring other websites that list your website on their site and are sending visitors your way.
  • COST-PER-CLICK (CPC): If you buy Paid Search, Digital Ads, Social Media Ads, Sponsorships or Influencers, Cost-Per-Clicks is the one metric that puts them on equal footing by showing the price you pay for each click. 
  • CLICK-THROUGH RATE (CTR): Is a ratio or percent showing how often people who see your ad end up clicking on it. CTR is an indicator of ad relevance to viewers.
  • EMAIL LIST SIZE: People who sign up to receive your emails or newsletters express a higher level of interest in your business. If you are taking the time and care to grow your email list so it represents quality contacts, the number of people on this list are a business asset worth monitoring.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWERS: Studies show people who follow your company on social media sites are more likely to continue using your products and services as well as recommending them to others. So the size of your social media followings on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube are also worth tracking.

Peter Drucker said the “purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer.” If you consider these marketing KPIs, you’ll have a much better chance of succeeding. Do these seem like the top marketing KPIs to you? Do you need held determining the right KPI scorecard for your business?

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