8 bad marketing automation practices to stop doing now 0

Posted on August 28, 2016 by Rob Petersen

marketing automation

  • 49% of companies use marketing automation.
  • 55% of B2B companies use it (emailmonday)

Marketing automation refers to software automating marketing actions. It’s used to automate repetitive tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions. It’s a case where technology makes tasks easier.

But does easier make it better? Although the numbers say half of companies use marketing automation, do they use it well or badly?

How to tell? Here are 8 very bad marketing automation practices.

All of these, unfortunately, have happened to me. Have they happened do you?

1. LAUNCH RIGHT INTO THE HARD SELL: On the internet, it’s hard to make yourself approachable. How to do it is provide thoughtful content your audience values without asking for anything; rather, you explore common interests until your prospect is ready to buy. This is called social selling. Yes. It takes time. But it delivers a prospect who feels they know you and is more ready to take action. Here’s what not to do.

marketing automation

2. BRAG BEFORE KNOWING YOUR AUDIENCE: The best thing to do when sending a message to someone who doesn’t know you is show you understand them. The worst thing is brag about yourself. Here’s a good example of the latter.



3. BELIEVE CLEVERNESS COVERS UP YOU’RE A PEST: More is not better with marketing automation. If someone hasn’t taken any action, they’re either not interested or not ready. A very bad idea is bugging somebody like this:

marketing automation #3

4. USE GENERIC SUBJECT LINES: Your first chance, and probably only, to make a good impression is the subject line or headline of your content. Here is a sampling of subject lines from emails I’ve recently received: “It’s finally here,” “I want you back,” “As per my last email,” “After checking your services,” “Am I still welcome here?” All have been generated by marketing automation. Why would anyone open any of these?

5. SET IT AND FORGET IT: Although marketing automation makes tasks easier, it can also make tasks much less compassionate. This is especially true in social media. Below is an automated Tweet from the journal American Rifleman, which is associated with the National Rifle Association. It was pre-set to forget. But it went out as details surrounding the tragic shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, CO were being released. The respond below the NRA Tweet was not set to forget.

marketing automation #5

marketing automation - nra

6. NOT ENABLING SOMEONE TO UNSUBSCRIBE: The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that establishes requirement for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out penalties for violations. The law states:  “Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages, you must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days.”

7. TURN A DRIP CAMPAIGN INTO A DOWNPOUR:  A Drip Campaign s a method used in direct marketing to acquire customers through repetitive marketing actions. It involves sending marketing information to prospects repeatedly over longer periods of time in order to nurture prospects or leads. After once opening an email generated by marketing automation, I received the response below in less than an hour. Obviously, something I won’t do again.

marketing automation #7


8. DON’T BE A SORE LOSER: To anyone who uses these bad marketing automation practices, my guess is you are not seeing any success. If you’ve ever written an email like this, you’ve come to the point where you have to seriously evaluate your use of marketing automation.

marketing automation #8

Do these examples of bad marketing automation practices help which what you should and shouldn’t do? Have any of these every happened to you?

50 facts about online consumer behavior not to ignore 2

Posted on August 21, 2016 by Rob Petersen

online consumer behavior

81% of consumers research online before buying. (GE Capital).

If the goal of marketing is to reach the consumer at moments that most influence their buying decision, then understanding online consumer behavior is key for any business.

Here are 50 facts about online consumer behavior not to ignore. They start from finding your audience, selling to them to, satisfying them and keeping them satisfied.


  1. 97% of consumers turn to a search engine when they are buying a product vs 15% who turn to social media. (Conductor)
  2. 96% of consumers have searched for product information from their mobile device. (Google)
  3. 95% of Millennials expect brands to have a Facebook presence. (Social Media Examiner)
  4. 94% of B2B buyers research online for purchase decisions. (State of Procurement Study)
  5. 89% of shoppers do online research before purchasing an item in-store. (Interbrand)
  6. 88% of consumers made their final purchase in store. (GE Capitol)
  7. 88% of consumer trust online reviews as much are personal recommendation. (Search Engine Land)
  8. 87% of Gen X’ers (30- to 44-year-olds) and  70% of those ages 45 to 60 think brands should, at the very least, have a Facebook page. (Social Media Examiner)
  9. 85% of all consumer purchases are made by women including everything from autos to health care. (Greenfield Online)
  10. 80% of consumer internet video traffic will come from video in 2019, compared to 64% in 2014. (Cisco)
  11. 79% of shoppers feel empowered by technology because it provides access to information. (GE Capitol)
  12. 28% of all online activity is spent on social networks. (Global Web Index)
  13. American Adults spend 5.5 hours a day viewing video content. (eMarketer)


  1. 81% of customers reach out to friends and family members on social networking sites for advice before purchasing products. (Digital Buzz)
  2. Consumers spend an average of 79 days gathering information before making a major purchase. (GE Capitol)
  3. 77% of online shoppers use reviews to make a purchase decision. (Digital Buzz)
  4. 60% of consumers prefer to share their information about the products with others online. (Research Gate)
  5. 50% of shoppers have made a purchase based on the recommendation of the people they follow (and like) on social networks. (Digital Buzz)
  6. 50% use their smartphone to look up restaurants/bars, and 31% to research or book travel. (Google)
  7. 42% of shoppers spend over half their shopping time doing online research. (Interbrand)
  8. 38% of people buy online because of low prices. (
  9. 35% intentionally carry their smartphone while shopping so they can comparison shop. 32% said they had changed their mind about purchasing in-store based on information found online while shopping. (Google)
  10. 35% of American smartphone users have purchased through their mobile device, 68% of those within the last month.  However, 65% still prefer to purchase while on their computer. (Google)
  11. 33% of men and 38% of women don’t buy online because they want to touch the product before the buy it. (
  12. 5-20% is probability of selling to a new prospect. 60-70% is probability of selling to an existing customer. (Marketing Metrics)


  1. 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service. (RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report)
  2. 83% of consumers require some degree of customer support while making an online purchase. (eConsultancy)
  3. 76% of consumers believe the customer service they received shows how the company values them as a customer. (Aspect Consumer Experience Survey)
  4. When shopping online, 58% of women and 44% of men are concerned about the cost of shipping. (Three Deadly Venoms)
  5. 45% of US consumers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly. (Forrester)
  6. 45% of companies offering web or mobile self-service reported an increase in site traffic and reduced phone inquiries. (CRM Magazine)
  7. It takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience. (Parature)


  1. 80% of companies say they deliver “superior” customer service while only 8% of customers feel the same way (Lee Resources)
  2. 75% of consumers believe it takes too long to reach a customer service agent (Harris Interactive)
  3. 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.  (McKinsey)
  4. 62% of online shopper are brand loyal. (Interbrand)
  5. 60% of consumers state their expectations for customer service are higher now than they were just one year ago. (Global State of Multi-channel Customer Service Report)
  6. 59% would try a new brand or company for a better service experience. (American Express)
  7. 55% of consumers would pay more for a better customer experience. (Salesforce)
  8. 50% of consumers believe customer service agents fail to answer their questions.
  9. 42% of service agents are unable to efficiently resolve customer issues due to disconnected systems, archaic user interfaces, and multiple applications. (Forrester)
  10. 33% of consumers would recommend a brand that provides a quick but ineffective response. (Nielsen-McKinsey)
  11. 19% think it’s very important that retailers have mobile friendly websites (GE Capitol)
  12. 17% of consumers would recommend a brand that provides a slow but effective solution. (Nielsen-McKinsey)
  13. 10% increase in customer retention levels result in a 30% increase in the value of the company. (Bain & Co)
  14. Americans tell an average of 9 people about good experiences and 16 about poor experiences (American Express)
  15. It is 6-7 times more costly to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer.  (White House Office of Consumer Affairs)
  16. A customer is 4 times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service related vs. price or product related. (Bain & Co.)
  17. Consumers are 2 times more likely to share their bad customer service experiences than they are to talk about positive experiences.  (2012 Global Customer Service Barometer)

Do these facts help you to better understand online consumer behavior? Do these cause you to think about your marketing? Does your business need help navigating online consumer behavior?

25 hard numbers why clients hire and fire ad agencies 0

Posted on June 26, 2016 by Rob Petersen

ad agencies

From Mad Men to Sad Men, relationship factors have driven the selection and dismissal process of companies and their ad agencies for decades.

To arm your company with the characteristics to pursue as well as what to avoid, here’s your guide. 25 hard numbers why clients hire and fire their ad agencies.


  1. 98% say the best work comes when clients trust their agencies. (USA Today)
  2. 97% of agency professionals agree a long-term relationship is important, while this number is 89% for client-side marketers. (Association of National Advertisers (ANA))
  3. 94% of clients believe their process of hiring an agency is effective (American Management Institute (AMI))
  4. 90% of agency professionals agree the agency “plays an important role in driving business results,” versus 74% of client-side marketers. (ANA)
  5. 60% of digital agencies are independents (SoDA Report)
  6. 58% of clients say they provide clear assignment briefs versus 27% of agencies. (ANA)
  7. 57% of clients “like” or “love” the process of choosing an agency. (AMI)
  8. 56% of clients believe agencies have the right talent to meet client needs while agencies believe it’s 64%. (ANA)
  9. 51% say their company has a “special sauce” for finding the best agencies. (AMI)
  10. More than 50% of the clients work with only one or two digital agencies, up from 47% in 2015 (SoDA Report)
  11. 49% of companies say they typically take more than three months to choose an agency once they’ve decided to begin their search. (AMI)
  12. 35% of clients are often required by their organizations to review multiple agencies even if they’ve already identified the one they want to hire, and to review agencies frequently, even if they’re happy with their work.(AMI)
  13. 34% are skeptical and believe most agencies pretend to know more about their industry and their business than they really do, and that agencies usually don’t give their company’s needs the level of attention they should. (AMI)
  14. 31% of clients are looking for a personal connection with their agency partners. (AMI)
  15. 26% of clients say their marketing budget is established based on a calculation of lifetime customer value, tolerable expenditures per customer gained, and annual sales targets. (AMI)
  16. 21% of agencies indicate they were now working with nearshore and offshore partners for digital production. (SoDA Report)
  17. Only 20% of respondents report having an Agency of Record. (AMI)


  1. 90% of agencies say they understand their client’s businesses, only 65% of clients agree. (USA Today)
  2. 88% of clients claim to speak their mind freely, even when it’s uncomfortable. But among agency leaders who frequently interact with clients, only 36% believe this is true. (USA Today)
  3. 76% of agency executives say their clients are afraid to take risks. (USA Today)
  4. 61% of marketers and 70% of agency executives admit they don’t share the same definition of creativity. (USA Today)
  5. 56% say their agencies are more interested in “selling” them their work rather than solving their problems. (USA Today)
  6. More than 50% of clients believe their agencies lack digital talent. (SoDA Report)
  7. 46% of clients say there are factors that automatically disqualify agencies. When asked to share them, respondents cited characteristics such as bad publicity or agency reputation, a poor website, a lack of integrity or experience, and personality conflicts. (AMI)
  8. 13% of companies believe they can create agency services in-house and don’t need an ad agency. (SoDA Report)

Do these numbers reflect your experiences? Do they represent reality? Are you rethinking your agency relationships?

34 clear facts explain Viewable Impressions and Ad Fraud 0

Posted on February 15, 2016 by Rob Petersen



Viewable Impressions

Impressions are a media metric used to measure ad delivery.

In digital media, an impression occurs when an ad is called and served by a web browser. Each time an ad is served, it counts as an impression. It is counted whether the viewer is able to see the ad or not.

Viewable Impressions are an improvement. The IAB established this definition for the industry so there is a metric and standard for viewability. Viewable Impressions require that 50% of ad creative is viewable for at least one second.

Why does this matter? If your business buys online ads, you probably expect the impressions you were promised and charged represent people who saw your ad. But this is not what’s going on.

A good percentage of your ad buy is likely siphoned off by parties who have no intention of letting people view your ad. A practice called Ad Fraud.

How does this happen? What can you do? Here are 34 clear facts to explain Viewable Impressions and Ad Fraud.


  • 54% of ads aren’t viewable according to Comscore
  • 56% of ads don’t generate viewable impressions according to Google
  • 79% of mobile ads are viewable vs 48% for desktop so mobile does better than deskstop according to eMarketer



Viewer behavior. This represent the smallest percentage and occurs roughly 15% of the time.

  • Viewer leaves the page before 1 second is up
  • Viewer doesn’t scroll down far enough to see the ad
  • Viewer has ad-blocking software enabled
  • Viewer’s computer is missing a necessary plug-in to display interactive media
  • Viewer tries to open the page in a device that isn’t enabled
  • Ad loads, but in an area of the web page that is not within the viewer’s browser window
    dimensions and scrolling position


Bots. The page is opened by a proxy server or bot (not a real person). This is a large percentage. 60% of internet traffic is bots.

  • Bots mimic human behavior. They falsify what advertisers believe to be real human engagement while offering no potential for purchase or conversion.
  • Bots tend to be nocturnal and do most active surfing between 11 pm and 5 am (Wall Street Journal)
  • 36% of ad impressions are seen by Bots (Computerworld)
  • 23% of all video ad impressions are Bots (Adludi)
  • 19% of retargeted ads are consumed by Bots (Adludi)
  • 17% of programmatic inventory is viewed by Bots (Adludi)
  • 11% of all display impressions are from Bots (Adludi)
  • Sites related to finance, family and food have the highest percentages of Bot traffic, ranging from 16% to 22% (Wall Street Journal)
  • Tech, sports and science-related sites have among the lowest Bot percentages, ranging from 3% to 4% (Wall Street Journal)
  • $6.3 billion dollars in ad revenue have been lost to Bots in 2015 (Adludi)


Ad Fraud. This is the deliberate practice of attempting to serve ads from illegal ad servers with ads that have no potential to be viewed by a human user. It is a critical issue facing the digital marketing community today. 25% of online ad impressions are allegedly fraudulent.

  • For every $3 spent on ads, Ad Fraud takes $1 (Ad Age)
  • That’s $18.5 billion in ad revenue lost to Ad Fraud in 2015 (Ad Age)
  • Fraud thrives when advertisers measure the wrong events like page views, video views — those are events that both a human and a bot can do
  • Fraudulent impressions tend to come from older browsers, especially older versions of Internet Explorer
  • 37% of advertisers say they are willing to pay a premium of 11% or more for certified, human traffic (Ad Age)
  • 25% of publishers have no way to detect non-human traffic (Ad Age)
  • The worst losses by brands total $42 million. Large advertisers, such as Dell, Ford Motor, and MasterCard (Bloomberg Business)


  • 100% viewablility is not possible today. Viewable Impressions have been established as a standard to try to get there
  • 70% Viewable Impressions for campaigns is achievable according to the IAB after analyzing viewable data from over 240 billion impressions with ad management firm Sizmek


Publishers, agencies and media buyer should be pro-active taking steps to maximize Viewable Impressions and minimize Bots and  Ad Fraud. Here is what they should be doing.

  • MONITOR TRAFFIC WITH A CONSISTENT THIRD PARTY TOOL: Use monitoring and bot detection to reveal the Bots and Ad Fraud. This will prevent the purchase of additional media targeted and will improve campaign metrics
  • UPDATE BLACKLISTS FREQUENTLY AND NARROWLY: Establish a list once bots are identified and update it regularly
  • CONCENTRATE ADVERTISING DURING WAKING HOURS AND REDUCE BUYS ON OLDER BROWSERS:  Bot fraud levels vary across the day with peak activity occurring when users are sleeping, but their computers are still awake

If a campaign doesn’t achieve a 70% threshold on Viewable Impressions, the publisher, agency or buyer should make good by delivering this threshold. That’s doesn’t mean they need to provide a refund. It means they need to guarantee the media delivery.

Clients should ask agencies and media buyers if they are getting paid directly or indirectly by ad networks. Agencies and media buyers should understand from ad networks how they are combating Bot activity and any fraudulent behavior.  Ad networks should not turn a digital blind-eye to publishers who intentionally use bots to make profits off of advertisers.

Publishers, agencies and media buyers all know. If anyone gives vague answers or otherwise disparages such questions, that’s a red flag. The simple truth is if they are not working with you, they are working against you.

Does this help you understand Viewable Impressions and Ad Fraud?  And what you can do about it? Before you place your next ad buy, do you need any guidance to achieve the Viewable Impressions you deserve?

11 brands with a brilliant digital marketing strategy 0

Posted on January 18, 2016 by Rob Petersen

Peter Drucker

“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.” – Peter Drucker

Strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve a major aim. Digital marketing is targeted, measurable, and interactive marketing of products or services using digital technologies to reach and convert leads into customers and retain them.

For many companies, a digital marketing strategy is achieving a major aim doing something new by stopping doing something old.

Who is doing it extremely well? Here are 11 brands with a brilliant digital marketing strategy.

  1. DAYS INN USED LOCATION-BASED TARGETING AND INCREASE BOOKINGS: Days Inn used search-based location targeted advertising via the mobile application. Any user searching for specific hotel, accommodation or related keywords was able to view a Days Inn advertisement for 15% off a 2 night stay. After the user clicked on the ad, they were taken to a banner ad that provided a click to call or click to web to make a reservation. The campaign received over 5% click through rate, 13% click to call and 16% click to web at annual rate of $1,080,000 in revenue.
  2. DOVE TURNED TO FACEBOOK FOR AD MAKEOVER: No matter where we look, we are constantly surrounded with ads trying to tell us there are things about our bodies we need to fix. Miracle creams to fix cellulite, surgeries to enhance the bust, and pills to help achieve the perfect weight. Dove, as a part of their “Real Beauty” campaign, turned to Facebook to outbid competitors for search terms like “plastic surgery,” “I hate my body” and “diet.” 171,000,000 banners with negative messages were displaced and 5,500,000 unique women reached. Facebook mentions increased by 71%. A poll was conducted where 71% of the women said that they felt more beautiful after seeing the Dove ads.
  3. HELLMANN’S ENHANCED SHOPPING EXPERIENCE: They came up with an innovative idea to enhance the shopping experience and also to sell more Hellmann’s. The solution centred on the supermarket trolley itself. The cart was equipped with a small LCD touch screen and RFID technology which interacts with various ingredients in the supermarket and lets the shopper know of any products that could be combined with Hellmann’s mayonnaise. In one month, 45,000 people used the interactive shopping trolley and sales of Hellmann´s in those stores increased 68%
  4. LAND ROVER CAPITALIZED ON WHERE PURCHASE JOURNEY BEGINS: Knowing that the majority of today’€™s auto shoppers start their car search online, Land Rover wanted to reach these shoppers on all their devices at every point in the purchasing funnel. To do so, they used cross-channel marketing to engage consumers at scale, running a homepage masthead takeover on YouTube and Masthead in Lightbox ads across the Google Display Network. Land Rover garnered more than 100,000,000 impressions. 15% of its total sales now come from online leads.
  5. MCDONALD’S MADE PEOPLE SMILE AND IN RETURN THEY SAMPLED: Most people find getting up in the morning tough. It is estimated that a staggering 83% of millennials use their phones as an alarm clock, and sleep with their phones within reach. And McDonald’s is certainly not the first thing on our minds when turning off their alarm clock. Enter  the “McDonald’s Surprise Alarm” application: a handy alarm clock with a welcome added-value twist. Every morning brought users nice surprises: a free song, free food, an inspirational quote, vouchers and more. In 5 weeks, it achieved 281,000 downloads, 93% were McDonald’s users, 68,044 shares on social media and 64,260,76 coupons and surprises delivered.
  6. OAK FURNITURE LAND USED GEO-TARGETED E-MAIL MESSAGING TO BOOST SALES: Oak Furniture Land wanted to connect its online presence with its network of 62 physical stores. Oak Furniture Land analysed and segmented the postcodes provided by customers during the email sign-up stage, and then targeted customers with messages relevant to their local store. It boosted revenue 30% year over year.
  7. STEP2 DISCOVERED VIDEOS INCREASED CONVERSION: Step2, a leading manufacturer of toys and preschool items, produces large-scale products that cost between $130 and $150, and sells them through retailers. The company needed to convince consumers that its product was worth the investment, but images and text weren’t cutting it. It produced videos for more than 100 products. The result: Viewers of these videos were 174% more likely to buy.
  8. STONGWELL CORPORATION TRANSFORMED EMAIL WITH MARKETING AUTOMATION: Strongwell is a leader in the Fiberglass industry. They use a process called pultrusion. They offer a highly technical solution to a narrow target. They really wanted to focus on how they could use CRM to their advantage. They automated email set so it was going to notify the regional sales manager for that territory, ‘Hey, this person wants to talk to you.’ They immediately got a $30,000 request for a quote using this approach.
  9. TARGET TURNED SANTA’S HELPER APP INTO HOLIDAY SALES: The brand developed an app with a 3D animated game-like experience in which kids could build wish lists and send to Santa. Meanwhile, Mothers could access wish lists and share them with relatives, and the list would automatically adjust when relatives bought toys, much like a wedding or baby shower registry. The app also had an augmented reality function for in-store wish-list making. They were 75,000 downloads of the app, over 100,000 wish lists were created, 9,200 new accounts and sales potential of $92,300,000.
  10. TOTAL GYM FITNESS SAW LIVE CHAT INCREASE ONLINE ORDERS: Total Gym Fitness, a home gym manufacturer, used to drive business through television ads, but noticed fewer people dialing in and more people coming to the website. The marketing team translated their phone experience to the Internet with an optimized chat feature. It enabled them to better understand customer motivation, evaluate site effectiveness and produced 39% of their online orders.
  11. WASHINGTON WIZARDS SAW JUMP IN NEW TICKET SALES WITH SEARCH ADS: The Washington Wizards surprised everyone during the 2013-2014 NBA season by making the playoffs for the first time in five years. To capitalize on the team’s success, the Wizards’ owners, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, looked to grow ticket sales and attract new fans in the mid-Atlantic region. To do so, it used AdWords ad extensions and focused its ticket pricing strategy on the most engaged AdWords campaigns. The final score? Its overall return on ad spend for the 2013-2014 season jumped 293% and 72% of ticket purchases via AdWords come from new fans.

Do these brands inspire you to use digital marketing? Do you need help creating a digital marketing strategy for your business?

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