Live from Optimization Summit 2012: The Web as a Living Laboratory: How MECLABS uses Internet Experimentation to Optimize Messaging

By Jenny DeGraff | Jun 12, 2012
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Optimization Summit 2012Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, CEO & Managing Director of MECLABs starts off the 2012 Optimization Summit with a philosophical study of online marketing that offers key principles, observations, and dangers. He suggests that you should consider the internet to be a living laboratory to use experimentation to optimize messaging.

He starts with 3 key principles:

  1. Asking “how” leads to information; asking “why” leads to wisdom.
    Don’t optimize websites, optimize thought sequences.
  2. Sometimes we need to slow down in order to go fast. action is overrated; action should be grounded in contemplation. Contemplation without action is anemic, but then action without contemplation is dangerous.
  3. The marketer should be the philosopher of the organization – for the vigorous action of sales needs to be grounded int he rigorous contemplation of marketing.

Next Dr. McGlaughlin describes 3 observations along with related marketing dangers:

1) All marketing is comprised of 4 elements (simplify the process and elements)

  1. The Marketer
  2. The Market
  3. The Message
  4. The Means

The Danger of Company Logic: evaluate every element on the page according to the customer’s needs; qualify images, form fields, and content for what the customer sees not what the company thinks the customer needs to make a commitment.

2) All marketing should influence a decision

Flint suggests that the marketing funnel should be inverted as people are not falling into the funnel, they are falling out. There are so many distractions pulling people away from your end goal, you must focus on all the micro-yeses before getting to the macro-yes. The message must support the pathway of all those micro-yeses. This process starts all the way back at the PPC ad, there are at least 3 micro-yeses on the ad alone. Don’t skip the micro-yeses, you’ll never get the customer to the macro-yes at the bottom (now top) of the funnel.

The Danger of Conflated Objectives: look at your email or your landing page and ask, “Am I asking for too much too soon, am I asking the questions in the wrong order?” Evaluate your content and call to action to be sure you aren’t asking too much too soon. (Tip: in your copy, don’t use qualitative modifiers unless you have quantitative supporters)

3) The value proposition is the force which compels the prospect up the funnel

The answer to the question, “What is your value proposition?” can only be discovered by answering yet another question: If I am your ideal prospect, why should i buy from you rather than any of your competitors?

By asking these questions, you can start evaluating your marketing based on your customer’s vantage point. These questions also require you to consider who you are not going to serve so you can focus on the specific customer segment you should serve. Make your value proposition with a specific action in mind. It should be seeking to answer “why” for a specific “what”. Keep in mind that the value proposition must differentiate you from your competitor, and offer a perceived value that will greatly outweigh the perceived cost.

The force of a value proposition can be measured by 4 essential elements of the offer:

  1. Appeal – How much do I desire this offer?
  2. Exclusivity – Where else can I get this offer?
  3. Credibility – Can I trust your claims?
  4. Clarity – What are you actually offering?

The Danger of Presumed Value: Really effective marketing helps the customer reach conclusions on their own. Then they own that conclusion and they will champion for your company. Same rule applies to branding. Optimize every element, every micro-yes to carry the value proposition, the perceived value to outweigh the perceived cost at every step.

Dr. McGlaughlin wraps up this session with some live optimization with audience participation. An interesting, thought provoking start to the summit with many great transferable principles.

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