Category Archives: marketing


Customer Lifetime Value

“Anything worth selling is worth selling twice.”

-Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #12

Big data rules everything. With a large enough sample size, sellers and marketers can glean just about any piece of information they could ever want out of datasets. This one aspect of online sales- data collection- is a key tenet of the industry, allowing companies to tighten their marketing efforts, save money where it’s being wasted, and anticipate results, including costs and revenue, well in advance.

Perhaps the single biggest roadblock separating retail sales from online is that in a majority of cases, branded products are provided to brick-and-mortar stores from outside vendors. Because of this, vendors selling products inside often aren’t privy to data collected. All of that information (names, purchase dates, reorder rates, etc) goes to the store, and transactions are processed through the store’s own processors. It’s a closed system, and retail vendors are often left in the dark with only the number of products sold, accompanied by very basic gross/net revenue information. Business decisions are then made based on such broad, general data, leading to slow growth or even worse.

This means that online sellers have a major advantage, in knowing both their audience’s “Cost Per Acquisition” or CPA, and their “Customer Lifetime Value,” or CLV. CPA versus CLV is an enormous component of the online marketing industry, so let’s break it down here.

Every cost associated with a customer making a purchase online is known as the CPA. Advertising spending, cost of a click that led to a sale, operating costs, and even staff wages factor into the CPA, all neatly wrapped up into a dollar amount. Let’s say our intrepid test customer Mike buys a product from us, paying $50 to have it delivered straight to his doorstep.

Mike found us by searching Google and clicking an ad link, and that click cost us $25. Add in the rest of the associated costs, and Mike’s purchase ended up costing our company $75 total, leading to the Mike’s sale losing $25 overall. NEGATIVE $25 therefore becomes Mike’s CLV up until this point.

Sounds bad, right? Well we consider that $75 Mike’s CPA. Now with all of the time and effort and funds spent acquiring Mike as a customer, he’s become loyal to our company (and with data collected per sale we can see each time he orders), and chooses to purchase our product from us regularly. Each time he does, that adds to Mike’s CLV, and we can watch it grow with each purchase. Over the course of the time Mike is a customer, he spends $2000 total. Mike’s CLV jumps to $1975, and over time with the proper data collection, we see enormous profits taken from just the one customer. It’s why Amazon sells its famed Kindle at hardware cost- to build CLV- and it’s brilliant.

If we didn’t have that data available to us, we wouldn’t be able to see CLV and CPA, potentially causing our business to treat customers simply as yet another order number. With these figures here, we can see that keeping loyal customers loyal reaps great rewards. There are a few things we can do to “bump up” customers like Mike’s CLV, as well! Well-targeted email marketing and drip campaigns can be hugely successful in retaining customers, as can marketing on social media! Remarketing, or specifically-targeted marketing aiming to have customers reorder, is another successful tactic often used online.

Just think. Having this data available means that we CAN take advantage of it. We can see just who reordered when, because of what specific piece of marketing. What does this mean? Increased effectiveness. Higher profits overall. The ability to keep customers coming back for more. And all of this means more success for your business.

Think about it. We know WE did.

Instagram is King

People remember 20% of what they read and 80% of what they see. Research shows that Instagram engagement is 58 times higher per follower than Facebook. Therefore, if your brand is looking for more social engagement, you should not underestimate Instagram’s marketing potential.
A couple ways to optimize Instagram is first by implementing the basics. Whether you already have an account or are just setting one up, you may run into the problem of your company name already being taken. This is where it is important that you are implementing your company logo as your profile picture for all social media across the board. Consistency in social media will help people quickly recognize your content wherever they may be. Your Instagram bio should express your company’s personality in a brief description of what your company does. It would also be beneficial for you to include a link to your website so people can find you on the Internet.

The best part of Instagram is posting attractive photos, so I encourage you to get creative with promoting your product. Do not post basic product shots with an interesting filter. That is not likely to draw attention for ‘likes’ or more ‘followers.’ Your posts should look “branded” in the sense that they are consistent with the online voice you are building behind your company. It does not always have to be about selling something. I encourage you to share behind-the-scenes photos—maybe a company event or a typical day in the office— both are interesting and make you more accessible to your audience. Don’t forget, video is fair game too for this; more behind-the-scenes action, showing reactions to your product or funny promotions, all help bring your brand to life on Instagram.

Social Media – A Waste of Time in the Health Industry?

The availability of information at the click of a mouse has spawned a generation that goes online for explanations for the aches and pains that plague them. Often, these same users use the internet as a tool to locate and contact health professionals that can provide treatment.  It is, therefore, essential for Doctors, Hospitals and Clinics to incorporate social media into their business plans. It has been shown that more than 40% of consumers say that the way they deal with their health is directly affected by information obtained on the internet through social media.

The Mayo Clinic, a healthcare giant, boasts of more than 800,000 followers on Twitter and half a million “likes” on Facebook. This traffic resulted from the clinic’s 2010 establishment of the “Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media”, a department created to determine how social media could be used for the benefit of the organization. In its Mission Statement the Mayo Clinic states that “individuals have the right and responsibility to advocate for their own health, and it is [The Mayo Clinic’s] responsibility to help them use social media tools to get the best information, connect with providers and with each other, and inspire healthy choices.” Googles reports that with the launch of its social media campaign the Mayo Clinic podcast acquired 76,000 listeners.

As with any product being marketed, brand recognition of a healthcare provider is essential. Regardless of the advertising medium – a roadside billboard, an ad on the Yahoo homepage or a TV commercial –distinctive images, an appealing logo and eye catching colors must be employed to promote the product or service. When marketing a service in the healthcare arena an area of import often overlooked is the need to build trust between the patient and the doctor. When those in need of treatment can communicate directly with a doctor through social media, a particular brand can quickly gain the reputation as the ‘go-to’ company in its field. This doctor/patient communication also promotes transparency and ensures trust between doctor and patient. Through social media the Mayo Clinic was able to substantially increase its influence in the field of healthcare.

Google further reports that Youtube videos increase traffic to hospital websites by 119% annually. These videos, replete with patient interviews and “feel good” stories, convert traffic to leads because they have a personal touch and a human quality that can only be conveyed through film.

Health Watch estimates that penetration of the health industry to mobile devices is as high as 87% and that 19% of smartphone owners have at least one “health app” on their mobile device. Does this mean that health care providers need to develop an app to stay in the game? Not necessarily. What this trend does say, however, is that it is important to increase the direct communication between patient and doctor, building that trust, to effectively market to the health community, and that communication should be directed not only at the computer monitor, but at the mobile device as well.


Brand Rejuvenation

A brand makeover has to potential to completely rejuvenate a dying brand. If you are attempting a makeover, make it noticeable. The reason you are rebranding is to be noticed, so commit to the change in your brand. Any companies’ makeover should include a visual component to help the businesses re-establish the lines of communication with customers. Whether that’s new packaging or a redesigned logo, these tools have the potential to engage audiences to rediscover the brand.

In making your first steps at rebranding, the first thing to do is have your team go back and identify your existing audience, and then identify your new audience. If there is no difference between your current and desired audience then find where the miscommunication lies—failing to focus on a clear, identifiable audience leaves the brand at risk of trying to do too much and often backfires into reaching no one.

The benefits of brand rejuvenation entail the potential opportunity to communicate the shift in business model, as well as allowing you to transform your brand into new markets and audiences. Rebranding allows you to update the company’s mission and vision, which will ultimately re-engage employees as well. The ultimate goal in rebranding is to strengthen your brand’s messaging and allow it to evolve. When rebranding it is important to stay true to the brand’s mission as it should support your core message while connecting with your established audience in a new and authentic way.

The Psychology of Color

The psychology of color is one of the most interesting and controversial aspects of marketing. There has always been debate on the importance of color in marketing and its effect on persuasion. According to a study titled, The Impact of Color in Marketing, Satyendra Singh describes that the typical person makes up their mind within 90 seconds of their initial interaction with either people or products. She also claims that about 62-90 percent of the assessment is based on colors alone.

It is believed that the most effective colors for advertising are those that stimulate the viewer’s senses. Warm colors, such as red and yellow, are known to make people feel comfortable, and encourage them to linger—a reason why many restaurants primarily use warm color schemes. Nearly all logos, advertisements, and menus of fast food chains feature reds, oranges, and yellows. This is because warm colors are some of the best colors for advertising food, as they are known to increase the appetite, which may translate to higher revenue.

Cool colors on the other hand, like blues and greens, are very calming colors often associated with knowledge and understanding—why many businesses tend to use a cool color pallet. Darker shades of blue are known to indicate dependability and integrity making it a good color for business ads and logos; you will often notice financial companies incorporating dark blue. Shades of light blue seem to be very effective for advertising over-the-counter medicines and other health products. It is believed that light blue has a calming effect on people and it is most often associated with health and healing.

One last color pallet to point out is black and white. People often underestimate the power of the simplicity behind a black and white color scheme. According to research, these are two of the best colors for advertising because they create a strong contrast when paired together. Black and white often indicate opposites—white associated with purity and freedom, while black is interpreted as elegant, powerful, and/or evil. However, when used together, black and white can give off a highly professional feel for the brand.

The Contact Form

The goal of a landing page is to collect information from site visitors with the hope that they will be converted into a customer. From a business standpoint, we would like as much information as possible from these potentials. However, the average site visitor wants to spend as little time as possible filling out the contact form to get access to the offer they’re trying to receive.

In an article from HubSpot’s Social Media Scientist, Dan Zarella, looks at which types of form fields lower or increase customer conversation rate. From his studies we are able to analyze the best approach to a successful contact form.


In Zarella’s studies, he found that as the number of form fields increases, conversation rates of customers slightly decrease.


This graph represents as the number of single line text fields increase, there is a small decrease in conversation rate.


This next graph shows that multiple text areas have a noticeably shrinking effect on conversation rate.


Lastly, this graph proves that multiple drop down fields, can lower your companies conversation rate.

We can infer from Zarella’s study that the fewer form fields implemented on your landing page will bring you greater conversation feedback. In fact, conversation rate improves by almost half when the number of form fields are reduced from four fields to three- that is a 50% increase!

A few small details that will keep your contact form most efficient is by reducing all friction. The more friction you can eliminate from the user experience, the more your conversation rate will increase. One way to do this is by creating trust on your page. Reconsider the information you are requesting in your form fields; if you do not need it right away, get it from the user later. Another thing you might want to consider is providing the user with help text. By utilizing help text, you are telling the customer exactly how to fill out the form by eliminating any extra thinking on their end. Last but not least, don’t be afraid to design your contact form; it should be memorable to the customer, as well as clean, simple and efficient.


At the start of President Obama’s second term in early 2013, the White House promoted the use of the hashtag #SOTU to reference and comment on President Obama’s State of the Union address. Twitter’s @Gov account, a page that “provides updates…tracking creative & effective uses of Twitter for civic engagement…” later released the following data: during the president’s address, #SOTU was tweeted 766,681 times.

The frequency of these tweets fluctuated. As expected, the number of tweets spiked when the President touched upon a controversial topic. What is more interesting than the actual number of tweets is the data that provided a breakdown of the most popular hashtags tweeted by region and at what point during the speech the hashtags were used most. For instance, when Obama mentioned America’s graduation rate, the engagement of the #education tag shot up, particularly in the states of Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Many tweets were recorded from #budget, #energy, #jobs, and #healthcare. These results show a definitive relationship between the concerns of people from different states and the political topics addressed by The President.

The Washington Post reported that the US government reviewed #SOTU to study the thoughts of The American People with regards to the proposed extension of payroll tax cuts. Assuming an average annual salary of $50,000 per household, it was estimated that a failure of Congress to extend the cuts in payroll taxes would result in a reduction of $40 for every paycheck. The White House launched #40dollars that asked, “What does $40 per paycheck mean for you and your family”? CNN reported that within 45 minutes of its post, #40dollars was trending worldwide at approximately 6,000 tweets per hour. This huge influx of tweets over the short time period demonstrated how significant this issue was to the American people.   This campaign helped secure passage of the payroll tax extension after generating more than 70,000 tweets and in excess of 10,000 Facebook posts.

When a hashtag is “trending” it means that it is, at the moment, one of the most popular hashtags being used. A list of the trending hashtags is visible on the sidebar of the Twitter home page, and is constantly updated to display what is trending at that exact moment. While it is true that the list only monitors hashtags used on Twitter itself, it is fair to speculate that the trending topic on Twitter is also being tossed about on other social media platforms.  Some tags trend for less than a minute. A quick response to a trending topic on Twitter can allow a user to reach a massive audience with little effort and no advertising fees.

Support for this idea can be evidenced from a report on that confirmed that when the lights went out in New Orleans during the third quarter Super Bowl XLVII, Oreo immediately tweeted an ad using #blackout, a hashtag sure to attract the attention of the thousands of other Twitter users using the same tag. In an interview following the successful advertising campaign, the sandwich cookie’s social media team bragged that they had fifteen staffers, (copywriters, strategists, and graphic artists) each with a finger on the send button, waiting to capitalize on anomaly that may occur during the Championship game – a great play, a wardrobe malfunction, or, in this case, a blackout. The cost of such an operation may seem excessive, but it is peanuts compared to what Budweiser or Lays was shelling out to run a short advertisement on Game Day, especially when taking into account what some clever employee of Nabisco found, taking advantage of a pregame survey: approximately 36% of Super Bowl viewers planned to consult a second screen during the game.

In general, statistics have shown that hashtags drive engagement. On average, tweets with hashtags show 12% more engagement through retweets, favorites, and responses than those without. Tweets with both a hashtag and a link have demonstrated to have the highest engagement.

Because a marketer can come up with a particular hashtag as a brand name identifier, it is possible to run cross-platform campaigns by use of hashtags, truly making the hashtag “the global connector of the social web.” If a seller is going to use a particular hashtag for their product, it is essential that the tag be easy to spell, input and remember. In order to promote its further use, the tag must be consistent with its message.

Another marketing strategy that utilizes hashtags would be one that targets a specific audience. “People want to connect with people who have common lifestyles,” suggests the blog titled Wishpond. “To market to your people, think about your demographics’ lifestyle and hobbies. Then seek out well used hashtags to include in a few of your updates. [For example], Discount Tackle Online [a company that sells fishing gear] uses common hashtags like #trout and #flyfishing on Google+. The post shows up in both hashtags streams, which gets their update seen by people who follow the fish related tags, or even search for them on the site.” reports that for a 30% discount in an advertising fee, Esurance – a web-based auto insurance company – ran a 30 second ad immediately following Super Bowl XLVIII. When viewers were advised that one lucky person who tweeted the hashtag “#EsuranceSave30” within 36 hours of the Superbowl would receive a $1.5 million prize – the Twitter community exploded. Within seconds, 200,000 tweets came in using the hashtag #EsuranceSave30, and an additional 2.1 million flooded twitter over the following three days. The brilliance of this campaign, in retrospect, is obvious- while companies like Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, and Hyundai targeted viewers during the game, Esurance used their dollars not only to generate media attention, but to place the Esurance brand at the fingertips of millions of Americans. While Twitter itself has not been able to successfully drive sales, it provides a slingshot from which an internet marketer can reach millions of users and cast his product across multiple platforms, the real goal of the internet marketer.


Enhanced CPC: Is This Always The Right Choice?


When choosing a click-focused bid strategy, is clicking the “Enable Enhanced CPC” button always the right choice? What Enhanced CPC means is exactly how it sounds, it optimizes your cost per click if Adwords presumes it as beneficial, or not beneficial, to your campaign. This feature can increase your bids for clicks by up to 30% if deemed good for the campaign, and lower the bid by any amount if it seems that the campaign will not benefit. Seems awesome right? This may not necessarily be the case.

While Enhanced CPC can be beneficial for a campaign with a good history of conversion data, a new campaign with Enhanced CPC will most likely not perform at its best. It can drive down traffic for a new campaign and make your campaign not work as how you would’ve hoped.  It’s not going to do a good job if there is no data to base its bid decisions over. What is our verdict?

Use it for a campaign with good historic conversion data. This is where the Enhanced CPC feature may perform at its best and be the most beneficial to your Adwords campaign, with potential for increased conversion rate, increase ROI, and overall lower costs. However,for a new campaign, we recommend not using it. Be smart with Enhanced CPC, make sure it’s right for you.