This post originally appeared on Design Thinking and was written by Paulina Wójciak and Sarah Cantu. Not too long ago, “streaming” music meant listening to the radio or watching music videos on MTV. If you really loved an artist, you would pay between $10 and $20 for a tape or CD and listen to their … Continued
The Online Marketing Arms RaceJanuary 29, 2013
Online marketing was pretty easy when I first started doing it in 1996. It wasn’t rocket science that you should test ads for response rates and measure conversions (the deeper the better). But surprisingly a lot of people weren’t following this process. Considering that there was less than $20 per year competing for the attention of each US Internet user, this little edge made it easy to profitably acquire lots of customers online.
Marketing is Getting Harder
But in the last few years, online marketing has gotten much harder. Marketers now pile in more than $140 per user in advertising each year. To compete, today’s online marketers must seek every possible advantage. The graph below highlights the problem, showing a trendline of the average dollars spent advertising to USA Internet users in each of the last 16 years. I calculated it based on IAB spend reports and several different data sources for USA Internet users over the years. Based on the trendline, it appears the problem will continue to get worse.
Before 2010, Process and Tools Were Nice-To-Haves
Until a few years ago, it was only the savviest marketers that spent a lot of time focusing on the post click user experience. This gave them a significant competitive edge in the channels. It certainly worked for me. For example, at one startup we had hit a wall scaling our marketing spend so we refocused efforts on funnel optimization for a few months. Afterwards, we went back and tested the same channels that had previously scaled to only $10,000/month in profitable spending and they now scaled to over $1,000,000/month in profitable spending.
And I was a bit of a laggard when it came to keeping up with marketing tools. Sure I had a few favorites to help with optimization but told myself I was too busy to keep up with all the tools. Fortunately, most really were “nice-to-haves” so I was still able to compete as an effective marketer.
One example of a category I missed in recent years was the emergence of marketing automation. I didn’t even know what it really meant until about six months ago. Now that I’ve explored marketing automation solutions like Marketo and Hubspot, it’s clear that they provide a tremendous advantage to B-to-B marketers that effectively integrate them into their marketing and sales process. These tools essentially push the marketing process deeper into the funnel, where sales people previously wasted a lot of time qualifying leads over email or ignored them altogether. By automating the lead qualification and nurturing process, marketing automation tools free the sales team to focus on prospects that are most ready to buy.
The net result is that more leads convert to sales, allowing the marketer to spend more money generating each lead. Of course this only exacerbates the “noise” problem in the paid channels.
And competition for people’s attention is no longer constrained to paid online marketing channels. Over the last few years, many online marketers have hacked growth in ways that didn’t require spending on online media. This ranges from incentivized user-get-user programs like the one at Dropbox, to content and social marketing, ecosystem integrations, search engine optimization and the list goes on…
Must-Haves for Marketers
We’ve reached a point where it’s increasingly difficult to consider leading edge processes and emerging marketing tools as “nice to haves.” Without the edge they provide, most marketers will fail.
Most enterprises realize this and are expected to dramatically increase their investments in marketing tools over the next few years. This Gartner study suggests that the marketing technology budget will soon be bigger than the CIO’s technology budget.
All of this investment by enterprises is accelerating innovation cycles in new marketing tools. More startups, including Qualaroo, are raising significant funding to pursue that next “break through marketing innovation.”
Staying on Top of It All
Of course there will be some duds in the emerging marketing tools. But that’s no excuse to not stay on top of things and give many of tools a good test drive. Finding the right tool is only half the battle. Being creative enough to leverage the tool to drive a result is where the best marketers will really shine.
If you’re not sure where to start with all the emerging tools, I tend to find that marketing consultants are the most knowledgeable. I expect over the next few years that marketing consultants will increasingly play “system integrator” roles that help companies select and leverage the right marketing tools to drive growth. I’ve already come across a handful of consultants and agencies that provide tremendous value with these types of services.
There’s no shortage of content about UI/UX, and the discipline itself is fast-moving. Whatever your primary interest—whether it’s accessibility, front-end design or user research—there’s a UX blog for you. So, how can you know which of blogs or news sources are worth exploring? Not to fear, we’ve done our own research and think that these … Continued
This post was written by Qualaroo team member Sarah Cantu. Have you ever tried to remember a close friend’s favorite type of sweet treat for their birthday or celebration, only to realize you have no idea what flavors they prefer? In fact, you’ve probably eaten sweets with this person on more than one occasion, only … Continued
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) has historically been the single key indicator of success for customer service teams across most industries.
At Qualaroo, we believe that user feedback is at the heart of the success of all businesses. Our mission is to make user research faster, easier, and more accessible for companies of all shapes and sizes.
When it comes to methods of gathering feedback, the gold standard for marketers is the in-person focus group. This format offers an opportunity to gather opinions, verbal feedback, and observation of attitudes about your product. However, focus groups can also be costly and time-consuming, which can be prohibitive for small teams or small budgets. But this shouldn’t hold you back from gathering high-quality feedback.
At Qualaroo, we know that user feedback should be integral to your UX and digital product strategy. After all, your product, sales, and marketing teams are not mind readers. User feedback contextualizes what your users want and eliminates the guesswork of product development.
How can you know what someone thinks when they aren’t vocalizing their thoughts or feelings? How do you solve problems for users who aren’t providing you with raw feedback (or any feedback for that matter)? This is a consistent challenge UX and marketing professionals face. Without a written response, reaction or review, it can be difficult to know how to improve your product and its user experience.
Over the past few months, we’ve made a number of updates to Qualaroo designed to make your experience better: like revamping our Sentiment Analysis and NPS reporting experiences. Today we’re excited to announce another such release: Qualaroo now supports Content Delivery Network (CDN)!
Like any field, there are ideas and best practices in web design and experience that have become central tenets. While these “laws” are meant to improve web usability and experience, they’re certainly not immutable.