At Your Service! Really!
May 7, 2014

I had to meet a friend unexpectedly at the hospital the other day. As you would expect, my mind was racing with all sorts of "what ifs." I was wondering where to park when I pulled into the main entrance, and several kind people positioned at the door offered to valet my car and escort me to where I needed to go. This level of service reminiscent of a fine hotel, not a hospital, pleasantly surprised me. Genuine helpfulness and sincere caring. (And, thankfully, all turned out well for my friend.)

Does Google’s Ad Change Help or Hurt Marketers?
April 9, 2014

Have you noticed that Google's search results look different lately? In mid-March, Google tweaked the search results page layout. The most notable change, from a consumer perspective, is hyperlinks are no longer underlined, which doesn't appear to affect businesses. But this update also included a key change to sponsored ads.

Pushing the Online Envelope
September 1, 2013

Sometimes, when challenging my clients to think innovatively, I pull out Scrabble and take out two powerful letters, the E and the R. I then ask brand leaders to brainstorm words using those two letters as prefixes and suffixes. We make lists like these: REfresh, REinvent, REinvigorate, REpurpose, REmind, REmodel, REengergize and others such as strongER, easiER, quickER, slowER, kindER. Then we spend our time using those words as prompts and lenses to examine our existing marketing strategies and see how we can go one better: One better than where we are now, one better than the competitive offering, one better than our customer expects. It's our jumping off point for deeper strategic thinking, for pushing the envelope, for getting us out of our comfort zones.

What Events Will Influence Search Marketing Most in 2013?
April 3, 2013

Marketers in North America spent nearly $16.6 billion on search engine marketing in 2012, with several milestones influencing media and advertising in 2013, according to GroupM. The agency expects that number to rise to nearly $18.6 billion this year. The report points to a year of milestones in 2012 that will influence search engine marketing this year. The hundred billionth downloaded app, the billionth Facebook user, the billionth smartphone sold, the billionth mobile broadband subscription, the sale of the 100 millionth iPad, and the fact that several markets experienced more mobile searches than desktop will have a huge impact

What About Tying Mobile Searches to Coupon Offers?
November 8, 2012

Bill Tancer, Experian Hitwise's general manager of global research, points to coupons as the significant buying habit and trend for consumers this holiday season because of last November's big spike in visits to coupon websites. He tells us that 78 percent of last year’s tracked holiday campaigns offered some form of discount. That's all well and good—but marketers need to give the trend a little push. Overall, campaigns with offers declined in opens and clicks last season, but had a 68 percent higher transaction rate and 60 percent rise in revenue per email compared with campaigns with no offers.

The Truth About Showrooming
November 8, 2012

As shoppers ourselves, all of us know one thing is true—consumers are channel agnostic. They use online, mobile, social and store channels to search, share, influence and buy. No longer do they follow a linear purchasing process. They move from one channel to another naturally and, depending on what they want to achieve, they gravitate toward the channel that offers them the most value. Is it really surprising, then, that an estimated one in four shoppers used their mobile phones to compare prices while in-store during the 2011 holiday season? The specter of lost sales via this visible expression of

How Fortune 500 Companies Engage Customers on Social Media
September 7, 2012

Fortune annually compiles a list of America’s largest corporations, aptly named the “Fortune 500” (F500) given their size and wealth. … In 2008, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research released one of the first studies on social media adoption among the F500 … Last year’s F500 study drew attention for the leveling off of blogging, with only 23 percent hosting a public-facing corporate blog in both 2010 and 2011. The latest iteration documents a leap forward for these titans as they show the first signs of really embracing a range of social media tools.

The State of E-commerce Checkout Design 2012
September 6, 2012

A year ago, we published an article on 11 fundamental guidelines for e-commerce checkout design here at Smashing Magazine. The guidelines presented were based on the 63 findings of a larger "E-Commerce Checkout Usability" study we conducted in 2011 focusing strictly on the checkout user experience, from “cart” to “completed order.” This year, we’ve taken a look at the state of e-commerce checkouts by documenting and benchmarking the checkout processes of the top 100 grossing e-commerce websites based on the findings from the original study. This led to a massive checkout database with 508 checkout steps reviewed, 975 screenshots and

Email Marketing: Stop the Madness, Start Being Relevant
August 8, 2012

An email blast is a thing of the past. Marketers must embrace today’s marketing requirements that involve a shift away from generic email marketing, and a move to dynamic, personalized messaging that will engage customers and boost results. Email provides marketers with an easy, low-cost opportunity to connect with consumers, yet this channel can often cause a rift in the customer relationship if not targeted toward individual behaviors and needs. While email lends itself to frequent conversations, irrelevant messaging undermines the potential for dialogue by alienating the customers before they fully engage.

Email Designs That Break the Rules for Response
January 16, 2012

Brands once knew "the rules." Email conformed to single-browsing width, and Web-safe fonts ruled inboxes. Resistance was futile, at least for brands that wanted entry to consumers' email inboxes. But designers have begun to throw down their gauntlets and embrace creativity in direct marketing. They're designing for responses, not by "the rules."