The above images is a memento mori mosaic from excavations in the convent of San Gregorio in Rome, featuring the Greek motto “Know Thyself.”
With the explosion of digital data and the cross-pollination of content promotion, understanding how marketing efforts are faring can be a daunting task. I was surprised to read that nearly 46% of marketers don’t even look at analytics to see whether their efforts are benefitting them. This has been an ongoing trend for several years, one that we at adroyt do not recommend because our mantra when creating content for clients is “Know Thyself.”
This is not a new concept—the original sentiment goes as far back as the Greek philosophers Socrates and Aristotle—and we believe, as with all maxims of this longevity, they retain power for a reason. When leaders of a company who are promoting their products don’t understand whether the message they are putting forth appeals to their audience or not, it’s a profound missed opportunity. And even once they do know, if they are not enticing that audience to continually re-engage, the dropping of the ball can become a chronic case of lapsed judgement.
Strategy Hacking: A Case Study
In this case study, we will highlight how we work with a client to continually study whether the strategy that is being set goes beyond a pleasant user experience to influence the purchasing of products. That is the name of the game, after all, isn’t it? We call this piece of the practices we initiate “strategy hacking.” It requires a knowledge of analytics and regular evaluations to sift through the results of the testing and measuring that help us make our campaigns more profitable.
When we first began working with this client in the lighting distribution business, we were identifying who the company’s audience was. Once we had a solid handle on the customer demographics, we began to hone our efforts that included a mix of content creation, editorial calendar management and an analyzation of how e-mail marketing campaigns, public relations efforts and social media outreach were impacting sales.
There are so many working parts to this that we’d have a book-length post if we tried to explain all of the nuances so we’ll examine a small piece of the elixir for this look at strategy hacking, which helped us to not only understand the client’s audience and its behavior but go beyond watching to actually influence that behavior. We use past-tense in a number of instances because we’ve gone through a significant platform shift for this client that means the site in the configuration that we were implementing it during this time no longer exists because we have transitioned them to a more modern template design-wise.
The enterprise involved monthly homepage changes that gave visitors to the platform new eye-candy to consume. We were fortunate to be able to work with a talented freelance web-developer, a brilliant creative director and a forward-thinking international sales manager as we tested and measured the theories we proved over the course of several years. Because the client’s ideal customer was and is an architect, an interior designer or a lighting representative, we knew the visuals must be sophisticated and we knew we’d have to hit them purposefully given they were such busy professionals.
Do You know your most important online real estate?
First and foremost, we paid close attention to our most valuable real estate: anything on the homepage that was above the fold. There were three fields we utilized: one main slideshow that rolled along the top, using the first slide to highlight a new product each month; and two smaller references beneath it. Without fail, we would see a spike in spec-sheet downloads within the next 30 days and pricing inquiries within 60 days.
We supported the homepage changes with e-blasts that featured the product in the top slide within trend collages that we strategized. These were unique to the brand, designed by the creative director to appeal to the audience we’d identified. We put tracking codes in these so that we could tell how our campaigns were faring. Within 30 days, the landing pages we’d study would begin shifting away from the product we’d featured the month before to the new assets we’d moved front-and-center. This was also the case with the smaller positions above the fold but to a lesser degree than the larger, more powerful slide product.
Analyzing landing pages is a factor in strategy hacking.
What this proves is an adage from the advertising canon: what gets measured gets managed. We continued refining strategy until we felt we’d proven the influence was lasting and not a fluke. The knowledge it brought the client has been invaluable for planning campaigns. The effort has even shifted the types of products he sources, the focus on sales beginning at the most important moment in a company’s process, the point of acquisition.
We feel our experiences with this and other clients prove that the earlier you build analytics and insights into your strategy and start working with the data that your consumers are providing, even if your data footprints are small, the faster you will understand the quantifiable financial value that data provides. It’s as important a business asset as any. We take this to heart for ourselves as well: this dedication to analytics has helped us translate our vision into marketplace benefits for ourselves and our clients. We continually hack our own strategy to keep up with whether our messages are working or not. Do you?