Understanding Eye Flow and Avoiding The Corner of Death

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I just recently started following the Neuromarketing blog and wanted to share a really interesting article they just posted in today’s issue.

It’s called “Avoid the Corner of Death!,” and it is greatness. Below, I’ve copy/pasted their article, including the most interesting part: The eye flow chart.

Understanding this is critical, especially for landing page optimization purposes, and tells me that if you’re placing your most important information (a video, an ask, etc.) on the upper-right hand corner of a two-column landing page layout, that you’re putting your most important information at the last place in which this eyeflow chart ends.

More over, anything in the bottom-right corner is squarely in the “Corner of Death,” and will be overlooked by your audience. Avoid this at all costs.

Here’s the rest of the article:

What’s the worst place to put your logo, and where do advertisers most often put their logo in print ads, TV spots, and direct mail pieces? The answer is the same: the lower right corner, an area dubbed the “Corner of Death” by facial coding expert Dan Hill.

Hill’s comments stem from an interesting eyetracking study by Steve Outing and Laura Rule, reported in The Best of Eyetrack III. This illustration shows a composite average of how people scan a typical web page:

 

Corner of Death

Understanding eye flow & how visitors view your web page, website, email, or print piece and where you should (and more importantly should NOT) place your most important information.

Outing and Rule caution against taking this exact path too seriously, as variations in layout will cause differences in how people scan the page. The skull graphic wasn’t part of Outing and Rule’s report, but rather inspired by a similar image in Hill’s new book, About Face.

In an recent article, Hill says:

If we take print ads as an example, you’ve got 1.7 seconds of average viewing time, per reader. And the lower right-hand corner is typically the second to last place people look on a page. (What’s even worse in terms of timing, along the upper right edge, i.e., the alley of death.) What you don’t see, you don’t get. [From Mediapost – The 6 Secrets of Eye-tracking by Dan Hill.]

Despite these findings, the lower right corner is by far the most common single location for the primary logo/brand identity use in all types of advertising, according to Hill.

So based on eye-tracking research, where should the logo or brand identity be placed so that consumers actually see it? Hill says that the best place is the lower middle part of the page or layout, At that point, the viewer will have engaged emotionally with the leading part of the ad, and will then have the opportunity to associate the brand with solving a problem or satisfying consumers’ wants.

I hope you enjoyed.

— GC

How you can use search engines to test upcoming campaign message effectiveness

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If you have a direct mail, print advertisement or any other type of offline marketing campaign that you are planning on launching soon, it’s imperative that you spend the time and additional resources to properly test a few different campaign themes/messages.

It’s important to do this specifically because of the costs associated with traditional/offline marketing campaigns. When you’re outlying that amount of capital, it’s important to ensure that you can go to market with the best chance of success.

By leveraging search engines to test messaging themes, marketers can quickly, cost-effectively, and successfully collect the type of data that can provide them with the information to properly determine the most effective campaign theme/message.

The following identifies both benefits and considerations associated with leveraging this technique:

Benefits:

  • Faster data collection
    Online campaign data can be collected within a matter of days or weeks, as testing a direct mail program to a segmented test list for your direct mail file can sometime take months to fully analyze. Online testing provides immediate and actionable data that provides the organization an opportunity to subsequently increase their direct mail campaign’s speed to market tremendously, as well.
  • Lower testing costs
    The costs associated with implementing an online test for your direct mail campaign is significantly lower than the costs associated with creative design, print production, processing and mailing of a direct mail test. As previously mentioned, the data collected online to determine the most effective message or theme for your direct mail campaign can be completed in weeks, as opposed to months.
  • Numerous testing options
    Search marketing provides the ability to quickly test multiple components associated with your direct mail message, including the headline/subject, tone, call to action and any other associated creative elements like images.

Additional Considerations:

It should be noted that the audience demographics associated with Search Engine traffic may vary slightly from those of your direct mail file. Leveraging “negative keywords” may help to mitigate faulty or varying data, as it will limit the traffic types to only the most “qualified” visitors.

Testing methodology

SEM Testing Methodology for Offline Marketing Campaigns

In this example diagram, we are looking to test four separate campaign messages.

The control elements of this type of test would be:

  1. Test duration
  2. Search engines used
  3. The method of ad serving (i.e. using either a CPC or CPM model)
  4. The budget assigned to each ad
  5. The same landing page design

The variable elements for each of these message types would then only be related to:

  1. Ad headlines
  2. Ad copy
  3. Landing page copy

By setting up the test in this regard, we can successfully test which message is most effective by measuring the following categories:

  • Traffic
    • Ad impressions
    • Ad click-throughs
    • Unique number of landing page views
  • Conversion rate
    • Ad clickthrough rate
    • Landing page conversion rate
  • Average gift received / number of names collected (depending upon what the goal of the campaign is)

The winning message(s) in these categories should be proclaimed the “winner” and used in future campaigns.

Why marketers need to believe that clarity trumps persuasion

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Clarity Trumps Persuasion

When it comes to any marketing, but most specifically fund raising for non profit organizations, we need to force ourselves to remember that clarity always trumps persuasion in our marketing efforts. Transparency and honesty will always prevail.

Some of you may know that I’m a big fan of MarketingExperiments, and more specifically their Director — Dr. Flint McGlaughlin. One of the things that he touts frequently when teaching and educating young marketing professionals is that clarity trumps persuasion.

He argues that marketing professionals do not need to be a genius at persuasion, so long as you can simply take the time to study your processes and achieve genuine clarity.

How many times have you been to a website that cites they’re the “… world leader in __________“, or the “… recognized global leader in __________“?

The odds are that these organizations are not the leader, or recognized at all, but rather they are being led by marketing professionals that are practicing persuasion tactics.

This same approach should be applied to nonprofit organizations, specifically with regards to their fund raising efforts. Think about how you approach your audiences (existing and/or prospective donors). Are you leveraging persuasion or clarity in your marketing themes and messages?

Our friends Jill and Chay were being married a week or so ago and while attending the rehearsal dinner (my wife was one of her bridesmaids), I found myself in a long conversation with the soon-to-be bride’s mother. We had not had a chance to talk much in the past, but in the flow of the conversation I found out that she was a donor to one of the organizations that we here at KMA Direct Communications manage and execute fund raising campaigns for (whose name I will not include in this article).

I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation and her recommendations, as it was essentially a one-off donor survey. She was very candid with me and honest/forthcoming.

In our conversation, she told me that she would highly consider giving more often to the organization if they would simply show her how her (and other) donations were being allocated and what impact they have had. Because this client is so young (not even a year old yet), we have not had a chance to implement a “here is what your dollars are working for” type of message… but, her recommendation follows the theme for this message.

By providing her clarity and insight into how we are using her gift towards furthering our cause and making an impact on the world we live in, she is more likely to give more donations and more frequently.

In this case, there was no example of persuasion (we are, after all, good marketers and follow the principles that we preach … :-)), so I cannot identify how she was dissuaded from providing another gift due to it.

Strategically, we are planning on adding additional clarity into our messaging to share with donors the exact impact their gifts had regarding this nonprofit organization’s cause.

To close, and to echo the thoughts and direction of  Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, I will ask each of you to remember that clarity in your marketing process should always answer three things to your prospective donors:

  1. Where am I?
  2. What is your offer?
  3. Why should I give a gift to you?

If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.

– Jesus Christ, John 8:31-32

All the best,

— GC

The reason why you should continue using banner ads, even if the ROI isn’t there.

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The reason why you should continue using banner ads, even if the ROI isn’t there.

Advertising is not a direct response channel, but it can provide a significant lift to direct response marketing efforts when it is added to your overall mix of activities. Trust me, you're not throwing your money away when you advertise online.

If you’re like me, you’ve just wrapped up a great Independence Day break and you’re rolling up your sleeves in an attempt to put your nose to the grindstone. Don’t you just love 4-day work weeks? It makes everything seem to fly by, which is not necessarily a good thing.

After all, there are organizations out there that need help in their fund raising efforts — and the Strategist has been hammering away all week. I apologize for missing my Tuesday publishing date, although I highly doubt there is anyone out there that was disappointed. 🙂

Now, let’s get on with the show, eh? As promised in last week’s blog about the difference between marketing and advertising, I mentioned that I would write this week about banner advertising on the web and why you should do it, even if you ROI is not there.

We had a meeting with a customer before the holidays and this exact question was asked in our call. “Why should we continue to use banner ads if the ROI is not there?” It’s a valid question at the surface level. In today’s economy, it’s difficult to justify expenditures that do not bring a positive return on investment, right?

Well, I challenge that line of thinking. Why?

It’s a simple answer: Advertising is not a direct response channel.

Let me say that again — Advertising is NOT a direct response channel.

A direct response channel is where you’re engaging an audience directly, on a one-to-one level to ask them to perform a specific action. Believe it or not, by slapping a “CLICK HERE NOW!!!” button on your banner, you’re not actually marketing to an audience in a direct manner.

So, what is advertising? Advertising is an indirect response channel. It’s specifically used for brand building, brand awareness and brand loyalty initiatives.

Then, why would anyone want to spend money on that? Well, you can ask one of the million+ public companies that advertise daily on television, outdoor signage, over the radio, etc. — or I can just tell you.

When it comes to advertising, it’s about a consistent, repetitive interaction with a prospective and/or existing consumer base with your brand. The more times they hear the brand, the more “trust” is built in the brand. You may disagree with this, but I would imagine that you’re far more likely to buy a product from a large national brand than you are from the local mom & pop shop that sells the same widget, at a similar price point. It’s not just because of location (which is a major factor), but it’s also about the fact that you interact with the brand nearly daily.

With online marketing tactics like email marketing bringing such clarity and bottom line results to move the needle, it’s hard to justify to others within your organization the expenditures that you’re making in other online channels that are not “generating the same types of results”.

What if I told you that you need to look at your overall marketing/advertising mix as a mathematical equation? Remember all of the way back in high school when you took algebra? Well, take a look at this algebraic formula that I use to communicate the effectiveness of a true marketing and advertising mixture:

Marketing Effectiveness = (A + B) * C

Here are the variables that I plug into this equation:

  • A = Traditional direct marketing/sales activities
    This can include things like direct mail, telesales, trade shows, etc.
  • B = Online direct marketing/sales activities
    This can include email marketing, search engine marketing, etc.
  • C = Online/Offline Advertising activities
    This is whatever you are doing to advertise on the web, on television, outdoor signage, etc.

With this mathematical equation, the “A” value is increased when combined with “B”. But both values are MULTIPLIED when “C” is introduced to the equation. Yes, online/offline advertising is an expense in most cases (and really good marketing/advertising firms can find a way to give you at least 75% of your money back with their strategies — we do it all of the time), but by in large your other marketing activities will receive a lift when advertising is in the mix.

We’re in the process of compiling some figures to back these statistics up, so bear with me while we collect that data. I’ll be sure to post an update here whenever those numbers come back.

The idea is that even if your ad is shown to a particular website visitor and that visitor does not click on the ad — that they have received a “brand impression” (this isn’t ground breaking stuff, is it?). When we marketers target and deliver a direct response message to this visitor (direct mail, email, telephone call, etc.) — then the visitor will have already had an exposure to our brand, making our jobs much easier to ask them to perform whatever our call to action is.

My boss gave me a great video to watch the other day about subliminal advertising. This one is done by Derren Brown and it’s a short 6:40 watch.

I know, I know … you’re FAR too busy to watch the video, right? Trust me, it is totally worth it, so if you don’t watch it now, bookmark it and watch it later over a lunch break or something, OK?

They won’t let me embed the video directly, so when you attempt to watch the video, you will be driven to YouTube to watch it (in a new window).

Derren Brown — Subliminal Advertising:

If you don’t believe me, does this help?

What is the difference between marketing and advertising?

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Difference between marketing and advertising

So, what is the difference between marketing and advertising? Really, not much, but advertising is a subset of marketing.

This is a pretty good question and one that seems to be asked quite often. In fact, this was brought up just the other day, so I felt compelled to post a blog about the topic.

About the easiest place to start sharing differences is to provide the official definitions of each word, which are as follow:

Advertising: The paid, public, non-personal announcement of a persuasive message by an identified sponsor; the non-personal presentation or promotion by a firm of its products to its existing and potential customers.

Marketing: The systematic planning, implementation and control of a mix of business activities intended to bring together buyers and sellers for the mutually advantageous exchange or transfer of products.

So, in summary — advertising is anything you do to reach your prospective or existing customer audience(s) via a solicitation of kind, and is a subset OF marketing.

Marketing includes advertising, but also includes other activities, such as planning, research, data analysis, psychological evaluation of target audiences, sales/territory planning, brand management, reputation management, etc.

Think of it this way, when you have a pie graph, the pie graph itself would be measuring the “marketing” volumes, and advertising would have it’s own slice within the pie.

The differences are subtle, but by in large, the two have become synonymous over the years.

That’s it for this week, as I’m writing from a flight between Philadelphia to Dallas/Fort Worth, so I want to keep this one short & sweet.

Next week’s blog, which will be posted on my regularly scheduled day of the week (Tuesday) will feature a video about subliminal advertising.

This is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in awhile and I look forward to sharing it with you all.

I will also answer the question of: “Why should we continue doing banner advertising on the web if we’re not seeing the direct ROI numbers in terms of donations/revenue being generated?

This next one will be fun, so be sure to tune in. If you want to receive updates via email on Friday mornings, simply click my registration button at the top right of the blog.

It will send you to a new form I’ve added to automate the delivery of this blog’s activity. Again, I will not abuse your trust and will only deliver this content into your inbox.

Thank you for your trust & readership. I’ll see you all next week.

— GC

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

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I recently watched a video about communication, sales and marketing that struck me as the most influential piece of footage that I have seen in some time. The following video is simply amazing and should be digested by all marketers, regardless of the product/service they market or sell.

The Golden Circle, by Simon Sinek:

In the video, Simon talks about motivations of the human psychology – and more specifically, gives examples of tremendous successes and failures throughout history of true visionaries that have leveraged The Golden Circle to become some of the most influential people or companies in modern history. He chronicles the stories of Apple, The Wright Brothers and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Summary of The Golden Circle methodology:

The Golden Circle methodology teaches us marketers to communicate the reason “why” we do things. If you think about your marketing efforts — do they commonly focus on the “what” you do (this widget can do this, here’s what we’re doing to help people, etc.)? If so, try shifting your messaging, value propositions and brand to focus on the “why” you do it is what you do.

The Golden Circle

The Golden Circle of motivation, or in this case marketing, should be leveraged by all marketing groups across the globe. Communicating from the center to the outside is the proper way to be successful. Remember, people don't buy "what" you do, they buy "why" you do it.

Why:
The purpose of your organization, the cause you serve or your belief in how you can change the world (or business, etc). This is driving your organization’s motives and actions.

How:
These are the guiding principles of your organization. These are specific steps or actions you take to realize your “why” (or purpose).

What:
The what is a byproduct of the steps you take to fulfill your purpose. This is the tangible result of “how” you bring your “why” to life. These items could be your product or service.

Marketers deal with these three areas every day. This is not new thinking at all, is it? But what Simon teaches is to focus on the direction in which we message.

Most marketers will build their campaigns starting with the “what” and work their way into the center of The Golden Circle — which is the “why”. Worse yet, some marketers forget the “why” all together. The “why” should be communicated in every thing you do when interacting with your prospective and existing customers.

In Simon’s example of Apple, he says that if Apple were run by most marketers, that a marketing message from them would sound something like this:

What: We make great computers.
How: They’re beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly.

… Want to buy one?

Of course, there is no “why” here — because as he says, most marketing organizations do not clearly communicate their “why”. He then outlines exactly how Apple markets and sells their wares, by outlining the following way in which they inspire, which is:

Why: Everything we do, we believe in challenging the ‘status quo’. We believe in thinking differently.
How: The way we challenge the ‘status quo’ is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly
What: We just happen to make computers.

… Want to buy one?

Clearly, the second of the two is far more motivating. It explains why people will camp outside of an Apple Store for weeks before the new iPhone is released in 100+ degree temperatures. People are inspired. People are motivated. People buy from Apple not because they make a cell phone, or a smart phone or even that they have a touch-screen phone per se.

They buy from Apple because they are inspired by what they believe. They, too, want to challenge the status quo. By buying Apple products, they feel that are different from the rest of the world. They feel that they, too, are innovative and creative.

They buy from Apple because they believe in thinking differently.

In conclusion, I would like to first thank Simon for opening my eyes with this discussion. I have now completely changed my line of thinking with regards to strategy and marketing approach. Every single marketing objective I build, develop or deploy will now be filtered through The Golden Circle moving forward.

Did it inspire you, as well?

— GC

Emotion vs. Logic in your marketing pitch

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Emotion vs Logic

When it comes to your marketing pitch, you should strike a delicate balance between emotion and logic. Don't just tug the heart strings, that's sometimes a turn off for certain audiences.

I recently was asked by the local chapter of a large, national non-profit organization (whose mission is to help today’s youth reach their potential through one-to-one relationships with mentors) to consult with their staff regarding their offline and online marketing initiatives for their biggest event upcoming in the fall.

There was no question in my mind that the folks I was speaking with were highly capable marketers, who were deserving of their positions at this non-profit, however I could tell that they have been in “do mode” for far too long.

When you’re stuck in “do mode”, you often forget to start in “think mode”. And when you’re not thinking clearly, you often receive varying (but usually lackluster) results.

I used to preach “accuracy over speed” to my marketing team in a past life. The goal of an effective marketing team should be to be calculated and precise with their messaging and motives.

The organization I was speaking with throws an annual “black tie” event, in which they invite their mentors to attend a nice formal gala, they throw an auction and raise large sums of cash for their cause.

In our discussions, I was able to (after much questioning) arrive at their target audiences, which are (ordered in their level of importance):

  1. Corporate sponsors
  2. In-kind donors of items for their auction
  3. Event attendees

They admitted that the corporate sponsors will bring between 65% – 80% of the overall donation dollars generated by the event. With the slow economy, they were experiencing sponsors either withdrawing their funds, or dropping between sponsorship levels (from a higher donation amount, to a lesser one).

They were perplexed and they needed help identifying how they could justify the investments these corporate sponsors were making.

When I asked them about the demographic information of the event, they weren’t able to tell me anything. They knew attendance numbers from past events and could show an incline in tickets being purchased, but they could not share any information about the audience (breakdown on age, gender, household income, ethnicity, etc).

I felt like it was clear that this organization was not thinking about what materials their primary target audience needed to justify any sponsorship or donation considerations they were asking for in form of a sponsorship for this event. Yes, businesses will provide sponsor events like this to support a cause (and have their organization affiliated with the organization) because it brings good publicity and builds brand reputation. The bottom line, however, is that business decisions are based upon results.

The fix seemed simple enough: Provide the corporate sponsors with more detailed information about their audience to provide them with a level of analytical justification.

This is where the Emotion vs. Logic debate comes into play.

The organization had focused completely on the “emotion” side of the fence by hyper-promoting the impact the organization was having on today’s youth, posting pictures of those children they were helping in their collateral and having testimonials from either mentors or the mentored on the impact the organization had had in their lives.

Although this is great content, there simply was no balance in their pitch, as there was no representation for “logic” or analytical content.

With a few simple tweaks, the organization now plans to leverage a healthy balance in their promotional materials by:

  1. Providing more statistical & demographic ammunition for corporate sponsors to evaluate (logic)
  2. Leverage testimonials from past corporate sponsors about what it has meant to support their cause (emotion)

The team was excited. By having our brief conversation, I believe they now fully understood the need for a good balance between the levels of emotion and logical content used in their marketing pitch.

I was happy to help and look forward to speaking with them after the event has taken place to see what kind of impact these recommendations had on their fund raising efforts.

— GC

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