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School of Optimization, part 1: the basics

12.11.2009

tikkataulu

At the W.Steinmann School of Optimization we learn how the contemporary internet marketing can be made more efficient using the methods of progressive marketing. The first part delves into what optimization is and why it should be a part of every marketers toolbox.

”The content production for our website was really expensive. We’re not gonna touch that.”

One of the most underexploited opportunities of internet marketing lies in optimization. Too often the content that ends up on the pages, stays there carved in stone and unaltered until the the entire website is demolished to give way to a brand spanking new website after two or three years.

Websites are being redesigned mainly because ”they don’t work”. Even though they were planned to achieve certain goals, they won’t serve the current need. At this point, most marketers don’t stop to wonder ”how should I improve my current website to match the changed situation.” Instead, they go ahead and place an order for a new website.

It goes without saying that the most cost-effective option would be to develop the current website. This is where optimization steps in.

”So what is this optimization then?”

By optimization, I mean a systematic process, where certain element on the website is being changed on the internet page and the effects on the user’s behavior is measured and analyzed. After that the necessary actions are taken to find the best alternative. This process is used for example in search engine advertising and it should be deployed

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in display advertising as well.*

A simple example: the advertiser wants more subscribers to their newsletter. They change the front page’s link from ”newsletter” to ”subscribe a newsletter” and follows the web analytics if the users use the link more than before. If not, the advertiser tries some other wording, until the best combination is found.

A more advanced advertiser uses tools which automate showing the options and choosing for this process. For example the Google’s free Website Optimizer service enables finding the best solution for the combination of multiple pictures and text.

”But wait a minute, our website works well already. There’s no need to change it.”

That’s surely the case. But take a moment to think what it would entail if the website would work even better? If the conversion rates would incread by 10%, if the time spent on your website would be minute longer or – heavens forbid – if you would sell three products instead of two to every customer through your website.

By the way, did I mention that I’m talking about your current website and actions, which actualize on the bottom line already during this fiscal year?

In the second part of the School of Optimization we learn from the bank robbers.

Timo Paloheimo works as a Digital Planner at W.Steinmann

*) Optimization is about the same thing the traditional direct marketers have done for years, it’s called testing. Internet just makes it more faster, even real time.

Hooray, web typography rise up!

5.11.2009

type

Interesting news, Mozilla is planning to expand the web typography universe by introducing a new type format – cutely called WOFF.

Digital design has needed these kind of tools for a long time now, the browser compatible fonts work from legibility standpoint but limit the brand (or individual) expression palette. We can now design from ground up and make sure that the aesthetics are totally in line with the desired message.

sIFR has been useful and much used in the past, but rendering large masses of type is extremely arduous and needs lots of processing power.

Possible apologies for a nerdish topic, however I feel that tools like these expand the toolset that we as designers have and elevate the web typography standards to new levels.

More here.

Petri Lattu

Talking about marketing to marketers

2.11.2009

eat

Sometimes it’s good to be ancient. You get to know a lot of people and sometimes have access to them.

I have been talking now to around 10 major decision makers in the marketing/communications field about their vision on the shape of the agency of the future. Thanks to everyone I’ve already met. More discussions to follow.

Here is small recap on what has been discussed, please note that these topics are nothing new – not re-inventing the wheel here:

Agencies cannot rely on the traditional copy/ad model of working too much longer.

Since the fragmentation means that we have millions of possible channels to choose from and if communications design changes from creating ”small miracles” (Markku Rönkkö) to longer term narratives the core creative output has to allow that. Opinions vary from planners coming to the forefront that fun a network of specialist creatives to strategist/conceptualist hybrids forming the team of the future.

Lot has been said about our industry where the – basically handcraft based – know-how of our creatives is losing relevance. There is always a better illustrator/layout artist one connection away, and sometimes the words needed have to be stylistically very different from ad speak. Sometimes, dramaturgy is more important than scriptwriting.

This seems to be one of the issues that almost all people are thinking about, how to make the agency’s product more versatile and relevant in the myriad situations it might be needed in.

The next wave of talent isn’t interested in working at agencies anymore.

There are a large amount of young talented people that see alternatives to the traditional agency career path. They either possess specialist skills that they want to develop, or they just like to work at a more leisurely pace – reasons vary but the conclusion remains that agencies have been losing pull to attract the best talent.

If the agencies wish to remain relevant this conundrum needs to be solved in some fashion, either by creating workable virtual teams or by fixing something that is wrong within the agency structure. There also are a lot of people that still wish to work at the agencies, but the trend is clear that their appeal has diminished in recent years.

Change management should be an offering.

Everything changes all the time at a rapid pace, and so if the client’s wish to become reactive instead of pre-planned they need help in doing so. Ideas are the core offering but allowing idea delivery is as important if the client’s organization is built on buying traditional advertising. This is different from the traditional project management side of things, it usually needs deep insight on the client’s reality and even possible staffing/body leasing solutions.

Here is just a few topics covered, more to follow and I am looking to publish the results of the interviews in some narrative form when they are all concluded.

Petri Lattu