We’re very excited to bring you updates throughout both days of MarketingSherpa Summit 2016. The plan is to post the best quotes, stats and as much of the fun and information as possible. If you’d like to jump in on the conversation, hit us up on Twitter @BenchmarkEmail. We look forward to interacting with all of you both at the Summit and online. Stay tuned!


  • Size of marketing budget and inadequate staffing and resources are consistently the biggest challenges for digital marketers.
  • Growing challenge for marketers is how to develop content.
  • The focus for MarketingSherpa Summit is customer-centric marketing.

Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director & Founder, MECLABS Institute

The Marketer’s Blind Spot: 3 ways to overcome the marketer’s greatest obstacle to effective messaging
McGlaughlin demonstrated A/B tests of email campaigns, signup forms, mobile ads and showed which converted at a higher rate—many were a surprise to the attendees.

  • Often the ones with less information, cleaner design and clear CTAs were the winners … even if the competing version was more aesthetically pleasing.
  • “There are no expert marketers, only experienced ones.”

In a recent study conducted by MarketingSherpa:

  • 61% Marketers and 20% of consumers said social was preferred method of consumption.
  • Prioritize Free Shipping: 18% Marketers, 74% Consumers
  • Direct Mail: Marketers 19%, Consumers: 54%
  • “The more expert we become as marketers, the less expert we become as consumers.”

Point-Sequenced Grammar:

  • Point first: The point is at the beginning of the phrase.
  • Point middle, Point last…you get the picture.
  • Of headlines studied, point-first headlines all ranked highest in testing.

Customer-Centric Logic:

  • Customer Logic: What I Get — ranked highest
  • Company Logic: What I Do — ranked lowest

The marketer’s blind spot is self interest. Overcome it by consistently embrace a method to see through your disconnect.

Scientific studies have shown that most people are overconfident in their answers. 75k police lineups occur each year. 20-25% wrongly accuse someone, because they’re confident in their answer.

Conversion Heuristic: Enables a marketer to invert their perspective and see through collateral into the thought sequence of the prospect.

  • Probability of Conversion
  • Motivation of the User
  • Clarity of the Value Proposition
  • Incentive to Take Action
  • Friction Elements Present
  • Anxiety Elements Present

Building Your Email List Using Search and Social


Big Takeaway in 2015: Understanding User Behavior Is the Key to Social—Know where your audience is on Social and how they’re using the platform.

  • Originally had social buttons at the top of email campaigns and got a 0% CTR
  • Since audience was already using Pinterest for wedding related activities, they added a “Pin It” CTA to each piece of content.
  • Quantity and Quality: The Social component should be part of the primary CTA (quantity in growth) and have intrinsic value (quality of new followers).

Naked Wines

  • Understand what point of the funnel is best for engagement.
  • Email Campaign: Set expectations. Incentivize action. Start easy.
  • Landing Page: Incentive reminder. Replicate progress bar. Summarize steps.
  • Key Takeaway: Identify top drivers of customer quality and create process to foster desired behavior during onboarding

Hands-On Live Test Lab

Design a marketing experiment for Consumer Reports (and learn how to improve your brand’s conversion)

This is pretty fascinating. We’re going to create a live A/B test for Consumer Reports right here in this session. The Email is going out to about 450,000 subscribers. The average CTR is 0.54%

Primary Test

Why should I donate to Consumer Reports?

  • Because of CR’s honest and unbiased reporting
  • Because of the personal impact CR is having
  • Because of the unparalleled quality of CR
  • Because of the consumer empowerment CR brings

Every value proposition treatment above underperformed against the Control!


  • Focusing exclusively on one element of CRs’ value proposition isn’t as effective as focusing on the collective force of all the elements combined.
  • The treatments that had more broken paragraphs and bulleted/numbered lists trended better than those that primarily had just full paragraphs
  • Many of the email recipients jumped down to the bottom of the email to click the “member benefits” link.

We discussed as groups various elements to test based on value, breaking apart the copy and highlighting different aspects. We’ll see the results tomorrow. Exciting!

Creating Customer-Centric Email to Increase Engagement


Creative Complexity (Low to High)

  • Animated GIFs
  • Live Email Video (HTML5)
  • Adaptive Content
  • Carousel
  • Social Feed

Navigation aligned with site experience is often considered the best practice, but it was distracting from the “hero” that the company wanted subscribers directed to. While traffic from the navigation bar was good, it wasn’t directed where they wanted it go go. Dell moved the Nav links with Icons to the footer. It resulted in a double digit increase in revenue.

Tips from Dell:

  • Creative Treatment to revenue-driving navigational elements like “Dell Outlet” or “Deals.”
  • Highlight the navigational pod with the corresponding hero topic.
  • Test including keyCTAs in the header like “Coupons,” “Advantage Rewards” and “Financing.”
  • Leverage the header space for animated GIFs (or “bugs”)
  • Don’t forget the bones of the email—a lot of business performance can be won or lost in the structure.


Newsletter Test:

  • 2 articles side-by-side
  • 2 articles stacked
  • Three articles stacked (Winner—more to click on!)

Responsive design delivered +2% CTR and +13% lift in conversion rate.

Relevant content drove +15% lift in open rate, +16% lift in CTR +94% in conversions.

Top Takeaways:

  • Manage the lifecycle
  • Focus on engagement
  • Improve deliverability


  • Go beyond the single channel transition and look for new ways of engagement
  • Connect with your audience on an emotional level
  • Strengthen customer relationships by engaging them in new, cool ways
  • Be innovative, flexible and responsive

Focusing on Customers’ Needs to Increase Engagement

How Humana’s Strategic Testing Drove a 60% Increase in Customer Engagement

When analyzing your marketing strategy, you may want to update many aspects. It’s important to test one at a time … and then combine what works later on into a “Super Funnel.”

Featured Speaker: MarketingSherpa Award Winner, Best-in-Show: Karen Thomas-Smith, Vice President, Provider Marketing and Reference Management, Optum

Customer-First Marketing: How Optum generated closed contract revenue of $52 for every dollar invested (then reimagined its marketing team for even better results)

Formalized program to take care of the customers that do case studies, give testimonials, etc. Makes sure you’re keeping them happy and lets you get to know your customers better.

It’s hard to produce content? Optus created 1,000 pieces of content from one eBook. Landing Pages, blog series, tweets, banner ads, etc.

True North: Lead Generation & Sales Acceleration

  • The Introduction Phase of the campaign helped prospects recognize the need for getting to good data over big data and the type of analytics to leverage the data. These messages were delivered via ads, emails, events, etc.
  • The Education Phase offered—via lead nurturing emails and personalized landing pages—content focused on addressing a provider’s problem areas with tips and insights aligned with Optum Analytics value propositions.
  • The Engagement Phase used progressive profiling capabilities of marketing automation to score prospects’ interactions and to establish prospects’ level of engagement with the campaign content as a basis for further qualification for sales.
  • In the Connect Phase, a marketing business development liaison performed qualifying due diligence to determine if the contact was ready for a conversion with Field Sales.

Charles Duhigg, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author & New York Times Best-selling Author

The Power of Habit

The Habit Loop:

  • Cue
  • Routine
  • Reward

“You have to sell a reward, that people actually find rewarding.”

What existing habits can you piggyback on?

Keystone Habit: Savings

(A more important) Keystone habit: a sense of comfort

Lesson: The most powerful rewards contain emotions


    • Know your customers’s keystone habits. Which kinds of change seems important?
    • Look for opportunities to piggyback.
    • Find rewards that deliver emotionally.

Don’t miss the live blog from Day Two at MarketingSherpa Summit 2016.

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