Whoa! A Digital Agency Gets Their Homepage Right

When it comes to web design that “converts,” i.e. efficiently persuades prospects to take a desired business action, the websites of digital agencies haven’t typically been high on my list for praise.

Often times, the sites of digital agencies have over-relied on flash, high-resolution imagery, or inventive navigation to persuade their prospects that they should engage with the site and eventually take a desired action.

Further, the philosophy of “creativity for creativity’s sake” pervades many agencies, and the web designs they provide to clients often under-perform in terms of business KPIs like conversion rate and revenue.

Hence, many practitioners of Conversion Optimization distance themselves from traditionally “creative” agencies, instead testing their way to designs that are often aesthetically plain (even boring), but convert well.

Note: this isn’t always the fault of agencies. Their clients are often fixated on aesthetic design and aren’t thinking enough about website business performance. And, as we know, the client is always right when you work at an agency.

All of this contributes to my bias. Enter the homepage of POSSIBLE, a digital agency that I was introduced to recently. I was surprised to see that their homepage is doing some things really well that we can learn from in terms of persuasion and conversion optimization. Continue reading

“Grit” is the New “Agility” in Online Marketing

I recently learned of a lovely new acronym that aptly describes the world of online marketing. It’s VUCA, which stems from military jargon and stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. I just love a pessimistic acronym. 😉

I credit a recent report published by the Corporate Executive Board with this sweet new acronym as well as the data points I’m including in this post. The title of the study is Driving Marketing Performance in a Volatile Environment: The Surprising Qualities of the Best Marketing Teams. I assumed the report was going say that marketing agility was the solution to all of Marketing’s problems. After all, agile marketing has a good amount of buzz these days – it even has its own manifesto. But, I was totally wrong! It turns out that a another characteristic is key to surviving volatility: grit. Continue reading

Does Marketing Optimization Hurt Innovation?

image representing innovationAn Optimizer’s Dilemma

I’ve been thinking for a few months about a post I read on the dangers of continuous improvement. Its author, Ron Ashkenas, makes several good points about how continuous improvement methodologies (Six Sigma, Kaizen, Lean, etc.) can stifle creative problem-solving and add other risks to a business.

This worried me at first, since I was trained to apply continuous improvement methodologies to improving the performance of websites and marketing campaigns. Was optimizing via testing in a continuous fashion introducing risk to my companies or clients? Continue reading