A/B Testing: Where Marketers Go Wrong

A/B Testing Pitfalls: How Marketers Can Avoid Costly Mistakes

Because it gives you a way to determine whether your marketing audience prefers version A of something or version B, A/B testing is powerful. And increasingly it’s easy to do. Sometimes it seems so easy that we don’t even realize that we’ve completely wasted our time, missed out on golden opportunities, or—worst of all—confidently come to the wrong conclusions. The truth is that A/B testing is only powerful if you do it right and avoid the many pitfalls that can undermine your testing.

In this post, 10 of Oracle Marketing Cloud Consulting’s experts share their insights and experiences on avoiding A/B testing’s many potential pitfalls

Here’s detailed advice on how to best accomplish all of that and avoid A/B testing’s many potential pitfalls by…

  1. Focusing on the most impactful elements
  2. Not just testing the easy things
  3. Not forgetting about your target audience when testing
  4. Understanding whether you’re testing to learn or testing to win
  5. Understanding whether you’re testing to find a new local maximum or a new global maximum
  6. Having a clear hypothesis
  7. Being clear about what a victory will mean
  8. Getting buy-in to make changes based on the results of your A/B tests
  9. Testing one element at a time
  10. Using test audience segments of similar subscribers
  11. Using test audience segments of active subscribers
  12. Using a large enough audience to reach statistical significance
  13. Using holdout groups, when appropriate
  14. Choosing a victory metric that’s aligned with the goal of your email
  15. Not ignoring negative performance indicators
  16. Not dismissing inconclusive tests
  17. Verifying the winner of the test
  18. Recording your A/B testing results
  19. Creating an A/B testing calendar

For a detailed discussion of each of these pitfalls…

>> Read the full post on Oracle’s Modern Marketing Blog

The Last Word on October 2019

A roundup of email marketing articles, posts, and tweets you might have missed last month…The Last Word

Must-read articles, posts & reports

How not to get people to open your emails (Email Geeks Slack)

Pay: 0% to 100% in Gmail? Yes, It Happened, and Here’s How! (OnlyInfluencers)

Consumers Want Emails From Brands to Be Less Promotional and More Informative (AdWeek)

How Gmail beat Yahoo and Hotmail to dominate consumer email (CNBC)

Insightful & entertaining tweets

Noteworthy subject lines

Zales, 10/15 – Make It Meaningful: Design the Perfect Gift 🎁
Home Depot, 10/24 – Special Values Inside | Vote: How do you do the holidays?
Macy’s, 10/30 – Holiday gift ideas so good, we had to share now
Banana Republic, 10/29 — ✨ Introducing Holiday 2019 ✨
Zales, 10/17 – It’s Poptober! Are You Ready to Pop the Question?
Michaels, 10/30 – Not Ready for Fright Night!? 👻 Get Easy Last-Minute Costumes & More!
Petco, 10/24 — 🕷️ Nothing ScArIeR than pests…
Quiksilver, 10/11 – Congrats Jeremy Flores – Winner Of The 2019 Quiksilver Pro France
Dick’s Sporting Goods, 10/15 – Washington Is Going to the WORLD SERIES!
Saks Fifth Avenue, 10/9 – What to wear to all your fall activities
Nordstrom, 10/24 – It’s sweater season
Banana Republic, 10/2 – Fall in love with new turtlenecks
Express, 10/2 – Blazer + turtleneck + utility pants = 💯
Express, 10/9 – COLOR CRUSH: 😍 💎 Jewel tones
Williams Sonoma, 10/8 — 🥐 Made by Hand, Shipped for Free
Lane Bryant, 10/24 — 👖 👖 👖 FINAL HOURS! 👖 👖 👖
Kohl’s, 10/15 – Hello, new shoes! (It’s the Semi-Annual Shoe Event) 👟👢👞 👠
Foot Locker, 10/15 – Fleece of mind 🧘
Marshalls, 10/15 – It’s coat season!
Nordstrom, 10/15 – The 3 shoe trends to wear right now
Target, 10/2 – Revive a room during our home SALE.
Petco, 10/15 – 30% off to stay while we fetch
Olive Garden, 10/3 — $1 Kids Meal = Family night out for less!
VS PINK, 10/15 – FREE BEANIE & SCARF + 25% off with your STUDENT ID!
Victoria’s Secret, 10/15 – A bra so Incredible, it sold out in a week!
Foot Locker, 10/23 – Nike Kyrie 5 🍍 launches on 10.24
Gap, 10/13 – Hint: codes GAPFALL & WARMUP are inside
Saks Fifth Avenue, 10/28 – On the download: enjoy 15% off when you shop on our app
Express, 10/2 – This unlikely combo will turn you into a print-mix master
Michaels, 10/9 – Maker Spotlight! Learn How the Makers You Love #MakeItWithMichaels
Victoria’s Secret, 10/2 – The best things come in pairs…

New posts on EmailMarketingRules.com

How to Prevent Affiliate Marketing from Cannibalizing Your Email Channel

‘Let’s Be Good’: Lessons in Servant Marketing

Email Deliverability Quarterly: 1st GDPR Fine, Google Supports BIMI, and More

Get Insights from OMC Consulting’s 500+ Marketing Experts Delivered to Your Inbox

Smart Insights: 2020 Email Marketing Trends

Holiday Marketing Predictions: What to Expect This Year

The 2019 Email Design Look Book, Plus the 6 Pillars of Modern Email Design

The Last Word on September 2019

Email From Name Extension Strategies that Help Differentiate Your Messages

Your email from name or sender name is like the logo on your storefront. You’d never lightly change your brand name. You want to be instantly recognizable, whether it’s from the curb or in the inbox. You also want to fully leverage all the investments you’ve made in your brand—which your brand name and logo represent—via advertising, marketing, store environments, and customer experiences.

While you’d surely hesitate to change your brand name, most companies wouldn’t hesitate to hang signs in their windows or big banners on their store facade to communicate what’s happening in their store right now. This is essentially the opportunity that brands have with email from name extensions.

This opportunity exists because most brands’ names don’t take up all of the characters available to them in the friendly from field in the inbox. For example, Gmail displays approximately 20 characters of the from name, and the iPhone’s native email client displays 20-25 characters of a from name, depending on the day of the week that the email was delivered and when the recipient reads the envelope content. So if your brand name is, say, 10 characters long, then you have a solid 10 characters left that you can use to say something else.

Not sure what to use those extra characters to say? We have some suggestions based on what we’ve seen brands do and what we’ve done with our clients…

>> Read the full post on Oracle’s Modern Marketing Blog

Preventing Email Channel Cannibalization by Affiliate Marketing

Have you ever taken a step back and looked at your own shopping habits and tried to understand how they impact the way you evaluate digital marketing performance at your company? I know I’ve developed a tendency to stop at checkout—no matter what website I am on—and search the internet for any available coupons, says Peter Briggs, Director of Strategic Services at Oracle Marketing Cloud Consulting.

From what he has seen with some of our clients, this is a common behavior among online shoppers. If you’re not careful, it’s also a behavior that can wreak havoc on your channel attribution, hurt your profitability, foster price-sensitivity, and undermine the integrity of your customer data, he explains.

Consider This Scenario…

Your email marketing team sends a perfect email with highly relevant and engaging content. The subscriber clicks through and puts one of the email’s featured items in their cart and starts the checkout process. Then they see a ‘COUPON’ field and realize their email didn’t have an offer code, so they decide to search online for one. They leave their cart and find a coupon code on an affiliate network like RetailMeNot, CouponCabin, or DealCatcher. They then click through from that link and apply the coupon and complete the checkout…

>> Read the entire post on Oracle’s Modern Marketing Blog

Servant Marketing: ‘Let’s Be Good’

“Let’s be good at what we do, but let’s be good, too,” said Lisa Harmon Stephens, Oracle Marketing Cloud Consulting’s Head of Creative Services, to conclude her locknote presentation at Litmus Live Boston earlier this month. Her presentation was about Servant Marketing, which is marketing that puts customers’ needs first, rather than the needs of your business.

One way to gauge whether you’re practicing Servant Marketing is to look at the calls-to-action and themes of your most recent 20 marketing emails. In what percentage of them is the primary CTA “Buy Now” or some variation? How many of them lead with product content? On the other hand, how many of them lead with or contain educational content, value-based content, community content, or any other content that’s not explicitly selling?

Another way to measure how you’re doing is to see how many times you refer to your company or say “I” or “we” compared to how many times you refer to your customer and say “you.” Do you just talk about yourself and your products, or do you put yourself in your customers’ shoes and talk about their needs, challenges, and opportunities?

The endless drumbeat of a “me, me, me” marketing strategy is endemic among traditional-minded product companies, whereas service-oriented companies tend to have a lot less trouble seeing things from their customer’s point of view. Whatever you’re selling, you need to adopt a service mindset, says Stephens.

Stephens may have closed out Litmus Live Boston talking about Servant Marketing, but many of the other presenters also touched on the need for brands to focus more on serving and on customer-centricity. It was the biggest theme of the conference by far and it was woven into presentations that covered a wide range of topics…

>> Read the entire post on Oracle’s Modern Marketing Blog

Email Deliverability Quarterly: 1st GDPR Fine, Google Supports BIMI, and More

Email deliverability is constantly changing, as inbox providers adjust their filtering algorithms, blacklists tweak their listing criteria, and consumers evolve their definition of spam. That’s why even the best email marketing programs suffer deliverability problems sometimes.

To help you avoid trouble, the email deliverability practice at Oracle Marketing Cloud (OMC) Consulting shares the latest news and tips for what to watch out for in our latest Email Deliverability Quarterly.

In this post, Clea Moore and Brian Sullivan explain how the following news and events will impact marketers’ email deliverability:

  • £183m GDPR Fine Levied against British Airways
  • Google Commits to BIMI Pilot
  • Microsoft Evaluating AMP for Email in Outlook.com
  • Gmail Enables Image Blocking to Thwart Tracking
  • Cox Not Allowing New Email Addresses

For the full discussion of each of these issues…

>> Read the entire post on Oracle’s Modern Marketing Blog

Sign up for OMC Consulting's twice-monthly newsletter

Oracle Marketing Cloud Consulting is excited to launch a new twice-monthly newsletter designed to spark conversations about how brands can seize their digital marketing opportunities and overcome their challenges. Our 500+ consultants have expertise in every facet of digital marketing—from creative and strategy to compliance and automation—and will be sharing insights, advice, and client stories to help marketers envision the future of digital marketing.

In the first two issues alone, we’ll discuss:

  • The dangers of having poor email performance visibility
  • New developments that affect email deliverability and legal compliance
  • Why hardly any brands ever build homegrown email platforms anymore
  • The benefits of integrating email marketing with social, SMS, and other channels
  • Harley-Davidson’s Horizon Award-winning holiday campaign
  • The best time to send emails
  • Early warning signs of email deliverability problems ahead
  • What you need to know about the California Consumer Privacy Act
  • Best practices from the 3rd Edition of my book, Email Marketing Rules
  • Hawaiian Airlines’s EEC Award-winning re-designed its Miles Statement into a newsletter format

Don’t miss out. We hope you’ll join us as we explore the latest trends, explain best practices, and share inspiring real-world examples.

>> Subscribe to OMC Consulting’s twice-monthly newsletter

P.S. We believe in strong email marketing permission practices, so we use a double opt-in process for our newsletter. So after you subscribe, you’ll need to confirm your signup by clicking the link in the “Action Needed” email we’ll send to you.

Smart Insights: 2020 Email Marketing Trends

Smart Insights - 2020 Email Marketing Trends

2020 is just around the corner. Which trends will drive email marketing in the coming year?

That’s the question that Smart Insights sets out to answer in this blog post, which I contributed to. The post lays out five big 2020 email marketing trends:

  1. The growing impact of mobile
  2. Minimalism in email design, especially when it comes to using less copy
  3. The increasing role of Ai in email marketing, particularly in the area of personalization
  4. The impact of CASL, GDPR, and a wave of new privacy laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act
  5. An upleveling of the sophistication around A/B testing

My comments focused on trends around send-time optimization, RFM modeling and segmentation, and dealing with privacy compliance. I definitely agree with Kath Pay of Holistic Marketing that A/B testing is overdue for more attention and rigorousness. And minimalism is absolutely a huge design and copywriting trend. In fact, we highlighted that as one of the 6 Pillars of Modern Email Design in our 2019 Email Design Look Book.

For a full discussion of all five 2020 email marketing trends…

>> Read the entire post on SmartInsights.com

Holiday Marketing Predictions: What to Expect This Year

Every holiday season is a little different because of a variety of factors, including technology trends, consumer sentiment, and the timing of the calendar. Oracle Marketing Cloud (OMC) Consulting’s experts share their thoughts and predictions on how this holiday marketing season will be different from past ones.

Our predictions this year revolve around…

  • How marketers will adjust to the shorter holiday calendar
  • The increase in competition in the inbox
  • How marketers will close the deal with last-minute shoppers
  • The quiet holiday debut that AMP for Email is likely to have
  • The rise of send-time optimization
  • How marketers will adapt to heightened privacy concerns this holiday season
  • How brands will carry their holiday momentum into the New Year

For a full discussion of each holiday marketing prediction…

>> Read the entire post on Oracle’s Modern Marketing Blog

The Last Word on September 2019

The Last WordA roundup of email marketing articles, posts, and tweets you might have missed last month…

Must-read articles, posts & reports

My Life as an Email Entrepreneur: My Final Article. (OnlyInfluencers)

How to Code Search Bars in Email (Email on Acid)

Do Not Reply to This Email: Here’s What You’re Missing (Email Optimization Shop)

Truth and Dare: Email Subject Lines (Email Optimization Shop)

Insightful & entertaining tweets

Noteworthy subject lines

Hobby Lobby, 9/20 — 🎄 Christmas Trees Ship FREE!
Bed Bath & Beyond, 9/1 – 🔴 ⚪ 🔵 SAVE up to 50% with Labor Day Deals + Your $20 Off Coupon Ends Soon!
Bass Pro Shops, 9/29 – Bass Pro Shops National Hunting & Fishing Day sale continues!
Eddie Bauer, 9/5 – Save On Flannel For The Whole Family
Burlington, 9/4 – Sneak peek: coats for the family
T.J.Maxx, 9/8 – Sweaters. Are. Back.
Nordstrom, 9/16 – Five trends to wear this fall
JCPenney Home, 9/8 – Score a deal! Game-day must-haves for the host
Gap, 9/26 – The sherpa jackets you’ve been seeing everywhere
Banana Republic, 9/15 – Washable blouses are here to make your life easier
Banana Republic, 9/11 – Get spotted in leopard print 🐆
Neiman Marcus, 9/20 – Coated denim adds edge
T.J.Maxx, 9/5 – The Runway Event is HERE.
Neiman Marcus, 9/1 – Ready for Fashion Week?
Lane Bryant, 9/5 – Who’s the boss? 🙋‍♀️
Dollar General, 9/20 – Why pay drug store prices?
Zales, 9/26 – Up For a Fun Game?
Olive Garden, 9/16 – 🍴 Can’t decide on dinner? Get $6 off 2 entrées!
Marshalls, 9/25 – Have you heard?? We’re online!
Kohl’s, 9/23 – 📱 Have you downloaded the Kohl’s App yet?
Petco, 9/28 – The Petco app has been updated and is better than ever!
Saks Fifth Avenue, 9/4 – Be happy, not perfect: a chat with Poppy Jamie on mental wellness & more
REI, 9/8 – New Sustainable Materials. Same Legendary Styles.
Patagonia, 9/16 – Strike for climate action
Patagonia, 9/20 – Fight for a livable future
Williams Somona, 9/26 – How to Bake a Cake That Looks Like Art! (It’s Easy as Pie)
Express, 9/9 – NEW! 💖 Introducing Labels We Love

New posts on EmailMarketingRules.com

Email Marketing Isn’t Owned Media—It’s Granted Media

Email Blacklists: How to Get Off One, and Stay Off Them

When Good Enough Shouldn’t Be: The Best Time to Send Emails

The Last Word on August 2019

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