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Bumper Sticker Rules to Live Your Marketing Life By

by: Laura Brown (@laurabrowny)
21 August 2015

Bumper Sticker Life is too short to remove USB safelyEarlier this year Silverpop attended Webbdagarna, one of Sweden’s most vibrant conferences for digital professionals. Whilst researching the show I came across some of their merchandise, which included this quirky little bumper sticker:

Life is too short to remove USB safely.

We’ve all been there. We know that pulling that USB stick out of the side of our laptops isn’t going to cause the office to blow up or (granted, more likely) corrupt the USB data. But most of us still click the “safely remove USB device” because we’re just risk-averse. OK, it’s not a huge risk, but we still do it, because, hey, that’s what we’ve always done, right?

This got me thinking: As marketers, what things do we do because we’ve always done them?

If we were less risk-averse, would we write that design brief differently, with more room for creative license? Would we start marketing for our key events eight weeks out, instead of six? Would we trial different product offers for our top 6 percent of customers instead of the top 5 percent?

Small risks – but what happens if we do something different than what we’ve always done?

  • The more creative email design brief could incorporate a new gif animation that results in a 0.5% increase in CTR, which in turn results in a five-figure increase in campaign revenue.
  • The extra two weeks of marketing time for that big event might allow that C-suite executive to juggle his or her calendar and attend your keynote seminar, leading to a meeting invite and a new key client win.
  • The change in VIP offer could result in only a small short-term uplift in revenue, but go on to create strong customer advocates, with a much larger customer lifetime value and less propensity to spend with your competitor.

If, on the other hand, you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. But is life really too short to remove the USB safely?

Well, what if you have the best of both worlds?

Consider the creative email example. Let’s say your brand has always steered away from animated gifs. There are lots of historic reasons why, with concerns about rendering in different email clients top among them. But as marketers, we have so many tools at our disposal to help us take better calculated risks. In minutes, we can tell what percentage of customers open their emails on a platform where animation isn’t supported, so that we don’t send them emails that don’t work.

If we’re still cautious and not quite convinced, we can set up an A/B test so we’re not blindly sending our beautiful new email creative into a black hole of ineffectiveness.

Similarly, let’s say you’re nervous about making changes to your VIP loyalty programme. To lower the risk factor, you might employ scoring models to start investigating who your top customers truly are, using behaviour (past spend, average order value) and more traditional profile data (postcode area, age, gender) to better understand your VIP customers before changing your marketing messaging to them.

Small, calculated risks can have a big impact on your revenue. A customer I spoke to recently decided to trial browse abandonment; with some strict (again, risk-averse) criteria in place. First, they would only send emails to customers who had previously bought from their website. Second, they decided to start with a relatively small segment — only those customers who had bought from them previously and visited the website more than twice in the last two weeks.

In the month that the customer tested the browse abandonment campaign, those emails created almost as much revenue as its regular monthly update. The team were so impressed they’ve now broadened the segment of their customers who will receive the emails, and the relatively small risk has turned into an un-proportionately positive reward. (Learn more about browse abandonment.)

So, I’m agreeing with the folks at Webbdagarna — life is too short to remove the USB safely. And I’m adding in that it’s also too short to keep sending stale digital marketing campaigns!

Related Resources:

1) Ebook: “Ultimate Guide to Assessing Your Digital Marketing Program

2) Blog: “2015 Email Benchmark Study: Key Takeaways and Suggested Tactics

3) Tip Sheet: “10 Tips for Becoming an Agile Marketing Team




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