Tag Archives: Dave Capano

Making Your Customers Comfortable

A big part of what makes the online arena attractive to marketers is the ability to engage customers and potential customers in a variety of ways. The most important “engagement” aspect, however, is a user’s experience with the site. If a site is cumbersome and not user-friendly, people aren’t going to spend a lot of time trying to navigate through what is fast becoming a bad experience for them.

Add to that the aspect of being asked to register, and most users will alter their behavior as a result.  A recent study by Janrain in conjunction with Blue Research noted that:

  • 75% of consumers take issue with being asked to register on a website and will change their behavior as a result
  • 76% of consumers admit to giving false information or leaving forms incomplete when creating a new account
  • 54% will either leave the site or not return
  • 17% go to a different site

The research indicates that “…consumers are frustrated with the traditional online registration process and will favor brands that make it easy for them to be recognized.…”

One method that surfaced as a solution to being recognized was being able to sign in using an existing social media log-in such as from Facebook, Google, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Two-thirds (66%) of consumers said that this would be an “attractive solution to the problem.” Of this 66%:

  • 42% feel that companies who offer this are more up to date, innovative and leave a more positive impression.
  • 55% say they are more likely to return to a site that automatically recognizes them
  • 48% say they are more likely to make a purchase

Making your site user-friendly goes a long way in your effort to keep customers engaged. Listen to what your customers tell you about your site. They spend the most time there. Make their time on your site beneficial for both them and you. Like most things in life, people use things that they are familiar with and make them the most comfortable. Sometimes that’s a website, and most times that’s your customer.

— Dave Capano, EVP, Director of Connection Planning

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It’s Déjà vu all over again

As long as I have been in this business, I’ve heard the saying, “There are no new ideas, only old ones recycled.” I think we’re seeing that played out again with regard to test marketing. A staple of the direct marketing industry, it had fallen out of use by other marketing disciplines in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

When I started in the agency business, testing was a priority for a number of accounts that the agency handled.

I’ll throw out a few terms: “Little U.S.” and “As-It-Falls” (which one coworker thought referred to an actual market in the Midwest called “Acid Falls”). These referred to the methodologies we media folk used so that results from any test could be projected to a larger area, most often the entire U.S.

Test markets were selected based on their ability to replicate what the U.S. as a whole looked like. Additionally, they needed to be smaller in geographic scope so as to limit out-of-pocket cost. A few of the more popular test markets were Fort Wayne, Green Bay, and Tucson.

As the business moved into the ‘80s, testing seemed like an afterthought. One of the reasons may have been that the cost of production started to increase dramatically, and running expensive spots in small, inexpensive test markets may have thrown the media cost/production cost ratio out of whack. In any event, I can’t remember a single brand that I worked on during that time that did any testing.  And I find that interesting, given the primary reason for any test is to limit financial exposure.

Fast forward to the turn of the century and the spread of the Internet, and what’s back in style is the concept of testing, analyzing, and optimizing. An idea whose roots are firmly entrenched in the earlier days of advertising is making its way back in a big way. And that’s a good thing.

Testing should be an integral part of any plan. The more we learn, the better we are, and the better our clients are as a result.

The advent of the Internet has only strengthened the case for testing. As I said at the beginning, “There are no new ideas, only old ones recycled.” But a good idea always has a place.

— Dave Capano, EVP, Director of Media Services

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Confusion Thy Name is Advertising

“Three Quarters of Americans Have Found a TV Commercial Confusing”

And so reads the headline of the Harris Interactive poll released August 26, 2010. Is anyone really surprised by this? How many times have you looked at a TV commercial and wondered “What the heck are they selling?” And it’s not confined to TV alone. How many times have you driven past an outdoor board with about 20 words of copy on it and said to yourself, “How am I supposed to read that at 60MPH?”

And, as the survey points out, the confusion isn’t related to age or education:

  • Roughly 90% of all adults watch TV commercials regardless of their age. And roughly the same percentage watch regardless of their educational level.
  • 75% have found a commercial confusing at some time.
  • Approximately 20% said it happens often or very often.

The report concludes that, “Commercials are supposed to be somewhat clear. Yes, they can be artsy.  Yes, they can be clever. Hopefully they are both entertaining and informative as well. But, a commercial’s main focus needs to be selling a product or service. If consumers watching these commercials are unsure of that main focus, the marketers are doing something wrong.”

It’s that last sentence that got me wondering what the marketers are doing that’s causing this confusion. Here’s the list I came up with (in no particular order of importance):

  1. The product has a simple selling point and the strategy on which the ad is based is way too complicated.
  2. There is no strategy. That’s right boys & girls, the ad was written on a whim, from the “Bewitched” school of advertising copywriting.
  3. The ad was approved by a committee. Just like a camel is a horse designed by a committee, so too was this ad.
  4. The spots are confusing. Really, they’re confusing.
  5. The client saw something last weekend and thought, “We should include that in what we’re doing.” So that’s what they’re doing.
  6. The creative group’s idea of what really resonates with the intended audience was developed at an art show after a few too many local brews. (Too high brow, too esoteric. Or the reverse.)
  7. The target audience needs a remedial reading course (but no one will say that out loud) and needs pretty straightforward communication.
  8. It was designed to communicate to a variety of consumers and instead talks to no one in particular.
  9. The media buyer got a real ‘deal’ so the ad (announcing a sale on women’s shoes) is now running in the NASCAR race that weekend.
  10. Poor graphic design and execution.

Those are my top 10. What do you think are some of the causes of ad confusion? Do you have a top 10?

I’m guessing that a lot of the responses will be from personal experience.

Just sayin’….

— Dave Capano, EVP, Director of Media Services

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