The Pitfalls of Data Driven Marketing

An Example In Behavioral Health Marketing

I often hear techie marketers boast about how they are “data driven” so they don’t get caught up in the errors of human judgment – as if it is possible to make complex decisions based solely on what their computer model, formula or data shows them.

Dane Shakespear - Data Driven Marketing

The idea is seductive because with large data sets over a large period of time it is possible to predict patterns, narrow focus and eliminate waste by optimizing marketing efforts and budgets to the predictions of the data model.

But the catch is, it will always take a thinking person to figure out what the data means and how to apply it to real world actions.

Too many “data driven” marketers begin relying so much on what the data says, that they ignore glaringly obvious real world indicators that what the data tells them is incorrect, misinterpreted, or just wrong.

In general consumer markets with huge volumes of searches, transactions, and conversions along with a relatively few possible search phrases or keywords used to find the product – such as in the t-shirt market, it may be possible to see from the data that the majority of sales come from women between 18-35 during the months of March through June, using the keywords “cute tee shirts”, “cute sayings tee shirts”, and “cut t shirts women’s” – then confidently limit spend to women of that age, during those months, and for those keywords to reduce waste and increase ROI.

However, in high cost, low volume markets such as behavioral health services it doesn’t work that way.

This is because the overall volume of searches is low, the cost of clicks is extremely high, and spread over nearly 3,000 keyword variations used to search for a solution for a child’s issues.

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Refining Google AdWords

Test the Forest, then the Trees, then the Branches, then the Leaves..

One of the most important things of any Google AdWords campaign is to continually test and refine.  The best practices for Google AdWords is to continually test and refine keywords, text ads, display ads, placements, ad extensions, target locations, and on and on.

Dane Shakespear Testing Adwords

When testing so many things, it is easy to test things that don’t matter (yet) before testing things that really matter – or will have a big impact more immediately.

Perry Marshall would always tell me that in each of those things you could test is an 80/20 grouping.  There will be a few things that will have a big impact (the 20%), and the rest a minute impact on your results (the 80%.)  BUT, he would also say:

“Before you test the little stuff, test the big stuff and work your way down. Test the Forest, then the Trees, then the Branches, then the Leaves..”

People often get hung up on testing the punctuation of an ad when they haven’t tested multiple variations of drastically different ads first.

The punctuation will have an effect, and has proven to produce big results in many cases, but how much bigger would the results be if you first identified an ad that is %30 more effective than the current ad?

The idea is to make sure you are in the right forest, with the right trees, before you climb the branches and begin polishing the leaves.

Tweaking the leaves of the wrong kind of tree in the wrong forest just uses a lot of time and money for nothing.

Dear Ugly, Outdated, and Self-Made Websites…

I'm Sorry, This is you.

This is a great visual of how ugly, outdated, or self-made websites appear when they don’t measure up to just the basic expectations of the visitor.

website marketing

Yes, the creeper van does offer the same technical services as the school buses, but its presentation not only drives people away – it also recruits otherwise indifferent bystanders to warn others to stay clear.

The only reason I took a picture of it was because of how out of place it was in context of the regular school buses.

Is this for real?  Are they still in business?  Is this a scam? – All questions visitors have when something just doesn’t feel right.  Then they bounce.

Oh, if this is your van – I’m sorry, nothing personal.

The Unlimited Traffic Technique – A Real Life Case Study in Google AdWords

Unlimited traffic?  It sounds like a pipe dream or only a theoretical concept, but in fact it is not only an actual possibility – it will always happen in any online market when someone does a few simple things just a little better than their competition.

google adwords

On the internet, things operate on 90/10 vs. 80/20

When it comes to traffic, 90% of advertisers a fighting over scraps – the traffic left over after the 10% takes their share.  This is why most Google AdWords management companies measure their success by reducing the average cost per click and cost per conversion for their clients month after month.

When you’re on the 90% side of things, you have to worry endlessly about reducing cost per click, cost per conversion, and every way possible to take as much money out of the process as possible.

When you’re on the 10% side of things, your goal is to be able to afford to spend more than your competitors and put as much back into the process as possible.

I know this sounds bass-ackwards, and even blasphemous to a lot of ad management companies – but keep with me, and I’ll explain how it works – and why. (more…)