Four Steps To Better Data-Driven Marketing

Data Disruption By Greg BonsibCheck out the newly published Mighty Guides eBook Data Disruption and my chapter on data-driven marketing.

Data has always played an important role in marketing. What has changed in recent years is the sheer volume of data now available from so many different sources.

If we were once challenged to see the forest through the trees, we’re now challenged to see the forest through the leaves.

“I look at data strategically, with the essential premise that the customer is the ultimate focus of interest.”

Here at Zenith, we primary sell our products through our network of retail partners. We do have a product website, but it is not a major source of our sales. In my role at Zenith Products Corp., I look at data strategically, with the essential premise that the customer is the ultimate focus of interest. With that in mind, I have a four-step approach to using data in customer marketing:

  1. Start small. For example, we often use Amazon Services (AMS) ads to test the effectiveness of promotional strategies. We will focus on a product or a phrase or an idea and watch how it performs. By doing so, we can create a test with a focused objective, and we can keep the cost of our tests very low. Amazon Webstore provides an excellent data environment in which to try something small at low cost and capture meaningful performance data around it.
  2. Test and learn. By keeping the test small and the cost low, we can try many different variations. For instance, I used AMS to test category ads, product ads, brand ads, ads based on search words, ads based on competitors, even ad placement that AMS recommended. The good thing about this method is that Amazon provides data that allow us to track ad performance directly to Amazon Webstore sales. In this way, we can identify ad strategies that perform well and those that are total duds. Failures are as important as successes. The best-performing ads returned $5 in sales for every $1 spent on marketing—a 500 percent return on investment (ROI) on marketing spend.

“In this way we can identify ad strategies that perform well and those that are total duds. Failures are as important as successes.”

  1. Build on success. Using the proof point of a 500 percent marketing ROI, I can then build that ad concept into a larger marketing strategy that involves product packaging, in-store promotions, and many other things. Then, I start looking at other kinds of performance data. For instance, if a store is running a promotion on a product, I pay close attention to the halo effect of that product on the sales of other products.
  2. Document your knowledge. It is incredibly important to document what you do. Documentation enables you to build a body of knowledge about what works and also to share that knowledge through your organization.

The power of this kind of data-driven marketing is that when you have data that prove your strategy, you can gain credibility and resources to do it again.

Key Lessons for Better Data-Driven Marketing

  1. When testing ideas, it is important to create a test that has a focused objective and to keep the cost of tests low.
  2. The power of data-driven marketing is that when you have data that prove your strategy, you can gain credibility and resources to do it again.

Good Selling!

Greg Bonsib is an author of the new Mighty Guides Ebook Data Disruption.

Your Price Is Too High!

Your Price Is Too HighWho in sales hasn’t heard these words?

Buyers have many ways of saying your price is too high:

  • “We are reducing down to only two suppliers. If you want to be one of them, you’ll need to sharpen your pencil.”  
  • “I don’t care about service, delivery or quality.  Price is all that is important.”  
  • “My guys sell what the customers want.  They don’t see the difference.”
  • “I need an incentive to cut off a long-term vendor.  You must be lower if you want me to do so.”

Remember, it is the buyer’s job to discount your value, while simultaneously securing it.

The forgotten elements of price that are part of your value

Overcoming Price ObjectionsMost everyone thinks of the invoice price and terms.

But these forgotten values of price are part of the total picture that you must paint for your merchant.

In other words, this is part of the value you are bringing, not just a price.

  • Growth rebates
  • Promotional allowances
  • Show specials
  • Special buys
  • Advertising allowances
  • Co-op plans
  • Pallet configurations
  • Terms
  • Dating
  • Price protection
  • Rebates
  • Pick-up allowances
  • Guaranteed service cycles
  • Merchandising allowances
  • Service
  • Packaging
  • Stocking allowances
  • Customer accommodations
  • Inventory consignment

And more that are unique to your industry.

Each of these elements makes up your pricing – and your value – to the buyer. Don’t forget them when negotiating and remember they all are eating away at your account profitability.

Your price is too high really means “You haven’t shown your value to me”

I Said Your Price Is Too HighSurvey after survey of retailers, dealers, distributors, contractors and homeowners shows that price is rarely the key driver in the decision process. In fact, it is usually 4th or 5th.

Make sure that the customer has truly earned and justified the price they need. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples and considering all of the forgotten elements of price. Understand what you are up against by asking smart questions and getting all the facts.

Once price is relinquished make sure you have gained something for the value you provided. Finally, communicate thoroughly, professionally and always be reinforcing your value.

Being competitive is more than just price

Lowest Price Is Not Always BetterWhat added value can you offer?

  • What else can we bring to the party other than price?
  • How can we help grow the customer’s sales?
  • How can we lower their cost?
  • Can we use any of our unique capabilities to keep from cutting the price?

Marketing is all about 4 P’s, only one of which is Price

Marketing MixMake sure you spend as much time understanding pricing as any other one of the P’s.

Pricing deserves respect, attention and creativity. You will be rewarded with greater profitability and be more competitive as a result.

Good Selling!

Greg Bonsib is an author of the new Mighty Guides Ebook Data Disruption.

Active Search Results (ASR) is an independent Internet Search Engine using a proprietary page ranking technology with Millions of popular Web sites indexed.

Tips To Using AMS Ad Campaigns on Amazon.com To Grow Your Sales

Advertise on Amazon.com with AMSAmazon has a really simple ad program available to help you grow your sales.

Many people refer to these ads as “AMS ad campaigns” because Amazon Media Services runs the program.

Here’s how Amazon positions these ads:

  • Start a campaign for as little as $100
  • Pay only when shoppers click
  • Optimize performance with detailed sales reports

3 ways to advertise your products on Amazon.com

Amazon Product AdsAmazon offers three different approaches to promote your products or brand.

  1. Product Display Ads are cost-per-click product or interest targeted display ads that drive traffic to your product listing on Amazon.
  2. Headline Search Ads uses keyword targeted cost-per-click search ads offered. They allow brands to drive traffic to a brand page or to landing pages at Amazon with 3 or more skus (Amazon calls them ASINs).
  3. Sponsored Products are keyword-targeted ads that allow you to advertise the products you sell on Amazon.com. They use keywords in your campaign to the search terms that shoppers use to search for products at Amazon.com. When a shopper searches for the keywords in your campaign, your ad can show up.

Your ads will appear on the product detail page, on the left rail of search results, at the bottom of search results, on the customer reviews page and at the top of the offer listing page – in other words, all over the place.

Use AMS ad campaigns to generate a >500% ROI

I haveamazon-marketing-services-ad been using AMS ads extensively for the last 6 months and have generated an average ROI of 500% on my advertising dollars. There’s no catch but it has been a learning process. Not every ad campaign has been a winner.

AMS ads are not pretty. The creative for your campaign is automatically generated through the Amazon Marketing Services ad builder. You can customize the headline and logo before you send the ad. Importantly, you don’t need an ad agency or graphic designer to create effective ads.

Best of all, AMS ads are inexpensive. Amazon Marketing Services uses a cost-per-click, auction-based pricing model. You set the maximum cost-per-click you are willing to pay. The more competitive your bid is, the more likely your ad will be displayed.

Tips to getting the most from your AMS ad campaign

  • AMS Advertising on AmazonFor your first ads, pick your best sellers. Don’t be tempted to bring attention to slow movers or new products.
  • Create a short catch-phrase likely to interest your target audience to use for your headline. Don’t simply copy your product description into the headline. I’ve found “Save Now On…” works well unless there’s a key benefit I can highlight.
  • Click the option to display your ad as quickly as possible (don’t let Amazon spread it out evenly). Unless you’re overbidding, it’s hard to make impressions, so get as many as you can.
  • Change the month of the end date. Set the end date as far into the future as the system will let you (several months). You can end it anytime manually.
  • I have found product targeting drives sales better than interest targeting.
  • Select at least 25 (more is better) products to target. Don’t focus on near in competitors – think about the larger category or space your audience could be searching for.
  • Enter specific keywords, even key-phrases, highly relevant to your product. Try a variety of keywords and phrases, but remember that relevance is key.
  • Relevance matters when targeting, not only to get the most out of your ad (you want it to sell once you get traffic), but also to prevent your ad from being stopped.AMS Ads
  • Start your bidding around $1. This is your max out-of-pocket cost per click and you may be forced to raise it if you are not getting impressions (meaning you are not winning the bid). You can always raise your bid later. I like to proactively raise the bids of my most expensive keywords when they are generating sales.
  • Your stats aren’t show in real-time and can actually be delayed by a day. Don’t rush to make changes, especially at the beginning.
  • We’ve found that it pays to touch our ads every few days. Add keywords, or pause non-performers, extend the end date or change a bid. Do this with winners and losers.
  • You’re not obligated to spend your whole ad campaign budget. You can pause or end your ad at any time.
  • Name your campaigns by what you are trying to do. The default names aren’t helpful at all. Trust me when I say you’ll never remember once you get more than a handful of ads running (we’ve run 47 different variations and stuck with only a handful longer term).
  • Amazon has an ad performance dashboard that you should check daily. If you’re spending money but not generating sales, stop your ad before you lose more money. Try to improve your ad before running it again. An exception to this is when you are trying to get attention to a new item but think of this as an investment.
  • Look at your short-term ROI (return on investment). If that ROI is uncomfortably low (let’s say 100%), step back and try to decide why. Something isn’t working, so either stop the ad or try to improve it.

Try many different approaches with small sums and commit more heavily when you see something working. This is the secret to our crazy high ROI percentages.

Good Selling!
Active Search Results (ASR) is an independent Internet Search Engine using a proprietary page ranking technology with Millions of popular Web sites indexed.