+44 (0)1271 866 112
Latest Issue: Nov/Dec 17

Paradoxical Undressing

So, I was frantically searching for something the other day and happened upon a very interesting article in the men’s magazine that was left open on the bedside table.

No, not that kind of men’s magazine although funny enough, the article was about nudity.

Nudity in the form of paradoxical undressing, that is.

Turns out when people are in the last (lethal) stages of hypothermia, they start taking off all their clothes because they feel like they are on fire.

Apparently this whole freezing to death but thinking you are en fuego (and not in the cool kids sense) takes about 30 minutes. You start to shiver in order to maintain your body heat and moments later, you’re dizzy, disoriented and stripping down to your birthday suit to frolic around in the snow.

This type of delusional behavior is much like what I see in my inbox lately.

“Amazon is killing our entire business. We need to sell everything below cost and give our customers free shipping too to acquire new customers. Do you agree?”

“Our search terms are mostly unidentified so we’re just increasing social because so-and-so said that it’s better than PPC in 2017. Is that ok?”

“Our mobile traffic has less than a quarter of the conversion that our desktop site has and it’s getting worse, not better, so we’re going to move platforms and hope that fixes it. Is this a good idea?”

“All our customers are dying! Like literally dying right this very minute because they are old so we did a focus group to 20-25 year olds and we’re going to redesign based on that advice. This will help us right?”

“We’re B2B and we have a bunch of different pricing levels depending on how much you spend with us so we just put our absolute highest price on the web so nobody gets offended. They’ll get a lower price when they call. Good plan, yes?”

“Our consultant told us that we should be clever and do things like that company who puts ghosts in their boxes. We put zombie decals and notes in ours and that didn’t work. We think it was because they were Walking Dead zombies and not the cheery kind on that new Drew Barrymore Netflix show. Cuter zombies is worth testing, don’t you think?”

No.

No.

No.

No.

No.

And more damn no.

You’re probably thinking the above was embellished – and it was – albeit ever so slightly. Sadly, that flipping zombie thing was 100 per cent real – although I admittedly thought it was fake and that I was just getting punked.

KEEP YOUR CLOTHES ON, FRIEND. PLEASE REMAIN DRESSED.

Amazon is killing it. Join them. Test as many marketplaces and channels as you can. New customer acquisition is important. Retaining customers is also important so you should probably dust off and update your retention program too. Keep trying new ways to get more folks into the fold. More email addresses. More mobile numbers. More (enhanced) information/data about the users you already have.

Make money. It’s cliché but last I looked, you couldn’t pay someone with a FB like, although several clients have tried. If you can’t make money on something you need to re-evaluate why you’re doing it. I’m okay with losing money on some things (like tests) but I can promise you banks don’t accept “Well, I got the buy box 90 per cent of the time!” Learn your numbers and live by them. The amount of discounting last season was insane and I’m a person who likes offers. (Offers with deadlines create urgency and cause people to focus.) Know your CPA (cost per action), CPO (cost per order), CPL (cost per lead.) Know how much you can afford to get a customer and to keep one. Live and breathe by your numbers.

Use offers that you can afford. Yes, I’m aware how many retailers sold stuff at 70 per cent off at Christmas. There is a reason why your mother told you that you shouldn’t do everything your friend Timmy did. The guy’s in a Supermax for life. Seriously though, not everyone can afford free shipping but even when they can, free shipping does NOT work for everyone. Some folks can make a $10 Subway card work better than a 20 per cent discount. Others can make a picnic basket work better than $50 off. Figure out what will work for your customers and your piggybank. If you’re in B2B, figure out which of your customers respond to personal offers (free Pizza Hut gift card with order) or professional offers (free shipping on order.) What works often differs by paygrade.

Social is not profitable for a lot of companies – and for some it’s really, really, REALLY not profitable. I get that you probably have someone who loves Facebook more than their mother or thinks you’ll burst into flames if you don’t have a new Instastory up at noon every day. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do social – just make sure you know what you’re getting out of your investment. Know how much you spend on customer service through social and how much you spend on customer acquisition and retention. (That’s three separate numbers.) I’m enamored with social advertising results (and associated sales dollars) but you still need to know your numbers. (Please note: if you’re doing social advertising you are HEAVILY dependent on your last 3 posts. Things like “It’s Fri-ya y!” do not make good introductory/onboarding posts. You really need to consider the user experience BEFORE you send ad traffic.)

Replatforming is not for the faint of heart. Last year, everyone was hot on Magento. This year it’s Demandware. Granted, the grass often looks MUCH GREENER on the other side but replatforming won’t solve all your problems. That doesn’t mean I think one should never replatform – there are many cases where it’s the only thing you should do. However, the majority of problems you have on your current platform will be transferred to your new platform if you don’t fix them. That includes SEO (which requires a transition plan from one platform to another), content (or lack thereof), wackadoodle pricing/parents/children/SKU issues and so on. More important, you are likely not going to fix your mobile issues by moving from one responsive site to the next. To “fix” mobile you need to work on your transfer and better directing your traffic to the right place (the right place being the place the user is most likely to order.) You need to improve your navigation (mobile navigation and desktop navigation are 180 degrees apart.) You need to fix your spotty performance, streamline your product pages so they don’t take up approximately 22.5 screens and so on.

People die. This is a fact of life. I do not have a magical serum to prevent this. Yet. I totally get that everyone and their monkey wants to bring in younger customers these days, I really do. With that said, whichever new audience you’re trying to attract, set up a donut or something equally ingenious to test it first instead of just flagrantly overhauling your website. Also, 1990 called. It wants its focus groups back. Y-i-k-e-s.

It’s 2017. Speaking of the 90s, all these old school, hide-the-pricing techniques died with Willy Loman. Customer-specific pricing is tough but it’s not impossible. Look competitive online and if you’re not, sell your thrice-mortgaged soul to the devil to collect user emails, fax numbers (still working like mad in B2B), telephone numbers and mobile numbers. Try to get/learn something useful from every user who visits your site.

Your mileage will vary. I’m a big fan of best practices but you’ve got to figure stuff out on your own. Use best practices as a place to start or as guidelines, not final destinations. And seriously folks, please set up funnels in your analytics packages. It’s the easiest way for most marketers to figure out where the rat is getting caught in the snake.

Unless you’re a medical student, a mortician or a medical examiner, keep away from dead bodies. Period. 

by Amy Africa, CEO, EightbyEight

Come and see Amy Africa at the DCA Annual Summit on 15th June- click here for more details