eCommerce rant 2: Attribution, A/B testing and brand equity

eCommerce rant 2: Attribution, A/B testing and brand equity
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3 things on my mind this week I want to rant about:

  • Marketers who claim to have driven XXX amount of revenue over email marketing for XXX amount of clients
  • Marketers who have a woefully inefficient testing protocol for email marketing
  • Marketers who obsess over Klaviyo attribution and why it’s completely f*cked

Let’s get right into it.

1: You’re only as good as the brand you work with

“I’ve driven $100 million in email marketing for brands” - have you really?

Let’s be honest: as an email marketer, you’re only as good as the brand you’re working with.

And while there’s zero doubt that email is a phenomenal channel to drive repeat sales, your results depend entirely on two things often out of your control:

A: The quality of the product

80% of repeat revenue depends on a great product. Bad product = no repeat sales.

B: The level of customer service

20% of driving repeat sales can be attributed to a great customer experience.

Great product + differentiated customer experience = great DTC retention (especially if you’re working in an industry that has sticky products).

Let me be clear: it doesn’t matter how great your marketing automation or campaign offers are if both of the aforementioned suck.

Does that mean email/SMS marketing doesn’t make a difference?

No - of course it does.

But you can only work with what you’ve got, and you can’t polish a turd.

What do you do when you work with a brand that doesn’t have a great product or customer experience?

You leverage email to drive qualitative research to unlock insights about your customers and find out the bottlenecks to repeat sales.

Humble yourself and give credit to the brand you’re working with for doing a lot of the heavy lifting that moves the needle.

And remember, marketing in business is a team sport. You shouldn’t be taking all the credit and making it all about you; it’s about collaborating cross-channel to drive an exceptional customer experience.

2: You need to test more

After working with over 100 brands, I can tell you that not a single business I’ve entered had a clearly established testing protocol that led to insights and shared learnings cross-channel over email.

Why is implementing tests so slow and cumbersome over email/sms?

Simple: people test the wrong things that don’t move the needle and don’t follow through with measuring their tests effectively.

Strip it back and simplify it.

I want you to ruthlessly focus on testing the following elements:

  • Signup forms
  • Abandoned carts
  • Post-purchase upsells (if appropriate in your business)

All 3 of these lead to incremental gains that genuinely move the needle.

At the very least, I want you to aggressively test the offers on signup forms and in abandoned carts to optimise for profitability.

One of my most enlightening tests over the past 5 years was an extensive test in signup forms and abandoned cart flows across a discount-driven brand offering 10 VS 20% off in these areas.

It was staggering to the brand that we hit statistical significance on 10% outperforming the 20% off offer.

The tens of thousands of additional $ in contribution margin this added to the brand were game-changing.

It was only achieved by implementing a simple yet thoughtful test that we followed through with and derived clear learnings from to improve the business as a whole, not just over email.

3: Klaviyo attribution is the wrong KPI to track

When you focus solely on revenue, you do it at the expense of the customer experience.

An example is saturating the customer with offers at every stage of the customer journey.

Yes, offers are nice for some customers, but what they are often searching for is the answer to their problems or the correct way to use the product. Only communicating offers completely neglect what stage they may be at in the buying journey.

So while it looks great in your Klaviyo marketing dashboard to have a huge sum of owned revenue attributed to the software, the reality is that it’s not at all a good gauge of your performance as an email marketer.

And, let’s be honest: anybody can deceptively change the attribution window to make themselves look better - you’re not fooling anyone.

But a marketer who is able to profitably increase revenue within the parameters of the client’s business model? That’s a true strategist and somebody worth every penny you pay for.

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