May 13, 2014

Marketing Research Chart: Where do marketers focus their optimization efforts?

SUMMARY: At its core, optimization is simply about making things better. There is no shortage of steps in the funnel or marketing tactics you can address when looking to improve your marketing results.

So which elements of the marketing ecosystem does a marketer prioritize?

The best way to understand priorities is by reviewing actions. In this MarketingSherpa Research Chart, we'll take a look at the tactics marketers are most (and least) likely to utilize.
by Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content

In the MarketingSherpa Website Optimization Benchmark Report survey, we asked marketers:

Q: Which of the following website optimization tactics does your organization currently use?

View Chart Online

Click here to see a printable version of this chart

Unique landing pages tie into different customer motivations

Implementing unique landing pages for various marketing campaigns or brands was the website optimization tactic most widely used by large companies (with 64% of marketers indicating they did so) and medium-sized companies (with 67% of companies indicating the same).

Only 42% of small companies implemented unique landing pages, perhaps due to two major factors. Some companies may be so small that there may not be more than one campaign, brand or audience. Also, small companies tend to be more resource constrained, and could have a tougher time creating more than one landing page.

However, landing pages are most effective when they tie into the value promised in the campaign — whether through PPC ads, email, print, etc. — that drove prospects to that page, and then tie into the unique pain points of different types of customers.

As one marketer replied in the Benchmark Report survey, "Biggest lesson is what drove us here, diminishing returns from existing pages and how a good page for one niche market doesn't work in another."

Optimizing design and content for conversions

Surprisingly, optimizing design and content for conversions was more often used by small companies (53% of respondents indicated they did so, the top tactic of those surveyed for small companies) than large (44%) or medium (50%) companies.

If one assumes that bigger companies always have more resources and therefore tend to be able to engage in more tactics, these results are quite surprising.

One thing that might be helping small companies in the ability to engage in conversion optimization is a quicker, easier feedback process and less layered decision-making. Big companies can have complex decision-making processes — not only including multiple brands and departments (product marketing, corporate marketing, etc.) — but also a vast array of agencies and vendors. In this environment, conversion optimization can be difficult.

However, optimizing design and content for conversions can be extremely rewarding. After all, marketing organizations make major investments in driving traffic (using display ads, print advertisements, television advertising and the like) to a landing page, which is often a point of final conversion — whether that is a purchase or a lead form fill.

Investing in optimizing the design and content on those pages for conversion of that traffic, and even the design and content of all of the advertising companies are paying to get in front of customer's eyeballs, can have an impressive ROI.

You might be surprised at what you discover about the customers as well, like the marketer who responded to the Benchmark Report survey with this nugget, "Never assume the most aesthetic design will win. The same landing page performs differently in other countries."

Related Resources

Web Optimization Summit 2014 — New York City, May 21-23

Marketing Research Chart: What are the most prevalent website optimization priorities?

Marketing Research Chart: Measuring website optimization ROI

5 Optimization Discoveries from the SAP Website Test Lab

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