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Static ROI metrics, meet dynamic marketing situation



Static ROI metrics, meet dynamic marketing situation

This is the second part of a two-part article. The first part, “Return on investment is missing in action,” can be found here.

Life would be a lot simpler if marketing were a machine. Your marketing budget would produce an expected return on investment, given a fixed input. In real life, calculating ROI on your marketing spend is impossible. Markets are non-linear in nature.

“Markets are subject to the butterfly effect.” wrote Kathleen Schaub, marketing strategist, in her paper “Marketing Is Not a Vending Machine.”

“[The] non-linearity… of complex systems means continual surprises. Small changes, especially early, can have profound effects later. For example, a single tweet in 2021 could initiate a huge deal that closes in 2023. Alternatively, large actions may have little or no effect, as when sales decrease despite a large ad buy. Markets are semi-predictable and therefore can be modeled, but only within the bounds of probability and time.” she wrote.

Schaub, along with Mark Stouse, chairman of Proof Analytics, have been busy tearing down the assumptions surrounding the marketing spend, and rebuilding an alternative method of perceiving its value. Predictability and control are out. Perception and reaction are in.

“This is a huge cultural shift for marketers,” Stouse said. “We’re talking about a profession that has prized orchestration very, very highly. Orchestration is just another word for control. What we are talking about here is learning, being able to see variations over time in the marketplace and shift accordingly.”

You are not the mission control of all that goes on in your marketing, Schaub added, executives have trouble grasping this. “Marketing can influence, nudge and intervene, but cannot control this. And neither does sales.”

Marketing is a complex system, Schaub continued. “You have to differentiate on an individual basis, what is happening with a particular buyer, a particular account, and what is happening at the macro level, where you are talking about how to connect your revenue.” she said. “You will never have the data to predict individual accounts.”

These individual accounts are not additive, like machine parts. “They each have their own, weird journey, some of which follow the trend line perfectly, but many go coloring way outside the lines.” Schaub said.

Connecting the Edge and the Core

There has to be some connection between the people “at the front” (the “Edge”), who have direct, immediate experience with the current market, and the executives higher up (the “Core”) who have the analytics to give them the broad view, but have no clue as to what is happening at the ground level.

General Stanley McCrystal, in his book “Team of Teams”, outlined a similar problem in Iraq, where he had to oversee a joint Special Forces/Intelligence effort to track down al-Qaida terrorists in 2004. Hierarchy, bureaucracy, and information siloes hobbled the effort at first. The solution was to network all information and decentralize decision making, thus turning a large, cumbersome organization into a nimble giant that could act quickly.

The business equivalent of this would be a multi-disciplinary team, consisting of marketing, (event expertise, campaign expertise, content, analytics) and sales. They would work collaboratively, using first-hand information, then tapping a transparent pipeline of data coming from the analytics side, Schaub explained. “The Edge and the Core are having a dialogue as close to real time as they can.”

The obstacle is not technology, but human. “We don’t have people in the right places,” Schaub said. “We haven’t trained people to ask the right questions. We haven’t trained people how to automate.” The notion that marketing can be orchestrated is an idea people have to be weaned off of, she said.

The Edge has to confirm with ground truth the analytics it is receiving from the Core, Stouse pointed out. In a way, this is risk mitigation. Analytics will look at the market with a “projection point of view”, but there will be a time lag. The Edge may have to make a detour around circumstances, thus altering the arrival at the stated goal.

Beating or missing “the number” is not the right question here, Schaub said. “The annual plans for marketing are out of date the minute they are delivered.” Planning is useful for setting goals, but making marketing adhere to a plan made months ago “probably does not make sense,” she said. “Marketing plans never survive the first contact with the customer.”

Read next: How to measure content marketing ROI and ROE

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You can’t ever think about ROI the same way again

So what can marketers do? Changing how you analyze and apply data requires a change of thinking. This is not as crazy as reinventing the wheel as it spins, but it is challenging.

It comes down to “asking the right question, voicing your hypothesis, that creates the model. It also dictates a punch list of the data sets that are required to arm that model, roughly two-thirds of which will be external factors that you don’t control, one-third of which is what you are currently doing,” Stouse said.

The idea that one omnibus model explains all does not work. “It’s a collection of many models, some of which are linked, some of which are not, some of which are standardized and applied to many different markets,” to yield a meta-view, he said.

As the marketer goes down this path, they will learn the “things I don’t know I don’t know”, Stouse continued. “More things will become visible to you as you process these analytics and you will add new factors into the model going forward.” The old and revised models can be run concurrently to understand the variances. You will need at least one data analyst to operate this, Stouse added.

“The analytics will inform you about which things you should really pay attention to, and which things have less value.” Schaub said. “You will know where the big waves are.” An empowered, but accountable, agile team at the Edge will be able to make adjustments on the fly as it reacts to changes in the market. The goal is to spend marketing dollars wisely, not to meet some random plan you set up a year ago, Schaub said. The team is empowered on how and when to make their numbers. 

The agile team does not have to start as a large project. “[S]tart small and complete.” Schub said. The agile team, or “customer value squad”, can sit at the Edge where they are “touching the customer”, coordinating the skills of sales, marketing and product, Schaub said. It may take months, maybe even a year, to get that team to work right. Short-term desire for quarterly results will not work here, but may have to run concurrently while the agile team is being established, free from that metric.

You will also have to create a network for the agile team to tap. “Start opening up channels between groups,” Schaub said. Put in Slack, so people could inform each other. Change here will not be linear. “It will go slow, slow, slow, slow, and then it will take off.” She explained. “Not because of what you are doing, but because what the groups is doing. The group makes that emerge.”

“Start at these small scales. Let it become successful. Build the connections. And it will expand.” Schaub said.

In the end, the mission to change the way people think about marketing requires some illumination to see new concepts clearly. “Once the lights go on, you can’t ever think in the old way again,” Schaub said. “It’s my mission to turn the lights on for people.”

About The Author

William Terdoslavich is a freelance writer with a long background covering information technology. Prior to writing for Martech, he also covered digital marketing for DMN.

A seasoned generalist, William covered employment in the IT industry for, big data for Information Week, and software-as-a-service for He also worked as a features editor for Mobile Computing and Communication, as well as feature section editor for CRN, where he had to deal with 20 to 30 different tech topics over the course of an editorial year.

Ironically, it is the human factor that draws William into writing about technology. No matter how much people try to organize and control information, it never quite works out the way they want to.

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Advocate | DigitalMarketer



Advocate | DigitalMarketer

Happy customers love to share their experience, but sometimes they need some encouragement to do so. The cool thing is, once they do, they become even more loyal to your brand.

So, at this stage of the Customer Value Journey, ask people to share their positive experience with your brand by writing a review or sharing a social media post.

Once you get to stage seven, the Customer Value Journey is going to get a whole lot easier for you. This stage is all about learning your customer’s experience, and building up your testimonial database. 

The most important part of this step is asking these four questions. 

What Was Your Life Like Before Finding Our Solutions? What Challenges Were You Facing That Caused You to Consider Us? 

These questions are great not only because it gives you some really good stories, but because it gives you some insight on how you can provide similar prospects with that AHA moment. Understanding the average day of your clients is important in reflecting on your Customer Value Journey, and helps you understand what really set you apart from your competitors.

What Key Features Had the Biggest and/or Fastest Impact?

Not only is this going to get you to really specific stories, you will understand the specific things you provided that gave the biggest impact. The answers to these questions will not only give you great insight and testimonials, it will provide you with ideas for new lead magnets. This part is a new Entry Point Offer goldmine! 

What Has Been the Impact or Results in Your Life or Business Since Using Our Product or Service? 

This is a fairly broad question, and that’s why we put it after the others. You will have already gotten all of the specifics out of the way with #1 & #2. But when you ask this question, this is where you get the most valuable stories. You can use this part as testimonials, as an order form, as a sales page, this part is testimonial gold. 

If You Were Asked to Justify this Purchase to Your Boss or a Friend, What Would You Say? 

This is our favorite question by far. If you had to go back in time and justify this purchase, what would you say? I promise you what we’re going to find is a lot of great ideas for the jobs that your product or service has done. You’ll get a lot of great ideas for your core message canvas. This question is about backfilling all of the assets that you may not have. Here you’re going directly to the customer who are already happy, and using their justifications to help you sell to new customers. 

Hopefully you now understand just how valuable the Advocate stage could be, as well as the key questions you need to ask to get your customers talking. Here’s how it works for our example companies.

When it comes to fashion we all love to show off our outfits. So a good example for Hazel & Hems would be to have customers write reviews for a discount code or points towards their next purchase. 

Better yet, follow up with the customers to ask them to share and tag themselves wearing the items in a social media post and providing them with something valuable as a reward.

For Cyrus & Clark Media, hopping on zoom meetings or a streaming service for live talks about them and their business could generate valuable awareness for them, and a live case study for the agency. They can use the questions Ryan provided during this lesson to conduct the interview.

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Drive Conversions and Generate Engagement With Instacart Promotions



Drive Conversions and Generate Engagement With Instacart Promotions

Through deals and coupons, Instacart has saved consumers more than $700 million in 2022. As we dive into 2023, the leading grocery technology company in North America has big plans to help consumers save even more while also helping CPGs generate sales. Instacart recently announced an advertising solution that helps both sellers and consumers called Instacart Promotions. This exciting feature is designed to help drive conversions, boost sales, and generate overall engagement on the app.

Interested in this feature and how it can help your business on Instacart? Read on as we dive into everything you need to know about this ad solution including benefits, how to get started, and more.


What are Instacart Promotions?


Instacart Promotions is an advertising feature that’s now available to all brand partners, including emerging brands, within their open beta program. Promotions give CPGs the opportunity to offer new deal structures, promotions, and incentives with Instacart Ad campaigns. With this feature in place, consumers will have access to more promotions, coupons, and deals that are tailored to them within the Instacart Marketplace.

“With the launch of our new Instacart Promotions, all of our brand partners now have the ability to set up coupons and promotions that can drive meaningful business results while also passing on more savings opportunities to consumers. We’re proud to continue expanding our portfolio with additional self-service capabilities, ad formats that drive results, and measurement that brands need to understand the true impact of their campaigns on Instacart.”


– Ali Miller, VP of Ads Product at Instacart


Source: Instacart


How Do Instacart Promotions Work?


Promotions, now available in Ads Manager, gives consumers the ability to discover more promotions and savings opportunities within the Instacart app. These promotions now show up directly on product item cards before checkout for easy accessibility. Promotions allow advertisers to customize their campaigns to sync with their goals and objectives whether that be driving sales, building baskets, or boosting trials.

Instacart shared a recent example of a brand successfully utilizing Promotions… 

Athletic Brewing, General Mills, Sola Company, and Wells Enterprises (maker of Halo Top) are strengthening campaign performance by pairing Instacart Promotions with ad formats such as Sponsored Product and Display. Instacart Promotions include two new flexible and customizable structures: Coupons (“buy X units, save $Y”) and Stock Up & Save (“Spend $X, Save $Y”). 

According to Instacart, in the coming months, the company “will work to further enhance the new offering with new deal structures such as Free Gifts and Buy One, Get One (“BOGO”). The new deal structures will help brand partners run “Free Sample” programs that can win new customers and serve personalized discounts for different customer segments, such as “new to brand” and “new to category.”  


Example of Instacart Promotions

Source: Instacart


Instacart Promotions Benefits


Deliver Value and Savings to Consumers


With Instacart Promotions, you have the opportunity to deliver value and savings that will have consumers coming back for more. With this savings feature, your brand can stand out among the competition and offer a variety of deals to shoppers ie: “Buy X units, Save $Y”.


Hot tip: Ensure you are selecting products for your promotion that are well-stocked and widely available.  


Tailor Your Campaigns to Specific Objectives


With a variety of savings options available, your brand can structure deals to fit specific business goals and objectives. 


Hot tip: If you’re looking to drive visibility and awareness, try pairing promotions with Sponsored Product campaigns. 


Access Real-Time Performance Insights 


The Promotions beta program is live and can be accessed within Instacart Ads Manager. Within Ads Manager, advertisers can access real-time insights to maximize performance and adjust campaigns as needed.


Hot tip: Make sure your budget matches your discount and objectives.


“As an advertiser, Instacart’s unique offering to self-manage promotions is so exciting! Historically, making adjustments to offer values and other promotion parameters was a more manual process, but now we’ll be able to easily make optimizations in real-time based on redemption performance.”

Emily Choate

Emily Choate, Senior Specialist, Marketplace Search at Tinuiti


Interested in Instacart Promotions?


With Instacart Promotions, you have the opportunity to reach new customers, build bigger baskets, and drive sales. Interested in testing out the beta program or looking to get started with advertising on the app? Drop us a line – we’d love to help elevate your CPG brand on Instacart.


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(Re)Introducing your favorite Optimizely products!



(Re)Introducing your favorite Optimizely products!

It’s important to us that you, our valued customers and partners, can identify with the tools you use daily.  

In that pursuit, Optimizely set out to simplify the way we talk about our product suite. That starts, first and foremost, with the words we use to refer to the technology.  

So, we’ve taken a hard look at everything in our portfolio, and are thrilled to introduce new names we believe are more practical, more consistent, and better representative of the technology we all know and love.  

You may have seen some of these names initially at Opticon 2022 as well as on our website. In the spirit of transparency, the team here at Optimizely wanted to make sure you had full visibility into the complete list of new names, as well as understand the context (and rationale) behind the changes. 

So, without further ado… 

Which names changed?  

Some, but not all. For your ongoing reference, below is a complete list of Optimizely products, with previous terminology you may be familiar with in the first column, and (if applicable) the new name in the second column.  

Used to be… 

Is now (or is still)… 



Optimizely Digital Experience Platform 

A fully-composable solution designed to support the orchestration, monetization, and experimentation of any type of digital experience — all from a single, open and extensible platform. 

Content Cloud 

Optimizely Content Management System 

A best-in-class system for building dynamic websites and helping digital teams deliver rich, secure and personalized experiences. 


Optimizely Content Marketing Platform 

An industry-leading and user-friendly platform helping marketing teams plan campaigns, collaborate on tasks, and author content. 


Optimizely Digital Asset Management 

A modern storage tool helping teams of any size manage, track, and repurpose marketing and brand assets (with support for all file types). 

Content Recs 

Optimizely Content Recommendations 

AI-powered and real-time recommendations to serve the unique interests of each visitor and personalize every experience. 

B2B Commerce 

Optimizely Configured Commerce 

A templatized and easy-to-deploy platform designed to help manufacturers and distributors drive efficiency, increase revenue and create easy buying experiences that retain customers. 

Commerce Cloud 

Optimizely Customized Commerce 

A complete platform for digital commerce and content management to build dynamic experiences that accelerate revenue and keep customers coming back for more. 


Optimizely Product Information Management 

A dedicated tool to help you set up your product inventory and manage catalogs of any size or scale. 

Product Recs 

Optimizely Product Recommendations 

Machine-learning algorithms optimized for commerce to deliver personalized product recommendations in real-time. 


Optimizely Web Experimentation 

An industry-leading experimentation tool allowing you to run A/B and multi-variant tests on any channel or device with an internet connection. 

Full Stack 

Optimizely Feature Experimentation 

A comprehensive experimentation platform allowing you to manage features, deploy safer tests, and roll out new releases – all in one place. 


Optimizely Personalization 

An add-on to core experimentation products, allowing teams to create/segment audiences based on past behavior and deliver more relevant experiences. 

Program Management 

Optimizely Program Management 

An add-on to core experimentation products, allowing teams to manage the end-to-end lifecycle of an experiment. 


Optimizely Data Platform 

A centralized hub to harmonize data across your digital experience tools, providing one-click integrations, AI-assisted guidance for campaigns, and unified customer profiles. 


So, why the change?  

 It boils down to three guiding principles:  

  1. Uniformity: Create a naming convention that can be applied across the board, for all products, to drive consistency 
  2. Simplicity: Use terms that are both practical and concise, ensuring the names are something that everyone can understand and identify with  
  3. Completeness: Develop a framework that showcases the full and complimentary nature of all the products and solutions within the Optimizely suite 

 As the Optimizely portfolio comes together as a complete, unified platform, it’s important that our names reflect this, as well as support our 3 key solutions (i.e. orchestrate amazing content experiences, monetize every digital experience, and experiment across all touchpoints).  

Other questions? We’ve got you covered. 

Q: Why have you made these product name changes? 

    • We wanted to simplify how we talk about our portfolio. The renaming applies a naming convention that is both practical and concise.  


Q: Do the new product name changes affect the products I own? 

    • No, there is no impact to product functionality or capabilities.  


Q: Do the new product name changes affect who is my Customer Success Manager or Account Manager?  

    • No, there are no changes to your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager. 


Q: Do the new product name changes affect the ownership of the company?  

    • No, ownership of the company has not changed. We have only made changes to the Product Names. 


Q: Have any contact details changed that I need to be aware of?  

    • Only contact details for former Welcome customers has changed. These are the new contact details you should be aware of: Optimizely, Inc.| 119 5th Ave | 7th Floor | New York, NY 10003 USA. Phone: +1 603 594 0249 | 


Q: Where can I send any follow up questions I might have?  

    • If you have any questions about the Product Names, please contact your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager.  

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