It’s Been a A While – and 13 Trends for 2013

Ok – I know. I don’t play by my own rules… and haven’t posted a blog post in months! I apologize. That whole work thing keeps getting in my way 🙂 I’m sorry…

So here I am again, and its time to share new stuff.  I just participated in 2 days of training with some of my colleagues at Dominion Enterprises (home of the brands, ForRent, CycleTrader, and of course the marine businesses that I work for:, Boat Trader and YachtWorld). We have a heap of marketing talent in our company, so we gather every year to share experiences, ideas and best practices.

Presenting Personas at Dominion Enterprises

Presenting ‘Personas’

I was able to present on Humanizing Data – creating and leveraging personas. This was a fun one for me as I’ve been using personas in marketing for years. I’ll load up my presentation to Slideshare shortly. But the point is to identify your audience segments using a bunch of data, and create personas to help guide design, product development, etc. Fun stuff.

I also happen to be a fan of Ted Leonsis (formerly AOL, current co-CEO of Groupon, owner of the Washington Wizards, and board member at American Express.) Smart guy. Anyway, he just posted a top 13 Trends list that I happen to agree with!

Ted Leonsis

Ted Leonsis


#2     Mobile Fuels Conversion to a Cashless Economy. Over the next two years, the mobile payment market will reach $670 billion.

#3     Consumerization of IT leads to New Security Concerns, with Resulting Business Opportunities. (Good thing the husband is in the IT security sector!)

#6     Convergence Finally Becomes a Reality. Your computer, phone and TV are now all just screens.

#9     Home Automation. We will be able to control energy, security, video, communications, electronics through wireless technologies.

#13 Vertical Sprouts = Consumers and Money. First came the major “horizontal” companies, like Amazon in ecommerce and Facebook in social. Next up: vertical companies in spaces like women, teens, sports, and seniors.

This last one is big… looking forward to reading more on this.

Click here for the full list.

Would love to hear your thoughts – do you agree/disagree , maybe add something else? Please leave comments below!
P.S. Thanks for visiting!

Got Klout?

UPDATE: Klout just released this great infograph that I thought helpful to those who have read this post on Klout. Enjoy!


Klout score and analysis

Do you have Klout?

When I first started noodling through social media land, back in the day (July 10, 2007 according to Facebook), I knew I was an early adopter, but wasn’t really too concerned about my Klout. What is Klout? According to Wikipedia: the company, Klout, “uses social media analytics to measure a user’s influence across their social network. The analysis is done on data taken from sites such as Twitter and Facebook and measures the size of a person’s network, the content created, and how other people interact with that content.”

So what is the benefit of having Klout? Ever wanted to be ‘famous’? Klout may help you get there. Want free stuff? Want to be an early user of cool stuff?  All this ‘apparently’ comes with having Klout. On the Klout website, there is a “Perks” tab, that shows you different rewards you ‘might’ be eligible for, IF you have KLOUT!

Klout Perks

Now, I have what is considered to be a fairly decent Klout score of 61. Some of the people I think are BIG social influencers have scores only slightly higher than me. But I never seem to receive decent Perk offers. Aren’t there companies out there that would like a socially savvy, 40+ female marketing executive to try out some of your cool stuff? Each “Perk” has eligibility requirements, and the good perks go really quickly. So either I’m not eligible (see image below where ‘location’ makes me ineligible) or I’m too late.

Klout Perks Eligibility

I hope smart businesses take note of Klout and leverage social influencers. Maybe one day I’ll get to try that shiny new product before anyone else does… 😀

It’s the Little Things – Launching a New Product

JoyIt’s the little things that give me joy….

Its been a while, and I apologize for that. But I’ve been working like crazy on a new product that my company is launching. I thought it might be interesting to share a bit of inside scoop on how we’re building this thing. I love my job… I really do!

So, what is “it”? My company is launching a Daily Deals website –! Yes, there are many others out there, but we are fortunate to have a solid company behind us, a fantastic URL, and have experience building strong field sales teams, and customer service teams. So, what are we doing that is different? Well, we hope that we can provide best in class customer service to our merchant partners and customers.

Ultimately, though, we want to give quality deals.

I have been working with our talented design team to come up with our website concepts, and we have been testing a few looks over the last few days. We also have a new logo, that we hope is a better fit with the look and feel of the home page concepts we will use for launch. So many of the daily deal websites have a similar look and feel, so we wanted to create something that looked a little different, and made us stand out from the crowd. I hope we have been able to achieve that.

I thought it would be a great opportunity to engage guerrilla marketing agency to push a promotion in one of our launch cities. I’ve narrowed my search down to two agencies, and am excited to see what creative and innovative solutions they will present. Once the details are finalized, I’ll share them here on my blog. I love guerrilla marketing…

Well, folks. I hope you’ll join me on this journey over the next few months. ~Sonya
Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed are mine and do not necessarily reflect any of my affiliations.

UPDATE: Check out what our manager has to say about here!

Part 2: Notes from ISUM10 – Research 2.0: Using Technology to Drive Insight

Insights Research 2.0Part 2: My Notes From Internet Summit 2010

Colin Hynes – Rue La La

Research 2.0: Using Technology to Drive Insight

(Colin is Zsar of Social at Rue La La)


  • Who is coming to your site?
  • What are they trying to accomplish?
  • Are they successful?
  • If not why?
  • If so, why?
  • What do they do after they leave?

Traditional research methods:

  • Focus groups
  • Surveys (paper, phone)
  • Usability testing
  • In-person Exit studies
  • Field studies

New methods:

  • Un-moderated usability testing
  • Card sorting
  • Evolutionary design
  • Virtual spaces
  • Web analytics traffic analysis
  • Exit surveys
  • Inline data collection
  • Dedication online communities
  • Brand clusterings
  • Packaging feedback

Exit SurveysCase Study: Exit Survey 3-4% response rate

  • Analysis Approach: Prioritize relative to conversion opportunity
  • Purpose of visit responses are a proxy for conversion funnel
  • High potential conversion + unsuccessful visit = high opportunity
  • (Funnel represents the reasons someone’s visiting your website).
  • So… need to ask the purchase intent
  • Highest ROI for making site changes

Resource: 4QSurvey

  • Free exit survey tool
  • Serve the survey by traffic
  • Look at responses by traffic
  • Drill down into what really matters
  • Look at the issues. And then ask why!

Customers with existing sets looking to buy in the current visit are not converting due primarily to:

  • Their target products being viewed as discontinued or not available (SO is it REALLY discontinued? Check on these issues… identifying issues)
  • They are looking to see if the products will be on sale or an on an outlet price

Customers looking to buy new pieces within the current visit are not converting due to a myriad reasons:

  • Could not find what they were looking for
  • Functional issue on their side
  • Still in browsing phase
  • Prices are too high (i.e. waiting for pieces to go on sale)

Usability TestingUnmoderated Usability Testing


  • $39/per person for 15 mins of their time. You set tasks, or say ‘go’
  • Recording of their voice
  • Record what they’re doing on the screen
  • You can use their users, or use your own users
  • Can be done on demo sites or mockups
  • Vetted users
  • Client ratings on user
  • 25 responses within 3 hours
  • 8-14 ppl for good test
  • Robust reporting etc.
  • Helps you prioritize your website changes /updates

CardSortOnline Card Scoring

  • Lining up ‘alike’ things in card stacks
  • Free tools – or low cost tools.

Resource: Websort

  • We have ideas of how things should be grouped together, but customers have other ones…
  • So give them a ‘card stack’ and ask them to create groups

Additional Resource:

Customer Experience: My Notes From Internet Summit 2010

Customer ExperienceI was fortunate to attend the Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC a few weeks ago. I had a couple of ‘aha’ moments, but a lot of affirmation moments – affirming that what I was doing and thinking was correct. Over the next month or so, I intend to share some of my notes here.

First up: Customer Experience:  The Inconvenient Discipline
Presented by Elizabeth Peaslee of Creative Good (who help companies improve the customer experience).

Note: Don’t miss the top 3 things you should do before the end of the year

  • Customers don’t care about your org chart.
  • Customers need direction from you! Where should they go to go forward in their task
  • They won’t look at everything – they scan from top to bottom to find the ‘winner’ – what they are looking for.
  • Too many signs or calls to action – they will bail. Too hard to find what they’re looking for.
  • Clear navigation – that moves them forward in their task.
  • Make it quick and easy to scan
  • Clear, concise and easily scannable content
  • Bulleted list of features and benefits
  • It is hard to read on the screen. Think shortform
  • Readers want proof / validation:

Invest in high quality photos

User centric videos come from the customer’s perspective NOT from the marketing department!

Customer reviews (don’t always choose the GLOWING review. Make it authentic!!! Include the bad grammar, negative reviews.

Helps credibility

  • Customers don’t want to be on your email marketing list. They’re annoyed to be asked to register before experiencing your website.
  • Email is a privilege – you must treat it as such!

Also keep in mind :

  • Text displayed in graphics – is annoying! People might want to copy/paste info from your website.
  • Users do not maximize their browser windows! Don’t make design decisions based on this!
  • Don’t assume that people know how to increase/decrease their font size. So make it a reasonable size!
  • The back button is the most used in a browser and it will ‘break’ in Flash.

3 Things To Do 3 Things to do before the end of the year!

1) Leverage your metrics – Look for Red Flags

Engagement metrics: Time spent on site

Pathing data – where are people going? (Where are they dropping off… ecommerce will be on the shipping page).

2) Listen to your customers – listen to your family (ask them for their opinion. Free user group feedback).

3) Customer emails – if they’re writing to you, they’re at the extreme of the experience. Share customer emails during meetings. Reminds people of the bigger picture.

Display is Bringing Sexy Back

Smart and sexy
My focus lately has been on advocating the benefits of email marketing as I think it is a marketing channel that is poorly under utilized and yet so very cost effective! And remember, it has the highest ROI in any direct response marketing channel! But I’m stepping off my email marketing soapbox for a bit today to discuss display advertising. Why? Because Google is…… discussing it, I mean!

On September 28, 2010, a couple of blokes from Google gave the Keynote address at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s MIXX Conference in New York – where all the “Mad Men” hang out. The keynote was entitled “Display 2015: Smart and Sexy”. Ok – you got my attention!

Google made seven predictions for display advertising that the company thinks will happen by 2015.

Neal Mohan, the vice president for product management responsible for Google’s display advertising products, and Barry Salzman, managing director of media and platforms for the Americas at Google, who runs display ad sales, envisioned a Web where the ads are more social, mobile and real-time — and a lot more profitable.

  1. 50% of ad campaigns will include video ads bought on a cost-per-view basis (that means that the user will choose whether to watch the ad or not, and the advertiser will only pay if the user watches). That’s up from very little today. Video ads are engaging and immersive and CPV will put choice and control in the users hands.
  2. Today, advertisers are starting to deliver ads that are tailored to particular audiences. Many are using real-time bidding technology, so that they can bid on the ad space that they think is most valuable. In 2015, 50% of these ads will be bought using this real-time technology.
  3. With smartphone growth skyrocketing, mobile is going be the #1 screen through which users engage with advertisers’ digital brands.
  4. Today, the “click” is the most important way that advertisers measure their display ad campaigns, but it’s not always the best measure—especially if an ad campaign is designed to boost things like brand awareness or recall. With new measurement technologies emerging, in five years, there will be five metrics that advertisers commonly regard as more important than the click.
  5. Just like most news articles on the web today can be commented on, shared, discussed, subscribed to and recommended, in 2015, 75% of ads on the web will be “social” in nature—across dozens of formats, sites and social communities.
  6. Rich media formats work. They enable great creativity and interaction between users and advertisers, but today they only represent about 6% of total display ad impressions. That will increase to 50 percent, for brand-building ad campaigns.
  7. All the investments that are making display advertising smarter and sexier will help publishers increase their revenues. Display advertising is going to grow to a $50 billion industry in five years

So – what do you think? Do you agree with Google’s predictions? Do you have any of your own?


P.S. For those who want to see the presentation live – below is the video!