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Book Review: Freakonomics

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freakonomicsI really had fun reading Freakonomics as the author’s attempt to answer questions about the real world with a data driven approach.  Kind of like a Moneyball approach to non-baseball topics.  Freakonomics discusses how people name their children, sumo wrestling, the drop in crime rate, the profitability of crack dealers and real estate among other things.

The global takeaway from the book is incentives.  Whether it’s big carrots, big sticks or some combination, every action is taken by people based on how they are incentivized.  On an individual scale or larger society actions are dictated by these incentives and if inappropriate or undesired action is being taken it is invariably because the incentives are in the wrong place.  Freakonomics uses data to try and assess where the incentives really are and their effectiveness.

To read more, pick up a copy of Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (P.S.) for yourself at Amazon.com.

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Written by Greg M

September 2, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Posted in Books

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Book Review: Life After the 30 Second Spot

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life after 30 second spotWhen Joseph Jaffe released Life After the 30-Second Spot back in May of 2005 I was treated to one of the finest books that I’ve read on new media. Despite being more than 4 years old I think it’s still highly relevant in today digital and performance marketing environment.

The overall structure of the book was fantastic. Jaffe would begin to build his case and in every chapter would walk me to the edge of the cliff while letting me think “he’s nuts”. Then time and time again he’d roll out the data and lock up his case. Life After the 30 Second Spot used data to tell it’s story as good as anything I’ve read (with the possible exception of Moneyball).

Essentially Jaffe points out that TV and traditional mass marketing is dead and that while reach continues to erode, costs continue to rise or stay flat. Jaffe beckons doom for the traditional advertisers who’s business model is about to collapse. He also spends a good deal of time discussing engagement and out of the box marketing ideas that have the potential to penetrate today’s media burdened consumer – while some of these tactics have undoubtedly changed since the writing of Life After the 30-Second Spot
the fundamental principles still remain.

Order a copy of Life After the 30-Second Spotfrom Amazon.com today!

Written by Greg M

July 24, 2009 at 10:50 am

Posted in Books

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Book Review: Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions

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landing page optimization handbookLanding Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions

This book is a big win for Tim Ash and all interested in landing page optimization and testing as I believe it’s currently the most comprehensive and well thought out book on the subject. Not only does Landing Page Optimization cover all of the necessary tactics for creating, launching and interpreting A/B and multivariate tests but Ash thoughtfully examines two critical aspects of human relationships and their impact on your testing program – first, the different personality traits of your site visitors and how they change based on their current role and second, how to work with all of the critical roles (IT, QA, brand managers, creative teams, etc.) whether your optimization program is for internal or external clients.

1)  Here are 5 key lessons learned, but remember to pick up your copy of Landing Page Optimization so you don’t’ miss anything.

2)  Everyone may want equal space on your website but they don’t deserve it. Your landing page should be modified to best serve the mission critical visitor class

3)  If your landing page is designed for a single conversion event the main navigation or structure of the corporate site should be removed.

4)  ADIAS – awareness, desire, interest, action, satisfaction – know the stage of the buying process for particular pages

  • In the Awareness stage all key information needs to be above the fold
  • In the Desire stage more detailed information can be supplied and visitors are more likely to scroll below the fold

5)  If you’re focused on testing elements of your offer (price, promotion, etc.) then traffic sources are important. If the focus is more on functional usability issues then traffic sources are less important. First optimize functional issues across all site traffic and then fine tune elements for different traffic sources.

Always get a project-based support commitment from IT and have a dedicated IT resource throughout the program.

Pick up a copy of Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions
on Amazon.com today!

Written by Greg M

July 22, 2009 at 12:22 am