Lee Odden

ad:tech Chicago – Waiting for Your Cat to Bark

The last installment of Online Marketing Blog coverage of the Chicago ad:tech 2006 conference gathered together a good number of Eisenberg fans as well as those interested in learning more about conversions.

This session, “Waiting for Your Cat to Bark – Persuasion Architecture – Persuading Customers When they Ignore Marketing” with Bryan Eisenberg of Future Now is titled after the book of the same name. Basically this session was about marketers getting poor results because they are using old Pavolovian rules of marketing and that consumers buy differently than in the past. Customers are less like compliant dogs and more like finicky cats. Hence the title.

Marketers are concerned customers ignore marketing. Mass market media are under performing. Marketing execs are burning out. Not getting results. They’re using outdated formulas. Current marketing models are simply not working.

As an illustration of how seemingly successful campaigns are still leaving money on the table, Eisenburg shows the GoDaddy Super bowl commercial which increased sales by 35%. However, the commercial drives viewers to a home page that is not branded with the commercial. The disconnect cost GoDaddy money.

Another indication of changing customer behavior is the speed of which consumers connect with each other through word of mouth.

Marketing has been redefined. We’re moving away from push and towards pull.

54% of customers are resistant to marketing. 69% use technology to block advertising. Customer B.S. meters are hypersensitive,

Marketers need to find ways to educate people and give them the answers they are looking for and not use old models of “selling”.

Achieving the ultimate experience.
Eisenberg gives examples of Starbucks, Google and JetBlue. Word of mouth is more powerful than traditional advertising.

How do we trigger word of mouth?
Word of mouth is triggered when your customer experiences something far beyond what was expected. Slightly exceeding their expectations just won’t do it.

Ways to trigger WOM:
1. Architectural.
2. Kinetic
3. and/or generous (one of the cheapest ways to buy WOM)

The web has become a major influencer, yet only 56% of marketing executives say the web was the hub of their organization’s marketing.

Blogs – is there anyway to fight back? Forbes article in 2005. No. AOL cancellation and Comcast tech falling asleep at customer’s house – spread through YouTube very quickly resulting in significant media attention. That would not have happened 5 years ago. Things are changing.

Conversion rates are disappointing. A common misconception is that the web is the best as a direct marketing vehicle.

Traffic costs are increasing and sites fail to deliver. Why?
– Marketer doesn’t understand visitor needs
– Stopped being relevant to their buying needs

Jared Spool – a web page either has the content to what the user is looking for or a link to the content they are looking for. If not, visitors stop clicking.

Irrelevant ads cause a disconnect – bad scent. Relevant ads and content offer “good scent”.

An example search on Google for “web analytics” shows irrelevant search results – bad scent.

Shows Victoria’s Secret example. Ad creative sends you through a process. Brand, image, offer, category, product – good scent.

Fundamental problem with marketing is following old rules and that does not satisfy customer needs.

Unless you are an avid reader of Grok.com and the ClickZ column ROI Marketing, it is pretty obvious there is a need to read the book, “Waiting for Your Cat to Bark”, in order to fully understand the content of this presentation. Bryan went through slides pretty quickly and presented a lot of information on creating personas and creating persuasion architecture.

Basically he described the importance of understanding customers and how they buy through personas. Learn what their motivations are and plan scenarios. An example was provided using a diamond retailer that resulted in an increase in conversions from less than 1% to over 50%.

Personas do not represent actual customers; they are indications of modes of behavior.

Now to audience questions.

Audience: Google editorial guidelines do not allow landing pages that are not exactly related to the keywords, but creatively so. Previous example referenced: Sony bidding on plasma tvs and showing a page that says “We don’t sell plasma TVs but LCDs are a better choice.”
Bryan: It’s arguable as long as you’re presenting information in the right context.

Audience: How is a service sale different than a product sale?
Bryan: We use consumer examples because people can easily understand that. The process changes and becomes more robust.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Avatar Robert Wright says

    I could’nt agree more with the sentiments expressed by the article. As a young New Business Director, (31), within an international business to business marketing bureau of, “been there, done that”, elderly types, can somebody please tell me how to steer the organization more in a new systems thinking way.

    We are in the process of doing a relaunch on our website, the content we offer seems to be far to much about, “us”, and not the buyer! I recently wrote a paper on the need to be more faciliative in approach, I got lots of yes, that seems good, but the old, trusted and tested methods are too ingrained it seems to shift them.

    The successful respondant to this post will receive 40 camels or my Mrs, (take the camels), Thanks, Rob.

  2. Camels are over rated. 🙂

  3. Avatar Robert Wright says

    At least you get a hump from a camel, sorry thats rude, could’nt resist, thanks Lee.

  4. LOL – thanks, that was pretty good. 🙂

  5. Avatar Robert Wright says

    Lee, that sounds like one of her lines! You don’t know her do you? She once went out with Arthur, Arthur Chicago! Okay, okay, enough cheesiness for the day already.. Thanks for setting me up though.. Anytime you have a few poor one liners to offload let me know and I’ll gladly oblige. Cheers, Rob


  1. Capt. Kathy’s Blog » Blog Archive » Waiting for Barking Cats …. says:

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